Dr. Kumar Gupta, MD, BSc, CCFP, CCSAM, Family Medicine.
Our medical staff is led by Dr. Kumar Gupta, Dr. Gupta is a Canadian certified specialist in Addiction medicine and has been practicing Addiction Medicine for 17 years. Together with Freedom’s certified nursing staff team, he provides a client with the best care addiction medicine has to offer.
Dr. Gupta has sat on the Board of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine and has been the Chair of the Methadone Committee at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. He also practices Emergency Medicine at the Humber Regional Hospital, and has served as a Methadone Peer assessor for the CPSO Methadone program since 1998.
In addition, he is an Investigative Coroner for the Province of Ontario. An expert in substance addiction treatment has treated thousands of addicted patients in his career, with expertise lying in treating prescription and street opioid addiction, along with treating alcoholism, cocaine and benzodiazepine dependencies.
He has expertise in managing dual diagnosis of depression and anxiety which are common in addicted patients. Dr. Gupta is a firm believer in comfortable detoxifications from opioids and alcohol as he recognizes that fear of withdrawal is a major component of addiction.
He has detoxed many patients successfully and comfortably off huge doses of opioids, methadone and alcohol, and believes that treatment can only be successful once one is comfortable off drugs and alcohol, and feels well enough to engage in counseling post-detox.
He is a strong advocate who understands fully the deadly nature of untreated addiction and how important a comfortable detox and treatment is to save lives. Dr. Gupta obtained his medical doctor residency training in family and addiction medicine from the University of Toronto and more medical credentials from the University of Manitoba.
Mandy Sandhu – Managing Director
With nearly a decade of experience in her private and drug recovery centre management, Mandy oversees Freedom’s operations and its respected programmes. A respected leader in psychotherapy, she has overseen various drug and addiction recovery centres throughout the GTA. Mandy has substantial experience in recovery program development and delivery, with a deep knowledge of drug addiction, treatment and methodology.
Mandy has appeared on television broadcasts discussing drug and substance abuse and addiction, and is a leading advocate for changes to provincial public policy. Born and raised in the United Kingdom, Mandy is a registered Psychotherapist, and holds a diploma in Psychotherapy from Toronto’s Transformational Arts College.
She is recognized as a professional Registered in Human Relations (R.I.H.R.) by the Canadian Examining Board of Health Care Practitioners. Mandy is currently pursuing her BA (hons) in Psychology at York university.
A motivational speaker, Mandy also sits on the board of York Region Violence against Women Coordinating Committee, and is a member of: the Aurora Chamber of Commerce; Canadian Counseling and Psychotherapy Association; the Canadian Addiction Counselors Certification Federation and Sundoor International certified Motivational Coach. Mandy lives in York Region happily with her loving family and is a proud mom.
Franco Lupo – Executive Director
A heroic story in his own right, and very fitting one, Frank worked for one of Canada’s largest industrial contractors, and later a self-employed industrial business success story. Becoming addicted to prescription drugs after a work-related injury, Frank lost everything.
Lupo’s story is inspiring, having everything in the world, including his family, and then losing it to prescription drug addiction. After turning his life around, and being clean for several years, Frank worked at various recovery centres prior to dedicating his life and funds to help others who like him were on the verge of despair and suffering from addiction.
Today, Frank is a leading force at Freedom, the leading recovery centre in the GTA, and is very active in the community with those less fortunate. Franco helped open the centre to help others just like him get better and live their dreams, establish themselves, help mend broken families, and live productive lives. Frank has a fun sense of humour, and is a loving and proud dad and husband.
Mel Berardi – Program Director and Lead Addictions Counselor/ICADC
A beacon of inspiration and hope for those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, Mel, a former childhood victim of abuse and addiction, hit the verge of despair, only to never give up entirely on life.
After hitting rock bottom, Mel put his life together and got help. He returned to school and improved himself, becoming clean, sober, and then entering the addictions recovery treatment world to change lives of families and individuals for the better.
Mel pursued, and successfully completed, an honours diploma in addictions and community service worker from Toronto’s Everest College. He has previously worked and done placements at other treatment centres in the GTA, including Renascent Centre in Toronto. He has volunteered in the community with Toronto’s East General Hospital with AA meeting coordination and helping at many homeless shelters.
Compassionate, caring, humorous and understanding, and completely clean and sober for 7 years, Mel works with clients directly in their pursuit to recovery and pursuing their dreams and having a fulfilling life. Mel is the proud father of two adult children and lives in Newmarket.
Kathleen Bartlett – Executive Assistant
Kathleen, a certified counselor in addictions, is the intake coordinator & executive assistant to the Managing Director and oversees family, client and employee relations at Freedom. Kathleen previously worked for other drug recovery centres in the Toronto area.
In addition, prior to Freedom, Kathleen served as a Residential Support Worker at Cedar Heights, one of Canada’s largest and most recognized residential treatment homes in special needs and disabilities. In addition, she is a former consultant in HR Management and Training and Development for the Canadian Convenience Stores Association of Canada.
She worked to oversee HR & Training at the Cartwright Group and Training & Development Specialist at Mac’s – convenience stores. Kathleen is a globally certified associate addiction counselor, recognized by the CCPC, and possesses a Diploma in Addictions Community Services Worker from Everest College in Newmarket, with a 93% average.
Kathleen has various educations, having completed the following at Barrie’s Georgian College: a Diploma in Business Management, and Certificates in Human Resources; Teaching & Training Adults; and Administration. She holds a Suicide Intervention Skills Training Certificate from Everest College.
As well as training in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Kathleen has volunteered with community groups the likes of the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness and Girls Inc. Kathleen is a proud mom of a young man in the Canadian Armed Forces, and is happily married to an accomplished veteran.
Anne De Jesus – RPN Nurse Supervisor
Anne is a Registered Practical Nurse and a Member of the Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario. She is a proud graduate of Humber’s College, trained in First Aid and CPR Health Care Provider (HCP).
Compassionate and caring, Anne delivers the very best quality care for clients. Throughout her vast career she has worked for various Toronto based drug recovery centres as a nurse and for medics 24, a private healthcare consulting company.
Matt Mcdowall – Registered Practical Nurse
Matt is a Registered Practical Nurse with the College of Nurses of Ontario and an honourable member of RPNAO. Prior to joining the Freedom medical team, Matt worked at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, one of Canada’s largest in-home medical care agencies, where he provided services to assist children in school, and seniors and adults in the community. Originally from Windsor and now residing in Toronto, Matt possesses a Diploma in Practical Nursing from Windsor’s St. Clair College.
Nicole De Jesus – Registered Practical Nurse
Nicole is a registered practical nurse with the College of Nurses of Ontario. Nicole formerly served as a nurse at Leisure world, a prominent senior’s nursing home in Mississauga – tending to and caring for seniors and working with their families.
Compassionate and caring, Nicole delivers the very best quality care for clients. Nicole has worked for various Toronto based drug recovery centres as a nurse, and Nicole possesses a Diploma in Practical Nursing from Toronto’s Humber College. At present, Nicole is pursuing a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing at Toronto’s Ryerson University.
Sairah Gonzales – Registered Practical Nurse
Sairah is a Registered Practical Nurse and a Member of Registered Practical Nurses of Ontario (RPNAO). She has earned a practical nursing diploma from Toronto’s Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology and is CPR and First Aid certified.
Prior to joining the Freedom team, Sairah carried out her studies with nurse duties at Toronto’s CAMH – Canada’s leading hospital in addictions and mental health, and with Extendicare, a private medical healthcare home care company. She has also worked as a private nurse in home care delivery, working with youth, adults, seniors and families in the GTA.
Sean Ladds – Addictions counselor
Sean is a certified counselor in addictions and recovery; a member of CACCF. Sean possesses a diploma in Addictions and Community Services with honours from Newmarket’s Everest College and has successfully completed the Academy of Transformational Arts.
He fully understands families and individuals who live with substance addiction, as he suffered from drug addiction throughout his life for a decade, until he decided to get clean. Since that time, Sean has been clean for 7 years, heroically put his life together, and pursued his education, career choice and life mission in helping assist those that share similar difficult experiences.
Ron Swayze – Manager, Freedom Fitness
With 15 years of experience in personal training and fitness, Ron is the lead personal trainer and oversees the daily activities at Freedom Fitness – the fully equipped on-site gym and wellness training centre for our clients. Ron works with our clients to ensure they get the best state of the art in-house weight training, exercise and healthy living programming. Prior to Freedom, Ron worked at numerous recognized gyms and fitness centres. He incorporates various forms of fitness including MMA.
Peter Wollin – Addictions counselor
Peter is a certified family-centred addictions counselor, and possesses an Addictions Counselor and Social Worker diploma from Newmarket’s Everest College. Peter has had a long career in various sectors. In the past, Peter worked in business development, management and marketing for some of southern Ontario’s largest shopping malls, and he worked and resided all across Canada – in Toronto, London, Calgary and Kingston.
He also worked in media and ran a local newspaper – the Georgina This Month. After working in business, Peter lived his dream to help families and their children: and from there opened and operated a successful child daycare centre with his wife for 20 years. In his next challenge, he decided to take his skills to assist those suffering from drug and alcohol addictions and now works at Freedom.
Peter brings a wealth of knowledge to Freedom, and is amongst the most caring, compassionate, genuine counselors in the GTA. In his free time, Peter volunteers in the community. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Georgina Ice Junior C hockey club and used to coach minor hockey in the GMHA.
Liz Bloom C.C.A.D.C.- Addictions counselor/ Family Counselor
Liz brings a wealth of counseling experience and really connects with those in need of help. Liz is a member of the Canadian Addiction Counselors Certification Federation.
One who believes in health living and wellness, Liz is a former Manager at GoodLife Fitness, the giant fitness chain centres, and has been honoured with the Manager of the Year nomination by the company. Active in the community, she is a volunteer with the homeless at St. Vincent’s in Oshawa.
She is past President and volunteer with PFLAG of Durham Region which offers support and education for the LGTBQ community, and a volunteer crisis worker at the Durham Distress Centre. Liz graduated with honours in Addiction Studies and Counseling from Centennial College, and holds her Reiki Level 2 Practitioner credentials. She is currently enrolled in the Discovering The Total Self program at the Transformational Arts College in Toronto.
Jay Albi – Counselor Assistant, Sober Coach
Jay is a counselor assistant and sober coach at Freedom – he works with clients on the 12 step program. After experiencing his own struggles with addiction for many years which impacted his life and his family, Jay found himself and began his successful road to recovery.
Clean for a decade now, Jay uses his personal experiences to help those who now struggle from drug and alcohol addiction. Jay’s experiences are very inspiring and he knows exactly what a client is going through – because he’s been there. Jay is also very active in the community with those less fortunate. At Freedom he works with clients to get better, set goals, establish themselves, and get back to leading the life they should be leading.
Paul Price – Holistic Practitioner
For over 40 years, Paul Price has been a leader in natural healing techniques. Paul is a trained practitioner and teacher of energy healing , and is one the founders of one of Ontario’s largest spiritual retreat centres – the King View Farm. A highly sought after genuine, engaging and calming public speaker, instructor and mentor, Paul has taught energy healing work around the world to thousands while operating his own public practice in Toronto for the past 35 years. He works as a practitioner at Freedom and continues to work in hospitals where he assists those in need, working with those suffering from addictions, in addition to individuals and families suffering with palliative care issues.
Philippe Lacaille – Holistic Practitioner
For over 40 years, Paul Price has been a leader in natural healing techniques. Paul is a trained practitioner and teacher of energy healing , and is one the founders of one of Ontario’s largest spiritual retreat centres – the King View Farm.
A highly sought after genuine, engaging and calming public speaker, instructor and mentor, Paul has taught energy healing work around the world to thousands while operating his own public practice in Toronto for the past 35 years.
He works as a practitioner at Freedom and continues to work in hospitals where he assists those in need, working with those suffering from addictions, in addition to individuals and families suffering with palliative care issues.
Jim Mclean – Manager, Food & Beverage
Jim has 25 years’ experience as an accredited chef – possessing CFQ Red Seal accreditation from George Brown College. Prior to being Freedom’s lead chef, Jim had various roles for big restaurant chains including the “big three”: Movenpick, Richtree and Marche. In addition, he has worked as lead chef for various not for profit organizations, and Toronto’s biggest trade associations.
Jim has catered to some of the largest crowds – including gala dinners of over 1,000 guests. Jim loves assisting those in need, and ensures Freedom’s clients enjoy the most nutritional and delicious home-cooked meals. Jim lives with his loving wife of 20 years.
Thomas Hayes – Addictions Counselor
Thomas is a graduate of Centennial College Chemical Dependency Program with Honors. He brings a wealth of lived and clinical experience to the Freedom from Addiction Team. With his several years of experience, Thomas excels in providing knowledge and education to the residents using a client centred approach. His strengths include mutual aid facilitation, one on one counseling, mentorship and integrative counseling approaches. He is a member in good standing with the Canadian Addiction Counselors Certification Federation (CACCF) and is currently working towards his International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ICADC). Thomas is a wonderful addition to the Freedom from Addiction team and shows great promise. His passion and interest in helping others is apparent to staff, clients and families. Thomas gives individuals tools that they can put to action in their day-to-day lives and making their chance of success that much higher.
Andrew is an addiction Intervention Counselor with over 15 years of experience in the field. He has received formal training in Mental Health, First Aid, CPR, Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (NVCI) and Addictions Counseling. In addition, he has studied Communication, Self-worth/Esteem, Anger Management and Managing Stress. Continuing his education, Andrew is in the process of completing his Concurrent Disorders Certificate. Andrew projects a positive and outgoing personality. He is very passionate and client centred counselor who meets the needs of our residents. With his experience, he has an abundance of knowledge that clients can learn from while at Freedom from Addiction.
Shawna is an Addictions Counselor acquiring her education at Ryerson University in Toronto where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Her passion and interest in helping others has driven her to continue her education at Durham College where she attained a post graduate Certificate in Mental Health and Addictions with Honours. Shawna brings a wonderful energy to Freedom from Addiction. Her compassion and approachable demeanor helps her connect with clients. She is able to deliver client centred therapy effectively. Shawna has formal training in standard CPR. Her wealth of knowledge allows her to educate clients about structured relapse prevention & intervention, psychopharmacology, the psychology of addiction, stress management and many more.