Free Help Quitting Cigs for Ontario's Drug Addicts

By McCarton Ackerman 01/19/12

The Canadian province comes good for those trying to quit more than one substance at once.

Ontario's drug users are twice as
likely to smoke.
Photo via

Drug addicts and alcoholics in treatment who also want to quit smoking are getting some extra help in Ontario, Canada. Health Minister Deb Matthews marked “Weedless Wednesday” yesterday by announcing that 23,000 people in treatment across the province will receive free nicotine replacement therapy and counseling, if they want it. The three-year program will cost taxpayers $4.5 million. “The issue is that we’ve been doing smoking cessation one piece at a time...and we have some very good pieces. What we don’t have is a system where every Ontarian has free access 24-7,” says Michael Perley of the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco. According to addictions program director Dr. Peter Selby, of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, nicotine replacement therapy doubles quitters' success rates. The smoking rate for drug and alcohol addicts in Ontario is 38%—twice the rate of the general population.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.