All it takes is an open mind and one foot in the door


Before Portage, jail was a looming threat: possession with intent to traffic, driving under the influence, and possession of methamphetamine. I had no intention of going to therapy until I learned I was under investigation for trafficking. What appeared to be the biggest mistake of my young adult life transformed into the best decision I… Read more »

Substance Use Treatment Techniques


Our clinical counsellors play a vital role in our residents’ therapeutic journey. They are pillars of support for our residents as they progress through their therapy. Inspired by the expertise of a level 4 substance use clinical counsellor at Portage, this article explores the techniques used to accompany residents throughout their therapy.   Plan of… Read more »

The Dark Side of Dopamine: Pleasure, Drugs and Solutions



Dopamine plays a central role in our well-being and our ability to experience feelings of pleasure and motivation. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter; often referred to as the ʺhappy hormoneʺ, it is the focus of numerous studies in the fields of neuroscience, psychology and medicine. In this article, we look at the role of dopamine, how… Read more »

The Truman Show: Awakening, Finding Freedom and Redefining Oneself


Mr. Richard Mayrand, a generous donor and committed Portage volunteer, recently organized a special showing of the movie ʺThe Truman Showʺ for youth at the Lac Écho Centre. Residents from both adolescent programs enjoyed a pizza lunch before viewing the movie and taking part in a discussion workshop on the theme of the film.  … Read more »

An academic program geared to youth in therapy


The start of summer marks the end of the school year at Portage. Did you know that all our youth programs in Québec, Ontario and Atlantic feature mandatory academic programs that are recognized by local school boards and adapted to students’ individual needs?  Youth who are dealing with dependency issues often see their education cut… Read more »

A Three to Six Month Rehabilitation Program Tailored to Youths’ Needs


Portage has been tailoring its addiction rehabilitation programs to the specific needs of young people and their families for many years now. Its residential centres offer variable-length therapy programs that can last anywhere from three to six months, depending on each youth’s journey towards sobriety. Condensed program phases At Portage, therapy includes six phases that… Read more »

The Cost of Substance Use in Canada: A Very Real Impact


A recently published report by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) states ʺIn 2020, we estimate substance use (SU) cost people in Canada more than $49 billion and led to the loss of over 200 lives every dayʺ.  Between healthcare costs, loss of productivity, changing consumption patterns and increasingly toxic illicit and… Read more »

Why asking for help doesn’t make you a bad parent


Illicit drug use among youth can stem from various factors including social pressure, curiosity, anxiety, depression or a desire to experience strong sensations. Despite these common motivations for drug use, parents don’t always recognize the early signs of substance use in their children. These signs can go undetected for many reasons, including a lack of… Read more »

How to Tell if You Have an Alcohol Problem in 4 Steps


The health risks linked to excessive alcohol use are well-known and have been the focus of numerous awareness campaigns. But it’s not always easy to assess your alcohol consumption. Below are guidelines you can use to determine if you have an alcohol problem.       1.    Determine how much you’re drinking   Start by counting… Read more »

Suicide Prevention Week 2023


The 33rd annual Suicide Prevention Week will take place from February 5th to 11th. Held under the theme ʺPrevention is Better than Deathʺ, the campaign seeks to promote dialogue and sharing in order to save lives and support people who are potentially at risk.   Suicide impacts numerous people everywhere in the world, making it… Read more »