Montréal, June 20th, 2023 – Drugs: Help and Referral, a provincial service managed by the Information and Referral Center of Greater Montréal provides listening, support, information, and referrals to people troubled by their drug use, including alcohol and medication, as well as their loved ones. In its recently published 2022-2023 annual report, we can see an increase of 6.3% in requests for help and the completion of many projects emphasizing the relevance of this free and confidential service.
2022-2023 Annual Report: a few statistics
For the first time in 30 years of service, Drugs: Help and Referral passed the 20 000-call mark. Calls and chats saw a 6.3% increase from the previous fiscal year. Overall, the profile of people contacting the service remained stable. 70% of calls were from people using themselves, 25% were from loved ones (parents, partners…) and 5% were from health and social services professionals, community organizations, or employers looking for help for their clients or employees. More than 80% of people who contacted the service were 20 to 59 years old. 52% were men.
The main substances mentioned were still alcohol and cannabis. However, we noticed a 9% increase in calls for cocaine, 14% for nicotine* and 34% for benzodiazepines. More than 40% of people called with questions or for information regarding treatment for substance abuse. More than 34% for support followed by information and referrals, etc. You can read the annual report by clicking here (English version coming)
A fast-growing service
The 30th anniversary of the service was also marked by the arrival of Nancy Rocha, the new Director of Drugs: Help and Referral as well as Gambling: Help and Referral and the TeleCounseling program for excessive gambling. Our team of counselors grew to meet the growing number of requests for help and to ensure an accessible and quality service during the evenings and nights.
Many new activities enabled the service to grow, such as, providing an addiction screening tool for substance use and gambling for 9 administrative regions. The service received funding from the Secrétariat aux Relations avec les Québécois d’Expression Anglaise (SRQEA) (Secretariat for the Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers) to train our teams to respond to requests from anglophones and ensure a quality service in English. The funding, which is over 2 years, will enable us to develop relationships with English community organizations and make our service known to English-speaking Quebecers. In September 2022, Drugs: Help and Referral received 20 000$ from the Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund to better help people with a mental health and addiction comorbidity.
A fundraising event and a call to donate
On April 12th, Drugs: Help and Referral concluded its 30th anniversary with a fundraising event in the shape of two panels La dépendance aux médicaments : comment mieux prévenir, informer et aider and Pour en finir avec la stigmatisation followed by a moment of networking. Drugs: Help and Referral wishes to thank its major partner for this event, Leclerc Communications and its radio stations, WKND 91.9FM and WKND 99.5FM as well as OPAL-RT Technologies, Dunton Rainville, the Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux (CSN), la CNESST, l’AQPP, and Vox Québec.
To support the services’ activities, it now has an online donation platform at this address: https://www.aidedrogue.ca/en/about/donate/
Nancy Rocha, Director of Drugs: Help and Referral, Gambling: Help and Referral and the TeleCounseling Program for Excessive Gamblers
«I am very happy with the incredible work accomplished by our team this year. We made great strides in helping people with a substance abuse problem, in supporting them while they were waiting for treatment from various health and social services networks and in adequately helping their loved ones who carried a great weight on their shoulders and did not know where to turn. Thank you to our partners, organizations, the public sector and our donators for their unwavering support. »
Pierrette Gagné, Executive Director of the Information and Referral Center of Greater Montréal who manages Drugs: Help and Referral, Gambling: Help and Referral, the TeleCounseling Program for Excessive Gamblers as well as 211 Greater Montréal
« Drugs: Help and Referral is entering its thirties with enthusiasm! We are particularly grateful for the constant support from the ministère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux who have been with us since our implementation in 1992. The MSSS recognizes the importance of a quality service that is provincial, 24/7, free and confidential to support people using psychoactive substances as well as their loved ones. Thank you for your trust. »
* People contacting the I Quit helpline after hours are invited to contact Drugs: Help and Referral, available 24/7, which explains the increase in calls regarding nicotine.
About Drugs: Help and Referral
Drugs: Help and Referral supports, informs and refers people troubled by their drug use, including alcohol and medication as well as their loved ones. Developed thirty years ago, this service is available 24/7, across Québec via 1-800-265-2626 and by chat on the aidedrogue.ca website. It is free and confidential.
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