BY THE NUMBERS
Portage was founded in Québec in 1973
9 programs in Québec, 1 in Ontario and 1 in New Brunswick (serving all of Atlantic Canada)
In 2016, Portage’s West Island Service Centre opened in Pointe-Claire
176 Portage graduates were recognized in 2016 for having overcome their drug addiction issues
Since its first residential rehabilitation centre opened its doors in 1973 in Prévost, in Québec’s Laurentian Mountains, Portage has helped tens of thousands of young people and adults to overcome drug dependency and lead healthy, happy and productive lives. Portage offers specialized treatment programs based on a therapeutic community approach for adolescents, pregnant women and mothers with young children, as well as men suffering from both mental illness and substance abuse. In an environment of mutual support and care, Portage’s residents come to identify the issues having caused their substance-abuse problems and then acquire the strengths, skills and strategies to address them, and by doing so regain their sobriety, dignity and self-respect.
Portage’s residential youth rehabilitation centres provide a gender-specific therapeutic community environment in which guidance from staff and support from others who have experienced similar struggles enable young people to learn how to better function in their everyday lives without needing drugs. All five Portage youth centres — three in Québec, one in New Brunswick, and one in Ontario — have mandatory on-site school programs that are administered by local school boards and tailored to individual needs.
For over 20 years, Portage has offered a residential drug addiction rehabilitation program for substance-dependent pregnant women and mothers with young children. Specialized educators work with the children at the on-site childcare service while the mothers take part in therapeutic groups that furnish support in addressing their addiction issues, as well as in developing and strengthening their parenting skills.
Since 1995, Portage has also run a residential rehabilitation program for men facing the dual challenge of mental illness (primarily schizophrenia) and substance abuse, with treatment services provided in collaboration with the resident’s medical team, family and support network.
Knowing that meaningful employment is often a way out of drug addiction, in 2002 Portage created the Movement for Integration and Retention in Employment (MIRE) in Montréal, which helps adults who are socially excluded, living in poverty and experiencing difficulties in entering or re-entering the workforce.
The foundation of Portage’s drug addiction treatment approach rests on a therapeutic community model based on core self-help principles and individual case management. With the assistance of counsellors and within a positive peer culture environment, Portage clients support each other in developing the confidence, key social competencies and strategies that will enable them to lead addiction-free lives.
Services for families are also an integral part of treatment at Portage. Group and individual meetings assist relatives in understanding what the rehabilitation process involves, as well as give insight into how they can better help their loved ones after recovery. This, combined with Portage’s Aftercare program, which gives clients up to two years of personalized follow-up care, reinforces the rehabilitation process by providing them with a solid support network following treatment.
“Portage has been fearless in its approach to helping youth and adults alike overcome their addictions and build new lives for themselves free of chemical dependency,” says John Rae, Special Advisor of Power Corporation. “They have stepped up to the plate whatever the perceived needs are and, in doing so, established new models for treatment programs with proven results.”
For her part, Colette Taylor, Vice-President, Philanthropic Development at Portage relates that “Thanks to the commitment of partners like Power, Portage can give people with substance-abuse problems a second chance to regain control of their lives and reintegrate society and their families.”