Helpful resources on youth and substance use
Get quick access to the information on our web pages.
Want to know more about the substances kids use? These pages feature evidence-based information on specific drugs, along with tips on how to talk to your kids about them.
Talk with your Kids
Browse through the list of pages below to communicate effectively with your child and get tips and tools to get those talks about substance use going, early and often.
Consult our downloadable resources for additional information
The resources below contain evidence-based information that can help you understand the issues and prevent the risks related to substance use by youth.
We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada in the translation of our resources for parents.
Protective Parenting Strategies
Supporting the development of protective factors in your child can help prevent early use of substances.
Resilience is a very important protective factor that plays an important part in a child’s healthy development. Here are some strategies for parents to build their child’s resilience.
Download the 10 Key Protective Parenting Strategies here.
Mental Health and Substance use – is there a link?
Life in the pandemic years have challenged the mental wellness of many young people, and particularly kids with existing mental health issues like anxiety or depression.
Learn how to recognize when your child is having a tough time – and get some tips to help them deal with feelings of anxiety, apprehension, or overwhelming stress in their lives.
Download the Mental Health and Substance Use resource here.
Dextromethorphan (DXM) – Let’s talk about it.
Dextromethorphan (DXM) is a drug used to treat coughs and it is contained in more than 70 over-the-counter drugs (OTC). It is accessible in pharmacies, but that does not mean that it’s harmless. The effects of the recreational use of DXM can be quite harmful.
This guide, produced by Doctor of Pharmacy students at the University of Montréal with the participation of the Drug Free Kids Canada team, contains evidence-based information about Dextromethorphan, its effects, and offers tools to help parents have a conversation with their kids.
Download the Dextromethorphan, Let’s talk about it here
This informative guide is a doctoral project and the Pharmacy students would greatly appreciate your feedback!
Mind your medications – Infographic
The challenges of COVID 19 have overshadowed the fact that the opioid crisis continues to grow, with increased instances of problematic drug use, overdoses, and accidental poisonings reported across the country. One in two Canadian homes contains medications that can be dangerous if taken non-medically, and most are not secured safely.
Learn more about how to protect your kids by keeping all prescription and OTC medications secure in your home and have age-appropriate conversations about medicines with your children.
Support yourself and your family during COVID19 – Infographic
As this pandemic persists, people continue to deal with so much – we are all facing the stress and anxiety of uncertainty. Parents need to be mindful that they could be using substances as a way of coping with stress, and as a consequence, their kids may think substance use is an appropriate way to deal with uncomfortable feelings.
It’s more important than ever for you and your family to find ways to stay well, stay calm, and stay mentally healthy.
Learn more about Cannabis – The Cannabis Talk Kit and Ingestion vs Inhalation
Click here to access the Cannabis Talk Kit, one of our most popular informational resources contains evidence-based information about the effects of Cannabis on youth as well as practical suggestions to help parents talk with their kids.
Ingestion vs Inhalation – This one-page insert has additional information about cannabis edibles and is designed to accompany the Cannabis Talk Kit.
Download the one page insert here.
Let’s Talk Opioids, including Fentanyl – A parent’s guide to understanding opioid use by youth
The opioid crisis in our country has impacted countless families. In the present complex landscape of youth and substance use, we all have much to learn.
This resource will provide you with the knowledge and strategies to help you prevent your child from using opioids problematically, spot problematic use by recognizing the signs and symptoms, and take action effectively to prevent an accidental overdose.
If your son or daughter is already using opioids problematically, this resource suggests several steps you can take to help protect them from harm.
Cannabis Products, including Edibles
Your child may express some curiosity about cannabis products – that does not mean they intend to use them. It’s natural for youth to be curious about a substance that is frequently in the media and they may have questions about using cannabis.
This resource can inform and prepare you to speak with your kids about cannabis edibles, extracts, and topicals
Youth and Vaping
It’s important for parents to know that vaping’s popularity among youth has grown significantly – and there is a lot of concern that this increase may have a negative impact on the overall health of young people.
Understanding the potential health effects will help you engage in meaningful conversations with your child.
Youth and Alcohol
“ Canadians are unfortunately not paying enough attention to the harms of alcohol.” – Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer, 2018
Underage drinking is very common in Canada. Learn more about the substance most young Canadians will try first, and get some practical suggestions on how to begin meaningful conversations with your pre-teen or teen about alcohol use.
Drug Guide for Parents
Intervention and Treatment resources
We’ve compiled a short list of additional resources on our website that can assist you in finding the help that’s right for your child.
Here are links to other sites to help you learn more about preventing substance use.
Disclaimer: Inclusion of an organization does not imply endorsement or authorization by Drug Free Kids Canada. The sources of information listed below are intended only as a partial list of the resources available to viewers of this website. You are encouraged to conduct additional research for resources.
An e-training module offered by the Addiction Prevention Centre, this free online e-training module is aimed at parents of teenagers to better equip them to act effectively and prevent the risks related to adolescent alcohol, marijuana and drug use. The program includes four interactive vignettes in which parents must interact with members of a fictitious family to resolve drug-use related issues. APT Parents is available thanks to the support of the Fondation Jean Lapointe.
Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction
Provides help, information and guidance for parents
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – CAMH
Child, Youth and Emerging Adult Services – Provides help to young people with mental health and/or addiction problems.
Youth Drug Prevention for Parents – Learn about drugs, observe your kids, take action, get help.
This editorial section of the popular medical site helps parents understand and deal with teen OTC drug abuse.
Families for Addiction Recovery
FAR is dedicated to supporting families struggling with substance use disorder (SUD), educating and advocating for treatment options for youth and young adults.
Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine
A resource of scientific and medical information about Addiction – for professionals and the general public.
Drug Awareness for Parents (RCMP)
Kids and drugs: A parent’s guide to prevention provided by the RCMP
The Centre for Youth Crime Prevention (CYCP)
A by-youth, for-youth web-based program that is operated by the Youth Engagement Section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Above the Influence
This site is designed to engage teens in discussions about influence and ways to “stay above it.”
Prevent Teen Drug Use
This site aims to give parents and teens, facts about today’s marijuana and to encourage public discussion about the risks of using this drug.
Kids Now is a national, after school mentoring program that empowers grades 7 and 8 youth, to believe in themselves so they can make positive choices.
Teen Mental Health
Helping to improve the mental health of youth by the effective translation and transfer of scientific knowledge.
Kids Help Phone
To reach a Kids Help Phone professional counsellor, kids, teens, and young adults, from any community in Canada, you can call or go online 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
(USA) The Partnership to End Addiction
Need Help? Get Help! How to talk to your kids. Drug prevention, drug abuse, drug intervention, drug treatment and recovery. Drugfree.org provides answers, guidance, tips and stories.