Where can I get help with an addiction?

If you, or someone you know, have an addiction, you can get help in many ways.

What is addiction?

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), addiction refers to the problematic use of a substance. Addiction can also refer to a behaviour that is out of control in some way.

People can become dependent on many different types of legal and illegal substances. For example:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Illegal drugs
  • Nicotine
  • Over-the-counter medication
  • Prescription drugs

When a substance or behaviour negatively affects your life, it may be an addiction.

Addiction can affect anyone at any time in their lives. It affects people of all ages, ethnicities, religions, occupations, and income and education levels. There is typically a combination of factors that lead to people becoming addicted.

Where do I start?

Often, the best place to start is by talking to your healthcare provider.

If you don’t have a family doctor or OHIP doesn’t cover you, there may still be options in your area.

Community Health Centres

Community Health Centres (CHCs) are non-profit healthcare organizations that provide primary care for individuals, families and communities. CHCs have teams of health professionals and offer other community support programs.

You may want to visit your local CHC to find out what kinds of mental health education, counselling and support they offer. Many have programs specifically for people with addictions and their families.

You can also contact 211 to find services to meet your specific needs. You can also search our Services Near Me tool for "community health centres" in your area.


Counselling is available in different forms. You can combine different types of treatment with counselling. Depending on your and your family’s needs, you can attend individual, group, couples and family therapy, or even a combination of these.

Many of these options are available in person and online. Some counselling programs also offer some text and chat support.


Addiction treatment centres are usually located in hospitals and private clinics. Some local non-profit organizations may also have addiction treatment programs. Patients may live at the centre while receiving treatment or continue to live at home and be treated as an outpatient.

You can also look online for Addiction Information and Treatment Centres in your area.


Self-help means just that: you help yourself. It means you take charge of your own treatment path.

Self-help groups also exist. Many people participate in a self-help group at the same time that they are in formal treatment. For instance:

Some groups are for the family members of people with an addiction. For example:

Harm Reduction

Not everyone is ready, willing or able to give up substances; some treatment programs have adopted a harm reduction approach. CAMH explains harm reduction strategies can help people to learn:

  • safer ways to use substance
  • how to recognize the signs of an overdose
  • about programs providing clean needles
  • there may be a substitute safer drug for the one a person is using

These programs also ensure that people’s basic needs, such as food, shelter and medical care, are met to help them be ready for when they are able to try other treatment options.

For More Information

  • Family Supports and Resources - Links to information and resources about mental health and addiction. From the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
  • Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres - The OATC encourages long-term sobriety from all illicit substances through a harm reduction program.
  • Community Mental Health and Addiction Support - Free, confidential support for depression, anxiety, addiction, gambling and other problems. From the Ministry of Health
  • Kids Help Phone - Mental health service offering free, confidential support to young people across Canada.
  • ConnexOntario - Information and Referral Specialists answer all calls, emails or webchat requests any time of the day. The service is free, confidential and anonymous for people experiencing problems with gambling, drugs or alcohol and mental illness.
Last updated: October 12, 2023 4001321