Addiction in Canada

As is the case with most of the developed world, there are significant issues regarding alcohol and drug addiction in Canada. Many of these problems are continuing to get worse, but luckily, treatment is out there.

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The Dangers of Addiction in Canada

In the last Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey in 2012, it was estimated that 21.6% of Canada’s population met the criteria for a substance use disorder. That is close to 8 million people suffering from addiction in Canada.

Possibly the most popular, if not cliched, excuse many with an addiction will give is, “I’m not hurting anyone but myself.” This, however, is far from the truth. From reckless driving, to violent behaviors, and becoming taxing on an entire system; addiction in Canada affects far more than just users themselves.

Alcohol Abuse and Addiction in Canada

In 2012, it was determined that 18.1% of Canadians met the criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence at some time in their lives, many of which were in that past year. This number grew to 19% in 2016. Alcohol, by a wide margin, is the most abused substance in Canada. Even compared to the rest of the world. Where other nations are consuming less and less, Canada continues to drink heavily.

These numbers may not seem threatening, but more people were hospitalized in 2015 through 2016 for alcohol-related harm than heart attacks. That came out to about 77,000 people who were hospitalized from drinking, but how does that harm others? Think of it as hospital beds that were taken from 77,000 other people who may have needed them, which could have been prevented by responsible drinking or abstaining altogether. So, while it may seem harmless to others, falling victim to alcohol addiction in Canada can weigh on an entire system.

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Synthetic Drug Abuse and Addiction in Canada

According to the United Nations, Canada is the world’s largest producer of ecstasy and methamphetamines. While global markets for cocaine, heroin, and even cannabis declined in 2011, demand for ecstasy and meth rose, and Canada’s production rose along with them. Positioned where it is geographically, Canada distributes a large portion of the drugs it produces to the US. Their transportation, however, is not limited by ground. 85% of Meth seized in Australia is traced back to Canada.

The rate of ecstasy use in Canada, however, is relatively low considering how much is produced and moved across the border. The true danger, both for those who are and are not afflicted by addiction in Canada, is the use of methamphetamines.

Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction in Canada

Addiction In Canada Is A Serious Problem That Affects Millions Of Residents And Their FamiliesMethamphetamines – known as Meth or Jib on the streets – have long been a large-scale problem in Canada, before the fairly recent spike in prescription opioid abuse. Unlike opioids, clinics are having trouble treating people with meth addiction in Canada. There aren’t any prescription options to substitute for meth, and the side effects of the drug makes users trying to recover violent and unpredictable.

[Meth] eventually gets you, and when it takes you down, it takes you down and you lose absolutely everything.

- Marion Willis, founder of St. Boniface Street Links

Marion Willis, who runs a clinic that helps recovering people get off the street, is at the center of the issue. At her clinic in 2018, an individual who was going through meth withdrawal went into psychosis, lit their bed on fire, and climbed onto the roof. Emergency services arrived to put the fire out but then left the violent individual in the clinic with the other patients.

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Driving Under the Influence

Approximately 4 people in Canada are killed each day in car crashes involving a driver under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or both. In 2013, car accidents resulted in 2,430 deaths. 1,451 of those, 59.7%, involved someone who tested positive for some kind of drug in their system.



Of the 2,430 deaths from car crashes, 15.2%, or 369, were tied to someone who was driving under the influence of alcohol.



28.1% of the 2,430 deaths from car crashes, or 683, involved a driver who was driving under the influence of drugs other than alcohol.



There were 399 deaths from car crashes, 16.4% of the total 2430, that involved someone driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Be it drugs or alcohol, people think that they are only hurting themselves through abuse. Driving under the influence, however, is an example of how one’s own abuse can directly lead to the fatal injury of another.

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Finding Treatment

When it comes down to it, coming to terms with an addiction is hard enough; rehab shouldn’t be. You can stay in your home, looking for somewhere nearby to help retain normalcy in your life, but being in the same environment isn’t always conducive. Sometimes, you need a clear and distinct change in your surroundings to get better. If you, or someone you love, is battling addiction in Canada, and you don’t know where to turn, try getting in contact with a dedicated treatment provider who can help you find treatment.

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