About Portage


National Addictions Awareness Week
Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment: An investment that pays


Fredericton, November 15, 2011 – As part of National Addictions Awareness Week, Portage, an accredited, non-profit organisation dedicated to the reintegration of people suffering from substance abuse back into the community, wants to emphasise the importance of investing in drug rehabilitation programs.

At almost $40 billion in 2002, the social costs of substance abuse in Canada are considerable.

“Behind the dollar figure is a dramatic toll measured in tens of thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of years of productive life lost, and millions of days spent in the hospital,” (1) states a Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse report. Atlantic Canada has incured its proportionate share of these costs.

“In terms of costs to the government, a person suffering from substance abuse who goes untreated can be compared to a patient with serious health problems. All efforts to help this person in their rehabilitation and social reintegration have significant impacts on government budgets,” contends Geordie Gould, Director of the Portage rehabilitation centre at Cassidy Lake, NB.

According to several conservative estimates, every $1 invested in addiction treatment programs yields a return of between $4 and $7 in reduced drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, and theft. When savings related to health care are included, total savings can exceed costs by a ratio of twelve to one. Major savings to the individual and to society also stem from fewer interpersonal conflicts; greater workplace productivity; and fewer drug-related accidents, including overdoses and deaths (2).

Founded nearly 40 years ago, Portage has developed multiple rehabilitation programs to serve different clienteles across Canada.

“Based on our expertise and experience, a personalised therapeutic community approach provides excellent results for the people seeking substance abuse rehabilitation at our centres. Using positive psychology, the community accompanies them throughout their therapy, while building on their strengths,” explains Mr. Gould.

A longitudinal study on Portage’s services (3), conducted between 2003 and 2008, concluded that 66% of adolescents who attended Portage centres for six months or longer remained sober for more than a year after having left the program.

“Based on the finding that 57% of substance abuse-related costs in Québec stem from loss of productivity due to illness and early death, we can clearly see the relevance of investing in prevention and treatment of this major societal problem,” concludes Mr. Gould.

Portage is one of the principal substance abuse rehabilitation service providers in North America. The organisation has been helping people overcome their dependency problems for over 38 years. Portage Atlantic’s youth rehabilitation centre at Cassidy Lake, near Sussex, NB, is one of ten Portage substance abuse rehabilitation centres across Canada. Others are located in Québec, Ontario, and British Columbia.

For more information: www.portage.ca


1 – Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, The costs of substance abuse in Canada, March 2006
2 – National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Frequently Asked Questions
3 – IGT Research highlights. January 2003-2008. Research Department, November 2009

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