Community Drug Strategy

The Community Drug Strategy Committee works toward educating the Comox Valley about the dangers of substance use and the importance of making safe and healthy choices. The Committee was founded in 2002 with the support of Courtenay Council.

Free upcoming event!

Firewater - How Alcohol is Killing My People (and Yours)

Wednesday, March 6, 2019  7 - 9 pm
Stan Hagen Theatre, North Island College

Firewater Poster [PDF - 224 KB]

The Community Drug Strategy Committee, the Comox Valley Community Health Network and the John Howard Society North Island are pleased to sponsor a presentation by Harold R. Johnson, author of “Firewater – How Alcohol is Killing My People (and Yours)".   Mr. Johnson is a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation Band (Saskatchewan), a former Crown Prosecutor with the Ministry of Justice and a talented speaker and storyteller.  He will challenge us to “change the story we tell ourselves about alcohol.”  He will share his insights about alcohol, including its history, myths surrounding it and it’s impacts on our communities.

The evening presentation on Wednesday, March 6th from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, is open to the public and admission is free.  The event takes place at the Stan Hagen Theatre at North Island College (2300 Ryan Road, Courtenay) and will include a Q&A period.  Doors open at 6:30 pm and seating is on a first come, first seated basis.  Copies of “Firewater” will also be available for purchase at the event.  Please note that film cameras may be present.

“Alcohol has become such a normal part of everyday life that we are not paying attention to its health risks, especially over the long-term,” says Dr. Charmaine Enns, Island Health Medical Health Officer. “The toll that alcohol takes on people’s health and the health-care system needs to be challenged and we applaud Mr. Johnson’s ability to expose our societal blindness to it.”

“We are so pleased to support the Community Drug Strategy committee in starting this important conversation in our community,” says Lindsay McGinn, Facilitator of the Comox Valley Community Health Network. “Alcohol consumption rates have been increasing year over year, and the rates of use here in the Comox Valley are higher than both the Island and the Provincial average.”

The direct and indirect costs of alcohol to residents of BC, including healthcare, lost productivity and criminal justice are at $1.94 billion per year (or $420 per person, regardless of age).  This is 3 x more than what alcohol brings in as profits. (Canadian Institute on Substance Use Research, 2014.)  “Alcohol touches all of our lives, whether we drink or not.” (Harold Johnson).  As we listen to Mr. Johnson’s story, we can also ask ourselves “what is the story we tell about alcohol”.

For more information about the March 6th presentation, please contact Karen at or 250-339-3603. 

Comox Valley Drug and Alcohol Services Directory

In May 2012 the Community Drug Strategy Committee released an updated Comox Valley Drug and Alcohol Services Directory. This manual is intend

ed to provide easy access to information, matching members of the community to resources and supports to move towards healthier, happier lives.

Comox Valley Drug and Alcohol Services Directory [PDF - 756 KB

Committee Activities and Programs

The Committee hosts annual presentations for Comox Valley students and the public during National Addictions Awareness Week. Recent guest speakers have included:

  • Katy Hutchison, whose husband was murdered on New Years Eve 1997 while trying to stop a party (2007)
  • Odd Squad, Vancouver police officers who made the film "Through the Blue Lens" (2008)
  • Dr. Gabor Maté,  author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghost: Close Encounters with Addiction (2009)
  • Clara Locey, who used her own experiences to discuss the dangers of drug use (2010)
  • Matt Bellace, motivational speaker who discussed staying drug and alcohol free and learning about natural highs (2011)
  • Keith Pattinson, who spoke about the 40 Development Assets to help our youth succeed (2012)

Since 2008, the Committee has offered funding to local schools and community organizations to create prevention activities. As of 2013/2014, 44 schools and organizations have received a total of $24 725 from the Committee.  In 2012, the Committee began offering two Smart Choice Awards of $500 each to graduating students in the Comox Valley to go towards post-secondary education.  The purpose of the Awards is to support and celebrate students who have remained drug and alcohol free throughout their high school years. 

For immediate assistance with substance abuse issues, emotional crisis or you simply need support, please contact the Vancouver Island Crisis Line at 1-888-494-3888 or visit