People Who Use Substances

people who use substances

People use substances for many reasons, and all substances have both positive and negative effects. Despite misconceptions, most people who use substances do not experience problems. In some circumstances, substance use can become dependent. An unhealthy relationship with substances may be harmful to one’s health and legal vulnerability. Good relationships can be experimental and recreational.

Substance use is a common trait among people from many walks of life, and in every community. The voices of people with lived and living experience using substances are unique. No one else can speak about what their experience feels like and what effect substances have on their lives.

Why We Serve Them

While substance use can be positive, other things can affect a person's ability to deal with substance-related harm. Poverty, racism, isolation, trauma, sex-based discrimination, and other inequalities worsen health outcomes. Because of this, people who use injection substances are at increased risk of HIV and other STBBI.


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3.6% of Canadians report using an illicit substance

The average age of first use of an illicit substance is 19 in Canada

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Most people who use substances who went to hospital after an overdose reported negative experiences with health-care providers, including experiences of stigma and discrimination from hospital staff.

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Hepatitis C is more prevalent among people who inject drugs than in any other group.

66.0% of people who inject drugs and 28.5% of people who formerly injected drugs had hepatitis C.