During National Addictions Awareness Week, which took place from November 16-20, 2011, Portage Atlantic did its part to help create awareness among Atlantic media and elected officials about the importance of drug addiction prevention and treatment.
Portage Atlantic sent out a news release to the media, as well as an Open Letter to all MLA’s in Atlantic Canada, describing the extent of the drug addiction problem in the region, and explaining how the Portage centre at Cassidy Lake, New Brunswick, can be an important part of the treatment network.
Among other facts, the letter stated that:
- The average age of person’s first cannabis use in Atlantic Canada is 13.5 years old 
- 44% of students in grade 12 reported being a passenger in a vehicle driven by a person who had used cannabis 
- In 2007, approximately 40% of youth between 12 and 17 years old were accused of drug-related offences in the Atlantic region 
The Honorable Olive Crane, Leader of PEI’s Official Opposition, and James Aylward, health critic for the Official Opposition, responded to the letter by visiting Cassidy Lake on December 6. They were very impressed by the youth at the centre and how the program has helped them on their path towards sobriety. Mr. Aylward relayed his experience to PEI’s health minister, making the case for a long-term contract for service between Portage and PEI. Click here to read the CBC News article on this topic.
 Student Drug Use Survey in the Atlantic Provinces, 2007
 Statistics Canada, 2007