A "fresh start" for Ontario adolescents

    TORONTO, June 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Friends and supporters gathered on Tuesday
evening in Toronto for the 3rd annual Fresh Start Dinner & Auction in support
of the Portage Ontario Youth Treatment Fund. The event was hosted by Dr. Peter
and Mrs. Susan Schaal, and raised $85,000 in support of Portage's residential
rehabilitation facility in Elora, Ontario.
    "We are grateful for the show of support we received this evening," said
Michael Howlett, chairman of Portage Ontario. "If children are our future,
then supporting this organization is an investment."
    Following Michael Howlett's address, Toronto Chief of Police Bill Blair
stated, "Drug addiction is an illness. It can affect everyone. There are too
few places like Portage to send our youth to. Drug addicts don't belong in
jail. They belong in treatment."
    The evening included dinner in a Rosedale garden, a silent and live
auction. Midway through the event, Catherine and her mother, Jane, revealed
the story of their family's struggle with drug and alcohol addiction.
Catherine attributed her 2-year sobriety to her stay at a Portage treatment
    "We are grateful to the Portage organization for being so instrumental in
Catherine's recovery," Jane told the guests. "They helped her find laughter
again. They helped her find the joy in a new day and be grateful for the life
she has. Mostly, they helped return our darling daughter, who, we feared, we
had lost."

    Portage Ontario has recently entered into a partnership with the Waterloo
Wellington Local Health Integration Network (WWLHIN), which has allowed for
the expansion of its Elora facility for adolescents.

    Portage, a not-for-profit organization, is a leading North American
treatment provider with a 35-year history of successfully helping people with
addictions. To date the centre has treated more than 30,000 individuals using
its therapeutic community approach. It operates twelve drug addiction
treatment programs across Quebec, Ontario, Atlantic Canada and British
Columbia. For more information on Portage visit www.portage.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Jennifer Blunt, Corporate Communications, (416)
531-1333, (416) 997-7134, jblunt@portage.ca

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