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Advocates warn of gender-based gap in addiction care

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Cindy Foster is getting ready to open the Regenesis Centre for Recovery, a first-of-its-kind addictions centre in Manitoba.

"This is the only live-in treatment facility in all of Manitoba for the queer community, specifically,” said Foster.

Foster said this centre aims to provide a home-like atmosphere for those on the road to recovery.

It will be able to house six people at any given time.

"Primarily those that belong to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. (We) will also be looking to give priority intake to those (who) also belong to the BIPOC and disabled communities."

Communities Foster said often fall through the cracks when it comes to addiction services in Manitoba.

"There are a few supports specifically for the queer community, and particularly for those that are transgender in Manitoba, and those folks often have a tough time going through traditional binary treatment options,” said Foster.

That's why she said a centre like this one is desperately needed in the community.

"There are so few resources available. And the ones that are available are stretched very thin," said Foster.

It's a gender-based gap in care the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre has noticed as well.

"One of the greatest needs now is to support women, and especially women with young children, we're seeing a huge gap there,” said Greg Kyllo, the centre’s executive director.

Kyllo said plans are in the works to create an Anne Oake Recovery Centre, geared specifically for women and mothers.

“Currently, at Bruce Oake we support men, but there is a deep need in the community, and we're being asked every day about doing more to support women, and being able to support all genders. And so that's something that we really think that is needed.”

These initiatives come on the heels of two of the worst years for drug-related deaths in Manitoba.

Last year 445 people died, and the year prior, 467.

Foster said she believes these beds at the Regenesis Centre will save lives.

"Because it will allow folks that belong to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to have a safe space to go in order to seek the services for addiction recovery.”

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