The first residential facility for women battling drug addiction in Barbados will be opened by the end of 2015.

The establishment of Marina House, a $5 million property with accommodation for 16 women, is an initiative of the Maria Holder Memorial Trust and the Substance Abuse Foundation Inc.

Health Minister John Boyce, at a media launch of the project yesterday, welcomed the collaboration between the two organisations to fill an acute need in Barbados.

He disclosed that between 2009 and 2013, Government disbursed $3.5 million to Verdun House for the treatment and rehabilitation of men affected by substance abuse. Describing the programme as comprehensive, he stressed the need for a comparable programme for women.

However, he submitted that funding needed for these critical services could not be met by either Government or non-governmental organisations alone.

???The Ministry of Health therefore commends the Maria Holder Trust for its continued collaboration with health-related non-governmental organisations in providing much needed funding for critical services.

“I personally thank the Trust and Verdun House for taking up this challenge, and filling this critical gap to provide residential care for our women who are affected by substance abuse,??? Mr. Boyce stated.

The Maria Holder Memorial Trust is a registered charity founded by Christopher Holder and Chesterfield Brewster in memory of Christopher???s mother and Chesterfield???s mother-in-law, Maria Holder. Maria Holder, an Englishwoman, moved to Barbados in 1978 and lived here until her death in 2004.

The Substance Abuse Foundation is also a registered charity, established in 1996, to fight the harmful impact of illicit drugs and alcohol on Barbadians and other Caribbean people. The Foundation established Verdun House in 2000 to provide critical intervention and recovery services to men suffering with addiction.

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