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Dear Friends,

Ladies and gentleman, friends and family, brothers and sisters, I want to get real with you all here and now. So many of us have had loved ones in our lives that have been afflicted with mental illness AND/OR suffered from a substance abuse addiction and it has thus far been a losing battle. The numbers are not going down, in fact they are growing… exponentially. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Canada’s largest mental health teaching hospital and one of the world’s leading research centres in its field, it is estimated that 67,000 deaths per year are attributable to substance use in Canada. 67,000! PER YEAR! It really bothers me that the world is more worried about what seems to be everything but. In Canada, approximately 21% of the population (about 6 million people) will experience a substance use disorder or addiction at some point in their lifetime. Make no mistake – This is an epidemic. Especially because the % of people recovering from these disorders is sitting around a 4-6% sustained success rate! Likewise of the 1 in 5 that will experience one of these disorders, only 1 in 20 will make back out of it!

In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental illness and by the time Canadians reach the age of 40, 1 in 2 have – or have had – a mental illness. Our children – between the ages of 15 and 24 – are more likely to experience mental illness and/or substance use disorders than any other age group. On average, 39% of high school students across Canada indicate a moderate-to-serious level of psychological distress (symptoms of anxiety and depression) and a further 17% indicate a serious level of psychological distress. Men have higher rates of substance use disorders than women, while women have higher rates of mood and anxiety disorders. People with a mental illness are twice as likely to have a substance use disorder compared to the general population. At least 20% of people with a mental illness have a co-occurring substance use disorder. For people with schizophrenia, the number may be as high as 50%. Similarly, people with substance user disorders are up to 3 times more likely to have a mental illness. More than 15% of people with a substance use disorder have a co-occurring mental illness. Canadians in the lowest income group are 3 to 4 times more likely than those in the highest income group to report poor to fair mental health. From studies taken place in various Canadian cities it has been indicated that 43% of homeless people may have a mental illness. In 2021 it was estimated that there were approximately 235,000 homeless people in Canada, on any given night it is estimated to be minimally 35,000 individuals. These numbers are growing every year.

Mental illness and substance use disorders are the leading causes of disability in Canada and people with mental illness and substance use disorders are more likely to die prematurely than the general population. Mental Illness can cut 10 to 20 years from a person’s life expectancy. In Ontario alone the disease burden of mental illness and substance use is 1.5 times higher than all cancers put together and more than 7 times that of all infectious diseases. It is estimated that 67,000 deaths per year are attributable to substance use in Canada. This includes over 47,000 deaths attributable to tobacco, nearly 15,000 deaths attributable to alcohol. Between January 2016 and September 2019 there were an estimated 14.700 opioid-related deaths in Canada. As I said, these numbers are growing. In 2021 there was an estimated 7560 deaths directly related to opioid toxicity. That is 21 a day! In the years prior to the pandemic there were between 8 in 2016 and 12 in 2018 deaths per day. Even sadder, about 4,000 Canadians die per year by suicide, that’s almost 11 suicides per day. It affects people of all ages and backgrounds. In 2018, suicide accounted for 21% of deaths among children aged 10-14, 29% among youth aged 15-19, and 24% among young adults aged 20-24. After accidents, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15-24. In 2018, suicide was the leading cause of death for children aged 10 to 14.


These numbers break our hearts. So much pain, so many families torn apart. This is why the Avalanche Recovery Center has come to be. We are here for the afflicted ones and we are here for the families of those afflicted and those that have lost. We can not and will not stand by idly while we lose brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends, co-workers and neighbors. And we are here to flip the switch on addiction. Our method works! We pick up where traditional recovery centers drop the ball.  Attaining an addiction free life takes a lot more than just "getting sober" and we are not only here to show you how to do it, we are here to stand side by side coaching you through it!

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