News, Culture & Society

A Comprehensive Interview with the Entrepreneur – Erik Bouaziz

Addiction is a severe brain disorder a majority of youths and adults have battled with all through the decades. Despite the consequences that accompany this problem, many of its victims find it difficult to break free, as they relapse time and again. Canada is one of the top countries plagued by drug abuse and addiction, and it is no surprise to discover this fact. Based on a review by the United Nations, the Great White North is home to the most massive production of synthetic drugs, narcotics, stimulants, and other related drugs. It is common to see drugs like methamphetamines and ecstasy in circulation in this country.

Even though the global demand for cannabis, heroin, and cocaine took a tip in 2011, the market in Canada was on a steady rise. The United States gets ample supplies of these drugs from Canada. Substance abuse and addiction amongst Canadians are not limited to drugs alone; alcoholism is another addiction that causes severe concerns. According to a 2017 report by Statistics Canada, 19.5% of citizens (with an exception to those who reside in the territories) consumed alcoholic beverages excessively, with the least of them being 12 years of age.

The Effect – Substance Abuse In Relation With Car Crashes And Other Challenges In CA

There is no denying that substance abuse and addiction has taken a toll on the accident rates in Canada. In 2013, Canadian authorities recorded 1,451 car crash deaths that were related to substance abuse. To break it down, 369 of those deaths had to do with drivers under the influence of alcohol, 683 deaths were linked to drivers under the influence of other drugs (excluding alcohol), while 399 deaths were a combination of both.

The effect of substance abuse extends beyond car accidents, as Canadians with this problem have also experienced a deterioration in their relationships, health, work, education, finance, and other areas.

Erik Bouaziz Views About Substance Abuse

Most people with addiction see it as a coping mechanism for whatever challenges they are going through. Unfortunately, these toxic substances just offer temporary relief, but their lifetime effects can be harmful and even life-threatening. In an interview with Erik Bouaziz, a professional intervention counsellor and entrepreneur in Canada, he expressed his concerns about the detrimental effect of substance abuse on its victims, while highlighting contributing factors like:

  • Trauma (verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, accidents, neglect, and disasters)
  • Environment (mental illness, divorce, heated arguments, among others)
  • Genetics (severe reaction to toxic substances and addictive personality)
  • Peer pressure
  • Mental illness

Explaining further, he stated that the adverse effect of substance abuse had affected not only victims but also several significant sectors in the country. In 2014, the health sector expended about $11.1 billion on catering to substance use cases, of which 90% of this cost stemmed from tobacco and alcohol abuse. Opioids had the second-largest take of $313 million. Between 2007 and 2014, health cost associated with substance abuse had increased from $273 to $313, before settling at $345 (per individual).

The effects have trickled down to other areas, like criminal justice and productivity. In 2014, Canada recorded $15.7 billion loss in productivity, while cases associated with criminal justice accrued a whopping $9 billion the same year. It has not been any better in the succeeding years. According to Erik Bouaziz, “such figures can not be overlooked”.

The Way Forward With Erik Bouaziz

Sitting with Erik Bouaziz in his Victorian-themed office over-shadowed by tons of files, books, and undoubtedly official documents, we discussed his contribution towards curbing substance abuse in Canada. One of the areas we covered was his drug and substance rehabilitation treatment program that caters to youths, adults, and families that battle with addiction and substance abuse. We asked the 45-year-old intervention counsellor how he started with such an initiative. In responding, Bouaziz stated the following:

“Starting an initiative centred on shaping the lives of our citizens – most especially the youths – can be challenging. But, I see this as a noble cause worth embarking on, because the future of Canada depends on the decisions of today’s youths.” He continued, “When I look at the statistics on the number of youths and families that battle with substance abuse, I feel heartbroken. To these guys, they need help. It’s like… you know… you could hear them screaming for help within, even though they don’t display it externally.

The family makes up our society. And if our families are challenged with these cancerous problems, then what future do we expect? You know… something had to be done. I know I can’t do it all. But you know what they say – a little drop makes a mighty ocean. My way of contributing to society was to create a rehabilitation centre and program that helped individuals with substance abuse and addiction.” On the area of finance, Erik stated that his drive to make his society a better place compelled him to start his rehab facility using personal and external funding. Interestingly, he has turned that dream into a start-of-the-art rehabilitation centre.

Going further into the interview, we asked him how his clinic handles substance abuse-related cases. He clearly stated that since the facility began in 2017, more than 2000 patients have experienced tremendous improvements, with about 60% of them living healthy lives presently. In his words, “our facility provides different rehab programs tailored to meet each in-patient’s profile. Depending on the circumstances surrounding an addiction, we may recommend the 30-day, 60-day, or 90-day treatment program. The medical staff work round-the-clock to monitor patients’ improvements and also look out for complications. Some of our patients experience withdrawal symptoms due to the cessation of dependency on these toxic substances, so we are always there to ensure that they are fine.”

One of the factors Erik highlighted that has contributed to the success rate of addiction-free patients is the facility’s follow-up services. Patients do not have to feel alone after leaving the facility, as Bouaziz and his team of medical experts ensure that they live their best lives outside the four walls of the rehab centre.

Erik Bouaziz’s Future Expectation

The interview would not be complete if we did not ask Bouaziz about his thoughts on the future of rehabilitation in Canada. First off, he appreciated the efforts of Canada’s healthcare system and other government agencies towards handling substance use, including the availability of free health care. Hence, anyone with an addiction can access several treatment programs. He also looked forward to providing more health-related initiatives that will sensitise the public on substance abuse/addiction and its side effects. Bouaziz is optimistic about future improvement in the health and wellbeing of Canadians.