Addiction can feel like the end of the world—but it doesn’t have to be. You can help local people turn their lives around.
A photo of a new Mom holding her baby.


Addiction can feel like the end of the world—but it doesn’t have to be

You can help local people turn their lives around.

No matter your age, background, or income, addiction can affect us all

United Way is committed to ensuring people struggling have the tools they need to address substance abuse challenges—leading to success in school, better employability, reduced risk of becoming homeless, and an overall better life.

A photo of a Mom and her teenage son looking at each other and smiling while walking through a park.

Stigma and shame make it difficult to get help

Discomfort around the topic of addiction may inadvertently silence someone who needs help and make it more difficult to come forward. Fear of being judged may also affect what kinds of help a person is willing to access.

Open and honest communication about what addiction means, how it happens, and how to overcome it is essential—especially for local youth.

12 %

of adults struggling with addiction began using those substances as teenagers.

1 in 7

Ontario students report symptoms of a drug use problem.

2 x

In Ottawa, opioid overdose emergency department visits approximately doubled in 2017.

Working together to support long-term solutions

United Way East Ontario knows the importance of education, early prevention, and ensuring those struggling have the support and treatment to help move from dependency to resiliency. This has positive ripple effects across our entire region of Prescott-Russell, Ottawa, Lanark County and Renfrew County. That’s why we’re committed to:

Meeting kids where they are

Addressing substance abuse early is key to reducing long-term dependency on drugs and alcohol. In collaboration with 15 community partners and champions Vern White and Mark Sutcliffe—United Way leads project step, a youth substance abuse intervention program that ensures kids have access to prevention education and counselling in Ottawa’s publicly funded high schools, and in community settings. Project step shows what a community can achieve when supporters, volunteers, and key organizations come together and work towards a common vision.

Stopping the cycle

Adults struggling with addiction can face barriers to employment, housing and social connection—many face mental health challenges. United Way enables local substance abuse counselling programs that help clients find the emotional, income and housing stability they need as part of a healthy recovery.

Being a part of the conversation

When tragedies like overdoses strike our communities, we take immediate action with partners and supporters to inform the public about what resources are available for themselves or their loved ones. 

Our Impact

Finding healing in the garden

“I had people looking out for me, and actually caring about what goes on in my life.”

We’re learning more about addiction every day

We also face new dangers, as deadly opioids like fentanyl are being cut into substances close to home.  

Ensuring access to clear, accurate information about substance abuse increases everyone’s understanding of the issue. This not only helps nurture more compassionate responses, but also helps us advocate for the local prevention, education, and treatment programs that work.

Thanks to our donors, United Way invests funds where they are needed most and will have the greatest impact. Together with your support, we help people struggling with substance abuse break the cycle of addiction and build a better life. 

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