Detoxification Centre

If you are struggling with withdrawing from substances such as alcohol and other drugs on your own and do not have a supportive environment in which to withdraw, the short-term residential withdrawal management services provided by Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s Detoxification Centre offer many people the support they need to take this important first step in their journeys to recovery.

In addition to residential services, the Detox Centre also offers access to self-help groups, and 24-hour drop-in supportive counselling and telephone support.

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

Note: In order to accommodate the required social distancing needed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the bed availability at the Detox Centre has been reduced by 50 per cent. Please read the information bulletin for more information.

About the Detox Centre

The confidential services available at the Detox Centre are for men and women 16 years old or older, who are safely able to withdraw in a non-medical setting. The 22-bed facility is 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.

The Detox Centre is a publicly funded program for the southeastern Ontario region, so there are no fees for services. Stays at the centre are voluntary and on average last between 3-5 days. The centre is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is partially accessible. Admission to the centre is based on bed availability.

Everyone is asked to please follow the Detox Centre rules. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

Before you go to the Detox Centre

While walk-ins or unplanned admissions are welcome, it’s best to plan your admission to the Detox Centre by calling before you arrive. Calling ahead of going to the centre will help staff plan to support any mental health, physical limitation and medical concerns you may have.

We recognize that 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.

Staff at the Detox Centre

Our Addiction Care Workers have specialized training and many years of work experience in alcohol and other drug addiction. The expert supports they provide begin with a thorough assessment to understand the amount and frequency of your alcohol or other drug use, how difficult it is for you to cut down or stop using substances, what withdrawal symptoms you have experienced, and if your substance use is affecting your physical or mental health and other parts of your life such as family relationships and work.

The information gathered in the assessment is then used to plan your treatment together with you. Throughout your stay, staff will monitor your symptoms and provide supportive one-on-one counselling.

Highlighted services and features
  • Supportive one-on-one counseling
  • Access to on-site self-help groups
  • Separate women’s lounge
  • Two-way treatment planning for issues related to opiate replacement therapy, and weaning-off plan
  • Referrals to community supports and treatment planning
  • 24-hour walk-in or telephone crisis support
  • Professional environment that is committed to a welcoming, recovery-based approach

For more information on group therapy, please see these descriptions and calendar.

When you leave the Detox Centre

Planning the supports available to you after you leave the Detox Centre is an important part of the withdrawal process. It will help you develop realistic and obtainable goals that will contribute to your recovery.


For further information, please call our 24-hour telephone line at 613-549-6461.

Our fax number is 613-546-4254.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to expect

Q1. How long can I stay at the Detox Centre?

  • We offer a short stay. The average length of stay is 3-5 days, though it can be shorter or longer than this depending on the circumstances. 
  • A preventative stay (when you feel at risk of relapse) is typically over-night.
  • A pre-treatment stay (when you have a confirmed intake date to a treatment centre) is usually 3 days.
  • 24 hours are required between leaving the centre and being assessed for re-admission.

Q2. What is the admission process like?

  • Screening questions are asked of any potential resident either over the phone or in person upon arrival to the centre. The answers to these questions will help us to ensure a safe withdrawal by better understanding your substance use, including when you last used, and your physical and mental health, including diagnoses, prescribed medication, seizure history, and any recent falls.
  • You’ll be asked what time we can expect you for admission. We can hold a bed for you 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. 
  • Once the screening process is finished, you will accompany staff to the office to complete paperwork, and for your belongings will be searched by staff. 
  • When the paperwork is complete, the clean clothing you packed will be placed in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes. The clothing you are wearing and any unclean clothes you packed will be fully laundered. Anything that cannot be laundered will be stored in a locked area.
  • You will then be shown to the 10-bed male observation room or 3-bed female observation room, your bed, and the bathroom for each room.
  • You will need to shower and change into laundered clothing (if you do not have a change of clothes, or choose not to wait for your clothing to be laundered, you may borrow hospital gowns, or if available, clothing that has been donated to the centre) before you will 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 will be able to safely shower and change your clothing.

Q3. Do you accept collect calls?

Yes, we do accept collect calls.  Dial 0-613-549-6461.

Q4. What are the accommodations like at the Detox Centre?

There are no private rooms. There are 10 beds in the male observation room, 3 beds in the female observation room, and all other rooms accommodate up to 3 people.

Q5. Do you provide transportation to the Detox Centre?

Unfortunately, we cannot provide transportation to and from the centre. 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.

Q6. Are meals provided?

Yes, all meals are provided, and dietary restrictions are accommodated. You may bring your own snacks (not meals) as long as they are caffeine-free, cannabis-free, pre-packaged and sealed. 

Q7. What can I expect during my stay?

  • A safe and supportive environment to complete your withdrawal
  • There are always 2 Addictions Care Workers on each shift, and supportive counselling is available
  • Access to at least one self-help group daily
  • You are free to leave at any time, but passes off the premises are not available
  • Discharge planning
  • Your stay is confidential
  • 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

Q8. Can I leave for work and then return to the centre?

While you are free to leave at any time, we do not offer any passes off the premises; this includes passes to attend work, school, errands, or go to the store.

Q9. Is the centre wheelchair accessible?

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

What to bring

Q10. What should I 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
  • You may bring your cell phone, but it will be kept in a locked cupboard in the office. You may access it when you need it as a phone book
  • Calling cards (President’s Choice, Good Call, Vox, or Bell Residential work best with our payphones) or quarters
  • Cigarettes (enough to last during your stay)
  • Your medication(s) in the proper bottle and labelled correctly
  • Your own 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

Q11. What shouldn’t I bring?

  • Laptops, gaming devices, music players, or any other devices that have internet access or a camera
  • Knives/weapons (these items are disposed of as a condition of admission)
  • Substances (including alcohol and cannabis), loose pills, and all 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 – all are provided
  • Perfume, cologne and other strongly scented products

Q12. Can I bring my pet(s)?

Unfortunately, you cannot bring your pets with you. However, we do have a weekly pet therapy group with visits from a very friendly golden retriever named Oscar!

Q13. Can I smoke cigarettes?

Yes, you can smoke nicotine cigarettes while a resident. There is a secure exterior smoking area with scheduled smoke breaks once an hour on the half hour e.g. 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. 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.

Q14. Can my family visit me at the centre?

We do not permit personal visits. You may use one of the 3 payphones in the centre to make personal phone calls (you may want to bring quarters, or a calling card (we recommend President’s Choice or Bell Residential phone cards)). 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 is welcome to visit you.

Your medical needs

Q15. Do I need a doctor’s referral?

You don’t necessarily need a referral from a doctor to attend the Detox Centre. Anybody can make a referral, you can even refer yourself, but admission to the centre is completely voluntary.

You will need to see a doctor and get medical clearance prior to admission in the following circumstances:

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

Q16. 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.  If you require urgent medical attention during your stay, or if our Nurse Practioner is unavailable, you may be referred to the Hotel Dieu Hospital site’s Urgent Care Centre or the Kingston General Hospital site’s Emergency Department.

Q17. Can I bring cannabis with me?

  • You cannot smoke/vaporize cannabis, or use any cannabis products while a resident of the centre (this includes medical cannabis, and cannabis lozenges, tinctures/creams, dermal patches, oral/dermal sprays, and cannabis edibles).
  • 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 medical cannabis authorization from the approved Health Canada distributor, and by 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.

Q18. What is your medication policy?

  • The majority of medications are held for the first 12 hours after your admission. This is to ensure that your medication does not interact with any substances in your system. 
  • Exceptions to this 12-hour hold include Heart, Epilepsy, HIV, Asthma, Diabetic, and Antibiotic medications as well as Epi-pens. In order to make further exceptions, we require a note or fax from a doctor.
  • All medications must be in their original containers (not in a personal medication organizer), with the labels intact; otherwise, staff will need to contact your pharmacy or doctor before they can be approved.  
  • Bottle directions will be followed. 
  • 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.

Q19. What about methadone and suboxone?

  • Methadone and suboxone cannot be kept at the centre (carries are not permitted on property).
  • You will need to call your prescribing clinic and arrange for the transfer of methadone/suboxone to a local clinic/pharmacy of your choice prior to admission. Shoppers Drug Mart located at 445 Princess Street is commonly used (613-546-3696).
    • Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, please use this form to transfer your methadone/suboxone prescriptions to B&B Pharmacy (613-767-5618) located at 235 Montreal Street to have your dose delivered to the centre daily. Please call the Detox Centre staff for more information.

  • In order to obtain your daily dose of methadone/suboxone you will need to put in place one of the following options prior to admission:
    • Arrange for a taxi to and from your clinic/pharmacy daily. You may contact your Ontario Disability Support Program or Ontario Works case worker to assist with this, or you or a family member may choose to open a charge account with Amey’s Taxi or pay daily out of pocket.
    • Your prescribing clinic/pharmacy may be able to provide escorts to and from the dispensary daily, or you may be escorted by your case worker/counsellor.
    • Your prescribing clinic/pharmacy may be able to deliver your daily dose to the centre and administered in the building, under supervision of the agency bringing the medication. 
    • You cannot walk to your clinic, nor have a friend or family member escort you.
Preparing to leave

Q20. 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 prior to treatment.  
  • OHIP funded treatment centres require a GAIN assessment be completed prior to a referral. 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.

Q21. What is discharge planning?

This is an individualized plan we will work with you to create that will help you access the supports you may need after you leave the centre. It can include the following:

  • Meeting lists and information about finding recovery sponsorship
  • Referral to an individual counselling agency
  • Explanation of the treatment process, and assistance with referral to assessment and referral agencies
  • Connection or re-connection with previous supports such as family doctor, counsellors, sponsor, etc.
  • Referral to a shelter and housing supports
  • Crisis phone line information
  • Explanation of our preventative stays, and a reminder that we are always available for phone support