Pubdate: Fri, 24 Nov 2006
Source: Williams Lake Tribune, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 Williams Lake Tribune


Nov. 19-25 is National Addictions Awareness Week.

A common myth prevails that addictions are a sign of weakness, 
according to Thompson Cariboo Mental Health and Addictions Services.

In fact, addiction is a disease, and a treatable one at that. And 
it's a disease that affects millions of people. In BC alone it is 
estimated up to 200,000 people are likely experiencing problems as a 
result of alcohol consumption.

Another 33,000 have a dependency on illicit drugs, and 4.6 percent 
are problem gamblers.

The real problem is that addiction is not merely a reliance on 
drinking, taking drugs, or a compulsion to gamble or possibly eat to excess.

"Addiction affects your thinking, actions and your personal 
relationships, and cuts across every age and social group," said Jim 
Campbell, Director, Mental Health and Addictions Services, Thompson 
Cariboo. "Addiction is a special concern for families and can lead to 
family breakdown, domestic abuse, joblessness, health problems and 
financial difficulties."

Nearly everyone believes they can stop gambling, drinking, smoking, 
or refrain from any other obsessive behaviour, but the truth is 
addictions are very difficult to overcome on your own, adds Campbell. 
"Success depends on the person and their level of motivation, the 
type and duration of treatment, the degree of encouragement from 
friends and family, and the presence of follow-up support to prevent 
relapse. There is no magic bullet that works for everyone."

Kamloops MLA Claude Richmond says substance abuse and addictions are 
often linked to preventable health and social problems. "Government 
programs and services can help promote public awareness.

National Addictions Awareness Week encourages healthy life choices 
and creates a better understanding of addiction in our region and 
across the province."

"Addiction comes at a high social and financial cost - time and 
resources are needed to seriously focus on prevention, treatment and 
support services," said Kevin Kreuger, MLA for Kamloops-North 
Thompson. "Last year the province provided $92 million to support 
addiction services, almost double the amount spent during 2002/2003."

How do you know if you have an addiction? Ask yourself these tough, 
but revealing questions.

Do you rely on drugs/alcohol/nicotine etc. to get you through certain 
social situations

Have you missed work, school or important appointments because of 
substance abuse

Are you experiencing financial difficulties as a result of your lifestyle

Have you forgotten things you said or did while using drugs or alcohol

Is your health at risk because of your choices

Campbell said the first thing to do is have a talk with you family 
doctor, or a counselor, a family member or friend. "Don't overlook 
support groups in your own community such as Alcoholics Anonymous. 
They are readily accessible, have a legendary track record and a 
legion of members ready and willing to lend help and support any time 
of day or night.

And for the most serious addictions, keep in mind treatment centres 
have helped thousands of people."

For information concerning addiction counseling and resources, call 
your local mental health worker or phone the BC Alcohol and Drug 
Information and Referral Service line at 1-800-663-7441. For 
telephone crisis intervention call the 24-hour distress line at 1-866-661-3311.

For Problem Gambling, call the 24-hour Help Line at 1-866-795-6111.
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MAP posted-by: Elaine