Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to much harmful, often self-destructive, behaviour.

Resulting In…

  • failure to fulfill major role obligations;
  • legal problems;
  • social or interpersonal problems;
  • dependence (addiction)

What is a Drug?

Any natural or manufactured substance—legal or illegal—that can alter the functioning of the brain and the body.


Symptoms of Drug Abuse

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dialated pupils
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination
  • Deterioration of physical appearance, hygiene
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, clothes
  • Extreme hyperactivity
  • Needle marks on the body – specifically arms and legs
  • Tremors
  • Frequent rubbing of the nose
  • Drop in attendance and performance at work, school
  • Unexplained need for money
  • Moodiness or nervousness
  • Sudden overall change in attitude
  • Paranoia
  • Changes in friends and hobbies
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Secretive behavior / excessive need for privacy
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Sudden dislike for activities he/she used to enjoy
  • Periods of hyperactivity


Community Resources  
Alcohol Drug & Gambling Services  905-546-3606
Alternatives for Youth 905-527-4469
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health  800-463-6273
Cocaine Anonymous 866-662-4636
Drug and Alcohol Registry of Treatment    800-565-8603
Grace Haven – New Choices (Women/Teens) 905-522-5556 ext.301
Men’s Withdrawal Management Centre   905-527-9264
Mission Services     905-528-7635
Suntrac Wellness & Addiction Centre 905-527-9264
Narcotics Anonymous 905-522-0332
Wayside House of Hamilton (Men) 905-528-8969
Wesley Urban Ministries – Claremont House   905-318-6903

Womankind – Telephone Support


Crisis Line 


905-521-9591 ext.237