The Portage Program for Drug Dependencies Inc. is one of North America’s leading organisations in the treatment of drug abuse. Based on the therapeutic community model, Portage provides a special type of living experience that strives to rehabilitate, educate and reorient participants so they can develop a new drug-free way of life. Founded in Montréal in 1970, Portage currently operates not-for-profit residential and external treatment centres in Québec, Ontario, and New Brunswick, and also welcomes clients from other provinces.
The Portage therapeutic community treatment approach emphasises self-help and the creation of family-like support systems. Using a number of therapeutic techniques, including role modeling and group counseling, Portage staff members teach participants to shape their own values, develop a realistic perception of their lives and increase self-respect. It is designed to respond to the individual needs of the participants. Through case management and individual treatment planning, residents learn to identify their own problems and develop the skills and competencies to address them.
Portage’s ongoing refinement of the treatment concept since 1973 has led to the development of specialised and proven expertise. The program is able to deal with a wide spectrum of substance abuse issues and all facets of the rehabilitation process. Further, Portage continually benefits from the support and guidance of a strong group of outside professionals and advisors, ensuring that the organisation has a solid structure.
Responsibility for the delivery of addiction treatment is a matter of provincial jurisdiction. Portage has entered into agreements with several provincial ministries to fund the major part of its annual operating budgets. Portage is also funded by donations from the private sector.
Portage facilities are staffed by highly trained and experienced professionals and paraprofessionals, all of whom have acquired or who have been encouraged to acquire International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol (IC&RC) certification through Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF).
Some members of Portage's personnel are themselves former drug addicts who have successfully completed a drug addiction rehabilitation program (for most, at Portage) and are now living drug-free lives.
Portage obtained the Accreditation Primer in July 2008. This first stage of the accreditation process began in 2006 with a motion from the Portage Board of Directors, which authorised that an agreement be reached with Accreditation Canada to accredit the organisation according to the requirements of the Loi sur les services de santé et les services sociaux. At this time it was agreed that the accreditation process would be applied across the entire organisation.
Portage received full accreditation in 2010. The actions and service quality improvements that have been put in place throughout the accreditation process have fostered pride in quality among all Portage staff members.
Portage is very proud to announce that its accreditation standing with Accreditation Canada has been increased to that of Exemplary Standing, as of December 10, 2013
Accreditation is the recognition by an external, competent authority that an establishment is engaged in a continuous process of improving the quality of its services. This recognition by a third party provides credibility to the accredited organisation, eliciting greater confidence from the community, residents, and government authorities because of the importance that the establishment places on continuously improving the quality of its services.
Once a person completes the residential portion of their Portage program, they become members of the Aftercare Program. This phase lasts up to two years and provides regular community-based support group meetings facilitated by a Portage staff member.
A series of longitudinal outcome studies have been conducted on Portage’s clientele from 2003-2008 by Portage’s research department, as well as third party investigators.
A group of 122 male and female adolescents were followed for an 18 month cycle. They were surveyed at entry, as well as at 6, 12 and 18 months after completing the residential treatment. The findings were remarkable; even 18 months after treatment, the decrease in drug use remains 95.8 for hallucinogens; 83% for amphetamines and 93.5% for cocaine, with a combined score of 85% for all drugs.
Even youth who stay even a short time at Portage benefits considerably. In other words, there is a significant relationship between the length of stay in treatment and the degree of improvement. On other measures such as pursuit of academic advancement, employment, social integration and family relations, the advances are significant.