Local advocacy group loses creator, other groups react


Citizens Helping Addicts and Alcoholics Get Treatment (CHATT) made an announcement Tuesday which will change the landscape around substance abuse treatment, yet again.

In a Facebook post, which has since disappeared as well as the Facebook Group for CHAAT, the announcement read in part as follows:

“It is with sincere disappointment, yet understanding, that Citizens Helping Addicts and Alcoholics get Treatment announces the resignation of president, Dr. Paul Hergott, from the CHAAT board of directors,” said the post.

It continues with praise of Hergott, stating he was a tireless and dedicated leader who wanted change in the community.

They quoted the doctor in the post, he provided some of his reasons for leaving.

“I am announcing that I am stepping down as President of CHAAT effective immediately. I still feel as strongly about the needs and deficiencies that exist in our community related to the treatment of addiction as I did a year ago,” said Hergott. “The providers on the ground are doing the best they can with what resources they have. Agencies and providers remain grossly underfunded for what the needs of the community are.”

Donna DeSimon, founder of Addictions and Mental Health Advocates, an organization dedicated to bringing change on the ground sent SaultOnline this statement upon learning of the resignation.

“Of course I am sad and disappointed that Dr Hergott has decided to leave CHAAT, but I can see his point,” said DeSimon.  “I find it very frustrating to see our vulnerable suffering while our municipal government panics over securing funding for a plaza. Are they blind? Or do they just wish not to see. Wake up, city of SSM…we are losing a generation. We are in a dire situation. The addiction and overdose rates in SSM are staggering.”

We reached out to CHATT media representative, Robert Peace, for comment as to why the Facebook Page has disappeared for the group.

“I have temporarily deactivated it Until the board meets tomorrow night,” said Peace. “There are some board Members with different ideas on direction. Paul And I are not among them. We will await the outcome of their meeting.”

In the end, Hergott says he was hoping to create a “communal response” by getting multiple voices together from the community. This approach has worked in both Sudbury and Timmins.

Stay with SaultOnline/ONNtv as we continue to follow this developing story.


  1. The liberal media makes these institutions sound wonderful, you couldn’t begin to imagine the exploitation and abuse that takes place in these institutions.

  2. I overheard a ward councillor ridiculing the idea of giving the homeless including those who are addicts a place to live. He said you give them a place to live and they still drink and do drugs. Well giving them a place to live is a start! Showing them they are worthy is a start. You have to start somewhere. Knowing there are people who care can make a massive difference in a person’s life. It can help to lift their self-esteem, their self-worth. One day they might even contribute back to society.

  3. Is there a glitch in the matrix?? We are seriously going to lose a generation to addiction and they still don’t have the help the Soo needed when Steeltown Down came out!!

    Unless you are housebound, how can u.not.see.it.?

    There is an addict panhandling at the exit of Timmies..Wendy’s…malls…street corners…McD’s on Great Northern…direct approaches to your car window in pkg lots…Circle K….etc…ETC.!

    SERIOUS QUESTION! – Who out there in the Soo has not seen this????

    Not something I saw in the Soo when I was a kid, that’s for damn sure, and it’s not something I thought I’d ever see in the Soo, but here we are.

    As a citizen of the Soo, I feel shame this crisis is being handled so badly. It’s like a gut punch.

  4. please note that nowhere in his statement does he say we need more policing. this is because you can’t punish away addiction and mental health issues.

    • Okay. You keep sticking your head in the sand.
      It’s you and your liberal ilk that shut down the mental health facilities that cared for those seriously afflicted by mental illness.
      You and those who think like you put them out on the streets for the past 3 decades. Yet, you and your ilk continue to deny you were wrong even though many have died or are slowly dying because of your so-called solution.
      This is the typical neo-liberal mindset.
      We’re never wrong.
      We can fix the problem because we care.
      But everyone else pays for your irrationality while you and your ilk keep sipping lattes and blaming everyone else about how your ‘plan’ didn’t work because ‘we’ (taxpayers) didn’t throw enough money at the ‘problem’ or don’t care.
      It is people like you who ‘pushed away’ mental health and addiction issues by sending severely damaged people into the streets to fend for themselves.

    • You’re right Luc, you can’t punish away addiction and mental health issues! Although I did see a documentary on CBC about prison farms. The impact of working on the farms is positive for the prisoners. It helps them with their mental health issues.

      • Since some people like to bring politics into the picture, it was the federal conservatives who shelved the prison farms program in 2010 and the federal liberals who budgeted 4.3 million in 2018 to restore two of those farms.

        Those mental health facilities…drugging people so they can barely think, talk, walk wasn’t helping them.

          • Not sure what your point is but the Collins Bay and Joyceville institutions in Kingston have been restored and are operating, helping many inmates. No drugs, just work that lifts their spirits, makes them feel good about themselves. They grow crops, take care of cattle, make maple syrup and keep bees.

        • The point was, liberals can do no wrong in their own distorted imagination, bring up their failures or shortcomings and they start talking about things that happened 11 years ago

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