1.1 Overview

As we start our journey into substance use and process addiction/behavioural disorders we will start with an exploration of the power of language. Can we change how we treat substance use by changing the language? Let us explore the possibilities.

Perhaps this is your first exploration of the complex world of substances, substance use, and substance use disorders; maybe you have direct experience with this topic, through family, friends, or community. You may even have struggled with substances yourself. If so, I appreciate your engagement with this topic, all are welcome here! This text will help guide your educational journey from why people use substances, substance use disorders, Canada’s policies on substances, theories of substance use, as well as supporting individuals who use substances and finally recovery and prevention. I hope this resource will be a helpful guide as we delve into a topic that is complex and challenging.  I encourage you to take care of yourself as you work through each chapter, including reaching out to your support system as needed.  Are you ready? Let’s get started!  Take a minute to think about what you know about addictions and complete the quiz below.

How did you do? If you answered all 9 questions correctly, congratulations, you have busted some myths about substance use and have a solid footing on which to build your knowledge! If not, do not worry, we will tackle these questions and more throughout this text. On that note, let’s begin our journey.

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