Youth and Substances

It is not possible to know exactly what causes addictions. From what we know, genetics, environment, other mental health problems, and difficulty coping with thoughts and feelings may all play a role in the development of an addiction. 

Substance use often begins in youth. Some things youth and young adults can do to reduce the risk of addiction:

  • Build positive relationships with Elders and family members. Our relationships can help us get through difficult times.
  • Think about short-term and long-term goals you have for your life. Focus on what you can do to work towards these goals.
  • Spend time with people who respect you and make you feel good.
  • Find activities you enjoy and find meaningful, such as art, sports, sewing, volunteering or having a part-time job.
  • Reduce the stress in your life. Visit the Stress section on this website for help with this
  • Take care of your mental wellness . Visit the Positive Mental Health section for some tips and ideas.

Addictions can be successfully treated. People who were once addicted can recover and live full, happy and healthy lives. Although quitting is not easy, reaching out for help and trying supports that are available can help with recovery. 

Problematic substance use and addictions can be prevented, treated, and managed. If you are worried about substance use and addictions, talk to a health care provider, or a trusted adult (like a close friend, family member, teacher, Elder, coach, guidance counsellor, or neighbour).

For anonymous support: