Drug use in Canada is prevalent to non-existent depending on what you define as a “drug.” Eleven per cent of the Canadian population “has a problem with drugs or alcohol” according to a CBC survey, but this does not include people who use drugs recreationally without “a problem.” That number, especially when you include alcohol and cannabis, is much, much higher, and if you include only people with classically-defined addictions to the illicit drugs, such as crack cocaine and heroin, the number is much, much lower.
In general, the way insurance companies approach drug issues is based on two major questions: is the potential client using prescription drugs provided through the proper channels, or are they using drugs outside those channels, and therefore statistically vulnerable to certain liabilities.
For the former, these questions are often discovered in the background checks and medical questionnaires provided by insurance companies prior to developing or offering a policy. Naturally, some drugs have effects on a person’s life expectancy and prospective quality of life, and others come with certain health risks, even when provided by a healthcare practitioner. In these, instances, an insurance company will take into account the medical issues being treated by the drugs and the effects of the drugs themselves in developing a policy, but a policy can usually be provided by most major health insurance providers.
For those who use illicit drugs, the options are generally more difficult. Usually, insurance companies are hesitant to provide policies, many are even wary of providing low-cost options for people who smoke cigarettes.
Luckily, there are some options still available for drug users, especially those who use illicit drugs. Remember, many policies will not cover complications that occur because of illicit drug use, and not disclosing such information when asked can constitute insurance fraud, which can be a severe crime that includes heavy fines and possible jail time.