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5 myths surrounding alcohol and drug addiction

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Myth noh 1: addiction is a lack of willpower

It has nothing to dosays Myriam Laventure, professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Sherbrooke and member of the University Institute on Addictions.

– whether it is physical or psychological suffering–, which will lead people to abuse.”,”text”:”From alcohol to opiates, the substance acts on the central nervous system, she explains. Consumption is an adaptive strategy. […] It is the ever-increasing search, often to end suffering – whether physical or psychological – that will lead people to abuse.”}}”>From alcohol to opiates, the substance acts on the central nervous system, she explains. Consumption is an adaptive strategy. […] It is the ever-increasing search, often to end suffering – be it physical or psychological suffering – that will lead people to abuse.

People are caught in a vicious circle. »

A quote from Myriam Laventure, professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke

Myth noh 2: Addiction mainly affects homeless people

The Downtown Eastside, a neighborhood of Vancouver known for its homeless population, has often been considered the Canadian epicenter of the illicit drug overdose crisis. However, for Lisa Lapointe, British Columbia’s Chief Coroner, it’s one of the most frustrating myths she encounters.

Drugs are toxic no matter where you live, your socioeconomic status, or your job. »

A quote from Lisa Lapointe, Chief Coroner of British Columbia
Lisa Lapointe speaks at a press conference.

Lisa Lapointe, BC Coroners Service Chief Coroner, at the press conference regarding the fifth anniversary of the overdose crisis

Photo: TurnedNews.com / MIKE MCARTHUR

Poverty is still a risk factor, as Professor Myriam Laventure points out, but everyone can live with an addictionbecause she has no predefined socio-economic levelshe says.

Myth noh 3: The overdose crisis is a problem of drug addicts

In British Columbia, 2,224 people lost their lives in 2021 due to overdoses, according to the latest data from the Coroners Service. This information reveals that people with severe drug addiction do not account for the majority of deaths.

A group of people walk with white crosses in the street.

Moms Stop the Harm march in Vancouver in April 2021 to mark the fifth anniversary of British Columbia’s public health emergency over deaths from illicit drugs.

Photo: TurnedNews.com / Ben Nelms

You can consume [de la drogue] for the first time; you can be a weekend consumer, or every few days, or dailysays Lisa Lapointe.

Myth noh 4: Treatments are accessible to all

Services for addictions in British Columbia are largely concentrated in downtown Vancouver, while the entire province is affected.

However, access to treatment must be done quickly, and in a place where people can easily go, according to Myriam Laventure. I think we also have to adapt our way of welcoming them, she says. The different approaches are important, because abstinence is not a solution for everyone, according to the professor.

Drug use equipment on the table.

The Two Doors Down supervised consumption center is operated by the non-profit POUNDS project in Prince George, British Columbia.

Photo: TurnedNews.com / Andrew Kurjata

In British Columbia, there is a safe pharmaceutical supply program for opioids. Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe regularly checks with health authorities to find out how many people have received a prescription entitling them to safe opioids.

The answer is always: “hardly anyone”. »

A quote from Lisa Lapointe, Chief Coroner of British Columbia

Myth noh 5: Addiction is only an illicit drug problem

Not at all; on the contrarysays Myriam Laventure. We often talk about what makes the headlines, but the substance, to date, that is associated with the greatest number of diseases is alcohol.

In British Columbia, risky and excessive drinking often goes unrecognized or untreated by the health care system, says Kevin Hollett, spokesperson for the British Columbia Center for Substance Use. (BC Center on Substance Use). Yet in the country, 1,790 deaths were caused by alcohol among people aged 45 to 64 in 2020, according to Statistics Canada, and 1 in 25 cancer cases is linked to alcohol consumption, according to a study by the Center international cancer research community.

Overhead view of red and white wine bottles.

One in twenty-five cases of cancer is linked to alcohol consumption.

Photo: iStock/kieferpix

Alcohol being socially accepted, it worries less than illegal drugs. We fear it lessadds Myriam Laventure.

The professor, an expert in the prevention of addictions, concludes that people suffering from addiction, no more than the members of their entourage, should not hesitate to ask for help. Even if the person is not ready to go to a doctor or to reduce their consumption, the member of the entourage can receive help for themselvesshe adds.

With information from Bethany Lindsay

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