About Portage


National Addictions Awareness Week
Substance Abuse Rehabilitation: An investment that pays


Toronto, November 16, 2011–
As part of National Addictions Awareness Week, Portage, a 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, particularly for our youth.

Indeed, in 2002, illegal drugs and alcohol abuse related costs in Ontario amounted to $8.2 billion. The majority of these costs stem from loss of productivity (57%), law enforcement costs (28%) and health care costs which alone amounted to 13.8% or $1.1 billion.

“A young substance abuser who goes untreated is likely to become an adult with serious health problems. All efforts that support them in their recovery and help them become an active member of society, will have a significant impact on government budgets,” contends Jennifer Blunt, Director of Corporate Affairs and Development for Portage Ontario.

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 healthcare are included, total savings can exceed costs by a ratio of 12 to 1. 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 (1).

Founded nearly 40 years ago, Portage developed its specific rehabilitation programs to serve different clientele in Québec, Ontario, British Columbia, and New Brunswick. Portage Ontario specialises in helping youth aged 14 to 18 to overcome their addictions.

“Our personalised therapeutic community approach provides excellent results. We utilise positive psychology, self help, and positive peer support to help substance abusers focus on their individual needs and strengths in therapy,” explains Ms. Blunt.

A study conducted on Portage’s services between 2003 and 2008 demonstrated that 85% of adolescents who attended our centres had made significant and lasting changes in their substance use patterns more than a year after having left the program (2).

“Based on the conclusion that 57% of substance abuse related costs stem from loss of productivity due to illness and early death, we can clearly see the relevance of investing in upstream activities as opposed to downstream ones in the fight against addiction,” concludes Ms. Blunt.

Portage is one of the principal substance abuse service providers in North America. The organisation has been helping people overcome their dependency problems for almost 40 years. Portage Ontario, located in Elora, is one of many Portage substance abuse rehabilitation centres across Canada, including six Portage centres in Québec, one in British Columbia, and another one in Atlantic Canada.

For more information about Portage’s rehabilitation services, please visit www.portage.ca

To read the story of an Ontario youth who overcame his Oxycodone addiction at Portage, click here.


(1) National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Frequently Asked Questions
(2) IGTResearch highlights. January 2003-2008. Research Department, November 2009.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign me up for the following newsletters: