Helping adolescents conquer addiction

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Helping adolescents conquer addiction

Young people struggling with addiction had nowhere to turn until this residential treatment program began offering free help to adolescents from 12 to 18.
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How one community helps adolescents kick drug habits


These stories and images form a narrative map of the people, organizations and communities that make up the frontlines of health in Canada.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010 - 10:09am


Narrator: Ask an adult alcoholic or drug user when their struggle began and far too many will tell you they got hooked while they were still children. By the time they are adults their addiction has taken firm hold and the battle to overcome it is daunting. Recognizing the problem and finding treatment early can save a young person from facing an ongoing, lifelong struggle.

Until 1989, there was nowhere in Quebec for families with an addicted child to turn for help. That was the year La Maison Jean Lapointe began offering outpatient treatment to adolescents. In 1992 they opened residential treatment homes in Montréal and Quebec City and added a third in Mauricie in 2000. In 2006 these homes became known as Le Grand Chemin.

Vanessa: My name is Vanessa. I'm seventeen, and I've gone through therapy at Le Grand Chemin. I decided to try drugs because at that time it was "cool", I wanted to be like the others. But in the end I got hooked. It didn't matter which drug, I was hooked. I liked feeling numb, feeling not there. For me, crying didn’t exist. Crying was out of the question. I couldn't cry because I (felt I) had no right to cry. The bottom line was that I wasn't happy. I didn't like living and in fact I often thought about dying.

Antony: My name is Antony. I'm sixteen years old, I have followed a therapy at Le Grand Chemin, about ten weeks of therapy. I began using when I was twelve, when my parents separated. I took drugs socially, you might say, until I was fourteen years old. Then at fourteen I really started going off the rails and I was using every day. That lasted until I was sixteen.

Narrator: Adolescence is often a time of great emotional turmoil. Add addiction to drugs, alcohol or gambling into the mix and the chance of a young person emerging whole and healthy is not good. That’s why Le Grand Chemin opens its doors to adolescents as young as 12.


For more information on Le Grand Chemin or to make a donation, visit:

Le Grand Chemin Inc.
7070, boulevard Perras
Montréal (Québec)
H1E 1A4

Le Grand Chemin Inc.
1, avenue du Sacré-Cœur
Québec (Québec)
G1N 2W1

Le Grand Chemin Inc.
465, rue Houde
Saint-Célestin (Québec)
J0C 1G0



Helen Seibel
+1-8005655877ext. 7311
AstraZeneca Canada Inc.
Keywords: GLBT health | addiction | at-risk-youth | beyond barriers | frontline health | homelessness | isolated seniors | rural health | street-involved | transgender health