Heather Johnston is appointed Executive Director of the Information and Referral Center of Greater Montréal
30 years ago, the ministère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux entrusted the Information and Referral Center of Greater Montréal (IRCGM) with an information, support and referral helpline, available 24/7 and across Québec for people with a substance abuse problem and their loved ones. Thus, Drugs: Help and Referral was inaugurated on April 27th, 1992. Thirty years later, we are more determined than ever to continue developing our services.
Over the past thirty years, Drugs: Help and Referral (DHR) has grown to become the indispensable front-line service that it is today. Over the last decade alone, 155 937 calls were answered by our team and requests continue to increase.
In addition to an increase in calls, we have also noted a diversification of caller’s profiles and expressed needs, whether from the person using or their loved ones. From the opioid crisis to consequences of the health crisis, from alcohol to cannabis, medication to cocaine: substances and practices have evolved along with society. Therefore, our counselors have continued improving their knowledge, skills and know-how to truly be able to help callers by listening, supporting, understanding their needs, appropriately referring…all without judging.
In September of 2020, to continue developing and adapting ourselves, we put a chat service in place, accessible on our website. Since then, it has also gained popularity and continues to grow.
We are unrelentingly pursuing our collaborations with the Ministries, public health, CIUSSS, public rehabilitation centers, counselors and research fields, all with the goal of continuing to make our services known, to improving our practices and to better meeting the needs of the population.
The start of this 31st year marks the beginning of a new chapter with the appointment of Mrs. Nancy Rocha as Director of Specialized Services in addiction, Drugs: Help and Referral and Gambling: Help and Referral. Mrs. Rocha takes the reigns over from Mrs. Hélène Hamel who was Director for 13 years and who undertook many ambitious projects and trained many counselors.
We want to take this opportunity to thank the ministère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux for their unconditional support these past 30 years. We have numerous activities planned to celebrate this anniversary year, so stay tuned!