AHS Weekly Wellness News: AHS promotes National Addictions Awareness Week

Small actions make big differences

Now more than ever, Alberta Health Services is dedicated to reducing risk factors to help prevent addiction and substance abuse in all Albertans.

There is no single root cause for addiction and most times there are number of reasons why an individual suffers from an addiction. However, there are some things individuals can to do to help prevent addiction in themselves, and others, even small actions can make a big difference.

Nov. 13 – 19 is National Addictions Awareness Week and provides an opportunity to talk about what individuals can do to help prevent addiction.

Addictions are very common, but they are very complicated to explain. They seem to depend on a lot of things:

  • the drug or behaviour involved
  • the person’s psychology, biology, and genes
  • the person’s past experiences
  • the person’s life situation
  • how available the drugs are to the person
  • how acceptable the drug or behaviour is to the person, their friends, and society


Fortunately, there are things that can help anyone avoid addiction:

  • A person has choices. If they seem to be using a drug more and more in certain situations, they can look for ways to avoid those situations.
  • If someone has a history of addiction in their family, it’s wise to be extra alert and take the time to learn about that problem.
  • Learn how addictive any drugs are. This includes alcohol, caffeine, and prescription drugs.
  • With some drugs, like nicotine and heroin, the percentage of users who get addicted is so high that it’s best not to use the drug at all.
  • If someone is already having trouble with a drug or type of behaviour, they should go for help.

A number of resources are available to help individuals, families, schools and communities prevent through the Alberta Health Services Addiction Prevention Toolkit, visit www.ahs.ca.  These resources include information on what individuals can to do for their mental well-being including self-care tips, a key in reducing the chance of addiction occurring.

Some examples of positive self-care include:

  • Asking for help
  • Treating yourself as you would treat a friend, with respect
  • Going for a walk
  • Practicing gratitude
  • Laughing often
  • Understanding your emotions
  • Embracing a new hobby.


It is important to know if you are or someone you know is struggling with an addiction help is available. Albertans can get more information or help by calling Health Link at 811 or the Addiction Helpline 1-866-332-2322.

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