A new drug and alcohol addiction rehab centre is opening in Huntsville this week.

The De Novo Treatment Centre is an addiction treatment facility completely funded by members of Ontario’s unionized construction industry. It is housed off of Brunel Drive in the former Summit Centre for the Environment that changed hands back in the summer.

The grand opening of the facility is this Wednesday, with clients moving in on January 11th.

Any tradesperson in the construction trade unions in the province can receive treatment for drug or alcohol dependency at De Novo.

Patrick Dillon is the Chairman for the Board of Directors for De Novo house. He says the facility currently will be able to treat 32 men and five women before the final expansion that will handle 40 men and 12 women.

“The previous location in Sundridge was a fabulous property and served us well,” says Dillon. “We outgrew our facility there. It was a 21-bed facility where we treated our male clients and we sent our female clients off to Renascent in Toronto.”

He says one of the major pluses with moving the centre to Huntsville was having a hospital in town, something that was lacking at the Sundridge facility.

Clients from the construction industry come to the centre for a 35-day treatment cycle. They are closely monitored and while they are allowed to venture out into Huntsville, they are never alone.

“They are always either accompanied by a counsellor or some (trusted) family members will come visit them on weekends that would take them out for a coffee or out for dinner,” he explains.

Dillon has been involved with rehabilitation within the construction trade since taking on the role as Secretary of the Provincial Trades Council in the mid-1990s. When the first centre opened in the 1990s most clients were being treated primarily for alcohol abuse, but now, says Dillon, the prevalence of opioids is becoming the focus.

“I would say that the opioids prescription issue has been the major change in drug addiction in the last 15 years,” admits Dillon.

He does point to the legalization of cannabis as a potential positive in terms of the addictions his clients currently face. A recent speech by a doctor at a conference Dillon attended indicated that there is a drop taking place with opioids in favour of medical marijuana.

“Opioid prescriptions have dropped in his practice by 30 per cent,” Dillon reveals. “He attributes the fact that medical marijuana is being used now for pain,  which is non-addictive.”

Treatment for construction workers at De Novo is free, only requiring permission from a manager and a doctor’s note. Also, there is no waiting list.

Dillon emphasized that this facility is 100 per cent self-funded from the construction unions and that no public money is used in the creation or running of the centre.

You can find out more about the De Novo Centre by clicking here.