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Substance Use & Abuse

Substance use is when someone uses tobacco, alcohol, prescription drugs, street drugs or other substances. Substance abuse is when someone is addicted to using one or more of these substances. Both substance use and abuse can negatively affect a person's life.

It is a good idea to talk to your child about substance use and safety. It is important to ask your child what she knows about drugs, tobacco and alcohol. Many middle years children look up to older siblings or peers who may be experimenting with substance use so it is important that middle years children have the facts. They may also be exposed to conflicting messages about substance use from home, friends, and the media. Make sure your child is aware of the legal, social, physical and mental problems that can come from substance use and abuse.

Some middle years children may try drugs, drink alcohol or smoke because they feel pressured to fit in with peers. Some may use substances to rebel or escape from their lives. Others may be drawn by curiosity. Whatever the reason, it is important to talk to your child about the effects of substance use. When talking to your child, stay calm and listen. For children who are using substances, it may be necessary to seek help outside of your family, such as an addictions counsellor, to get to the source of the problem.

The use of substances by children in the middle years is a serious cause for concern. For information about substance use and how to identify if there is a problem, follow the links below.

Tobacco

Alcohol & Drugs

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