If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, you know how difficult it can be to navigate recovery on your own. Luckily, there are some free resources available to help get you on the right track.
I'm not going to lie to you, this list was not easy to compile. A majority of the addiction, recovery, and rehabilitation services across Canada are expensive, inaccessible, or have long wait lists (which can, at times, be the difference between life and death). This often leaves people with one of two options: get into a paid service immediately, or put your name on a wait list for free services.
This list was created in partnership with Drug Rehab Services a free resource for drug and alcohol addiction in Canada. They have referred thousands of people to resources that have helped them with their addiction recovery. Their goal is to get the best advice possible so that you or a loved one can live a fulfilled life free from drugs and alcohol.
*Please note that if you are struggling with addiction, you can visit your Family Doctor or local health care provider who can recommend or refer you to other services (including some of the services below). If you or someone you love is using street drugs, please take the time to review our harm reduction tips below to keep you and your loved ones safe.
1 Families for Addiction Recovery
Families for Addiction Recovery is a national charity founded by parents of children who have struggled with addiction. Their goal is long-term recovery for those with addiction and their families. They offer parent-to-parent support for families struggling with addiction, and are a voice for families to influence government policy. FAR offer one-on-one phone support, online parent support groups, and free phone line support. As those struggling with addiction may find it hard to advocate for themselves, FAR is a great starting point for parents/loved ones.
2 Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinic
Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinic (RAAM) help their clients address substance dependence through multiple programs in various locations across Ontario. Self-referral and walk-ins are welcome, health care providers can refer to the RAAM, medical services are paid for by OHIP, and it is for people of all ages, including youth.
WHO IT IS FOR: People of all ages (including youth) in Ontario CONTACT: 1-844-722-2977; or walk-in to one of their locations
3. Renascent Addiction Treatment Centre
Renascent facilitates recovery, education, and prevention relating to substance addictions through a continuum of programs and services for individuals, families and organizations. They offer comprehensive person-centred addiction treatment programs in safe, caring environments. Renascent is one of the largest residential treatment providers in Ontario; they offer gender-specific treatment in one of their four centres in Toronto and Durham, and offer evidence-based treatment with proven outcomes. They offer immediate access through continuous daily admissions. WHO IT IS FOR: People of all ages in Ontario CONTACT: 1-844-340-8765 / firstname.lastname@example.org
4 CAMH Addiction Recovery Services
provides a wide range of clinical care services for patients of all ages and families. They have multiple programs for people struggling with addiction, including programs specifically for youth, women, LGBTQ+, aboriginal service, alcohol dependance, nicotine dependance, family addiction services, gambling and technology support, emergency department, and many more. With a dedicated staff of more than 3,000 physicians, clinicians, researchers, educators and support staff, CAMH offers clinical care to more than 34,000 patients each year.
WHO IT IS FOR: People of all ages in Ontario CONTACT: Self-referral accepted through Access CAMH: 416 535-8501, option 2.
5 Harvest House
Harvest House was founded with the goal of preparing residents to re-enter society – a task that requires more than addiction treatment alone. Skills development has always been a significant part of achieving this goal. Harvest House serves young men between the ages of 16 and 30 who struggle with addictions, growing into a 24-bed main facility and an additional 4 re-entry houses.
WHO IT IS FOR: Inpatient Christian Faith-Based Drug Rehab for Men in Ottawa
CONTACT: email@example.com / 613-521-9114
6 Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre
Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre offers alternative addiction services to women. Amethyst is committed to working with diverse and marginalized groups of women. Their aim is to support women, individually and together, to take control of factors affecting our health and well-being. They partner with many community organizations to provide their Health Promotion Programs in various locations throughout the city.
WHO IT IS FOR: Outpatient Drug Rehab for Women (Including Pregnant Women) in both French and English in Ottawa
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org / (613) 563-0363
7 McDougall House
For more than 50 years, McDougall House has helped women struggling with substance misuse to find their way from hopelessness to hope. The essence of McDougall House is a home that offers dignity, respect, and above all, safety for women embarking on their personal journey of recovery. They provide a comprehensive assessment and individualized treatment plans. The program is abstinence-based with a focus on the individual core issues which often serve to maintain the cycle of addiction.
WHO IT IS FOR: Women 18 years of age and over in Edmonton
CONTACT: (780) 426-1409
8 Anchorage Booth Centre
The Anchorage Program provides a spectrum of services to men and women battling addictions. Using client-centred therapy that follows a bio-psycho-social model, the qualified Anchorage staff aims to facilitate personal development, mental wellness and support an addiction-free lifestyle. Services include: a 60-day Primary care program, comprehensive addiction assessment, group therapy, capacity for 32 participants, meals, emergency clothing depot, and aftercare residential program.
WHO IT IS FOR: Inpatient Drug Rehab with an Aftercare Program in Winnipeg
CONTACT: email@example.com / +1 204 946 9400
9 Native Courtworker And Counselling Association of BC
The Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia provides culturally-appropriate services to Indigenous people and communities consistent with their needs. Their services provide access to counselling and referral services for clients with substance abuse and detox support issues. They are there to assist you in making the transition from withdrawal towards a drug-free lifestyle. WHO IT IS FOR: Detoxification and Outpatient Program for First Nations in Vancouver
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org / 604-985-5355
10 Victoria Addictions and Rehabilitations Centre (ARC)
The Victoria Addictions and Rehabilitations Centre (ARC) is a 147 bed facility that has been situated in downtown Victoria for nearly 30 years. Their multipurpose facility makes every effort to give its residents the opportunity to live in a safe drug and alcohol free environment. They offer the following programs: 21 shelter beds for men, 50 beds for men released from correctional centres and re-entering the community, 84 beds for men who have completed treatment and are preparing to live independently, 6 beds for youth aged 13-18, more than 3000+ meals provided each month, as well as spiritual support and counselling.
WHO IT IS FOR: Inpatient Drug Rehab for Adolescents, Transitional Housing and Shelter for Men in Victoria, British Columbia
CONTACT: 250-384-3396 / Contact form
Sagashtawao Healing Lodge - http://www.sagashtawao.ca/
Inpatient Drug Rehab, First Nations
Maison Renaissance - http://maisonrenaissance.ca/
Inpatient and Outpatient Drug Rehab in Ontario - All in French
Alcove Addiction Recovery for Women - https://www.alcoverecovery.net/
Inpatient and Holistic Drug Rehab for Women in Calgary
HARM REDUCTION TIPS
Go slow. Take a small amount and wait to see what effect it has on you before doing more.
Don’t use alone. Be sure you are with people you trust, and who know what to do in an emergency (have a Naloxone kit nearby in case of overdose).
How you use the drug changes the strength or potency. Smoking, injecting, snorting, and inhaling act quickly while swallowing, eating, or drinking act slowly and can lead to an accidental overdose.
Watch how other people behave but remember that not everyone responds in the same way.
Use in moderation. Use a reasonable amount. Don’t binge use.
Don’t share needles, pipes or any other equipment with anyone (don't use a needle more than once).
Don’t drive while under the influence.
Don’t mix. Avoid using different substances (including alcohol) at the same time. For more information on mixing medicine, alcohol and drugs check out drugcocktails.ca.
If you take antidepressants and MDMA at the same time, it can cause serotonin syndrome. The signs of serotonin syndrome include very high fever, sickness, dangerously high blood pressure, heart problems and can result in death.
If you mix diazepam and opioids, it may cause slowed breathing, and even death. They are both central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which means they slow the brain.
Take a break once in a while from your drug use. If you decide to take a longer break, be mindful that your tolerance level to the drug you used may change, and that you may not need to take as much to get the same effect.
Consider carrying a Naloxone kit.
Talk to someone you trust. It can be helpful to talk about what you’re feeling with a friend, family member, teacher, coach or reaching out to someone who has been there like a Peer Support worker.