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Questions and Answers

How can I find help for an alcohol or drug use problem?


Author: Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division



Seeking to make changes in the way you use substances like alcohol or other drugs? This can be an important step!

Some people are able to reduce their substance use or quit altogether on their own or with self-help materials. But most of us need support from other people—family members, friends, health professionals, or other people struggling with substance use problems. The right help for you depends on many factors. These include the type of drug you are using, how much and how often, your health and social situation and, of course, your own preferences. Getting help doesn’t mean giving up control of shaping your own path. You are still the one who makes the final decisions about the type and degree of change you make.

One way to get help is to talk to a doctor you trust and feel comfortable confiding in. If you aren’t comfortable talking in person, you can also get advice from a registered nurse (along with advice on programs or services in your area) by calling HealthLink BC at 8-1-1. Since some drugs are illegal, many people worry about what might happen if they talk about drug use. It’s important to know that in most cases, doctors have to protect your privacy—it’s the law.

In BC, the Alcohol and Drug Information Referral Service can help you find information on treatment options, support groups and other resources throughout the province. It’s free, confidential, and available 24/7. Call the Alcohol and Drug Information Referral Service at 1-800-663-1441 or 604-660-9382 in the Lower Mainland.

Where can I learn more?


About the author

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The Canadian Mental Health Association promotes the mental health of all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing a mental illness through public education, community-based research, advocacy, and direct services. Visit


Q&A is for readers who want to take charge of their well-being, support a friend or loved one, find good help, or just learn more about mental health and substance use. Here, the information and resource experts at HeretoHelp will answer the questions that we’re asked most often. We'll offer tips and information, and we'll connect you with help in BC, Canada. If you have a question you’d like to ask, email us at [email protected], tweet @heretohelpbc, or log in to HeretoHelp and post a comment on this page.


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