Last resort for addiction: Intervention - Metro US

Last resort for addiction: Intervention

“If she doesn’t get help real soon, she’s not gonna live,” says Don about his 26-year-old stepdaughter, Loren. She is an alcoholic in Windsor, Ont., and one of the people whose story is told on the new show Intervention Canada.

As a child, Loren was abused by her grandfather, and in her young life she has already suffered the loss of several people she loved. She is unemployed, with little hope. Her family believes she’s close to death. It’s time for an intervention. The new show, featuring people like Loren who desperately need help, premieres in back-to-back episodes this Friday at 8 p.m. ET on Slice.

It deals with Canadians who are addicted to drugs, alcohol or have other compulsive behaviours. Though addiction is common — affecting one in 10 people in Canada — intervention is a last resort and the majority of people never reach that stage, says Andrew Galloway, one of the interventionists on the show and a substance abuse specialist in private practice in Toronto.

“No one grows up wanting to be a crack addict or an alcoholic,” says Galloway, who himself is a recovered addict. “They make bad choices. Once they cross that threshold into dependence, they no longer have the ability to make good choices. I know what it’s like; I woke up too scared to ask for help, too ashamed to open up.”

Galloway hopes the show gives viewers hope that they can live differently.

For more information on the show, visit slice.ca/interventioncanada.

By the numbers

While Intervention Canada is all about the worst-case scenarios, serious cases of addiction are common, and are often linked with other mental illnesses. Here are some statistics from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto:

• About 20 per cent of people with a mental disorder also have a substance abuse problem.

• One in 10 people over age 15 report symptoms consistent with an alcohol or drug dependence.

• Only one-third of those who need mental health services actually receive them.

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