If one wishes to understand what the problem is with helping drug addicts from all walks of life in Canada it’s best to start with knowing what our healthcare system is. In Canada we have a group of “socialized” health insurance plans, these are intended to provide coverage to ALL Canadians. The administration of this system is ran on a provincial and territorial basis, publicly funded and handled with guidelines as established by the federal government.
Interesting enough under this care system, each citizen is provided medical treatment and preventive care by primary physicians, including access to hospitals, surgery and other medical services. All Canadians qualify for health coverage, despite their medical history, income or lifestyle. As taken off of Health Canada’s own website page on their “mission and vision”:
“Health Canada is committed to improving the lives of all of Canada’s people and to making this country’s population among the healthiest in the world as measured by longevity, lifestyle and effective use of the public health care system.”
If this is the case, then how is it that there are hundreds of thousands of Canadians suffering from addiction that cannot get the help that they are actually asking for? It’s a well-known fact that if you don’t have $5000 to $20000 for private residential treatment then the only option is, GET IN LINE! There are families across Canada that are dealing with a relative’s addiction and when they attempt to contact a government-run facility it’s like traveling through a beehive.
People with addiction to drugs such as heroin, cocaine, crack and even prescription drugs are not getting the instant service that is needed. In fact many are told that they first need an assessment, which makes sense but instead of entering that day into treatment the person is told to fill out a variety of forms, then to come to another appointment for further assessment and this is then followed by “you have to wait until a bed is available…” In other words GET IN LINE.
When addiction is at the point where the addict has reached out for help it should be available right there and then. You can’t put an addict on hold with substance abuse, most can’t stay away from their drug of choice for more than a day or so because of the withdrawal symptoms that some drugs have. When the drug is not taken, the body’s depleted nutrition kicks in, soar muscles, anxieties, shakes, tremors, aches and pains, mood swings, and a list of other side effects from not having the drug that numbs the body and mind. In many instances, government facilities will even state that the addict must be clean for 3 to 4 days before entering their rehab. This makes no sense, if an addict can stay clean for that amount of time why would he or she enter a rehab?
Even though the funded treatment centers are unable to care for the demand across the country they still manage to help some people live sober lives. If the government wants more tax money then it should handle the hundreds of thousands that are suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. If each were given a real chance at sobriety as stated in Health Canada’s mission statement and vision, these recovered addicts would be working, buying homes, raising families, contributing to the productivity of our society and paying taxes.
Until then, relatives of a drug addict can do something by encouraging the addict to seek help and use the private system but also write to your politician to change the system for substance abuse and make it so everyone can achieve sober living.