Monday, November 26

Poverty a barrier to drug abuse treatment: expert

Recently, a privately-funded treatment centre in Ontario announced that it is opening a new centre and program for women. While I applaud the fact that there is an additional resource for those women of means, I temper that with the knowledge that there exists underservicing for women who, as a result of social condition, are forced to endure inordinately long waiting periods or enter generic, mixed gender programs that don't address those causal issues that are unique to women. Please see this article released today:

Poverty a barrier to drug abuse treatment: expert CTV NewsNovember 25, 2007

The Federal government authorised an in-depth review of the CHRA in 1999 by an independent panel chaired by the Honourable Gerard La Forest, retired Supreme Court of Canada Judge. In the review, the panel recommended the inclusion of social condition as a prohibited ground for discrimination. They view social condition as identifiable classes of individuals in disadvantaged social and economic situations, real or perceived. In other words, it would become against the legal law, not just the "moral law" to discriminate against a portion of society because of their lack of wealth.

In keeping with this type of progressive thinking, I propose that it is time that addiction treatment and human rights advocates start to generate the political pressure that will lead to governments' recognizing that social condition is adding a significant barrier to substance misuse treatment for poor and underemployed women in Canada. Women suffer from the effects of stigma to a greater degree than men, and by having a situation of less gender-specific programming available to them, the treatment system has in fact increased barriers, not eliminated them.

Here in Niagara, I have spoken out in the past over the lack of resources for women. We have three recovery homes here for men and but one alternative living home with only a few beds for women. Why does this disparity continue? Until this "systemic discrimination" is eliminated, there will continue to be shortages of service for society's most vulnerable - poor women.

I invite the reader to contact their MP and MPP in your respective riding and ask them (or better yet, demand) that they recognize social condition as a prohibited ground for discrimination and take the necessary steps to provide additional, ministry-funded addiction treatment resources for women. I especially invite any concerned organizations to take on this issue as a cause for them to embrace.

The fact that you are poor should open doors for those in need, not close them.

To contact you federal: MP:
To contact your MPP: MPPs
To read more about social condition in Promoting Equality: A New Vision:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree that women and older adults are underrepresented in addiction treatment. Studies show that age and gender specific treatment gives better outcomes. Keep up the good work.

Bill Urell