What is a drug?
A substance that can change the way a person acts, thinks, or feels.
Not all drugs are bad. Some drugs help us when we are sick, or when they are prescribed by a trained medical professional.
Drug abuse is when drugs are taken in a way that can cause harm. This harm can be physical, emotional, legal, social, or economic.
Why do people use drugs?
By understanding the reasons for drug use, we can learn how to say no and how to get help.
There are many reasons why someone chooses to use drugs:
- Because I’m told not to.
- Because I want to forget.
- I like the idea of it.
- I can’t stop.
- I’m curious.
- I feel pressure from my friends.
- I want to fit in.
- I’m so stressed out.
"When we started high school, my friends and I thought that it would be fun to try new things. Not always good ones..."
"After a while, we got caught up in always looking for the next fun thing to do. It became less about having fun with ourselves and more about the fun created using substances.
I started to question if these people were really even friends anymore. Would we be friends if we weren’t always having fun? That’s when I decided to talk to someone, and start making some different choices."
of people tried alcohol for the first time at 4 years old.
of youth had tried marijuana in 2013.
How can I say no?
Sometimes it can be hard to say ‘no’ when friends and peers are pressuring you take part.
Here are some ways you can refuse drugs if you find yourself in a pressured situation:
- Blame your parents, coach, or school for why you can’t: “My parents would kill me.”
- Use humour to deflect and insist it’s not for you: “No thanks, I’m good with not dying.”
- Suggest another activity: “Why don’t we go to the mall/movies/Starbucks instead?”
- Decline for “today,”: “Not right now, I’m not in the mood.”
- Leave the group and rejoin them later (make up an excuse to leave or say you have something to do soon that requires you to be sober): “I can’t, I have to help my parents with something later/tomorrow morning and I don’t want to be messed up for that.”
- Be confident and use “I” statements: “I don’t feel like this is for me. I’m good.”
Who can get help?
You or anyone you know. Whether it’s your own use, or someone you know, there are people at school who can help without judgement or criticism.
Substance Use Liaisons available for all students, including those who have concerns about others’ usage. They can help you or someone you know make a change and provide the support needed to do so.
Want to know more?
Above the Influence
Get the facts on drugs, and read stories and experiences from other youth.abovetheinfluence.com
Here to Help
Read information to help you and other family members manage and understand mental health and substance use problems.heretohelp.com
Learn about the dangers and risks of drugs and alcohol abuse from a fellow teen.drugfacts.ca