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Drug addiction is a serious issue in Canada that can have severe consequences for those with substance dependency, and their loved ones.

Here are some statistics on addiction in Canada, and its prevalence, according to information cited by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH):

  • The 15-24 age group is the most likely to suffer from mental illness or substance use disorders, with men typically (in general) having higher rates of substance use disorders than women
  • There’s an overlap between substance use disorder and mental illness, with those with a substance use disorder being 3x as likely to have a mental illness, too.
  • An estimated 67,000 deaths annually in Canada are caused due to substance use.


Luckily, there are treatment options available that can treat drug addiction as the disease that it is.

Of those treatment options, one of the most well-known is drug rehab.

But what is drug rehab?

What is Drug Rehab

Drug rehab encompasses the entire treatment plan and process of someone struggling with substance dependency to aid that person in recovery and reaching sobriety – the idea being that the person with an addiction will get treated for that addiction and be able to re-join society as a sober person – or in other words, the person will be rehabilitated.

Some people may have the urge to indulge in their addictions for the rest of their lives, but drug rehab should help them learn strategies to control those urges.

Drug rehab and recovery can be very challenging, and some people will enter into rehab several times in their lifetime before becoming fully sober. Relapse rates can be quite high, estimated at being between 40-60% and some consider it a part of the recovery process. However, relapse rates are lower for those who have gotten treatment for their addictions, like drug rehab. A study done in 2006 suggested that those with alcohol use disorders that didn’t have help with their recovery were more likely to relapse and fail in achieving 3-year remission.  

General Drug Rehab Steps

Although recovery is a unique journey for everyone, when someone with a substance dependency is looking to enter into rehab or treatment, there are a few general steps that happen.

  1. Intervention: Interventions are meetings with the loved ones of those with addictions host to facilitate getting them addiction treatment. These can also be professionally hosted using intervention services like Andy Bhatti (who offers services on the west coast and across Canada, like in Ontario). This way there’s a professional there to help mediate the meeting, plan treatment, and steer the conversation.
  2. Detoxification: Detox is the process of getting the harmful substance naturally out of the human body. It’s oftentimes the first step of addiction treatment and can be dangerous or painful due to withdrawal symptoms, and therefore should be done at a designated detox center so the process can be planned out and supervised by healthcare professionals.
  3. Treatment Program: After detox, it’s the treatment program that the person with an addiction has enrolled. This is what people typically think of as constituting ‘rehab.’ Whether inpatient or outpatient treatment, it typically includes the patient having to remain drug-free for the duration of the stay (and hopefully beyond) and doing different types of counselling or therapy.
  4. Long-term care/Follow-up: Once the treatment program is completed, the patient will want to ensure they have a long-term recovery plan, including implementing ideas discussed in therapy, living a healthy lifestyle, avoiding triggers, seeking out support groups, meetings, counselling, or any other type of strategies that could help avoid relapse.

What Are Rehabilitation Centersgroup rehabilitation centre

Rehabilitation centers are the physical buildings and locations where rehab treatment happens. There are different types of rehabilitation centers in different locations, with different amenities, offering different programs for different types of addiction. Addiction treatment centers are typically staffed by medical and healthcare professionals that will be able to plan, monitor, supervise, and aid in their patients’ treatment.

Rehabilitation centers can be:

  1. Government-funded
  2. Private


The differences between the two have been outlined in the table below:

  Government-Funded Rehabilitation Centers Private Rehabilitation Centers
Cost More affordable (free) Higher cost
Availability Higher wait times, the higher number of patients to doctors Faster admission, fewer patients compared to doctors
Treatment Programs More generalized programs Ability to have more customized programs


Some of the information for this table was found on Canada Drug Rehab. Canada Drug Rehab is an addiction services directory, so you and/or a loved one can find the right drug addiction treatment centers for you.

Whichever of the types of rehabilitation centers that someone with a loved one enrolls in, the program will have either inpatient or outpatient care. But there’ll be more on what that is later.

Types of Rehab Centres

As mentioned above, there are many different types of rehab centres, beyond just government-funded and private rehab centers. These different drug rehab centres target different people and use different types of strategies/treatment to aid with/support recovery. Some of those centers include:

  • Drug rehab centers
  • Alcohol rehab centres
  • Sober living homes

Drug Rehab Centers

Drug rehab centers are drug rehabilitation centers for those with drug addiction. As previously mentioned, they can be government-funded or private, and offer inpatient and/or outpatient care. Drug rehab centers may also have programs for the treatment of specific drugs.

Alcohol Rehab Centre

Alcohol rehab centres are rehabilitation centers for those with alcohol addiction. As previously mentioned, they can be government-funded or private, and offer inpatient and/or outpatient care. However, with an alcohol rehab centre, you will be surrounded by peers that suffer from the same addiction as you do. Programs will also have the ability to be targeted more specifically towards your type of addiction.

Sober Living Homes

Sober living homes are alcohol and/or drug-free addiction treatment homes. These homes are staffed by medical professionals and offer different types of therapy and amenities, depending on the location. From the functional drunk to those who have become unable to maintain a job due to addiction, or those suffering from even worse addictions, sober living homes can house people at all levels of addiction.

Sunshine Coast Health Center is an example of a sober living home in British Columbia. 

Check out A Practical Guide to Sober Living in Canada if you’re interested in learning more about sober living homes.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab Centres

As previously mentioned, there are two types of rehabilitation treatments, inpatient and outpatient treatment.

Inpatient treatment is when the patient lives inside the rehab center while getting treatment.

Outpatient treatment is when the patient lives at a separate location but comes to the rehab center at scheduled times for treatment.

outpatient rehab centre

Some rehabilitation centers will only offer one type of care or at least focus on one type of care. Cedars at Cobble Hill, for instance, defines itself as a ‘residential addiction treatment facility on its homepage, meaning that it’s an inpatient care facility (located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia).

Other rehabilitation centers will offer both inpatient and outpatient care.

A comparison of the two has been outlined in the table below.

  Inpatient Outpatient
Suited For Those who don’t have a place to stay

Those with severe addictions

Those who have responsibilities need to maintain

Those with less severe addictions

Benefits 24/7 availability to care and medical staff

A place to stay if there’s nowhere else

The sole goal of get better for the duration of the stay

Not separated from any family or friend support

Able to fit treatment into a schedule

Can implement what’s learned during treatment (i.e. in therapy) right away

Challenges Separated from any family or friend support

Unable to maintain outside responsibilities for the duration of the stay

Won’t have access to 24/7 care and medical staff

Will still have access to people that could be a bad influence or hinder treatment

Getting better will not be the sole focus of the treatment for its duration

Addiction Treatment Centers Selection Criteria

When choosing the right drug addiction treatment center for you, there are a number of criteria you’ll want to consider before making your selection. Some of the criteria are related to the program itself, and others more to the center, including:

  • Drug rehab facilities
  • Cost
  • Location
  • Space
  • Inpatient vs outpatient treatment
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Type of addiction


These criteria (or at least some of them) can also be used by those at the addiction treatment centers to decide if you are a right fit for one of their programs.

Drug Rehab Facilities

When choosing a treatment center, you’ll want to look at the facility itself. Consider whether you like the center, its staff, its values, the amenities it offers, etc. You’ll want to feel comfortable at the rehab center you’re getting treatment in, especially if you’re getting inpatient treatment, and you will be living at the center full-time for the duration of your stay.

Types of Rehab Centres


Depending on whether it’s a government-funded or private rehab centre, covered by insurance or not, different rehab centres will have different costs. In general private rehab centres cost more than government-funded treatment centres, although typically that’s also shown in the quality of treatment (and how customizable it is). So you may need to balance cost with the type of treatment that will be the best fit for you.


Location can be a major (limiting) factor in where a person goes to rehab. If you don’t have the means to travel, or insurance will only cover locations in a certain area, then you may be limited to rehab centres in your area. That being said, there are incredible treatment options all across Canada. Check out our blogs 8 Top-Rated Addiction Services Edmonton [2022 Edition], and A Guide to Alcohol Rehab Ontario [Practical Infor & Resources] for examples of some great Canadian treatment centers in different locations.


Different drug rehabilitation centers will have a different, finite amount of space available, which translates into the number of people that can be a part of different programs or can stay at the treatment center. This is to say, that when you or a loved one is looking for a rehab center to enter, there might just not be room for you. You may be able to get on a waiting list. However, if you’re trying to get treatment quickly, this might not be the best course of action.

Inpatient vs Outpatient

Whether or not you’re looking for inpatient or outpatient treatment will affect the treatment centers (and their programs) that you consider. Not every rehabilitation center offers both inpatient and outpatient treatment. So, if you have a preference or even a need for one or the other, you’ll need to ensure that the treatment center and program you’re looking into offers the right one.


Certain programs are targeted toward different types of people, including specific genders. If you feel like you would thrive best in an environment surrounded only by peers of the same gender, you can. However, if it’s not something you specifically want, there are co-ed programs, as well. This consideration will largely depend on what you’re comfortable with, and what’s available.


Some programs separate those with substance dependency issues based on ages, specifically minors and those over 18 often have different programs. So when you’re looking into different rehab programs, make sure you’re aware of what age group it targets, and whether or not you fit into it.

Type of Addiction

Some rehab centers and treatment programs are specifically for certain types of addictions. So, depending on what you’re addicted to, you may be able to find a program specifically tailored to your type of substance dependency, whereas the others in the program with you would also be getting treatment for the same addiction.


Are rehabilitation centers the most effective way to get addiction treatment?

Everyone will have their own journey to recovery. However, as previously cited, in general, those who have help with addiction of some sort, are more likely to have success in sobriety.

In a 2017 study by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction on addiction recovery in Canada, 60.6% of those in recovery reported using a residential treatment program, and 41.4% an outpatient addiction treatment program. They had the second and fifth-highest percentages on the list of 17 resources and programs used for recovery. (The others in the top five were, respectively, 12-step mutual support groups in number one with 91.8%, counselling by a psychologist or psychiatrist that didn’t specialize in addiction at number three with 56.8%, and counselling by an addiction professional in the fourth spot at 56.5%.)

This goes to show that drug rehab can certainly be an effective method of addiction treatment. It also suggests that several methods should be employed for ineffective addiction treatment that will result in recovery. According to the study, the respondents had used, on average, 6 different treatment methods.

How do you enter drug rehab?

It may partially depend on the rehab center. Some may take applications, while others you may need to be referred to, and others still may have a different process altogether. You’ll want to research the rehabilitation center you’re interested in and how they take in new patients. If you still aren’t sure about its website, you can always reach out via phone call or email.

No matter how you get into whichever alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers you’re interested in, before entering rehab, particularly if you’re unsure about which treatment options are best for you, it’s not a bad idea to discuss your options with your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals, or addiction services professional like Andy Bhatti.

How do I choose which drug rehab center is right for me?

The list of considerations listed previously will be part of the process.

Here’s the list again:

  • Drug rehab facilities
  • Cost
  • Location
  • Space
  • Inpatient vs outpatient treatment
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Type of addiction)


But you’ll also want to make sure you understand what types of programs and treatments offered would be best for you. This is something you can discuss with a doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.

If you’re planning on going to rehab for free or using insurance, you’ll need to do your research on free drug rehab centres you have access to, or which ones your insurance will cover. Make sure you know any limitations to what your insurance is willing to cover.

The severity of your addiction and the immediacy with which you need to enter rehab can also affect your decision. Although government-funded rehabilitation centers are typically less expensive, or even free, in comparison to private ones, wait times are also often quite a bit longer.

In Conclusion

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and substance dependency, enrolling in a treatment program offered by rehabilitation centers can be an effective way to get treatment. However, drug rehab is a broad category with a lot of treatment options, and you’ll want to ensure you find the right one for you or your loved one.

To help find the right treatment option for you, don’t hesitate to contact Andy Bhatti, who can help you determine a treatment plan.