A program to fight cyberaddiction will be implemented in Quebec

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A program to fight cyberaddiction will be implemented in Quebec

About 3% of young people suffer from cyberaddiction in Quebec.

There will soon be a program to fight cyberaddiction in all regions of Quebec. The program will be implemented in the spring and will allow people with gambling or Internet addiction problems to have the same services, from the Outaouais to the Far North. It would even be a Canadian first.

Currently, not all regions of Quebec are fighting on equal terms against cyberaddiction.

We really had differences between the regions, so if you were lucky, there was already a program that had been developed, whereas in other [regions, editor's note] you could not have care, specifies Magali Dufour , professor in the Department of Psychology at UQAM, specializing in particular in cyberaddiction.

With her team, she designed the Virtua program, aimed at 15 to 25 year olds. Its implementation is scheduled for spring 2023 in all regions of the province. The goal is for regional workers to know how to deal with cyberaddiction and for the quality of care to be the same everywhere, according to Magali Dufour.

The specialist explains that there are differences between cyberaddiction and addiction to substances such as alcohol.

One of the specificities [of cyberaddiction] is the accessibility of the product which is everywhere, all the time, which is in our pockets. So there is greater availability than for substances or for gambling. How the person will set goals, how they will develop strategies to protect themselves, explains Magali Dufour.

These specific aspects of cyberaddiction are addressed in the Virtua program, which will initially take the form of a pilot project. In light of the results, the Ministry of Health could then make it permanent.

Miguel Therriault, coordinator of professional services at Le Grand Chemin, a non-profit organization that helps teens struggling with cyberaddiction, is enthusiastic about this new program.

I will receive much more structured referrals, with clinical staff who have a common language and clinical orientations, he says.

This resource was expected in the regions, confirms St├ęphanie Grondin, who works in the specialized addiction rehabilitation services of the CIUSS de l'Outaouais.

Before we even heard of Virtua, it was something we hoped we could ride, hoped existed, so when we heard Virtua was coming, we quickly raised our hands to participate.

About 3% of young people suffer from cyberaddiction in Quebec, statistics similar to those of addiction to various substances.

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