Public Drug Rehab Centres Aren’t Enough to Combat Addiction in Canada

Public Drug Rehab Centres Aren’t Enough to Combat Addiction in Canada

Health and Fitness August 10, 2016

Substance abuse in canada

Gwyn Staddon, a 16-year-old from British Columbia, died in a Starbucks restroom this week, reports CBC. Veronica Staddon, the mother of the victim, said that her daughter suffered from substance abuse, specifically fentanyl. While Staddon did try to admit her daughter to a public clinic, the wait lists were too long and she was unable to afford any private drug rehab centre.

Just four months prior, British Columbia declared a public health emergency due to the number of drug-related deaths. 31% of these deaths were caused by fentanyl, the same drug that took the life of Gwyn Staddon?a vast increase from just five percent of deaths in 2012. If the number of overdoses in the Province continue at this rate, British Columbia projects seeing up to 800 drug-related deaths in 2016.

While public facilities are free, they often do not have enough beds to accomodate the patients, as Staddon recounted. Nearly 47,000 Canadians lose their lives due to addiction, even after the Canadian healthcare system has spent $8 billion ondrug rehab centres. Staddon said that it would have cost her $50,000 to send her daughter to a private rehab to receive proper care.

People with mental illnesses are twice as likely to begin a drug addiction and more than 20% of these people will continue to abuse substances, while one third of the population that suffers from addiction will encounter a mental health disorder. The Globe and Mail reports that mental health is not a priority in the Canadian healthcare system, and similar to the wait time for public drug rehab centres, obtaining a psychiatric referral could take weeks on end. Seeing as though almost three quarters of mental health problems begin during childhood, the chance for early onset addiction is increased tremendously.

It isn’t just hard drugs that Canadians have succumbed to; Canadian’s consume 50% more alcohol than the global population, making it the most abused substance in the country aside from tobacco. As alcohol is the third highest cause of disease and injury, drug rehab centres have a high number of patients to attend to, but not enough resources to make a significant difference.

Great references here.