Cape Breton addictions centre given OK to reopen doors
Talbot House closed its doors in March 2012 after a Department of Community Services review raised questions about its operations.
Published Wednesday, February 6, 2013 11:07AM AST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 6, 2013 7:16PM AST
A Cape Breton addictions centre is preparing to reopen its doors nearly a year after shutting down amid a swirl of controversy.
Talbot House was a long-term treatment centre for recovering male addicts for more than half a century.
After it closed in March 2012 new clients were referred to facilities in mainland Nova Scotia.
“Good for people on the Island who don’t have to be shipped off the Island, like I had to last year,” says recovering alcoholic Lincoln Gould. “With my addiction, I had to go to the Annapolis Valley for treatment down there.”
The centre’s previous operator made the only bid to re-establish the treatment program. Talbot House will re-open in April with nearly $400,000 dollars in provincial funding, which is the same funding it received before shutting down.
The recovery centre closed partly due to a highly critical government report on how the facility was being run. The board not only refuted those charges, it says, when the home does re-open, not much will change.
“We are receiving full funding with the same board, the same executive director, key staff are being rehired, we are in the same house, in the same location, with fundamentally the same approach to recovery programming,” says Talbot House board chairman Dr. John Gainer.
What has changed is the government department overseeing Talbot House. The centre will now answer to the Department of Health and Wellness, rather than the Department of Community Services, with which it had an acrimonious relationship.
“Let’s be clear, the department ran a smear campaign against the management and board of Talbot House,” says Nova Scotia Tory Leader Jamie Baillie.
“They spent a year defending their own shoddy work while men in need of important addiction treatment services were denied those services.”
Executive director Paul Abbass will return to his duties at Talbot House. He will oversee a treatment program that will continue to be based on total abstinence, which means methadone won’t be offered to clients.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Randy MacDonald