Addiction Abroad: Canada

06/23/20: Addiction
Substance abuse is not limited to the boundaries of certain countries and has become one of the most troubling issues worldwide. As much as the United States is suffering from the massive wave of substance abuse cases, there are certain countries that are not far behind. Canada is one such country. With significant issues regarding addiction and substance abuse, Canada is witnessing various problems most of which are continuing to become worse. The issue is common across the globe and in Canada as well. Even if you are a resident and haven't experienced addiction yet, there is a high chance you might know someone who has or is currently struggling with addiction. Approximately, 5% of the world's population has used an illegal substance and nearly 250 million people around the world are suffering from alcohol abuse disorder. In Canada, the figures are equally disturbing with 21% of the population claiming to have experienced addiction at some point.

Addiction in Canada

Canada is one of many countries that is currently affected by addiction disorder. Like the United States, Canada is also suffering from an opioid pandemic wave that has suddenly surged the hospitalization and death cases in the country. In the year 2019, around 24% of the population felt that the opioid issue is a nationwide crisis while the other 46% believed it to be a serious problem.

Alcohol Addiction

As per Statistics Canada in 2012, out of all the people who have experienced or are experiencing addiction disorder in the country, around 18% are suffering from alcohol addiction. This number grew to 19.5% in 2017 making alcohol the most misused substance as compared to other commonly abused ones. Of that group, nearly 30% of the drinkers were aged between 18 and 34, while 23% of the addicts were aged between 35 and 49. Even though these figures may not seem frightening enough, the number of alcohol-related hospitalization cases from 2015 through 2017 was more than heart attack patients. If we look at the numbers, more than 78,000 people, suffering from alcohol abuse, were brought to seek medical attention. The stats show how addiction can not only make you suffer but also puts more weight on the system.

Cannabis Addiction

There are various claims regarding marijuana/cannabis and the health benefits it has. However, several medical professionals still treat marijuana as a mind-altering substance that can cause serious damage to the lungs and our brain. More consumption of cannabis leads to tolerance, which means the body now needs more quantity to get the same effects. Although addiction can develop at any age, it is most likely to engulf young teens as their brains are still developing. As per the Government of Canada, around 10% of people who use cannabis will become addicted to the substance. Also, those who start using cannabis at a younger age are 17% more likely to develop an addiction. For others, daily marijuana consumption has a 25% to 50% chance of developing an addiction. Cannabis is less addictive than alcohol, tobacco, and other illicit drugs, however, long-term use can increase physical dependence on the drug and may result in serious ill-effects.

Methamphetamine Addiction

Meth users are more likely to lose control of their minds and develop aggressive traits that have affected many individuals and their families in Canada. Before the recent spike in prescription opioid abuse, meth addiction has long been a major problem for Canada. Clinics in the country find it difficult to treat people with meth addiction as compared to those with opioid addiction. Methamphetamine has serious effects on the body and makes the individual unpredictable and violent.

Opioid Epidemic and Addiction

Opioids are a class of prescription drugs that include strong painkillers and drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, and morphine. Out of these, fentanyl is the strongest opioid which is considered to be a hundred times more powerful than morphine. Even small amounts of this drug can cause fatalities. Canada is currently hit by a massive wave of the opioid epidemic. As of 2017, around 3,996 Canadians lost their lives as a result of opioid overdose, which is 400% more than the death rate in 1993. In 2018, opioid overdose caused 12 deaths per 100,000 population and the most affected regions were British Columbia and Alberta. However, the number was reduced to 3,286 in the year 2018 and although it is still too high, a slight improvement can be observed. Every year, more Canadians struggle and die due to opioid addiction with the drug fentanyl being the main culprit out of the lot. This opioid alone causes 88% opioid overdose deaths in British Columbia and 100% casualties related to opioid overdose in the Yukon.

Conclusion

Addiction is a major issue worldwide. Preventive measures are taken everywhere to spread knowledge about this disorder so that people realize how harmful it really is. In Canada alone, approximately four people die every day due to car crashes where the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is important to have this message out loud that addiction not only affects your life but also of the people around you. They can be your loved ones or someone you don't even know. Alcohol, drugs, and other such substances restructure the brain, damage our organs, and make our bodies depend on them. This may seem avoidable, but once your body gets hold of the drug, there is no going back even if you try resisting. Still, if you seek medical attention immediately and stop the addiction from getting further into your mind, it can help you live a sober and healthy life. Acting quickly and consulting a medical professional as soon as possible can help you win this battle against addiction.

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