Substance Abuse

Why do people use substances?

There are risks and benefits to all substance use. How the risks and benefits affect you depend on your situation. Here are some points to think about if you find yourself in a situation where substances are available:

When might substance use be a problem?

I think I want to change my substance use—where can I go from here?

Family and friends: If you feel like you can talk openly about your concerns, family and friends can offer a lot of help.

Self-help material: There are great self-help materials online to help you look at your substance use and think about changes that may help. “Substance Use and You” from the Centre for Addictions Research of BC is a good place to start.

Self-help groups: There are many different kinds of self-help groups, though most are based on abstinence (not using). Some examples are SMART Recovery, LifeRing, and Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous (AA or NA). If you can’t find a group in your community, you may be able to join discussions online. These groups are anonymous and confidential, which means that no one can tell anyone else that you’re in the group or tell people outside the group what you talk about. Self-help groups can be a great way to connect with new people and find support in your community.

Health care professional: If you’re having a hard time dealing with substance use on your own, it may be a good idea to talk to a professional. Your school counsellor or family doctor can help you find services that fit your goals.