Addictions Awareness Week: 'Words matter'

Supporting Island families -

One in 10 Canadians struggles with addiction and problematic substance use, and Prince Edward Island is not immune.

National Addictions Awareness Week (November 12-18) offers Islanders an opportunity to learn about the province’s addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery supports -- which are accessible at or by calling (toll-free) 1-888-299-8399. On Prince Edward Island, alcohol and tobacco remain the most addictive drugs of choice.

“Addiction exists in many forms, and we can make a difference by building positive, caring relationships and supporting those facing the challenges of addiction,” Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson said. “We are working with our health care providers and national partners, including the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, to strengthen our response to the growing trend in prescription drug use. We will do this through prevention, education, and reducing the availability of illegally obtained or inappropriately prescribed medications.”

During this year’s Addictions Awareness Week, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction is putting the spotlight on the stigma surrounding substance use disorders. Specifically, harmful language can spread harmful stereotypes and act as a barrier to seeking help and sustaining recovery.

“The words we use when talking about problematic substance use and addiction matter,” said Verna Ryan, Health PEI’s chief administrative officer for Mental Health and Addictions. “We can all play a simple role in addressing a basic, but critical barrier for those individuals with problematic substance use and addiction.”

Health PEI has increased addictions support in recent years; it has added trauma-informed programs that support Islanders impacted by addiction, eliminating stigma and fostering a willingness to receive treatment.  Other programs and services include CRAFT (Community Reinforcement Approach Family Training), Family Education Program, “Friends Supporting Friends” seniors support group, and the Family Aftercare Group.

Addiction services on Prince Edward Island are offered as both an in-patient and community-based programs - for youth and adults as well as family members - in locations across the province.

For more information about the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, visit

Media contact:
Amanda Hamel



Treatment programs are available for addiction to alcohol, drugs, prescription medication, gambling and smoking.

  • Community-based addiction services sites are located in Souris, Montague, Mount Herbert, Summerside and Alberton.
  • In-patient addiction services are offered at the Provincial Addiction Treatment Facility in Mount Herbert for adults and at the Strength Program site in Summerside for youth.

Investments in addiction services over the past several years have resulted in reduced wait lists and improved client satisfaction and service quality.

Strength Program: 177 youth have gone through the program since it expanded and relocated to the Youth Recovery Centre in Summerside in April 2015, virtually eliminating out-of-province referrals. On average, 75 clients are admitted to the program each year.

Transition Unit: The unit was expanded from 10 to 18 beds, significantly reducing in-patient admissions to the Provincial Addiction Treatment Facility as more clients in early stages of recovery are receiving extended support and are less likely to relapse and need re-admission. In 2016-17, the unit had 248 admissions.

Opiate Replacement Program (methadone program): The program current serves approximately 900 clients and is offered in four communities across the province – Montague, Mount Herbert, Charlottetown, and Summerside – freeing up many in-patient withdrawal beds at the Provincial Addictions Treatment Facility.

General Inquiries

Health PEI
16 Garfield Street
PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6130
Fax: 902-368-6136

Your Health Privacy

Media Inquiries
Phone: 902-368-6135

Health PEI Board of Directors

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department.

If you are unsure what to do about a health issue or if you need health information, call 8-1-1.

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