An alcohol and drug addiction program tailored for queer people will be the first of its kind in Western Canada, Vancouver Coastal Health announced yesterday.


Prism Alcohol + Drug Services will include one-on-one, couple, and family counselling, support groups and a men’s methamphetamine program.


“Issues specific to the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, two-spirit and queer people affect their alcohol and drug use,” said program coordinator Devon MacFarlane.


Michael Varma, a member of WTF?!, a support group for queer men in addiction recovery and the facilitator of a Gateway group for crystal meth addiction, said he’s seen homophobia and transphobia in support groups that aren’t queer-specific, and it has caused him to have to censor himself.


“I don’t think I would have been as successful as I have been in my recovery, if I hadn’t been able to speak my mind,” he said.

In groups like WTF?!, he added, he is “able to talk openly and freely about a lot of deep-rooted stuff, without fear of persecution, stigma or judgment.”