What is substance use?

Substance use refers to the repeated dysfunctional use of substances, including alcohol and drugs, that can lead to loss of control, social impairment, and risky behavior. It often occurs when short-term pleasure is a more powerful motivator than the consequences of using a substance, and continues despite its significant social, occupational, legal, psychological, and physical impacts.

What is dependence?

Dependence can be broken down into three distinct characteristics: tolerance, withdrawal, and consistent cravings for the substance. When substances are used repeatedly over time, a tolerance may develop as the user no longer responds to its effects, and needs greater amounts to achieve the desired state. The physical and emotional symptoms that follow this use result in withdrawal, and can include sensitivity to pain, irritability, emotional instability, anxiety and depression, insomnia, and flu-like symptoms, among others. Withdrawal often results in strong cravings for the substance, and concurrent use to relieve the symptoms. Dependence is a medically treatable condition in which the patient is slowly taken off the substance so that the body can readjust to normal functioning.

Your chances of becoming dependent.

Alcohol

1 in 7

Nicotine

1 in 3

Heroin

1 in 4

Cocaine

1 in 5

What is peer support?

The peer support model has been very well studied and has consistently been found to facilitate supportive interpersonal relationships and to foster increased resiliency.  Our peer support workers, staff and volunteers alike, are uniquely able to help others by listening empathically and sharing invaluable coping strategies.  We are not therapists, but the services we offer provide significant therapeutic value.