New survey on addiction in Canada reveals effective paths to recovery

published on June 13, 2017 by Nick Eagland in Vancouver Sun

A new national survey on recovery from drug and alcohol addiction shows promising results for those who manage to overcome the multiple hurdles in accessing treatment.

A panel of Canadian addiction experts met Tuesday in Vancouver to present key findings from the survey, titled Life in Recovery from Addiction in Canada.

Conducted last spring by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, along with the National Recovery Advisory Committee, the survey had 855 Canadian men and women respond to an online questionnaire describing their recovery experiences. Just under half of the respondents lived in B.C.

The panelists said Tuesday that they were surprised to learn that while close to 83 per cent of respondents said they faced barriers initiating recovery, 54 per cent experienced no barriers in sustaining it and 51 per cent didn’t have a single relapse.

Among the biggest barriers, respondents cited the belief that they weren’t ready or their problem wasn’t serious (55 per cent), worry about what people would think of them (50 per cent), not knowing where to turn for help (36 per cent), a lack of supportive networks (30 per cent) and long delays for treatment (25 per cent).

About 47 per cent experienced barriers specific to accessing treatment, with most related to the cost, diversity and quality of programs, as well as delays and a lack of mental-health and emotional support.

Marshall Smith, senior adviser for recovery initiatives at the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, said the 79-page document proves that long-term, sustainable recovery is attainable.

However, he believes Canadians must acknowledge stigmas’ role in forming those barriers — it affected 49 per cent of respondents while they were in active addiction — and how addiction is impacting a broad range of people, including substance-users living in suburban homes and holding jobs.

“Individuals with substance-use disorders are capable of changing, growing and becoming positively connected to the broader community,” he said.

View the full article