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Prism wins award

Credit: Brad Teeter

Vancouver’s pioneering queer  addictions program won an Award for Excellence from the BC Association of Addiction Specialists and Allied Professionals on June 28.

“Mainstream recognition is rarely given queer and transgendered organizations, particularly in the health field,” says Prism’s community developer, Devon MacFarlane.

The three-year-old Prism, tailored specifically to queers, is one of only two such programs in Canada helping queer persons access addiction services.

MacFarlane says a landmark report published several years ago by the LGBT Substance Use Working Group led directly to the founding of Prism. He credits Heather Hay, a Vancouver Coastal Health director responsible for addiction services, and several “fantastic” managers for encouraging and supporting an addiction service specifically addressing queer populations. Through Prism, free counselling is offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual, two-spirited and transsexual/transgendered people affected by drug and alcohol issues.