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Mental Health and Addictions

Guideline supports people living with alcohol addiction

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Mental Health and Addictions

Guideline supports people living with alcohol addiction

Media Contacts
Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions
Communications
250 883-2941
BC Centre on Substance Use
Kevin Hollett
Associate Director
Communications
kevin.hollett@bccsu.ubc.ca
778 918-1537
Media Contacts
Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions
Communications
250 883-2941
BC Centre on Substance Use
Kevin Hollett
Associate Director
Communications
kevin.hollett@bccsu.ubc.ca
778 918-1537

Backgrounders

What people are saying about B.C.'s guidelines for dealing with alcohol addiction

Russell Purdy, individual in recovery from alcohol addiction –

“My alcohol use went unchecked for years. At first, it was something I did with my friends to loosen up and have fun. Over time I came to depend on it until it took over my life. I started using stimulants along with my near daily drinking. My work could no longer support my addiction and I did whatever was necessary to feed my substance use. I pushed everyone close to me away. I had the same family doctor since childhood and we never talked about my drinking, so it wasn't until I reached out to my family for help that I was finally connected to the treatment I needed. I wonder if I didn't have that support from my family if I'd be three years in recovery today.”

Jennifer Cottell, member, Family and Caregivers Committee, BC Centre on Substance Use –

“I've lived the devastation that is untreated alcohol addiction. It tore my family apart. My ex-husband started with a couple of drinks. Gradually, the behaviour changed as his drinking increased. We talked to our doctor, but he never got treatment. He lost his job because of his drinking and I started to fear for the safety of my children. He was in denial and lied about his use. He got sicker and sicker, and eventually was hospitalized because he'd poisoned his body. The treatment he needed came too late to save our family and probably too late to save him.”

Dr. Keith Ahamad, clinician researcher, BC Centre on Substance Use, and co-chair, guidelines writing committee –

“The health system has generally failed people who use alcohol. The result is our hospitals and emergency rooms are filled with individuals suffering a range of consequences of alcohol addiction. We’re left managing the devastating effects rather than preventing and treating the addiction itself. We have a responsibility to provide easy access to upstream evidence-based treatment and to look to guide people earlier toward treatment and recovery. These guidelines provide the tools to empower primary care in doing just that.”

Dr. Karen Urbanoski, Canada research chair in substance use, addictions and health services, scientist and associate director, Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research –

“Alcohol is a major cause of harms and disease in B.C., costing just shy of $2 billion per year according to recent estimates. These new guidelines fill an important gap by providing an up-to-date summary of evidence on clinical interventions for high-risk drinking and alcohol-use disorders, recommending a range of options for health providers across the system. Alongside a strong public health framework for alcohol regulation and distribution, effective clinical management of high-risk drinking and alcohol-use disorders, based on tailored interventions and multidisciplinary collaboration, will contribute to a reduced burden of illness and better population health.”

Dr. Matthew Chow, president-elect, Doctors of BC – 

“Doctors of BC looks forward to working with the provincial government and the BC Centre on Substance Use to facilitate training for family doctors around the province on the new guidelines. Family doctors are the first point of contact for most patients seeking medical help for their alcohol concerns, so these guidelines will support them in providing evidence-based care and better patient outcomes.”

Dr. Nel Wieman, senior medical officer, mental health and wellness, First Nations Health Authority – 

“The provincial guideline will increase knowledge and options for people with alcohol-use disorder. The upcoming Indigenous supplement to the guideline will address cultural safety and humility in providing holistic health care to people with AUD. It will also bravely expand the conversation about alcohol use in First Nations communities.”

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer –

“Too many people have lost their lives to the overdose crisis in B.C. If we’re going to turn the corner on this complex crisis, we must understand its connection to addiction and substance-use challenges as well. Almost half of people who have died in the overdose crisis have also had alcohol in their system, which is why alcohol addiction and its impact on British Columbians cannot be overstated. It is the most common substance-use disorder in the province and has the most widespread negative impact of families and communities compared to other substances.”

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