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5 Shocking Facts about Drug Addiction and Abuse in Canada

Drug abuse in Canada is often overshadowed by everything that occurs south of the border. The US has a massive issue with addiction and abuse as drugs flood into the country from Central and South America, and there is an assumption, at least from an outsider’s perspective, that Canada is cleaner and has fewer issues to contend with.

This is true to an extent, but Canada has not escaped the clutches of the opioid epidemic and it’s also in the grip of many other drug problems, with some very concerning statistics:

5. Alcohol Use is Rampant

Alcohol is by far the most abused substance in Canada, accounting for a staggering amount of deaths, diseases, disorders and addiction issues. A 2016 study found that a huge 93.3% of the population used alcohol during an “active addiction”.(1) This means that more than 9 out of 10 addicts regularly use alcohol to supplement their addictions, whether those addictions related to prescription drugs, stimulants, or heroin.

There are several reasons for this. The first is availability, as alcohol is legal and widely available, but the same could be said for tobacco, and only 81.8% of addicts used tobacco in addition to their “active addictions”. Alcohol is also cheap and widely accepted within society, with statistics suggesting that many consider alcohol use to be safer than tobacco.

Of course, this simply isn’t true. According to the Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction, a fifth of Canadian drinkers consume more than the safe guidelines, around 75,000 are hospitalized every year as a result of alcohol consumption, and it accounts for between 1% and 2% of all deaths in Canada.(2)

To put this into perspective, alcohol currently accounts for more hospitalizations every year than heart attacks.

4. Massive Cost

Drug abuse is estimated to cost Canadian taxpayers nearly $23 billion a year, with around $3.3 billion of that coming from healthcare costs.(3) This is only a couple billion less than the entire value of the Canadian pharmaceutical industry.

3. Most Drugs are Shipped in

There is a general assumption that most of the drugs in Canada come via the Canada/US border and originate in Mexico. In actual fact, most of the drugs in this country are shipped by standard airmail and arrive from countries all over the world.(4)

Some of the most dangerous drugs, including the opioid fentanyl, come from China and Hong Kong, where they are produced in large scale drug factories and then shipped in many small packages to distributors nationwide.

The vast majority of heroin in the US is produced in Mexico and then shipped over the border, but most of the heroin in Canada originates in Asia and Africa and is shipped via airmail. The same applies to opium, the raw product from which heroin is derived, and many other common drugs.

Steroids tend to be shipped in from eastern Europe, as well as China, while amphetamines are shipped in from the UK and China, as well as the United States.

2. Addicts and Teens are High Risk

According to research from the University of Toronto, female addicts are 54% more likely to die from their addictions than male addicts, but there are fewer female addicts than male ones. The most at-risk demographic, however, is teenagers, with nearly a quarter of all Ontario students reporting that they were offered illegal drugs in the last year, and more than 8 out of 10 admitting to at least 1 incident of binge drinking.(5)

1. It’s Getting Better

Drug abuse is a growing issue in most countries, but in Canada the issue seems to be improving, albeit only slightly. The last few years have seen a 2% drop in the number of prescription opioid abusers, which is one of the fastest growing issues in the United States.(6)

There isn’t a serious issue regarding MDMA use, with fewer than 1% of adults reporting to have used the drug, and while methamphetamine is one of the most common homegrown drugs in the world, accounting for thousands of deaths and massive drug seizures every year in the US, it’s a non-issue here in Canada, with just 0.2% of the population using the drug.(7)(8)

Even cannabis use is steady across the board, although it remains one of the most used and abused recreational drugs in Canada.

Bio — Nicky Sarandrea is a freelance writer writing on topics such as drug addiction, drug relapse and more for drug rehab centers

port alberni naturopathic doctor

BCNA member and naturopathic doctor Jeannie Doig, ND invites you to attend a naturopathic open house at Alberni Natural Health Group in Port Alberni.

Naturopathic Open House

FREE 15 minute meet and greet consults! Come learn how Naturopathic medicine can help you and your family during Naturopathic Medicine Week. Please call ahead to reserve your spot for May 17.

There will also be discounts on supplement refills for existing patients as well as draws for free consults.

Date: May 17, 2019

Time: 11:00am – 1 pm

Cost: FREE

Register: Call to reserve your spot: 250-723-9888

RSVP and invite your friends and family on Facebook!

Location: Alberni Natural Health Group

4711 Elizabeth St, Port Alberni, BC

foundations of fertility

An exciting opportunity to learn more about fertility and preconception care is coming to East Van!

BCNA member and naturopathic doctor Maryam Ferdosian, ND invites you to attend a workshop presented by Faaria Karim (USA ND, BC license pending).

Foundations of Fertility

We welcome all individuals that are interested in learning more about preconception to participate in our workshop. To make this event accessible to all, there will be no fee to attend this workshop.

Faaria Karim is passionate about women’s health and fertility for both men and women. In this workshop Faaria will explore ways to increase fertility through natural methods.

Date: May 15, 2019

Time: 7 – 9 pm

Cost: FREE

Register: RSVP on Facebook to book your spot

Location: East Van Integrated Health

1750 E 10th Ave #407, Vancouver,

cancer prevention langley

Join BCNA members and naturopathic doctors from Integrated Health Clinic on May 16 during Naturopathic Medicine Awareness Week for the first in a series of free health talks on the topic of cancer:

Cancer Prevention

The Integrated Health Clinic Cancer Care Centre is very excited to present Cancer Prevention, the first in a series of interactive lectures focused on empowering the cancer patient and their loved ones to make informed decisions about their healthcare.

Date: May 16, 2019

Cost: FREE

Register: Click here to register or call now to reserve your seat: 604-888-8325.

RSVP and invite your friends on Facebook

Location: Holiday Inn Express

8750 204 Street, Langley

Dr. Jese Wiens ND and Dr. Melissa Klatt ND are hosting a children’s health clinic on Saturday May 11 as part of Naturopathic Medicine Awareness Week in British Columbia.

Free Naturopathic visits for kids

No charge visits for kids ages 0-10 with Dr. Jese Wiens ND and Dr. Melissa Klatt ND.

We can help with rashes, digestion, mood issues, sleep problems, developmental delays, or anything else that needs support!

Date: May 11, 2019

Cost: FREE

Register: Please call the office to book 778-476-2550

Location:  Rise Wellness Centre

101-2504 Skaha Lake Road, Penticton BC

mind body soul clinic

Are you wondering what Naturopathic Medicine is all about?

Or has it been awhile since your last visit and you’d like to say hello? Come and meet our team and check out our clinic during Naturopathic Medicine Week.

Public Open House and Patient Appreciation Night

Our naturopathic doctors and the rest of the team are looking forward to reconnecting with you or meeting you for the first time!

Meet the BCNA Members at Mind Body Soul Integrative Clinic

Dr Emina Jasarevic, ND

Dr Anita Bratt, ND

Dr Nicole Hartman, ND

Refreshments and snacks will be available.

Date: May 16, 2019

Time: 5- 7pm

Cost: FREE

Register: Please RSVP on our Facebook event.

Location: Mind Body Soul Integrative Clinic

1630 Pandosy St #302, Kelowna

Kelowna_choices

Dr. Jeffries, ND will be teaching about how to optimize your gut health by investigating leaky gut at this free event at Choices Market on May 15 during Naturopathic Medicine Week.

Leaky Gut

Learn about what leaky gut is, what the symptoms are, how to test for it and most importantly how to heal your gut and restore your health.

Date: May 15, 2019

Time: 7 – 8pm

Cost: FREE

Register: Limited seating – please register by using the form at www.choicesmarkets.com/event/leaky-gut-what-is-it-what-does-it-mean-for-you/

Location: Choices Kelowna

1937 Harvey Ave, Kelowna

Kelowna_choices

Join Dr. Rena Saini, ND at Choices in Kelowna for a free talk and learn what causes anxiety and how to balance your mood.

Coping with Anxiety

Explore the causes of anxiety and learn about herbs, diet and supplements that can support the body and your mood. More info at the link to the Choices Markets site below.

Date: May 16, 2019

Time: 7 – 8pm

Cost: FREE

Register: Limited seating – please register by using the form at www.choicesmarkets.com/event/coping-with-anxiety/

Location: Choices Kelowna 

1937 Harvey Ave, Kelowna

stress response

Ever feel drained from “adulting”?

Wonder how stress impacts your productivity, creativity or quality of life? Learn from Dr. Moore, ND about how you can improve your stress response and optimize your physiology in order to maximize productivity and quality of life.

The Stress Response and the Busy Adult

Date: May 16, 2019

Time: 7 – 8:30 pm

Cost: FREE

Register: Limited seating – only 15 spots.

RSVP on Facebook to book your spot

Or let us know you are coming at tandemclinic.com/talks 

Location: Tandem Clinic

183 W 2nd Ave, Vancouver

vancouver hikers free of anxiety and depression

Anxiety and Depression?

1 in 5 of us are or will be affected by one or both. Get some take home tips from Dr Sieben, ND about simple lifestyle changes you can do to reduce your risk – good mood foods, grounding in stressful situations, forest bathing and more.

Techniques to Reduce Anxiety and Depression

Date: May 15, 2019

Time: 7 – 8:30 pm

Cost: FREE

Register: Limited seating – only 15 spots.

RSVP on Facebook to book your spot

Or let us know you are coming at tandemclinic.com/talks 

Location: Tandem Clinic

183 W 2nd Ave, Vancouver