Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment - $1.9 billion in savings at Québec's fingertips

MONTREAL, Nov. 22, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - A study conducted by SECOR on behalf of Portage, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the reintegration of people suffering from substance abuse back into the community, concluded that government investments in the fight against substance abuse have significant long term effects. It demonstrates that if the provincial government does not provide adequate funding to rehabilitation centres over the next 10 years, the additional cumulative costs incurred by Québec will be $1.9 billion, with $260 million in direct health care costs.

In 2002, costs associated with substance abuse in Québec amounted to $1.6 billion. The majority of these costs stem from loss of productivity (57%), law enforcement costs (28%), and health care costs (14%). Investments in prevention and research represent a mere 1% of the total.

"In terms of costs to the government, a person suffering from substance abuse who goes untreated can be compared to someone with serious health problems. All efforts to help this person in their rehabilitation and social reintegration have significant impacts on government budgets," states François Bourdon, Director of the Portage Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Centre for adults and adolescents in Prévost, near lac Écho.

Founded nearly 40 years ago, Portage has developed multiple rehabilitation programs to serve different clienteles in five regions of Québec, and in Ontario, British Columbia, and New Bruswick.

"Based on our expertise and experience, a personalised therapeutic community approach provides excellent results for the people seeking substance abuse rehabilitation at our centres. Using positive psychology, the community accompanies them throughout their therapy, while building on their strengths," explains Mr. Bourdon.

A longitudinal study on Portage's1 services, conducted between 2003 and 2008, concluded that 66% of adolescents who attended Portage centres for six months or longer remained sober for more than a year after having left the residential program. The statistic is 70% for adult participants.

"Based on the finding that 57% of substance abuse-related costs in Québec stem from loss of productivity due to illness and early death, we can clearly see the relevance of investing in prevention and treatment of this major societal problem," states Mr. Bourdon.

A recent survey conducted by Léger Marketing found that more than eight out of ten Quebecers feel that drug and alcohol dependency problems are worrisome public health issues. Half of the respondents stated that they are affected by substance abuse-related problems in their surroundings, and 95% asserted their belief that it is easy to get drugs, regardless of age group or place of residence.

"Studies clearly demonstrate the importance of increased investment into battling drug addiction and especially the significant impact of this investment on long term government costs. Portage is ready to help the government invest in drug addiction prevention and treatment today, to avoid escalating health care costs tomorrow," concludes Mr. Bourdon.

About Portage
Portage is one of the principal substance abuse rehabilitation service providers in North America. The organisation has been helping people overcome their dependency problems for over 38 years. There are six Portage substance abuse rehabilitation centres in the province of Québec; in Montréal, Beaconsfield, Québec City, Prévost (Laurentians), and in Saint-Malachie. Three other residential centres provide services to adolescents in Ontario, Atlantic Canada, and British Columbia.

For more information: www.portage.ca

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1IGTResearch highlights. January 2003-2008. Research Department, November 2009.
Available on the Web site: http://portage.ca/pdf/qc/Research-highlights-Portage-adolescents-Nov-2009.pdf

SOURCE PORTAGE

For further information:

Seychelle Harding
Director of Communications
Portage
Telephone: 514-939-0202, extension 118
sharding@portage.ca

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