Making Connections

Substance Abuse and Addictions in Canada: Drug abuse has been a growing problem all around the world, even in Canada. Drug use and abuse in Canada is a problem that not only impacts the lives of people with addictions and their families, but also costs taxpayers $22.8 billion per year. Over the past decade, Canada has grown from a minor drug producer to the major supplier of drugs such as ecstasy and methamphetamine in the world. Canadian methamphetamine products have been seized in sizable quantities in countries such as Australia, the United States and even Japan.

Therapeutic and Expressive Art Integrated with Addictions Counselling: Art therapy plays a key role in addiction treatment in many rehab facilities. Extensive research demonstrates its ability to teach residents nonaddictive self-soothing techniques, improve affect regulation, increase positive self- image through self-expression, and promote healthy self-reflection. A study of art therapy programs in substance abuse treatment published in the Journal of Addictions Nursing found that 36.8 percent of programs in the study sample offered art therapy as part of a comprehensive rehab program. This study also found that art therapy was particularly successful when combined with therapies that focus on motivating clients and encouraging active participation.

Addictions and Social Determinants of Health: The experience of addiction or substance use is different for each individual, and often there is a combination of biological, psychological and social factors that can contribute to why a person may be struggling with an addiction or substance use. For example, some of the risk factors for addiction include: a person’s genes, the way a person’s brain functions, previous experiences of trauma, cultural influences, or social issues such as poverty and other barriers to accessing the social determinants of health. The social determinants of health are the social and economic conditions in a person’s life that can play a significant role on a person’s overall wellness and can impact addiction and substance use related issues.