Detoxification Centre

Kingston Health Sciences Centre's (KHSC) Detoxification (Detox) Centre is the only one of its kind in southeastern Ontario, and it is where people can sober up in a safe and supportive environment. People stay for a short time (usually three to five days on average) and receive support to help prepare them for recovery from their addictions.

The facility provides withdrawal management services for people who are intoxicated, in withdrawal related to their substance use, waiting for confirmed intake into a residential treatment program, or are in danger of a relapse.

Services are free, confidential, and available for individuals 16 years old or older, who are able to withdraw in a non-medical setting.  All stays are voluntary, and medical support is available onsite Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from a nurse practitioner and a doctor through KHSC’s Substance Treatment and Rehabilitation Team. 

Our team
Our addiction-care workers have specialized training and many years of work experience in addiction care.
The Detox Centre is staffed 24 hours a day by two addiction-care workers, who monitor people staying at the centre to ensure their safety. They also refer services and provide informal counselling over the phone and in person. The centre provides access to mutual-help groups, and telephone and virtual support.

Please note that admission to the centre is based on bed availability.

While walk-ins are welcome, it is best to plan your admission with staff over the phone to avoid wait times and ensure the following: your eligibility, available bed space, and staff have the opportunity to let you know what to bring and what to expect during your stay.

For more information, read the Detox Centre brochure in English or French.

Take the first step to recovery
Alcohol and drug abuse are serious. The only way people can stay free from the problems associated with substance abuse is to learn new ways to manage their lives.

Learn about treatment, and plan your admission to the Detox Centre.

Admissions and treatment

Before arriving

While unplanned admissions are welcome, it’s best to plan your admission to the Detox Centre by calling before you arrive.

You do not need a referral to attend the Detox Centre, but you will need to see a health-care provider and receive medical clearance in the following circumstances:

  • Pregnancy
  • Recent head injury, fall, overdose, or seizure without prior medical attention
  • Substance withdrawal from gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), methadone, suboxone,  benzodiazepine, or barbiturates

If calling ahead, you’ll be asked what time we can expect you for admission. We can hold a bed for a few hours (not overnight) on the day of your admission to allow for travel time, but please call if you are running late, or your bed may be given to the next person seeking services.

What to bring

Pack lightly, as laundry is washed by staff every night:

  • 1 change of clothes and 1 pair of pajamas (if in opiate withdrawal, you may pack 1 extra set of each)
  • Your toiletries (toothbrush and unscented shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, etc.)
  • Your health card if you have one
  • You may bring your cell phone, but it will be kept in a locked cupboard in the office. You may access it when needed as a phone book.
  • Calling cards (President’s Choice, Good Call, Vox, or Bell Residential work best with our payphones) or quarters for payphones to connect with friends or family members
  • Cigarettes (enough to last during your stay), if you smoke. Vape pens are not permitted
  • Your medications, in the proper packaging and labelled correctly
  • Snacks (as long as they are caffeine-free, cannabis-free, pre-packaged and sealed)
  • Reading material (books, magazines)
  • Re-usable water bottle (filtered water is available by request in the staff office)
  • If you are entering a treatment centre directly after your stay at the Detox Centre, you may wish to pack a separate bag for the treatment centre, which will be stored in a locked area for you

If you require access to methadone and suboxone, please see the FAQ below.

What not to bring

  • Laptops, gaming devices, music players, or any other devices that have internet access or a camera
  • Knives or other weapons (these items are disposed of as a condition of admission)
  • Substances (including alcohol and cannabis), loose pills, and paraphernalia (these items are disposed of as a condition of admission)
  • Clothing that cannot be placed on high heat in the dryer
  • Towels, linens and pillows – these are provided at the centre
  • Perfume, cologne and other strongly scented products

Items that are not permitted and are not disposed of will be stored onsite and returned when your stay is over.

Admission process

Everyone has different needs, and the pre-admission screening process allows us to ensure a safe withdrawal by preparing an individualized treatment plan with you.

  1. When you arrive, or when you call to plan your admission, you will be asked screening questions about your substance use habits, withdrawal symptoms, and impacts on your physical or mental health and relationships.
  2. You will go with staff to the office to complete paperwork.
  3. Your belongings will be searched by staff.
  4. Clean clothing you packed will be sanitized. Clothing you are wearing and any unclean clothes you packed will be fully laundered.
  5. You will be shown to the 10-bed male observation room or three-bed female observation room (dependent on how you identify), your bed, and the bathroom for each room.
  6. You will need to shower and change into laundered clothing.
  7. You will then be given a tour of the rest of the centre.

If you arrive for admission intoxicated, you will be asked to rest in bed in the observation room until you are able to safely shower and change your clothing.

Staying at the centre

Throughout your stay, you can expect a safe and supportive environment to complete your withdrawal. Staff will monitor your symptoms and provide supportive one-on-one counselling.

There are always two addiction-care workers working, and supportive counselling is available. You will also have access to at least one self-help group per day. There are also several recreational groups throughout the week. In addition, passes can be secured to attend AA, CA, or NA groups in the community with a centre-approved escort. There are also tablets available to attend virtual meetings.

Learn about different therapy groups at the centre.

Violence (physical and emotional violence, verbal abuse and inappropriate sexual dialogue/contact, threatening behaviour and harassment) is not tolerated, and you will be asked to leave the centre if you engage in any of these behaviours.

Everyone is asked to please follow the Detox Centre rules

You are free to leave at any time, but 24 hours are required between leaving the centre and being assessed for re-admission. Passes off the premises cannot be issued, including for work, school or errands.

Leaving the centre

Staff will create an individualized plan and will work with you to develop realistic and obtainable goals that will contribute to your recovery after leaving the centre.

You will also be provided with post-stay support services, which could include counselling referrals, support groups, contacts, or referrals to social services.  

For those looking to start these support services before admission to the centre, we recommend reaching out to Addiction & Mental Health Services - KFLA.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the accommodations like at the Detox Centre?

There are no private rooms. There are 10 beds in the male observation room, three beds in the female observation room, and all other rooms accommodate up to three people.

Do you provide transportation to the Detox Centre?

No. If possible, have a friend or family member drive you, as parking is not provided. If you have coverage through Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program, your case worker may be able to assist with transportation. Alternatively, you may call your local AA or NA hotline for assistance with transportation.

Are meals provided?

Yes, all meals are provided and dietary restrictions are accommodated.

Is the centre wheelchair accessible?

We are partially accessible, but not wheelchair accessible. Please call for further information.

Can I bring my pet(s)?

Unfortunately, you cannot bring your pets with you unless they are a service animal.

Can I smoke cigarettes?

Yes, you can smoke nicotine cigarettes. There is a secure exterior smoking area with regularly scheduled smoke breaks once an hour. The last scheduled smoke break is at 11:30 p.m.

E-cigarettes/vape pens, chewing tobacco and the smoking of cannabis are not permitted.

Can my family visit me at the centre?

We do not permit personal visits. You may use one of the three payphones in the centre or the client's landline to make personal phone calls. You may use the phones located in the staff office to make any treatment-related phone calls (this includes lawyers, probation officers, Ontario Works, etc.) Your case worker/counsellor can visit.

Do you have medical services?

A nurse practitioner is available weekdays (Monday to Friday) to provide medical care for concerns related to acute withdrawal or other health/medical concerns.  There is also a doctor, who is trained in addiction medicine, available several times a week.

If you require urgent medical attention during your stay, or if the nurse practitioner is unavailable, you may be referred to Kingston Health Sciences Centre's Hotel Dieu Hospital site’s Urgent Care Centre or its Kingston General Hospital site’s Emergency Department.

Can I bring cannabis with me?

You cannot use any cannabis products (including medical cannabis and cannabis lozenges, tinctures/creams, dermal patches, and oral/dermal sprays) while a resident of the centre.

Recreational cannabis and paraphernalia will be disposed of as a condition of admission. Medical cannabis (in its original packaging, accompanied by documentation of current and valid authorization and evidence of purchase from an authorized licensed producer) will be sealed and stored until you leave the centre.

Synthetic cannabis medications are permitted (such as Nabilone) as long as they are in the proper container and labelled correctly.

What is your medication policy?

The majority of medications are held for the first 12 hours after your admission unless approved by the nurse practitioner, doctor or other health-care provider. This is done to ensure your medication does not interact with any substances in your system. 

Exceptions to this hold include heart, epilepsy, HIV, asthma, diabetes, and antibiotic medications as well as Epi-pens. To make further exceptions, we require a note or fax from a health-care provider.

All medications must be in their original containers, with the labels intact. Failure to do so may result in delays to your medications being approved. 

The majority of over-the-counter medications are not permitted, with some exceptions – please call for further information.

Medications not permitted include: fentanyl patch, Antabuse, and medical cannabis (exception: Nabilone/other synthetic cannabinoids).

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you must bring your glucometer, test strips, and prescription medication (such as insulin), as well as other required supplies.

What about methadone and suboxone?

Methadone cannot be kept at the centre.

You will need to call your prescribing clinic and arrange for the transfer of methadone/suboxone to B&B Pharmacy (235 Montreal St.; Kingston, Ontario; 613-7675618) before your admission. Staff will ask for proof of your last dose upon admission.

Can I go to a treatment centre after my stay at the Detox Centre?

If you have a confirmed intake to a treatment centre, we typically offer a 72-hour stay before you go to a treatment centre.  

OHIP-funded treatment centres require a GAIN assessment to be completed before a referral can be made. You will need to schedule an appointment with your home assessment and referral agency to begin the treatment referral process. Private treatment centres are also available and require payment out-of-pocket.  Please see the Connex Ontario website for further information, or give us a call.