Addictions Canada: The Reason Why Is Tremendously Disturbing 

Addictions in Canada has tremendous effects on the person and the Canadian society as a whole. Find the best treatments available for a fresh start to life.  

Drug addictions in Canada become a gripping issue in the country with an increasingly growing number of addicts and drug dependents shocking the country. In the broadest sense, substance abuse is the misuse or overuse of medications such as prescription drugs, alcohol, illegal drugs, and over-the-counter preparations. The dangerous use of different substance affects the life of an individual such as work or school performance, relationships and commitments, and even this brushings with the law. 

 

Drug addictions in Canada by the Numbers  

Addiction refers to the psychological dependence of an individual on the substance and using it is deemed important for social functioning. It could also refer to physiological dependence such as health problems, withdrawal symptoms, and the increased tolerance to the drug or substance of choice. According to the Mental Illness and Addiction in Canada book, there are statistical data that are just too disturbing to ignore.   

In terms of alcohol, 13.6% of Canadians are high-risk drinkers while 20% of current Canadian drinkers report that they caused harm to themselves due to alcohol intake. Thirty-three percent of these drinkers confirmed that they were harmed by someone who has been drinking. The most common health problem of heavy drinkers is depression while there are 365 babies in Canada who are born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome on an annual basis.   

The annual productivity losses that have been reported in Canada because of legal substance abuse reached a total of $11.8 billion. The figure is 1.7% of the total GNP or Gross National Product. Canada suffers a yearly economic loss of $18.6 billion due to substance abuse that occurs in the workplace.  

 

Addiction Canada Rehab Facility 

 The Canadian government has taken numerous measures and initiatives in order to address the growing problem of substance abuse and addiction in the country. There are private organizations that offer rehab facilities and treatment programs such as Addiction Canada. These are facilities that provide confidential and structured programs for their inpatient clients with the perfect setting that is conducive to recovery and treatment. You can also find government-funded rehab centers that are usually community-based.  

 

Drug Rehab and Interventions 

An intervention is a venue where the client gets to decide if he needs help or otherwise. It is not as dramatic and intense as the ones you usually see on reality television. Today’s intervention specialists act as a mediator between the substance dependent and his road towards treatment and recovery. The intervention process interrupts the use and abuse of the substance through offering an alternative for a healthier and drug-free life. Remember that a person could get intervention even without hitting rock bottom or becoming physically and emotionally wrecked. Intervention makes a person go back to reality through non-judgmental and caring support. 

The reality about Addictions Canada is not that pleasant and it is staring everyone to the face. Canada is up for an enormous challenge with the proliferation of substance abuse and addiction among Canadian youths and adults. The good news is that there are also aggressive initiatives that are taken in order to combat this personal and social conundrum once and for all. 

Prescription Drug Abuse

The Frightening Truth about Prescription Drug Abuse that Will Smash You 

Prescription drug abuse brings out the worse in people. Canada is advocating and pushing the end of addiction to prescription drugs through effective treatment initiatives.   

Prescription drug abuse is one of the substance abuse and addiction problems in Canada and the figures are not getting smaller. Prescription drug addiction and dependence has affected Canadians in different age and economic groups. As long as you are taking a medicine or drug, not for medicinal purposes or what the doctor prescribed the drug for, then you are abusing that prescription drug and the repercussions are serious.  

Prescription Drug Abuse Basic Information 

 Pain medicines are the most commonly abused prescription drugs and the list of these painkillers is quite long and diverse. Prescription drug abuse makes a person throw up, constricts or dilates the pupil, and may even cause constipation. Pain medicines are swallowed or taken orally but when they are smoked, injected, or snorted, the reaction is quite stronger and more dangerous than ever. It may lead to breathing problems or respiratory suppression and arrest.  

Prescription drug abuse may lead to: 

  • Chills 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Muscle spasms or pain in the bones 
  • Anger, nervousness, or extreme sadness 
  • Sleeping disorders 

 

Prevention and Risk Factors  

Canadians are at risk of prescription drug abuse but there are ways that could prevent this life-threatening habit especially when you have the self-control, to begin with.

Painkillers are prescribed to serve a particular purpose and that is to relieve pain due to injury or disease. Avoiding the risks of prescription drug abuse requires an individual to follow the directions or instructions from the pharmacist or what’s written on the label.  

Do not stop or change the dosage without any consultation with your doctor. Another way to prevent prescription drug abuse and addiction is to never use someone else’s prescription.

Ask the advice of the professionals such as clinicians and pharmacists. The Canadian government and other private organizations that tackle substance abuse and addiction are taking initiatives in order to put an end to this dilemma once and for all. There are treatment programs and helpline that individuals can call when their prescription drug intake is getting out of control. 

 

Basic Treatment Programs  

There are available treatment programs for drug addiction, particularly prescription drug abuse. For instance, rehab centers recommend medications and behavioural treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy and contingency management. Behavioural therapy and treatment are designed to stop drug use through altering unhealthy thinking and behavioural patterns.  

Medications can also treat prescription drug abuse and addiction particularly medications such as buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone. The main effects of these drugs are to counter the impact of opioids on the nervous system, particularly the brain. Medications also relieve the excruciating symptoms and cravings associated with the withdrawal process and help prevent relapse in the future. 

Canadians are struggling with the effects of prescription drug abuse and these effects are not limited to the physiological aspects.

Addiction to and abuse of prescription drugs could put a strain on the relationships of a person and affect the community as a whole. Prescription drug use when out of control urges the person to do illegal means and crimes just to get their fix.  

Things to avoid during recovery

The Way Forward: Personalizing Approaches to Tackle Canada’s Alcohol Problems

Alcohol has been manufactured, consumed and many times abused by people all over the world since pre-historic times. So why is it now a greater issue than it was before? There are a number of factors that played a role in this. To begin with, alcohol consumption has been normalized up to a point where very few people perceive it to be a drug. Following years and years of media exposure and societal embrace of alcohol, not even the people who do not fancy drinks are alarmed by their friends’ binge drinking.

We see it everywhere, from billboards and music videos to books, magazines and news. Everybody’s doing it, so it must be okay. What would be more distressing to see happening: a person drinking a can of beer or a person jabbing a needle into their arm? No one would have a problem with the person drinking a beer, regardless if it’s their first can or their tenth, unless they started becoming violent which is always a possibility. But alcohol abuse can be more harmful than crack or heroin abuse, according to experts, so why is there such a discrepancy when they all have in common specific chemicals meant to alter the mind and cause addiction?

Alcohol seems to be Canadians’ favourite drug: a staggering 80% of the population are drinkers. And there are a lot of factors that play a huge role in this. A 2018 international study published in the renowned publication The Lancet is alluding to the recommended drinking limits in Canada and how they are considered to be far too high. Currently, recommendations say that women should not exceed 10 drinks a week, while for men it’s 15 per week. As a comparison, in the U.S. guidelines dictate that up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men are within safety moderate drinking recommendations.

Putting recovery into perspective

In March 2018, Health Canada has issued an intention to change an existing Food and Drug Regulation aiming to restrict the level of alcohol in highly sweetened alcoholic beverages sold in cans. This followed the tragic incident of a teenager from Québec passing away after an alcohol overdose. But nevertheless, caused an immediate reaction from the government to act on and prevent such things from happening. When it comes to underage drinking, many Canadians believe that by raising a child to drink responsibly the chance of developing an addiction later in life decreases. Which can actually make sense to some extent given the fact that for instance, the legal drinking age is lower in Canada than it is in the U.S. but42% of Canadian students reportedly drank heavily at least one time in a week in contrast with 54% American students.

Over 5 million Canadians are believed to engage in high risk drinking leading to accidents, pregnancy-related problems and other health issues as well as crime and violence. Fortunately, Canadian authorities have caught on these threats and a series of managed alcohol programs have been spreading across Canada and turning heads around the world due to their effectiveness. Monitoring the progress, experts have concluded that participants experience less hospital visits, detox episodes and police contacts after being involved in such programs. These direct improvements are token that with the right approach and support, alcohol addiction can become a thing of the past for millions.

Another example worth mentioning would be the infamous A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous’) meetings which have been around since the 1940s in U.S. and Canada and have grown in popularity throughout time due to their successful formula for providing help. For decades, the A.A. and the 12-steps initiative have been the go-to solution for people suffering from alcohol addiction. But it’s always a matter of different strokes for different folks. Each person is unique and so is their experience with addiction. This is exactly why there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all solution. For as many people reporting the many benefits they have reaped following A.A. meetings, others have found themselves conflicted with the concept or reluctant to adhere to the program.

Luckily and especially with the digital boom, more and more options are available. A 2018 study has actually found that alternative mutual help groups are just as effective as the 12-step program. Over 600 people suffering from alcohol addiction filled out an online survey. The analysis was done by splitting participants into groups according to their preferred help group option. A follow-up was done after 6 months and then after a year, measuring the outcomes which included abstinence and other alcohol-related problems as well as their level of involvement. At the end of the research, it was discovered that all studied options were just as efficient. However, the differentiator factor laid in abstinence and recovery goals. For instance, in AA the emphasis is on full abstinence as a way to treat alcohol abuse, while other groups might lean more towards moderation and whether the individuals wanted to commit to an alcohol-free life or just a specific amount of time.

As expected, the power of a recovery treatment and its success depends mostly on the person who is undergoing it. The saying ‘you are in control of your own destiny’ most certainly is a rule here. Recovering from substance addiction is a personal journey made up of various pathways.

Substance addiction and mental health issues associated with it affects the lives of four out of every five Canadians. About 80% of the population confesses that they know someone who has experienced or is dealing with substance abuse and at the same time, another 82% believe there should be more help available for these people. Key findings such as these are motivating and positive but simultaneously, they are pinpointing the existing gap. More support, more personalized help, more understanding and more care is what people living with substance addiction are most in need of getting back on their feet.

Fentanyl

There Are Risks and There Is Hope: Canada’s Fentanyl Ground Zero

Every day people get addicted. Whether it’s alcohol, the so-called party drugs, opioids or prescription medicines. Every day families are devastated, relationships are broken, lives are changed forever. Babies and children are exposed to such behaviours, putting them at risk to becoming addicted as well. It’s a vicious circle that must be stopped.

Abusing opioids such as heroin, morphine, and prescription pain drugs is a serious global problem that threatens health. Remember back in the late 1990s, when pharma companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to pain relievers? That caused a snowball effect with more and more healthcare professionals beginning to prescribe opioids and more and more patients normalizing their use and exposing themselves to addiction.

Canada is in the midst of an ongoing opioid crisis with Vancouver sitting at its very core. In 2017, over 360 Vancouver residents passed away because of an overdose. That is at least one death every day. Investigations revealed that in approximately 84% of the cases, fentanyl was detected either alone or in combination with another drug. That puts Vancouver right at the top in a ranking of Canadian towns with the highest number of illicit drugs overdoses in 2018, followed by Surrey and Victoria.

In a 2018 book –Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle with Addiction, Vancouver-based reporter and writer Travis Lupicktells a chilling story of addiction and pain but also the power of collective efforts seeking to lend a helping hand to those in need. The action focuses on Canada’s ground zero for drug addiction – Downtown eastside Vancouver. In a place where purchasing everything from heroin and meth to OxyContin and fentanyl has been the norm since the 1990s. Travis highlights in his book how the introduction of fentanyl changed the game. It also shows the city’s long battle with overdoses and addiction.

The situation is dismal all across Canada and not uncommon. Everywhere in the country, illicit drugs are being cut with fentanyl, which is between up to 50 and 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. To put the threat in perspective even more: just 0.25 milligrams of this drug can kill you. Imagine that the standard baby aspirin is about 81 mg. If you were to cut that in 324 pieces, one of those tiny parts is enough to kill. Drug dealers do this because the process is cheaper and the effects are stronger. And it’s working out for them: during one month in 2016 , 86% of street drugs tested in Vancouver were laced with fentanyl. The situation gets even more critical as people turn to the streets in growing numbers to buy drugs without being fully aware of what they’re taking. From just over 1,700 samples tested, well over half (61%) did not contain the substance the user was looking for.

But we all know addiction doesn’t work on rational and safe grounds. The risk of synthetic opiates lies in how it affects the body. By increasing dopamine levels in the brain’s reward centre, it generates instant euphoria which acts as a positive reinforcement to continue taking the drug. Misusing or abusing fentanyl not only causes addiction, but in many cases it has led to accidental overdoses. Particularly people who do not know how highly potent the substance is have been the victims.

However, efforts are being made to address the ongoing issue of addiction and overdosing in Canada and particularly in Vancouver. The Government, the healthcare system and the city’s leadership have joined forces to respond better to the crisis. This includes addressing overdose through prevention and drug checking sites, funding innovative research, supporting mental health and treatment scale-up. Which are all nothing short than amazing news, yet the key decision-maker still remains the user. And that’s something for addiction recovery centres to fulfil.

In order to overcome addiction, a user needs to be willing to fight and work towards change. In a 2017 survey by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, along with the National Recovery Advisory Committee it has been revealed that many times users are not even aware they have a problem, while other worry about stigma and not knowing where to turn for help. The survey involved 855 Canadians with just under 50% of respondents living in British Columbia and aimed to learn more about their recovery experiences. Experts reported with surprise that a gripping 83% of users faced barriers initiating recovery, with the biggest ones being that they felt they weren’t prepared to seek help or they did not consider having a problem (55%), followed by having to suffer through people’s stigma (50%). A lack of information (36%) and support (30%) were found responsible for delaying recovery. Almost half of the participants (49%) said they had to deal with stigma in active addiction. It’s important to acknowledge how attainable the solutions for these challenges can be.

Addiction should be treated and perceived as an illness and that’s what many fail to understand. No one wants to have their lives depend on a substance and ruin everything around them. As a matter of fact, 54% of people who were in rehab reported experiencing few or no barriers in keep on being clean and 51% said they did not have a single relapse. How encouraging are these numbers? Individuals with addiction disorders are more than capable of changing and evolving and they should be offered that chance. Another 47% of users reported having experienced challenges in accessing the right treatment, with most reasons being associated with cost, diversity, quality or lack of mental health support.

In light of these eye-opening findings many recovery centres have implemented multi-approached tailored programs to help the growing number of users. Because healing should always start with admitting the problem and seeking help, easy to access services and helpful and understanding personnel are essential. Anyone can get help today, it’s that first step that’s the hardest.

Young Adults Use Marijuana

Why Do Young Adults Use Marijuana?

Marijuana continues to be a popular choice for substance users all across Canada, and it is the most common illicit drug used worldwide. Meny children are exposed to the drug in the pre-teen and teenaged years, and Canadian indigenous youth are at particular risk with almost two-thirds of teenagers aged 15-19 reporting marijuana use.

The use of cannabis in young adults is common; unfortunately, the ramifications of early use can be detrimental to their future health. Adolescent use of marijuana has the ability to cause structural and functional damage to the brain, as well as increased chances for mental illness, cognitive decline and impaired neurological development.

So, why do young adults use marijuana? Unfortunately, there are various reasons for ingesting this popular substance. However, recognizing an individual’s specific reasons may make it easier to pinpoint the cause of use, and the solutions for quitting.

Here are some common answers for those who are wondering, ‘Why do young adults use marijuana?’:

Miseducation

Like many substances, a lot of young adults just aren’t educated enough about marijuana. One of the reasons that so many people are comfortable smoking this popular drug is because they assume that it’s harmless and much safer than other options.

The media is a prime suspect for this thinking; marijuana use is constantly made acceptable in song lyrics, music videos and movies. Young audiences see their favorite singers and role models casually smoking, and perceive it to be harmless, cool and care-free.

Unfortunately, many young adults don’t understand the potential effects of smoking marijuana. Short-term effects include anxiety, loss of memory, bad coordination and cognitive issues. The long-term effects can include a weaker immune system, lung infections, paranoia and addiction.

Curiosity

Young adults are constantly experimenting and figuring out what they like and don’t like. Drugs and alcohol are two common items that they will come across on the school yard or during after-school activities, and the curiosity of smoking marijuana is a common reason for trying it.

Availability

Obtaining marijuana continues to get easier and easier for young adults, and it is one of the most affordable drugs as well. Not to mention, many states in America are legalizing the drug, making it even easier for people to obtain it.

It is also possible for individuals to grow their own marijuana, and while the process is illegal, many young adults attempt this action to obtain their own supply.

Peer Pressure

One of the things that young adults struggle with is finding a place where they fit in. For many, giving in to peer pressure is a way to get in with the cool crowds, and the temptation often wins.
For parents who are wondering ‘Why do young adults use marijuana?’, one of the main reasons has nothing to do with their own curiosity or rebellion; it is merely a tool for finding a place in their social circles.

Young adults use marijuana because of its accessibility, and the notion that it is far safer than alcohol or harder drugs. Unfortunately, one puff often leads to more, and the long-term effects can start taking place much sooner than expected.

If you suspect your child of marijuana use, consider educating them about the dangers of using drugs. By providing them with sound information, they will be able to make more informed decisions about their choices.

Inpatient Rehab

The Benefits of 90-Day Inpatient Rehab

When it comes to rehabilitation for substance abuse, there are a wide range of programs to choose from. The main two options are inpatient and outpatient, with inpatient treatment requiring the individual to stay in overnight facilities for a specific duration of time.

The kind of program that an addict chooses to utilize is up to them, with some people choosing shorter stays such as the 30-day program, and some staying for as long as 120 days or longer. While a shorter stay of 30 days used to be the popular choice, it has been widely-recognized that the longer a patient receives treatment, the better their chances of staying sober.

For addicts who aren’t sure how long they should stay, it might also be made clear based on their symptoms and how severe their addiction has become. Some of the factors that are taken into account include cravings, inability to quit, multiple relapses, relationship problems, tolerance and withdrawal symptoms.

Based on the number of criteria that are met, it will become easier to gage how severe the addiction truly is. With this kind of information, addicts can get a better idea of how long they should stay to ensure that the rehabilitation truly sticks.

Even if an addict only has a mild addiction, considering a 90-day program is beneficial. This is based on the knowledge that addictions generally get worse over time; this week could be a mild addiction, whereas a month from now it may be severe.

If you or someone you know is considering a longer stay in rehabilitation, the following are the benefits of 90-day inpatient rehab to help you make your decision.

The Benefits of 90-Day Treatment Programs

Longer Time for Healing

As mentioned, even a mild addiction can quickly become a serious one. With that said, a 90-day treatment program offers a lot more time than a 30 or 60-day treatment, where there is less time to truly grasp the lessons and solutions for addiction.

Typically, in a 30-day program, an addict will spend the first week getting through their detoxification process. On top of that, the last week often sends addicts into a frenzy that has them focusing more on going home and less on completing their program properly.

In between these times, there are only two weeks to truly get a grasp on the personal issues at hand, as well as soaking up all of the information and knowledge available from counselors and therapists.

A 90-day program, on the other hand, ensures that the individual is given more than enough time to work through their issues, and to learn how to cope with their life outside of rehab.

This means targeting triggers, setting up a recovery plan, learning about transitioning and gathering a support group.

Time for Practice  

In a 30-day program, addicts are essentially given the tools they need and then expected to apply them in the outside world. These expectations are usually too high when given such a short time to learn them; a 90-day program allows individuals to apply the things they’ve learned, and to practice them within rehab.

This means practicing talking about problems, working through cravings, maintaining relationships and learning how to have fun sober.

Essentially, the benefits of a 90-day inpatient rehab all have to do with extra time. While each of the inpatient programs offered will provide addicts with the basic necessities, a longer program is able to instill new values and behaviours, as well as giving addicts more time to become comfortable and confident with their new lifestyle.