It is estimated that close to six million Canadians will meet the criteria for substance use disorder at some point in their lives.
To shed light on an issue that affects so many Canadians, including members of the Canadian Armed Forces and veterans, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) is leading the charge on National Addictions Awareness Week (NAAW) 2016.
“Addiction touches Canadians from every walk of life — it does not discriminate — yet talking about issues related to substance use often triggers judgment and stigma.
“NAAW is a reminder that a substance use disorder is a health condition that deserves the same level of attention and investment as other serious health conditions. Those of us working closely on these issues have a responsibility to ensure that every door opened leads to quality treatment and supports for the care of all Canadians. With dedicated funding and resources, and with the body of evidence available to treat this disorder, we are in a good position to continue to accelerate the response,” said Rita Notarandrea, CEO of CCSA in a statement.
This year’s theme is “Addiction Matters,” and the CCSA intends to share evidence on the main health harms associated with using drugs such as cannabis and alcohol throughout the week.
The week concludes with Canada’s Opioid Conference and Summit, taking place on Nov. 18 and 19. The event will bring together experts to discuss the use of opioids in Canada and hopes to conclude with commitments from provincial and national leaders to bring about change.
“The opioid crisis we are faced with today has highlighted the dichotomy between stigma and reality. This public health issue has exposed the depth to which harmful use of substances and addiction affects all of us, and it has signalled an urgent need for changes to our system of care to enable it to better respond to those suffering from problematic substance use and addiction,” added Notarandrea.
This week not only aims to shed light on the problem of substance abuse in Canada but also to be a catalyst of change, bringing aboard leaders from all levels of government.
“For many of us touched personally or in our daily work, we know the time has come for a national, comprehensive approach to address problematic substance use and addiction in Canada. We have to address the gaps that the opioid crisis has shown us exist, such as in the availability of and access to services that have been proven to be effective or in the capacity of health professionals to provide the needed response.
“To be successful, we must ensure that we leverage existing investments, give a voice to those affected, coordinate our efforts, and use evidence to bring about the needed changes in treatments and supports. We must ensure that we have a good understanding of the science behind the disorder and that we help the millions of individuals who are suffering to regain control over their lives and to lead productive lives in recovery,” stated Notarandrea.
Visit @CCSACanada and @CCLTCanada for facts on substance abuse in Canada throughout this week and join the conversation using the hashtags NAAWCanada and #SMTPCanada.
To learn more about CCSA or about NAAW click here.
To learn more about the resources available through the Canadian Armed Forces visit the CAF website or contact the Member Assistance Program by calling 1-800-268-7708.