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Substance Use Blog Series Part 2: Withdrawal Management (known sometimes as Detox)

June 3, 2020


Welcome to the Deltassist Substance Use Services (SUS) blog series. This weekly series has been created during the Covid-19 pandemic to help increase awareness around drug and alcohol use and mental health. These initial posts contain information for people looking for resources to help them quit or reduce their substance use. 

Today’s post is on Withdrawal Management Resources, what used to be called detox. The list of topics covered in other posts is at the bottom of the page.

What is medically supervised withdrawal?

Prolonged alcohol and/or drug use can cause the human body to become dependent on these substances. When the substance(s) stop entering the body or are being consumed at a reduced amount, the body goes through what is known as withdrawal as it tries to re-adjust to the loss of the substance.

Symptoms of withdrawal vary from discomfort to severe pain and can be life threatening. What symptoms occur will depend on the type of substance that has been used, the amount used, and how long the person has been using it.

For example, the feelings associated with a hangover (ex. headache, nausea, shaking, stress) are actually the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal from a short period of heavy alcohol use. Withdrawal symptoms when alcohol has been used for longer timespans (as well as withdrawal symptoms after use of certain kinds of drugs) can be very painful, harmful to the body, and even life-threatening. At a medically supervised detox centre these withdrawal symptoms can be monitored and medication can be dispensed to help ease the withdrawal process.

For Delta residents, withdrawal management is offered at Creekside Withdrawal Management Detox Service in Surrey. Patients who access Creekside for medically supervised withdrawal management will be assessed and may stay overnight until the dangerous symptoms of withdrawal have subsided or maybe provided Opioid Agonist Treatment which does not require overnight stays and is discussed further in the next post. Alongside the support of medical staff, counselling and therapeutic activities are also available at Creekside.


Why is it sometimes called detox?

Detox (short for detoxification) refers to the body ridding itself of unhealthy toxins. This is a natural process occurring in our bodies, primarily in our livers. Before the science of withdrawal was understood, medical researchers believed symptoms of withdrawal were caused by the substance leaving the body through the detoxification process. The symptoms are now know to be caused by the body readjusting to the absence of the substances and the effects of readjusting can last long after the substances are actually gone.

This better understanding of the science behind addiction is why many centers that used to be called ‘detox’ are now using the term ‘withdrawal management’. Creekside in Surrey uses both the words ‘detox’ and ‘withdrawal management’ in its name so that people who are more familiar with the term detox will know its the same service.   


How do I know if I need withdrawal management?

If you have been using alcohol and/or drugs and are unsure if you need medically supervised withdrawal management, please call your local Withdrawal Centre to be assessed. For Delta residents that is:

Creekside Withdrawal Management Detox Services.
Free of charge medically supervised withdrawal management for adults and youth.

Call the following number to self-refer:
604-587-3755 or 1-888-587-3755

Option #2 for adult substance withdrawal services
p: 778-241-7597 for Youth Intake Line
a: 13740 – 94A Avenue Surrey, BC


If Creekside Detox is not currently available, or if you do not wish withdrawal management services but need a safe place to become sober, Fraser Health has provided a sobering and assessment centre, within walking distance from Creekside Detox in Surrey.

Quibble Creek Sobering and Assessment Centre
Phone: (604) 580-4965
13670 – 94A Avenue Surrey

There are 20 mats in a large room available for men to rest on, and 4 private rooms for women. Stays are limited to 23 hours. Located very close to Creekside Withdraw Management Centre and Opioid Agonist Treatment clinic.


~If you need immediate support coping with a crisis while waiting for help, please call the Fraser Health Crisis Line at 604-951-8855 or toll-free 1-877-820-7444. They are open 24/7. ~


Click the links for information about each of these kinds of services:

  1. Withdrawal Management (known sometimes as Detox)
  2. Medical treatment for Opioid Use disorder (Opioid Agonist Treatment)
  3. Substance Use Counselling
  4. Treatment Programs
  5. Peer Support/Online Self-Help


Update Sep 18, 2020: There are now also posts specifically on youth resources and resources for family and friends of people who use substances. Click on the highlighted words to go to those posts.

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