Drug Addiction Treatment in Canada – Guide & Resources

Drug Addiction Treatment in Canada – Guide & Resources

Drug addiction is more common than you think. In fact, 10% of adults in the United States have dealt with drug addiction at some point in their lives. It’s an overwhelming experience for any individual to confront, especially if they don’t have the support of their loved ones or drug addiction treatment.

For most people, overcoming drug addiction can seem like an uphill battle. But the first step in any battle is to understand what exactly you are dealing with. 

So what is drug addiction? And how can you find help for drug addiction?

Drug addiction is defined as a neurobiological disorder where somebody is unable to stop engaging with drug use. 

It can be affected by environmental, genetic, and mental health factors. Genetics alone can account for 40-60% of a person’s risk of addiction, so knowing what your risk level ranks at is very helpful when it comes to treating or preventing addiction.

In this article, we’re going to discuss:

  • the best treatment for drug addiction
  • where to find help for drug addiction
  • how to help a drug addict


Read ahead to find out how you can help yourself or the loved one in your life in addiction relief.

Treatment Approaches For Drug Addiction

If you’re looking to maximize the effectiveness of your drug addiction treatment, there are a few main addiction drug treatment options you should incorporate into your approach or plan. 

  1. Medication
  2. Behavioural Counseling
  3. Long-Term Follow-Up


Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a method of treating the physical dependence aspect of drug addiction.

Withdrawal is a challenging stage of treating addiction that may result in symptoms such as nausea, cold sweat, anxiety, fatigue, depression, and more. 

The right medication can ease the physical sensations of withdrawal and manage other issues along the way. Establishing regular brain function is essential to recovery from drug addiction, and medication can fix prior chemical imbalances in the brain to prevent relapses. 

In addition, many patients who suffer from drug addiction struggle with mental health disorders as well. Prescribing the right medication treats mental health issues such as depression or anxiety that could be exacerbating the addiction in the first place.

However, medication is not the end-all solution in rehab for drug addiction. Medical treatment for drug addiction should only be performed under the supervision of a specialist, due to potential side effects arising from the combination of medication. 

Behavioural Counseling

behavioural counselling

Behavioural counseling is focused on alleviating the negative impact of mental health issues on one’s life. 

Drug addiction has a physical component, but the dependency that develops from drug use is mental as well. That’s why behavioural counseling has the potential to improve attitudes related to drug use. Developing a positive mindset and willingness to change could be enough to make or break treatment of drug addiction.

There are three types of behavioural counseling:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Identifies underlying thought patterns to develop personal coping strategies that help effectively deal with mental disorders rather than avoiding or escaping into them.
  • Motivational Interviewing: A guided form of conversation where a trainer draws out underlying issues or motivations through listening and suggesting. This eventually empowers the patient to change their behaviour and live a healthier lifestyle.
  • Family Therapy: Normally used with adolescents, this type of therapy addresses specific reasons for drug use to improve family relationships to prevent relapse. An unstable home environment increases the risk of addiction, so it’s important to create a supportive home environment to improve the wellbeing of addicted people.


Of course, it’s not necessary to simply pick one type of treatment for drug addiction. Counselors may mix and match to find the best combination of therapies for a given patient. Personalized approaches work best when it comes to improving mental health.

Long-Term Follow-Up

Once someone has eliminated mental and physical reliance on substances, it’s time to look at the long-term approach: preventing relapse.

Why is preventing relapse so important? 

85% of people who get help for drug addiction relapse within a year. The shockingly high number speaks to a lack of sustainable change. Relapse prevention focuses on the long-term key to sobriety instead of just short-term change. While it may include the aforementioned approaches such as medication and behavioural counseling, other helpful behaviours include:

  1. Understanding and Avoiding Triggers: If you know that being near other drug-addicted people will trigger your own substance use disorder, try to avoid being around them.
  2. Self-Care: Focus on eating and sleeping well, maintaining a structured schedule, working out, and other healthy practices.
  3. Finding Social Support: Seek out the help of your family, addiction support groups, or friends.
  4. Practicing Grounding Techniques: The 5-4-3-2-1 technique helps with getting through stressful moments by grounding you in the present moment. Acknowledge 5 things you see around you, 4 things you can touch around you, 3 things you can hear around you, 2 things you can smell around you, and 1 thing you can taste.


Caring for yourself means dedicating time and energy to maintain a sustainable sense of wellbeing. This will help prevent relapse in the long run.

Treatment Programs For Drug Addiction

treatment program

Now that you understand how drug addiction treatment works in the abstract, it’s time to take a look at places to go for help with drug addiction in Canada.

Here’s a shortlist of addiction programs, sorted by area:

  • Neworld Medical Detox (Ontario)
  • Portage Quebec (Quebec)
  • Options Okanagan Treatment Center (British Columbia)
  • iRecover Drug Addiction Treatment Center (Alberta)
  • Addiction Foundations of Manitoba (Manitoba)


Here’s a table comparing these places to get help for drug addiction by several different criteria:

Average Cost What Drugs They Offer Detox For Treatment Offered Post-Treatment Support
Neworld Medical Detox N/A (not disclosed) Alcohol, Methadone, Opioids
  • Medical detox program
  • 24/7 medical care
  • Post-detox exit plan
  • Lab drug testing
  • Meditation sessions
Counselor provides custom post-detox plan
Portage Quebec N/A (not disclosed) Drug and alcohol
  • Family Services
  • Social Reintegration
  • Addiction Education
  • Aftercare
Yes; mostly focused on post-treatment reintegration into society
Options Okanagan Treatment Center $13500 (30 days) – $40500 (90 days) Drug and alcohol
  • Family Programs
  • Drug and alcohol interventions
  • Outpatient treatment centers
  • Alcohol Anonymous
Yes; provides counseling aftercare and drop-ins 
iRecover Drug Addiction Treatment Center N/A (not disclosed), open to multiple payment options and accepts grants Drugs and alcohol (Adderall, Amphetamine, Beer, Crack, Morphine, etc.)
  • Medically supervised detox
  • Addiction treatment programs
    • Medication management
    • Counseling
    • Fitness and nutrition
Yes; provides a lifetime aftercare program
Addiction Foundations of Manitoba N/A (not disclosed) Alcohol, drugs, and gambling
  • Counseling and support
  • Health education
  • Addictions medication access
Provides education, no built-in follow-up

These are just a few of the options for drug addiction treatment in Canada. They serve as a good starting point for you to start looking into what methods of drug addiction treatment are available.

Types Of Drug Addiction Treatment

With the treatment approaches for drug addiction treatment out of the way, let’s take a look at the core tenants of how to get help for drug addiction:

  • Addiction counseling
  • Inpatient and outpatient rehab
  • Free drug addiction treatment vs. private drug addiction treatment

Addiction Counseling

After the earlier discussion of counseling for drug addiction, it’s time to break down how addiction counseling functions. 

Here are the main steps in addiction counseling: 

  1. Understanding the client and their mental health
  2. Planning treatment
  3. Counseling and crisis management
  4. Ancillary services
  5. Keeping paperwork


Mental health plays a huge role in the propensity for addiction, so it’s important for counselors to understand their client’s underlying mental health issues that can strongly impact the drug addiction recovery process. 

After gaining a comprehensive understanding of the client, the counselor needs to plan an overarching treatment plan. This includes the core issues to address, medication to recommend, and post-treatment aftercare.

While counseling deals with the long-term mental and health issues in a client’s life, the counselor also needs to be present during times when the client is managing extra challenging moments, such as relapse or mental health crises. Their support during these times may be critical to the overall recovery effort.

A quality counselor should recognize that they cannot serve as the only source of support in a client’s life and encourage them to seek out other systems or services to maintain stability. This may include support groups, medication, medical treatment, and more depending on the specific case.

Additionally, documenting the client’s addiction recovery process is extremely helpful when a client is seeking to understand their own journey toward sobriety. Counselors should keep the documentation carefully organized and strictly confidential.

Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab

In concert with addiction counseling, treatment programs for drug addiction provide the best support for a comprehensive recovery.

Treatment programs come in two types: 

  • Inpatient Rehab: Residential treatment programs designed for serious addiction. These are especially useful during the early stages of treatment where withdrawal may cause medical issues that need professional treatment. They do not provide as much freedom or flexibility as an outpatient program.
  • Outpatient Rehab: Part-time programs that provide counseling and occasional medical treatment. These are flexible in allowing the user to attend school or go to work as needed, in addition to seeking outside support during their drug addiction treatment.


Different programs may work better for different users, as seen here:

Success Rate Expense Disruptiveness Social Support
Inpatient Rehab High Expensive High Low
Outpatient Rehab Low (better for follow-up aftercare) Mid-tier depends on treatment methods Low High


Free Drug Addiction Treatment vs. Private Drug Addiction Treatment

There are two avenues for seeking drug addiction treatment: public programs and private programs. 

While public programs are more accessible to the average person due to lower costs, they tend to be of lower quality as well due to underfunding. You’ll need to do a lot of research if you need help finding public drug and alcohol treatment in Alberta and other parts of Canada.

Meanwhile, private programs are less accessible, but usually provide higher quality, more attentive personalized care due to better funding.

There is no singular path for how to cure addiction. Each recovering drug addict may have a different preference or be better suited for a different method of drug addiction rehab treatment. It’s up to the patient or family to do their own research and find out which method is best.

How To Help A Drug Addict

help a drug addict

Now that you know where you can get help for drug addiction, it’s time to consider how to help a loved one who is suffering from drug addiction.

Here are some tips to consider when looking into how to approach a person with drug addiction:

  1. Do your homework
  2. Communicate
  3. Avoid lecturing or threatening
  4. Provide social support


Gaining a comprehensive outlook on addiction is the first step and will help you become a better ally to your loved ones in their battle against addiction. Keep in mind that addiction is not a choice. Oftentimes, it starts by accident. 21-29% of people who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.

Be open about your concerns, but don’t forget to listen to their problems. If possible, offer solutions that are backed up by research. Most importantly, encourage them to seek treatment and provide positive feedback when they do so. This can go a long way toward improving their success rate in getting help for drug addiction.

Additionally, avoid expressing your resentment about their battle with drug addiction. Once again, keep in mind that nobody chooses to be addicted to drugs. Inciting negative emotions will only lead them down a dark path.

Having a source of social support is immensely helpful for somebody going through the challenges of addiction. In fact, patients receiving treatment for drug abuse reported significantly higher baseline support compared to those who refused to receive treatment. Understanding how to talk to someone with addiction can make or break their efforts.

It’s nearly impossible for someone who’s not going through the struggles of drug addiction treatment to understand exactly how difficult getting sober is. All the same, you can maintain empathy for your loved one. Strive to empathize rather than judge their struggles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s a quick list of frequently asked questions about addiction to help summarize your learnings.

  • What is the best treatment for drug addiction?
  • How can I find free treatment for drug addiction?
  • How to cure drug addicted person?

What is the best treatment for drug addiction?

Your best treatment plan for addiction will most likely involve a combination of behavioural counseling, medication, and long-term follow-up such as self-care and receiving social support to prevent relapse. 

This treatment may be administered at an inpatient or outpatient program, which will include the above services. Quality rehab for addiction to drugs should provide options for aftercare past the initial process of getting sober.

How can I find free treatment for drug addiction?

In terms of finding free drug addiction treatment, your best bet is to seek out a local government-funded program that provides drug and alcohol addiction treatment for free. Free addiction counseling may be available at a community foundation, so be sure to look into your local drug addiction support groups for what services they provide for free.

For a reduction in price, look into grants that might offer you a discount on the basis of age, race, ethnic background, or disability status.

How do you cure a drug-addicted person?

Unfortunately, there’s no miracle pill among drug addiction treatment methods that offers a guaranteed cure for somebody who is addicted to drugs. Drug addiction and recovery will require mental, physical, and emotional transformation, which can only be accomplished through consistent, sustainable efforts to stay sober. 

Even so, that’s no reason to lose hope. Relapsing does not mean you have “failed” addiction drug rehab. It’s a continuous process where you may gain or lose ground depending on the given day. What matters is that you keep working persistently toward long-term change.

Closing Thoughts On Drug Addiction Treatment In Canada

addiction treatment

In this article you’ve learned:

  •  the best treatment for drug addiction
  • where to find help for drug addiction
  • how to help a drug addict

Just remember, seeking drug addiction treatment is just the first step. 

If you are looking for information on the topic, be sure to look into credible sources such as Canada Drug Rehab, which provides a comprehensive directory for addiction treatment in Canada. 

To find the right treatment for drug addiction, try to find someone who specializes in intervention and treatment. 

With years of expertise and personal experience with addiction, Andy Bhatti provides empathetic counseling for families seeking help with the addiction of a loved one, offering the impetus for them to start addiction treatment. 

At the end of the day, long-term change is the name of the game. Seeking out drug addiction help is the first impactful step toward a long journey of recovery. It may be challenging, but with the right support systems in place, there is plenty of opportunities to live drug-free.

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