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Phones busy for local drug-rehabs

Title: Phones busy for local drug-rehabs
Date: Friday, 9 August 1991
Publisher: Winnipeg Sun
Author: James O'Connor
Main source: link (120 KiB)

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The phone's been ringing off the hook at a the Winnipeg branch of Narcotics Anonymous since Sun stories on the connection between an unrelated group, Narconon, and the controversial Church of Scientology.

"People have been calling ... but one of the differences is we are self-supporting — we don't solicit funds or contributions," said NA volunteer Bob R., a seven-year member who first heard of Narconon this week.

"We've had people calling us up, questioning whether we're affiliated or related. We're strictly a support group, and we have no official stand or opinions on any other program."

With a national assembly representing groups across Canada, NA now meets two times each night of the week in different locations in the city. It is financed through "passing the basket around" at each meeting, with members — ranging in age from teens to mid-'50s — digging deep in their pockets to support the program.

The membership — currently at 150 — is drawn mostly from graduates of residential or day-treatment programs, he said.

"But that's not a prerequisite. The only requirement is the desire to stop using drugs. It's a year-round job."

For addicts seeking help, there are several private and public paths to follow in Winnipeg.

However, the institution of choice of Winnipeg Police is the provincially-funded Alcoholism Foundation of Manitoba, an officer with the department's victim services office said.

"I do get calls from parents who have an out-of-control teen at home," Const. Richard Jones said, adding he refers cases to the AFM.

And a treatment supervisor with the AFM said it treats more then 400 adolescents each year.

"That's that whole range from kids who have just had some kind of experimentation to kids who are IV drug users," Gerry Kolesar said.

"Alcohol is still the big drug, and then marijuana or cannibis products, and then hallucinagens — mushrooms and LSD — and solvent sniffing is pretty common, too."

Each case is different and must be tailored to the individual, he said.

While the AFM only offers non-residential programs for teens, the non-profit St. Norbert Foundation has a waiting list for its 24 beds.

The foundation keeps its programs secular, unless religion is deemed integral to the treatment, an official said.

"We do have some cultural enrichment classes for aboriginal people in which they can learn about their heritage and that does have a spiritual component," director of youth services Connie Andersen said.

Stanley Steinmann, executive director of the privately-funded Alcohol & Drug Dependency Information & Counselling Services, said summer is traditionally slow for his 30-year-old business.