Why do people use substances?

People use substances, including alcohol, cannabis, drugs that are prescribed, and street drugs, for many different reasons.

Some of these include:

  • As a social activity, such as having a drink with friends, smoking a joint with peers or doing a party drug at a rave;
  • Because of a desire to fit in with a group of peers who are using drugs;
  • To cope with pain or intense emotions, both negative and positive;
  • To avoid experiencing withdrawal from prescribed or street drugs;
  • To manage mental health symptoms, such as feelings of anxiety, attention deficit disorders or depression;
  • To feel some relief from life struggles such as poverty, homelessness and trauma
Depressed Drug Addict

Impacts of Substance Use

Substance use may have negative impacts on health, personal relationships and overall wellbeing. Some impacts are viewed by society as being more “normal” or “acceptable,” such as missing work because of a hangover, or getting drunk at a bar or a work party and embarrassing yourself. Other impacts are seen as more serious or unacceptable, such as overdose, going to jail or losing your home or your children.

Individuals living with addictions deserve to be treated with compassion, dignity and respect. In Guelph and Wellington County, we recognise that we all play an important role in responding to these issues together. It is for this reason that we initially developed our 4-pillars municipal drug strategy. We continue to work together to bring the strategies to life in meaningful ways, trying our best to help those who are impacted and harmed by substance misuse in our community.

Commonly Misused Substances

Man opening beer bottle
Alcohol Resources
Woman with pills in hand
Opioids Resources
Dries Marijuana in a Man's Hand
Cannabis Resources
Crystal Meth
Crystal Meth Resources