Peg Report 28: Substance abuse rates vary greatly across Winnipeg neighbourhoods

November 13th to 19th is National Addictions Awareness Week. What does Peg tell us about rates of substance abuse in Winnipeg?
Peg tells us…
  • The substance abuse indicator measures the number of people aged 10 or older who have been diagnosed as abusing drugs or alcohol.
  • There is a strong connection between income and social well-being. Low income communities experience higher rates of social issues related to health, education, and housing, among others. 
  • Rates of substance abuse in community areas vary across the city, from a low of 2.6 per cent in Fort Garry, to a high of 9.8 per cent in Point Douglas. 
  • City-wide, the rate of substance abuse has remained stable at 4.9 per cent (this includes two five year periods; 2002/03-2006/07 and 2007/08-2011/12).
Why does this matter?
  • Peg’s most recent report on health equity showed a consistent pattern: that economic and social disadvantage results in lower health status in communities across Winnipeg. The relationship between income and social issues is complex, and will require combined efforts to work towards awareness, understanding, and improvement.     
  • Tens of thousands of Canadians are hospitalized each year for alcohol abuse - approximately 86,000 per year according to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) (2005, p. 6). 
  • In addition to the human cost, the economic costs of substance abuse to society, and to the health care system are significant. It has been estimated that substance abuse (including tobacco use) cost Canadian society approximately $1,267 for every Canadian, or $39.8 billion in 2002 (CCSA, 2006, p. 1).
  • More detail and source data for the above facts available at:
  • Substance abuse measures the number of residents aged 10 or older diagnosed with "alcoholic or drug psychoses, alcohol or drug dependence, or nondependent abuse of drugs" (MCHP, 2013, p. 126).
  • This indicator likely undercounts the number of individuals with substance abuse issues, since it only captures individuals visiting physicians or hospitals and being coded to one of the International Classification of Disease (ICD) codes.
Source of the data:

Media inquiries:
For interviews on Peg, the data, or to be connected with organizations making a difference in the community, please contact:

Sumeep Bath, Media and Communications Officer
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
(204) 958-7700 ex 740 |