Women addicts will soon have a place to call home
In response to a sharp increase in the number of women battling with addiction, a $5 million rehabilitation centre is set to come on stream here by the end of next year.
Officials at the National Council of Substance Abuse, the Psychiatric Hospital and Verdun House say while they don’t have precise figures, the number of women grappling with the problem had risen “alarmingly”.
“We have not started a really major data system, we would have that eventually once we start with the women but just over the years by calls and requests the women have gone maybe from two or three a year . . . [to] at least two to three women a month,” said Jacqueline Lewis, Verdun’s House Clinical Director, adding that “the need is there and it is vastly getting worse and growing”. The facility, to be known as Marina House, will be the first of its kind here and will initially cater for about 16 women. It is being launched by the Maria Holder Memorial Trust in partnership with the Substance Abuse Foundation Inc.
Chairman of the Trust Christopher Holder said the St John facility will provide a safe haven for female addicts.
“The women in this particular instance, they have to accept that they have an issue and that they have to go and say actually, ‘
I want to break this, I want to change, I want my life to change’.
“We in the boardroom of the Maria Trust, we look at what is the impact because it is not just that person, it is their family and the community.
“We work on a very modest touch of ten. When one person is affected, it actually affects ten people positively or negatively . . . so I think at Marina House we will have a facility for some 16 ladies so that is 160 people that will be affected positively,” he said.
Minister of Health John Boyce welcomed the initiative, saying his ministry had identified through a 2009 assessment conducted with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) that the country was in need of such a facility.
“That evaluation made specific recommendations for the introduction of substance abuse programmes and services that are dedicated to women, to children and to adolescents. It also recommended the introduction of standardized screening and assessment tools and tracking client recovery across programmes and systems in addition to the creation of community recovery support systems.
“At that time, as is still the case today, there were only comprehensive residential services for men with no comparable provisions for women, so you can see why the Marina House project is so important to us at the Ministry of Health and indeed to Barbados.