Alberta has run into a problem of depleted substance abuse treatment resources. It is becoming widely known that the oil industry of Northern Alberta has spawned a culture of rampant substance abuse problems. Oil jobs are incredibly high paying, but demand the worker to live in harsh northern conditions, usually in a work camp. This attracts a largely male demographic who find themselves living with little to no entertainment or recreation after their grueling work week, causing them to turn to drugs and alcohol for amusement.
The sale of alcohol in Alberta is becoming privatized, making a vast selection of liquor available to oil workers. The drug trade follows wealth, and is highly prominent through out Alberta, with a large presence in and around the oil sands. Illegal substances are more than accessible; they are routinely offered to oil workers.
The Alberta oil sands is notoriously a den of substance abuse and addiction, so much so that its rehabilitation treatment facilities are having to turn people away, put them on waiting lists or drastically shorten their programs. Throughout Alberta, whether someone is looking for a Calgary rehab program or an Edmonton addiction treatment center, they will find few facilities taking new clients. With the worker’s population and the availablity of addictive substances increasing simultaneously, the situation is becoming dire.
Government funded rehabs are maxed out and support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous are carrying a large part of the weight of Alberta’s addiction problems. However, they are only intended to be supplemental support and cannot offer the safe recovery environment that inpatient rehab offers. Because of this, most substance abuse problems do not receive the attention they need, or they go entirely untreated, putting many lives at risk. Addiction treatment facilities and rehabilitation programs across Canada want to help aid the addiction crisis in the oil sands of Alberta, and those who struggle with drug and alcohol substance abuse problems in the oil field are encouraged to reach out for help as soon as possible.