Recovery from addiction is attainable and sustainable with the right supports and services in place.
There are many paths to recovery. Early identification and intervention, peer support, mutual aid, outreach and engagement, specialized treatment, relapse prevention and continuing care are all key factors. People in long-term recovery lead rewarding, fulfilling lives, free from the harms of alcohol and other drugs.
Why is recovery from addiction a priority?
Addiction is a health issue that impacts millions of Canadians. It causes harm to individuals, families and communities. Conservative estimates (from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey) found that 4.4% of Canadians met the criteria for a substance use disorder.
The harms associated with alcohol, and illicit and prescription drug use place a considerable strain on our healthcare system and costs our society billions of dollars per year.
Enhancing access to addiction recovery services
Addiction treatment works, and can lead to sustained, long-term recovery. However, barriers can prevent people in need from accessing the services and supports they require. These barriers include a fragmented system of care, a lack of services in rural areas, long wait times, and a need for more medical detox facilities.
Stigma is another significant barrier. Substance abuse must be viewed through the same lens as any other health issue. It is not a moral failing or choice, but a harmful, ingrained behavior that often arises as a result of mental or physical trauma.
Recognizing that people with substance use disorders deserve the same investments and support as those with cancer and other chronic health conditions will go a long way towards building a healthy society.
Supporting the addiction recovery movement in Canada
CCSA, in partnership with the National Recovery Advisory Committee is focusing on changing the conversation about addiction — away from the problem, toward celebrating the solution. This change includes conducting the first-ever Canadian Life in Recovery survey, which aims to explore the life experiences of individuals in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs in Canada, including information on the personal journeys and the different pathways to recovery that exist for Canadians. The survey is now closed and responses are undergoing analysis. Results will be released when ready. For more information, or to request a copy of the final research study results, please email
In January 2015, approximately 50 delegates representing front-line service providers, the research community and addictions organizations, gathered at a first-ever National Summit on Addiction Recovery hosted by CCSA to put forth a common vision and overarching principles to guide a strength-based recovery approach to substance use disorders in Canada. This made-in-Canada approach – in the form of a National Commitment – will bring a recovery focus to policies, practices and programs for the millions of Canadians struggling with addiction.
September is now recognized and celebrated as Recovery month in almost all major cities across Canada, and many in the United States too. Learn more and check for
Recovery Day in your city.
CCSA will continue to bring organizations together to build awareness, challenge social stigma, and celebrate the role that recovery plays in improving the lives of individuals, families, and communities.