Content Map Terms
The term "substance use" refers to the use of drugs or alcohol, and includes substances such as cigarettes, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, inhalants and solvents. A substance use problem occurs when using alcohol or other drugs causes harm to you or to others. Substance use problems can lead to addiction.
Anyone, at any age or any stage of their life can have a substance use problem. It is important to know that no matter how you are feeling, you are not alone. There is help out there. The links below contain useful information about a wide range of topics regarding substance use and its effects on yourself and the people around you.
Individual, family and small group counselling is available to people of all ages who are directly or indirectly affected by alcohol and other drug use by calling the resources below.
Mental Health Crisis Line: 310-6789 (no area code)
Provides a toll-free number connecting callers to a BC crisis line, without a wait or busy signal. Offers emotional support, information on appropriate referral options, and a wide range of support relating to mental health concerns. Learn more about the 310 Mental Health Support program.
Drug & Alcohol Information Referral Line (Alcohol & Drug Information Referral Service): 1-800-663-1441
Alcohol & Drug Information Referral Service (ADIRS) provides free, confidential information and referral services to British Columbians in need of support with any kind of substance use issue (alcohol or other drugs). Contact ADIRS toll-free at 1 800 663-1441, or in the lower mainland at 604 660-9382. Free, multilingual telephone assistance is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Learn more about the Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service.
First Nations and Métis KUU-US Crisis Line: 1-800-588-8717
The KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a First Nations and Indigenous specific crisis line available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, toll-free from anywhere in British Columbia. KUU-US Crisis Line can be reached toll-free at 1-800-588-8717. Alternatively, individuals can call direct into the Youth Line at 250-723-2040 or the Adult Line at 250-723-4050. Learn more about the 24-Hour Crisis Line.
For additional information or advice, call 8-1-1 any time of the day, any day of the year.
There are a number of health topics that fall under substance use. Finding the information you are looking for can be overwhelming. Our Learning Centre has substance use information in one place so you can easily find what you are looking for.
For help navigating our website, call 8-1-1 to speak with a health services navigator any time of the day, any day of the year.
BC211 (2-1-1 British Columbia Services Society)
A charitable organization that specializes in providing information and referral regarding community, government and social services in BC. The organization operates a variety of help lines services including 2-1-1, VictimLink BC, Youth Against Violence Line, and Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service (ADIRS). Learn more about the 2-1-1 British Columbia Services Society.
Alcohol and Other Drug Use
Alcohol and other drug use becomes a problem when it causes harm to you or to others. Learn about symptoms, harm reduction strategies and how to get help.
- Alcohol use
- Alcohol and drug problems
- Alcohol and drug use in young people
- Harm reduction for families, caregivers and friends of people who use substances (HealthLinkBC File #102b)
- Understanding harm reduction: Substance use (HealthLink BC File #102a)
When you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, the safest option is to not drink alcohol at all. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy puts your baby at risk. Similar to drinking alcohol while pregnant, taking drugs or prescription and over-the-counter medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding may harm your baby. Learn more about the risks of drinking alcohol or using drugs while pregnant.
- Alcohol and other drug use during pregnancy
- Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (HealthLinkBC File #38e)
- Pregnancy and alcohol use (HealthLinkBC File #38d)
Cannabis can be used for medical or non-medical purposes. Cannabis for non-medical use is legal in Canada as of October 17, 2018. Cannabis for medical purposes has been legal in Canada for several years. Learn how cannabis can impact the health of you and your family and find information about cannabis, safer use, regulations and more.
Drug related overdoses are a serious concern in British Columbia. Learn what it means to be drug smart, the signs of an overdose, what you should do if someone is overdosing, and how naloxone can help reverse opioid overdose.
Overdose Prevention and Response in B.C.
Drug-related overdoses and deaths have become a very serious concern in the last year in B.C. It can happen to someone you know. Learn more about signs of an overdose, what to do, how to prevent overdoses, resources and about Naloxone. Learn more about Overdose Prevention and Response in B.C.
Toward the Heart
Toward the Heart is a harm reduction program of the BC Centre for Disease Control. Visit their website to learn about naloxone, fentanyl, and other harm reduction information. Toward the Heart also offers a harm reduction site locator to help you find Take Home Naloxone (THN) Program supplies in your community.
- Toward the Heart
- Find a Harm Reduction Site, Find Naloxone Supplies
- Overdose Survival Guide (available in English, French, Chinese and Punjabi)
- How to Use Naloxone (Narcan) (Video)
- Naloxone Wakes You Up (Video)
- Naloxone Saves Lives (Video)
Help Starts Here
For wellbeing, mental health, and substance use supports across B.C., please visit HelpStartsHere.gov.bc.ca, managed by the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.
Last updated: November 29, 2023