Understanding Substance Use
“Substance” is a broad term covering numerous types of legal (prescription and non-prescription) and illegal substances. The use of a substance does not imply that the person has a problem. However, prolonged use of a substance, despite negative physical, mental, social, legal or financial consequences, indicates there may be a substance use problem.
Addiction occurs when the 4 Cs are present:
Loss of CONTROL
(of amount or frequency of use)
COMPULSION to use
Use despite CONSEQUENCES
Contributing Sources: Canadian Mental Health Association, Mental Health First Aid Canada
Learn more on the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health website:
Learn more about specific substances at these links:
If you, or someone you know, is having trouble with substance use, get help:
If the situation is NOT immediately critical, you have options:
As applicable, contact the person’s psychiatrist, family doctor (who can prescribe medications and make referrals) or your company’s Employee and Family Assistance Program.