Substance abuse is on the rise worldwide, and if you think Canada is immune to it, you may want to think again. From cocaine to prescription narcotics, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, with more than 47,000 annual deaths being linked to substance abuse.

Let’s take a look at Canada’s top drug issues and how it’s affecting those who abuse:


Commonly referred to as marijuana, this drug still has risks and harms associated with it such as a loss of memory, depression, breathing problems and an increased risk of psychosis. Even though there has been a slight decrease in usage since 2008, 28 percent of individuals, ages 15 and older, admitted to using the drug almost daily.


In Canada, cocaine is the most commonly injected drug, followed by heroin. It was reported that in 2013, nearly three percent of those 15 to 24, had used cocaine in the past year. This increase, when compared to 2011, nearly doubled in usage. Its long-term effects, when abused daily, can lead to depression, seizures, memory damage, cardiovascular damage and more.

Prescription Opioids

Opioids, even though legal when prescribed by a doctor for chronic pain, can still be abused if it lands in the wrong hands. As opioid abuse continues to rise across the world, Canada is no exception. In 2016, it was said the country ranked second in the world per capita for opioid use. With very few provinces paying close attention to overdose statistics, one finding did find 480 illicit drug overdose deaths in 2015, a 31 percent increase in deaths from 2014 when 366 deaths were reported.

Prescription Sedatives

Since 2010, the use of prescription sedatives has slowly increased, especially among senior citizens, where 14 in every 100 abuse some sort of prescription-based sedative drug. Even though there’s very little Canadian data showcasing the harm with abusing sedatives, it does slow down the body’s functions when being used, which, if continued to be abused, could cause chronic fatigue, a loss of vision, liver damage and much more.

Substance abuse is rampant and won’t be slowing down anytime soon. If you feel like you are part of these statistics, you don’t have to be anymore as long as you know where to find the help. At Westminster House, we’re opened 24 hours per day, seven days a week, and we can help provide a safe and healing environment for those who need help.