New Stratford centre will give addicted young people place to meet after treatment

Emma Childs
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The Reach Centre, currently under construction and due to open later this year, will offer a space for youths who have overcome addictions to transition back into normal life.

Community-based space will provide 'safe environment' for youths to integrate back into society

STRATFORD — A new centre is being built in Stratford to provide a post-treatment facility for youths who are overcoming addictions.

The Reach Centre is being established by the Reach Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Janice Coady, Verna Ryan and Cheryl Roche.

Although the province has an addictions treatment facility at Mount Herbert, Coady says this will be a community-based space intended to provide a “safe environment” for youths to integrate back into society.

“Coming from treatment and transitioning back into a normal life is quite difficult,” said Coady in an interview from her office.

Two of the three founders dealt with youth addictions in their own families.

“We didn’t know that our own children were struggling with addiction,” said Roche.

It was through their personal experiences that Roche and Coady noticed “gaps” in the health care system.

“Coming out of treatment, there’s really nothing for (the youths).”

Dr. Rhonda Matters, the province’s chief mental health and addictions officer, said the health department has provided the Reach Foundation with a grant to work towards establishing a fiscally sustainable service.

“The issue of mental health and addiction services is something that the government alone (won’t) be able to meet every need,” said Matters.

She said there is a need for a continuum of services by both the government and community groups.

The Reach Centre will offer the amenities of a home, with additional spaces for recreational activities, social events and career resources for youths and their families.

“Given their focus, it makes sense that it is (established) within the community,” said Matters.

Matters also said the government has taken action along the same vein by establishing an aftercare facility at Mount Herbert for patients transitioning back into society, but said that these services must be put in effect before the province can determine if they meet the demand.

The Reach Centre is being constructed in a warehouse off Mason Road in Stratford. It has been under renovation for five weeks, with a handful of recovering youths volunteering their time to build the centre.

The Reach Foundation is also seeking support from the community. A fundraiser called “Art for Addictions” will take place on April 5 at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Hall of the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown with all proceeds going towards the construction of the Reach Centre.

Tickets for the fundraiser are available at all Murphy’s pharmacies across the Island.

Organizations: Reach Foundation, Confederation Centre

Geographic location: Stratford, Mount Herbert, Mason Road Charlottetown Iceland

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Recent comments

  • Happy Parent
    March 13, 2014 - 19:50

    KUDOS to you Janice, Verna and Cheryl. You have done more than our Island Government has bothered to do in years. Perhaps they need to be in some of our shoes and be addicts, have children that are addicts and close family members that they have had to watch suffer, suffer with them and try to help them get recovery, watch them fail over and over again and struggle. I am a recovering addict and the mother of 2 children with addictions. It was one thing to deal with my addiction but hearty wrenching to see my 2 children so sick in their addictions. I had to work on staying clean throughout dealing with them, not always an easy job! One child went to detox a couple of times and tried the Strength Program and there was NOTHING for follow up treatment. What is the point of just going to detox, get cleaned up and be thrown back out there to use again??? thank-You so much ladies from the bottom of my heart.

  • Awesome
    March 13, 2014 - 17:23

    Awesome Girls you did it PEI really needs something like this. love the ideal

  • w kennedy
    March 13, 2014 - 16:10

    You send kids of to an event where they will meet up with others to make it easier to get what you hope they will give up? Warm and fuzzy! Best of luck.

    • What is your solution?
      March 13, 2014 - 17:27

      So, what do you think is a good solution?

  • mnd
    March 13, 2014 - 15:57

    Now we just need a better addiction center then the one we currently have.

  • FINALLY
    March 13, 2014 - 12:44

    this is absolutely amazing, it makes me happy to hear that there is programs actually coming into place. Dr rhonda matters is lovely I've visited her office in the past, as we as i know another name. I'm sure this centre will grow and do very good things to our small community. A+

  • From Away
    March 13, 2014 - 11:59

    Islanders, this is a truly wonderful idea. It’s a grassroots project born out of the hearts of a few concerned mothers. Are there more? Fathers too perhaps? Maybe siblings? Islanders, pay heed to this! This is the beginning of something very very good. Come together as an Island community, combat the addiction epidemic that is scouring your youth and support this in any way you can. It is good. Truly good.

  • Truth Seeker
    Truth Seeker
    March 13, 2014 - 10:48

    This is fantastic. We should look after each other. Relying on our current addictions facility for help is like going to a casino to provide for your family. There is just no long term support if any at all. A friend mine was turned away from this "Mount Herbert Money Sucker" and found a noose the very next day.

  • Parent
    March 13, 2014 - 10:10

    Thank you, Cheryl, Verna and Janice. You have managed to do more than the PEI Government has been able to do in 5 years and it didn't require a dozen studies or reports. It just required a will and the guts to make a change. Doug Currie could take lessons from you! Now if only someone would do something about the 69 WEEK wait that addicts have to get on the methadone program... a program where they take on one new person each week, kids on PEI might have a fighting chance.

  • Chris McDonald
    March 13, 2014 - 08:11

    I think this is a great thing you are doing . There really is not much help/support out there for our youth and there families. If you can change even one persons life for the best it is all worth it. keep up the good work and best of luck

  • w.poirier
    March 13, 2014 - 07:50

    Congratulations on this wonderful news and initiative! It is so encouraging to see and hear of those working together to affect change. We all need to be more proactive in our approach to dealing with this epidemic as a community.

  • Sean Brown
    March 13, 2014 - 06:51

    I dont see a 7 day program doing much for anyone I seen many people I know go in and out of that place no matter if you have outreach and aftercare it is not sufficient. Now if we had a place to do 30-60-90 day programs now that would much better than just a quick in and out they just are putting a bandaid on a existing problem for these addicts.

    • 8 weeks
      March 13, 2014 - 10:41

      My son did 8 weeks in the strenght program, As well as my husband an I attended the parent meetings during the 8 weeks. My son did wonderful in the program but sadly when the 8 weeks was up he only had an hour every week of after care...NOT ENOUGH he relasped on day 2....I wish we had longer programs. My son knew during week seven it was going to be difficult when the 8 weeks was up...he would have went over to Portage at that time but was told he did not need it and everything would be fine....well here we ar enow fighting to get him help again...( he does not want it) and sadly we cant force as his parents. I wish there was a way to FORCE them into treatment..my heart is aching for all parents and caregivers of addicts out there.

    • Angela
      March 13, 2014 - 11:16

      We have to start somewhere.

    • Kelsie D
      March 13, 2014 - 11:49

      I agree with Sean! I have watched my brother go in and out of the addictions centre on many occasion. The same day he would out and he would be right back into the drugs. I believe this island needs a centre that can give 30-60-90 day programs. Most addicts take months to get over withdrawals. Hopefully the government can create something more longer term for youth and adults. There are way too many people becoming addicted to drugs and not enough help for them out there.