About Us

Where families come for help

The DFK Vision 

To ensure that all young people will be able to live their lives free of problematic substance use and addiction.

90% of addictions began with substance use in adolescence. 1

Drug Free Kids Canada is building a movement that encourages and supports parents to prevent and reduce the harms of problematic drug use by youth.

We educate, engage and empower parents

Educate

We are meeting the needs of parents, guardians, caregivers, teachers, and health care professionals across the country by providing them with the most up-to-date and evidence-based information, resources, and tools.

DFK’s comprehensive website is the hub of all of our educational activities; allowing parents easy access to information on substances, drug prevention tools, and DFKC resources along with the strategies they need to communicate effectively with their children about a growing list of current issues.

Engage

One of the guiding principles at DFK is “talk with your kids.”

Substance use is a familiar term to most parents, but many parents don’t feel their children could be at risk, or they don’t feel comfortable discussing drug use with their kids.

Parents are the most influential people in their children’s lives. We at DFK believe it’s important for parents to know that engaging with their kids and having meaningful conversations about drugs can really make a difference.

Our latest tracking survey confirms that kids say that one of the main reasons to stay away from drugs is to not disappoint their parents.

Public Awareness Campaigns

Our unique and impactful media campaigns are one of the ways we reach out and engage parents to have informed, meaningful conversations with the children in their lives about substance use. We work in partnership with advertising agencies and media outlets to create drug education messages that run on TV, radio, print, and digital media across Canada.

Our current Campaign Have the Cannabis Talk

Keeping the lines of communication open with kids can make a big difference in preventing harm from cannabis use.

Talking with kids about substance use can be a challenge for some parents, but those conversations matter. Becoming informed about cannabis and creating a safe and receptive environment to begin the conversation with your teen can promote lasting open and positive communication.

Recent DFKC Campaigns – Find the full list of our television, radio, and print ads along with downloadable campaign materials.

Empower

We believe in empowering parents in their efforts to help their kids develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they will need to achieve their goals, dreams, and aspirations free of problematic substance use.

The resources and practical tools we provide parents contain valuable information on substances as well as practical advice, empowering parents to begin those honest and meaningful conversations with kids to help them develop the knowledge, resilience, attitudes and skills to make their own healthy choices as they navigate through the teen years

Empowering parents to take action to protect their kids is important because:

  • 60% of illicit drug users are between 15 and 24 years old. 2
  • 36% of teenagers have been offered drugs at a party, and nearly half don’t really know how to refuse them. 3

The following substances were used by students in grades 7-12 across Canada: 4

  • Alcohol: 44% – 880,000 students
  • Cannabis: 18% – 374,000 students
  • E-cigarettes: 20% – 418,000 students *
  • 7% used sedatives/tranquilizers, stimulants, and prescription pain relievers
  • There was a 3% rise in non-medical use of stimulants like ADHD drugs
  • Opioids: One in ten (11%) Ontario high school students reported the non-medical use of prescription opioid painkillers.5

The DFK Difference: 1,400 fewer youth suffering from the harms of substance use and addiction each year. The Drug Free Kids’ Social Return on Investment (SROI) study in 2020 determined that the harms of youth addiction cost society $490,000 over the lifetime of an individual. DFKC’s prevention and harm reduction efforts save society over $680 million annually.

Source: DFK’s Social Return on Investment, Anna-Maria Bukowiec, DeGroote School of Business 

Footnotes:
1 – National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse CASA
2 – Canadian Centre for Substance Use and Addiction – A Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada’s Youth.
3 – DFKC Tracking Study 2020
4 – Health Canada, CSTADS Survey Summary 2018-2019
5 – CAMH, OHSDUS 2019