According to a recent study carried out by international strategic management consulting firm SECOR entitled Les besoins et l’importance des traitements de la dépendance aux drogues illicites au Québec [The importance and the need for illicit drug addiction treatment in Québec], drug addiction is a very expensive issue for the province in terms of health care, law enforcement, prevention and research, and productivity loss, along with other direct costs. According to the study, illegal drug use cost the province more than 1.6 billion dollars in 2002.
A Léger Marketing survey published last fall demonstrates that Quebecers are well aware of this societal problem,as they answered that they believe that drug problems have become more common in Québec today than they were ten years ago.
In reality, the SECOR study shows that illicit drug use in Québec is in fact decreasing, but that it is still among the highest in Canada. Use of several illicit drugs, such as crack cocaine and amphetamines, for example, is higher in Québec than in Canada as a whole. In addition, the decline in the usage of illicit drugs is largely compensated by an increase in the use of legal drugs, which are themselves creating new social problems.
The study highlights the large number of high school students who need addiction treatment, but shows that only a small portion of them are referred to drug rehab services every year.
The study also recognises Portage as having the largest drug addiction treatment capacity in Québec, but notes that its cost structure is significant, exceeding revenues for most of its programs.
Portage is very appreciative towards SECOR for conducting the study. The data on the societal impact of drug addiction in Québec shows the serious need for rehabilitation programs such as Portage and underscorse the importance of the government of Québec’s financial involvement.