Addiction is a complicated topic, and there are many different types. Here’s information about addiction and substance use.
People can become addicted to substances, like alcohol or other drugs. This is sometimes called a ‘substance use dependence’. Addiction can also happen when a behaviour becomes out of control in some way, like problem gambling.
People use substances for many different reasons. Someone may use alcohol to wind down at the end of a long, busy week. A teenager may use cannabis with friends to be social. Someone who has been injured may use opioid medication to manage their pain.
People can use substances – in these ways and others – without experiencing substance use challenges. Substances can also cause harm without addiction. For example, someone could use an illicit substance for the first time and experience a fatal overdose.
There are common misconceptions about addiction. More and more, the conversation about addiction is changing. People are becoming more aware of using words and language that reduce stigma.
If someone has not experienced addiction themselves or with a person they care about, there may be things about this condition they do not know.
Addiction is a health condition – it is the result of external factors, not personal choices. There are often different reasons behind someone’s addiction.
Where to get 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 4 Resources
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.
Drug Checking Sites (BCCSU)
The illicit drug supply in B.C. is extremely toxic. Use free drug checking services at supervised consumption and overdose prevention sites.
BC Responsible & Problem Gambling Program and Help Hotline
Free, confidential gambling support and information is available via phone or video conferencing.