Richmond Addiction Services Society


What's the worst drug out there?

That depends on your definition of “worst”. The worst drug might be whatever drug is a problem for you. If you misuse marijuana (but no other drug) and it causes chaos in your relationships (family, friends, employers, teachers, etc.), affects your performance at school or work, your athletic ability, motivation and overall physical health, then marijuana is the worst drug for you, not cocaine or heroin. The worst drug might also be identified by looking at trends and addiction rates at the time for specific populations. If there is a sudden influx of crystal meth use amongst teens in Richmond we will see a lot of devastation for families and youth. Therefore crystal meth might be considered the worst drug for teens in Richmond at that time. The answer could be different again if we considered political issues, international social ills, and the activities/results of organized crime.

Is marijuana addictive?

Yes. Studies show individuals can experience both physical and psychological dependence on marijuana. Withdrawal symptoms can include headache, nausea, irritability, light headedness, feelings of isolation, anxiety, sleep problems, loss of appetite and sweating.

How do I know if I have a problem?

If areas of your life are being affected, such as home life, work, health or school. If the chemical is taking priority over other areas of your life, that’s an early indicator of trouble. If a family member expresses concern or anger, then it’s something to think about.

Why can't I just quit on my own?

Many people try to quit on their own and may do so for a short period of time. However, those who quit with support and counselling are much less likely to relapse.

My spouse/partner drinks too much, what can I do?

You need to know that you didn’t cause your spouse’s drinking and that you also can’t fix it. Look at what you CAN fix: how is their drinking affecting you? Get counselling for yourself. Alanon is a wonderful program of support for those in similar circumstances.

My teen may be using drugs. What should I look for?

For complete information contact RASS and speak to a counsellor. The major clue is change… in areas such as behaviour, attitude, friends, or activities.

My mother drinks before dinner every night but she’s also on a lot of medication. Should I be concerned?

Some doctors recommend a glass of wine before dinner for seniors to help with appetite. However, you should be concerned about what medication she is on and how much she is actually drinking. You might want to speak to her doctor about your concerns.

What's the difference between a recovery house and a residential treatment centre?

A recovery house is a structured environment shared with about 8-10 others who are experiencing the same kinds of difficulties with drugs and alcohol. There are rules for and expectations of all the residents including participation in household tasks, meetings, attendance at outside 12-step meetings, and no drug or alcohol use of any kind. It is a safe place where you can get back on your feet physically, emotionally and spiritually. A residential treatment centre is a highly structured therapeutic setting where you stay for 4-6 weeks of intense treatment, usually in a group setting, facilitated by professionals. Goals are established during this period of treatment as to what life changes need to happen to resume healthy living. Ideally, a person stabilizes in a recovery house and then moves on to a residential treatment program.

Do I have to pay RASS and how long do I have to go?

Our services are free to residents of Richmond as we are funded by both provincial and municipal funds.

Is the service confidential? Does it go on my medical records?

Yes, service is confidential. A release form would have to be signed by you to divulge your information with anyone outside RASS. (For instance, discussing your progress with a family member only happens with your permission.) The only exception to this is if your file was subpoenaed by the court. In this situation RASS is required by law to comply with the court’s request.

I am retired. My adult child constantly asks for money. If I refuse he becomes violent. Where can I get help?

Long term alcohol and/or prescription drug use can affect the reasoning ability of the now older child who becomes abusive. As an older parent you need to ensure your safety. The RCMP or a RASS counsellor can help you identify ways to help your child and still feel safe.

My mother is staying home a lot since my father died. She seems more confused and shaky?

After a loss sometimes older people become confused and depressed. They may misuse their prescription drugs or alcohol in an attempt to feel better. This can cause isolation, muscle weakness, memory loss, confusion and Parkinson-like symptoms. Call RASS for an assessment of your parent’s functioning.

I’ve heard that acupuncture helps people detox. Is that true?

Yes, ear acupuncture helps people cope with the withdrawal symptoms of detoxing and then maintain their recovery. Normally, the acupuncturist places 5 needles in carefully selected points on your ear, and then you sit and meditate for about 45 minutes. Most people quickly feel relaxed and at peace with a sense of well-being.

Does ear acupuncture help physical and emotional symptoms of withdrawal?

Clients report they feel less anxious, more relaxed and their thinking is clearer. They feel less stressed have fewer cravings and cope well with withdrawal symptoms. Almost immediately their sleep and appetite improves, they have more energy and find a sense of purpose. People start complementing them “Hey you look so much better, you have light in your eyes!” However, ear acupuncture is not a standalone treatment for substance use disorders.

Links & Resources


Gang Affiliation

Drugs & Alcohol

The Real Facts about Drugs:



Destigmatization of Substance Use Disorders:

CTV BC Lawford Interview

Drug information website (USA):

Drug information website (USA):

Drug FACT sheets (USA):

Marijuana website:

DXM (Dextromethorphan) website

Ecstasy website

Meth website:

Meth website:

Prescription drug website:

Excellent UK Alcohol website:

Drug Facts (AUS):

Alcohol website:

Drinking facts:

Alberta and Health Services:

National Institute of Drug Abuse (USA):

Drug website (USA):


Problem Gambling

Brain & Behavior

Mental Health & Addictions




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Aging Well Program

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