National Addictions Awareness Week November 21st – 27th

According to the World Drug Report 2021, around 275 million people have used illegal drugs in 2020. The same report states the number of women taking illegal drugs is rising.

National Addictions Awareness Week (NAAW) was created to raise awareness of problematic drug use in Canada as well as fundraise and direct initiatives to help people living with substance abuse and addictions.

This year’s NAAW coincides with the Issues of Substance 2021 virtual conference, run by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction (CCSA). This conference is a partnership between the CCSA and Mental Health Commission of Canada and aims to share the latest substance abuse and addiction research and spark important conversations about substance abuse and recovery.

Visit the CCSA to find out more about their upcoming conference, initiatives to combat addiction and help those living with substance abuse and addiction. 

What are Addictions?

Psychology Today defines addiction as the repetitive behaviour or substance use that persists, despite the detrimental consequences to a person’s health or life. Addictions may involve the use of alcohol, opioids or behaviours such as gambling.


What Are the Symptoms of an Addiction?

It can be difficult to admit you have an addiction and difficult to tell if someone you love has one. Addiction has a lot of shame attached and addiction sufferers often try and hide the symptoms from others.

In addition, the signs and symptoms of an addiction depend on what substance is causing them, as well as how long the addiction has been going on.

Some general symptoms of substance abuse include:

  • Depression
  • Drastic weight changes
  • Problems with relationships (friends & family)
  • Severe mood swings
  • Withdrawal from usual activities


Why is Gender Important in How We Think about Addiction?

The World Drug Report 2021 writes that women tend to begin using substances later in life than men, but tend to increase the rate of consumption of alcohol, cannabis, opioids and cocaine faster than men. As such, they may develop a drug use disorder quicker than men. Women are also more likely than men to suffer from certain substance abuse addictions, such as sedative drug use.

This is important information as it can help direct initiatives to detect and treat substance abuse and addiction in women.


How Can I Help Raise Awareness of Addictions?

There are many charities and organizations offering help and support for those living with addictions, which includes sufferers as well as their families.

To find out more about help available in Canada, as well as how to donate and get involved, please click on the links below.

Addiction Center

Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse and Addiction

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Families for Addiction Recovery

National Addictions Awareness Week