Are Canadian systems setting those experiencing addiction up for relapse?

By Danae Ingram

There are many across the country who are impacted by addiction. With 21% of Canadians meeting the criteria for addiction at some point in their lifetime, it’s become a real issue that the government has had to respond to.

But are the programs available to those seeking sobriety enough to support them on their journey to recovery, or are they actually setting them up for relapse?

The Saskatchewan Medical Association’s (SMA) conference voiced its concerns recently about the success of those programs currently offered to residents.

While the typical in-patient recovery period in Canada lasts less than a month, the real truth is that to see any real, permanent change in habits, strict dedication to recovery needs to be followed for up to a year or more to see life-changing transformations.

“What do we offer people? Seven to 10 days of detox and then 28 days in an in-patient bed,” said Dr. Peter Butt, Chair of the SMA’s addiction medicine section to the Minister of Mental Heath and Addictions. “When it comes to cancer care, we don’t think twice about providing care until they’re in remission.”

“A better system needs to be put in place that provides long-term solutions so that our community members who need the help, don’t feel like they have been left out in the dark to fend for themselves,” says Matt Barbour, Director for Centre Operations at Teen Challenge Canada. “Teen Challenge Canada provides a fundamental part of the solution to our clients.”

Teen Challenge provides a faith-based, 12-month, 3-phase core program that through community with staff and others in recovery, clients learn to care and be cared for again. Working with an Accredited Addiction Counselor, clients learn healthy habits, cope with their pain, and reorient themselves into the community as sustainable, strong individuals.

How can we help support those on their recovery journey?

You can make a difference!

Do you have a vehicle you don’t want or need?

Consider donating it to Teen Challenge Canada to support those recovering from addiction in your community. It doesn’t matter if it works, Teen Challenge will come and get it. All vehicle donations receive a fair market tax receipt, with a guaranteed minimum of $600.

If your old vehicle is ready to go to help change a life, go to or call 1 (800) 856-8902.

To learn more about the ministry of Teen Challenge Canada, go to

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