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Nunavut Overview & Quick Facts


Addiction treatment resources in Nunavut are a rare commodity with residents needing residential treatment being referred to Ottawa, Winnipeg or Edmonton.

There are many problems facing the Territory that influence substance abuse. Adequate housing is in short supply and overcrowding is the norm. Unemployment among the Inuit is high and the Government is the main employer. The suicide rate is still eight times the national average and substance use is often associated with completed suicides.

The substances most often abused are alcohol and marijuana. Because of the high price of boot-legged alcohol – up to $250 a bottle – binge drinking is the most common pattern. In addition, some communities are dry and alcohol use is illegal. Marijuana is often cheaper and easier to bring into the Territory. Street drugs such as cocaine or heroin are seen in Iqaluit, the most urban of all the population centres.

The killer who lives at home talks about the prevalence of tobacco in Nunavut which, at 70%, is two times the national average. ‘Dry’ town just a myth talks about the problems created by banning retail liquor sales in many Nunavut communities such as bootlegging.

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