len's masthead




londoner editor pic





Read all about it in the recent London Free Press banner headline “Core’s drug woes targeted”.

The downtown area is not the problem. It just happens to be one of the convenient places for those who want to buy and sell drugs. If you close down the core the trade will merely move to another area to supply the demand.

To get a handle on the problem I met with the Director of Quintin Warner House Addiction and Treatment Program. They have been helping people with addiction for fifty years.

Quintin Warner offers a residential treatment program in London that takes 4 to 4 ½ months to complete. The average stay is 86 days with one out of four graduating. Those who are successful can move into the Annex for an additional eight months to continue their education or find employment.

To be eligible to enter the centre one must have a minimum of three days abstinence from alcohol and seven to ten days being clean of drugs. The program is rigorous; it isn’t a 21 day quicky course in sobriety.

Three quarters of the males have been sexually, emotionally, physically abused over the past five years. It’s kind of scary that the age of the participants is under 35.

Cocaine is still a problem but now the fastest growing narcotic is Crystal Meth. “Bob”, a new resident, dropped into the office to educate me. “Methamphetamine is cheap, easily copied from recipes off the web, accessible and highly addictive. You light up and spin at 78 rpm’s for 18 to 35 hours before you crash.

Your buying “shit” with all of the product doctored. After a while the sellers also become addicts.

Drug users are from a wide cross section of society. 60-65% of Quintin Warner clients have mental health issues along with their drug addiction. The drugs do not discriminate or differentiate. $40,00 buys you a 1/4 gram, hit. Those who use Crystal Meth lose weight rapidly and go down hill very quickly both mentally and physically.

The Ontario Ministry of Health Long Term care funds 65% & Mission Services picks up the remaining 35%. Last year the cost per resident was $8,500. Compare the cost of incarcerating an inmate at Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre at over $60,000 a year.

The rate of success depends on the duration of the addiction; the longer an individual is addicted the harder it is to change lifestyles. There are lots of group counseling with addicts helping each other while helping themselves. Love is a given while respect is to be earned.

The staff of ten dedicated care givers have learned that you can’t force feed grown men to live clean sober lives. There are lots of tears of joy and too many funerals.

Graduates learn life coping skills and gain self respect. You’re never quite the same when you leave the program. For many the months spent at Quintin Warner are the happiest times in their troubled lives.

The director proudly showed me the photo album with pictures of the smiling faces of those who have tried to kick their addiction. He has a message for us: never give up on someone you love. Addiction can be beaten.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com