About Portage


 Montréal, November 23, 2020 – As part of the National Addictions Awareness Week, Portage wishes to draw attention to the opioid threat, which has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 Addiction in The Time of COVID-19 

As COVID-19 rages across the world, its impact on people struggling with addiction cannot be underestimated. The isolation and anxiety brought about by public health measures required to stem the tide of the pandemic have worsened an already precarious situation and led to an increase in alcohol and drug consumption. In Ontario, for example, overdose deaths increased by 25% during the first three months of confinement, for a total of 621 deaths1. As the public health crisis is expected to continue for some time, it is more important than ever to support those who are struggling with addiction and to provide information on the specialized services available to them. 

 A Long-Standing Crisis 

A report published by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction in July 2020 highlights the seriousness of the crisis. It indicates the number of hospitalizations due to opioid poisoning has increased by 27% over the last five years and states there were 3,823 opioid-related deaths in 2019, a rate of 10 deaths per 100,000.2. In response to the critical issue of overdoses, the Portage Health and Safety Committee decided to adopt several practices and insisted that its centres are equipped with naloxone kits and its counsellors are trained in the administration of naloxone, a medication that can reverse the effects of an overdose. 

 1 https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/o/2020/opioid-mortality-covid-surveillance-report.pdf?la=en 

2 https://www.ccsa.ca/prescription-opioids-canadian-drug-summary  


ʺGiven the current context, it is important to remind people who are struggling with addiction that organizations like Portage are still open and ready to provide services. For more than 45 years, Portage has helped individuals suffering from addiction by providing qualified professional services and programs tailored to the needs of various clienteles in its many centres located in Québec, Ontario and New-Brunswick.ʺ 

-Peter Howlett, President and Founder of Portage 

ʺI was sick of always going to prison and I didn’t like the person I became. I wanted to become well. Now, I am back in school and have a full-time job and I’m proud to say that I have been sober for 6 years. ʺ 

-Jonathan, graduate of the Portage program 

About Portage 

Over the last 47 years, Portage has helped tens of thousands of people suffering from substance abuse problems to overcome their addiction. The organization provides a range of services tailored to the needs of adults, adolescents, mothers with young children, pregnant women, as well as men and women with mental health problems. Portage offers free treatment programs that are recognized and certified by Accreditation Canada. 

Portage is a non-profit organization operating several drug rehabilitation centres located in Montréal, Prévost (Laurentians), Québec City and Saint-Malachie (Chaudière-Appalaches). It has other centres serving residents of Ontario and Atlantic Canada. 

For information: 

Lambert Gosselin


Cell: 514 659-0603



Seychelle Harding 


Tél : 514 939-0202, ext. 1118 


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