main hospital building at night


Addiction Services at Cornwall Hospital are Empowering Recovery


Written by President & CEO Jeanette Despatie

Published in the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder on Saturday, February 17, 2024. 

Addiction Services at Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH) offers a diverse range of specialized, community-based programs for individuals aged 12 and older, addressing substance use health, addiction, and problem gambling. Delivered by multidisciplinary teams, these programs are tailored to each individual's unique needs and preferences, accommodating both harm reduction and abstinence-based approaches.

The Substance Use Community Treatment Program provides comprehensive individual sessions covering assessment, therapy, referral, follow-up, and relapse prevention. Similarly, the Problem Gambling Program offers specialized interventions to empower individuals to regain control over their lives. For those facing recurrent treatment episodes and housing instability, the Supportive Housing Program offers intensive case management and vital assistance in securing safe housing.

Recognizing the unique challenges of pregnant and parenting women, the Mother Connections Program provides intensive case management to support healthy outcomes for both mother and child. Additionally, the Specialized Opioid Treatment Program focuses on increasing access to services for individuals and families grappling with opioid addictions, emphasizing a client-centered approach.

Beyond individual care, Addiction Services at CCH extends support to caregivers and family members concerned about the substance use of a loved one, offering individual counseling sessions and family education and support groups to share experiences. Additionally, individual counseling sessions are available for youth aged 12 and above struggling with video gaming and internet misuse.

The St. Denis Centre is a 16-bed residential addictions treatment facility for men operated by the hospital. It offers intensive case management, including counseling and psychotherapy, treatment planning, group sessions, and referrals. Treatment plans are personalized, focusing on life skills, recreation, recovery enhancement, and relapse prevention, with an average stay of four to six months. Due to limited capacity and the need for upgrades, the hospital has applied for provincial funding to replace the existing century-old facility.

Chris is celebrating a remarkable 10 months of sobriety following his six-month stay at the St. Denis Centre. His journey with addiction began in his teenage years, leading him to explore various therapies and treatments. Reflecting on his experience, Chris highlighted the profound impact the dedicated staff at the St. Denis Centre had in his recovery journey.

“The staff have been pretty amazing. That’s the thing that stands out to me," he shared. "There is just this really amazing human connection. While the programming is great, it’s the staff that truly make a difference.” Despite facing moments of doubt and vulnerability, Chris found solace in their unwavering support and compassion. "I thought I was going to do something really stupid and get kicked out for it, but just having people there who understood and made my concerns feel valid was amazingly helpful."

Chris wants others who are struggling with substance use disorders to know that recovery is within reach, no matter the challenges. For Chris, those challenges have included overdoses and various attempts at sobriety over the years. Currently residing in transitional housing as he continues his recovery journey, Chris hopes that sharing his experience and support for addiction programs will help others take their first or next steps.

"Keep trying. I’ve gone through this since my first day when I was 19 and I started to convince myself that maybe it wasn’t possible or maybe I didn’t even want recovery," he explained. "I know rehab can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re going to be gone 3 to 6 months, but if that’s all it takes to save the rest of your life, and to actually enjoy the next 50 years, it was worth it for me. There’s nothing that you can’t put on hold that will disappear for those 3 to 6 months."

Through Chris' inspiring journey, it becomes evident that Addiction Services at CCH, are more than just programs or facilities – they are lifelines for individuals seeking recovery. In 2023, Addiction Service programs at CCH recorded over 10,000 visits, with an additional 4,200 resident days logged at the St. Denis Centre. CCH is committed to meeting the growing needs by enhancing access to these programs, which includes the potential redevelopment of the St. Denis Centre.

To get connected with the right mental health and/or addiction services in Eastern Ontario near you, including CCH’s Addiction Services, visit