Addiction and Health
Not all people who use substances experience challenges. In fact, people use substances for a variety of reasons including relaxation, enhancing social experiences, exploring new ideas, and coping with anxiety or other health-related conditions.
Take alcohol for example – many people use this mind-altering substance in safe and enjoyable ways.
For some however, substance use has the potential to lead to addiction and other unhappy and unhealthy experiences.
More and more, problematic substance use is understood as a response to a variety of life circumstances including grief, trauma, and abuse.
What causes addiction?
Addiction is complex. There are a range of personal, social, economic, and environmental factors that influence how substance use affects someone.
Every person’s experience is different and everyone has the right to control their own health and wellbeing, including when it comes to substance use and addiction.
Addiction is a health condition. When someone uses substances, changes can occur in their brain, making it challenging for them to stop using substances, especially if they don’t have access to supports to reduce harm or begin their recovery.
Some of the factors that may contribute to substance use include:
- Traumatic events
- Childhood trauma
- Intergenerational trauma
- Physical pain
- Mental health challenges
- Notions of masculinity
Find help for addiction
- Find Opioid Agonist Treatment Clinics that are accepting new patients.
- Learn about treatment and supportive recovery services and find a list of services throughout B.C.
- Call 8-1-1 for information on recovery and addiction treatment services in your area, or to speak to a registered nurse or pharmacist.
Showing 6 Resources
Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service
Provides a free, confidential phone service for people throughout BC needing help with any kind of substance use concern. Offers information and referral to education and prevention resources, support groups, and a full range of counselling and treatment services. Not a clinical service.
First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day
Free access to primary and mental health care closer to home for First Nations people who have limited or no access to doctors.
Provides a free phone app that brings emergency responders to people who may be having an overdose on drugs while alone. Provided in partnership with regional health authorities and Lifeguard Digital Health.<br /><br />The app is activated by the user before they take their dose. If the user doesn't hit a button after a set amount of time, a text-to-voice call will go to 9-1-1, alerting emergency medical dispatchers of a possible overdose.
Overdose Prevention Sites Listings (Toward the Heart)
Locations where people can safely use drugs under supervision of staff trained in emergency response. Services are free.
Naloxone Information and Support
Learn how to use naloxone to help stop an overdose and save lives. Pick up a free naloxone kit at a location near you.
BC Responsible & Problem Gambling Program and Help Hotline
Free, confidential gambling support and information is available via phone or video conferencing.