Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre was founded in 1979 after a group of concerned community members identified the need for services that addressed the unique needs of women who used substances. Amethyst was the first addiction treatment centre of its kind, in that the services provided incorporated a gender-based analysis in order to recognize the specific ways in which women experience substance use and addiction. Since that time, Amethyst has evolved through many incarnations to meet the ever-changing needs of women in our community.

Some of the highlights of Amethyst’s history include:

  • the incorporation of prevention work (Health Promotion) in order to provide a more complete continuum of care to women and children in their own communities in Ottawa, thereby reducing barriers to service in multiple ways;
  • the establishment of a satellite location in Kanata in order to offer service to women in the western communities of Ottawa, including rural areas;
  • shifting and evolving organizational governance models to better reflect feminist values and knowledge, including our most recent “modified collective”
  • the establishment of a Francophone Treatment Program in order to provide quality service to Francophone women in Ottawa;
  • the establishment of a Sexual Abuse Support Program that helps women explore the links between their experiences of sexual abuse and addiction;
  • the establishment of a Problem Gambling Program in both English and French to respond to the growing demand for service and information among women who have concerns about their gambling, as well as among allied professionals who also work with women who problem gamble;
  • the establishment of more specialized services for women who are pregnant and/or parenting;

For a more detailed history of Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre, Here’s To You Sister, Creating a Women’s Addiction Service: Amethyst’s Story can be purchased. This publication tells the story of Amethyst from the perspective of those involved: clients, staff, board members and volunteers. Here’s to You Sister documents the philosophical background to Amethyst’s work, programs and services that have been offered, as well as structural issues unique to women’s organizations. To order a copy or for more information about our history, please contact info@amethyst-ottawa.org