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The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) is marking November 13-19 as National Addictions Awareness Week. Across Canada, organizations like CEWH and CanFASD are joining with CCSA to bring attention to problematic substance use in Canada. We are highlighting the imbalance between the societal, health and economic costs that substance use problems/addiction brings, and the funding provided for treatment and harm reduction services/supports.

dtnaaw-03-403x213-enCCSA has been a partner in our efforts to explore how addiction can make it difficult to stop alcohol use during pregnancy, and how women-centred approaches are needed in prevention, harm reduction and treatment. You can help us and the CCSA in promoting treatment, highlighting existing barriers, and finding solutions by supporting this campaign. Download the NAAW Toolkit to get ideas for social media postings and organization activities. You can also join the dialogue over social media by following @CCSACanada and using the hashtag #NAAWCanada.

See these earlier blog posts on addictions or “Search the Blog” on the left of this page:
Honouring our Strengths: Culture as Intervention in Addictions Treatment, June 5, 2014
Young Women United: Campaign to Increase Access to Care and Treatment for Pregnant Women with Addictions, February 18, 2014

FireShot Screen Capture #473 - 'Honouring Our Strengths_ Culture as Intervention in Addictions Treatment - Culture as Intervention in Addictions Carol Hopkins_pdf' - health_chiefs-of-ontario_org_sites_default_files_n

Drug addiction among Indigenous peoples is a serious health concern in Canada. A group of researchers and addiction treatment service providers through the University of Saskatchewan are involved in a project to evaluate the effectiveness of First Nations culture as a health intervention in alcohol and drug treatment.

The research team is working with 12 National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program (NNADAP) and Youth Solvent Addiction Program (YSAP) treatment centres across the country.

The research questions are:

1. What are the indicators of healthy client wellness as an outcome of participation in traditional Indigenous cultural interventions while in treatment for problematic substance use?
2. Drawing on this understanding, what is the validity of a culturally competent instrument developed to measure change in wellness among clients in treatment for problematic substance use?

Take a look at a brief video clip introducing the project here.

The project team is using a ‘Two-Eyed Seeing’ lens to guide the course of evidence gathering and assessment. The use of Two-Eyed Seeing originated with Mi’kmaq Elders Murdena and Albert Marshall. Two-Eyed Seeing involves a weaving back and forth to integrate and connect the best of Indigenous and Western knowledge systems with the purpose of co-learning, generating, understanding, and finding solutions to urgent problems (see an article on this topic here).

You can take a look at a powerpoint presentation called “Culture as Intervention in Addictions  Treatment: Appreciating the Evidence within Indigenous Knowledge” that the team did recently at the Chiefs of Ontario Health forum here (the list of cultural interventions below is from this presentation).

Pages from NAT CasI 2014

Another (fun) outcome from the project is a series of 12 recipe cards. Traditional foods are an important way to connect with culture and the team wanted to showcase some of the food knowledge that has been shared with them across the country.


Visit the project website here.

For more on culture and healing from addiction, see earlier posts:

Overview: Four Levels of FASD Prevention

Information Sheet: What Men Can Do To Prevent FASD