Youth - Alcohol and Other Drugs

Think About It...Alcohol and Other Drugs

YOU control your life and the direction you choose to take it!

There is no single age group of people more affected by alcohol and drugs than young people.  In some ways it may feel like it is an issue everywhere:  for you, your family and your friends.  Plain and simple, try as you might, you cannot escape the issues of alcohol and drugs.  That being  said, it is possible to know the risks you face, ways to reduce those risks, and people you can talk to about these issues.

It doesn't matter if you've never tried alcohol and other drugs, if you've experimented a couple times or a regular user - it's your decision to use, continue to use, to cut down, stop, or not to start at all.  This section can give you some important information to make a knowledgeable decision.

Choose To Use? Know The Risks

If you choose to use alcohol or other drugs, you are affecting yourself and your future. When you take in substances that alter the perception of your reality, there is a point at which you loose control over yourself and ultimately your future.

Negative effects of alcohol and other drugs:

  • Problems with school
  • Problems at home
  • Problems in relationships
  • Arguments
  • Injuries - Impaired Driving, Falls, Fights, Fires, Drowning
  • Drunk texting
  • Unintended Sexual Behaviours
  • Sexually transmitted infections or Unplanned Pregnancies
  • Sexual Assault
  • Using a substance that may be laced with other dangerous ingredients (another drug or chemical)
  • Mental Health Concerns
  • Substance Dependency
  • Property Damage
  • Suicide
  • Overdose 
  • Death

Read and Print the "Think About Partying" booklet to learn about the pressures facing teens today:

  • Driving
  • Energy Drinking
  • Party Pressures
  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol and Other Drugs
  • Healthy Relationships  

Why teens turn to substances...

  • Feels good – Teens like the way they feel when under the influence.
  • Stress – Teens feel stressed out with and use substances as a way to take their minds off of their problems for an escape. Learn how to deal with stress at
  • Pressure –Teens have a social need to fit in with a certain group of people and often will misuse substances to fit in with a group of friends.
  • Boredom – Teens believe they have little or nothing else to fill there time with. Plan fun activities in advance to avoid being bored.
  • Mental Illness – Teens use substances to mask an underlying mental illness
  • Risky Choices – Teens often engage in risky behaviours because their brains are not developed enough.

Mind Your Mind's "Getting High?" Interactive Tool

When most people think about taking a substance they only consider what the substance is. You also need to consider where you will be when you're taking it, who you will be with, what kind of mood you're in and more. This tool is about making decisions about drug use and is not intended to be medical advice. 

Binge Drinking

What is Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking is when you drink a lot of alcohol on one occasion, usually in a short amount of time.  Researchers have defined binge drinking as 4 or more standard drinks of alcohol for women and 5 or more standard drinks of alcohol for men.

Why is Binge Drinking a Concern?

When you binge drink, you increase the risk of various health and safety concerns including:

  • Short Term Health Risks of Binge Drinking

    • Violence – fights, intimate partner violence, and child abuse.
    • Risky sexual behaviors – unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, and increased risk of sexual assault. These behaviors can result in unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. 
    • Alcohol poisoning – a medical emergency that results from high blood alcohol levels.
    • Unintentional injuries – traffic injuries (drinking and driving), falls, drowning, burns, and unintentional firearm injuries.

  • Long Term Health Risks of Binge Drinking

    • Heart problems – heart attack, heart disease and high blood pressure.
    • Cancer – cancers of the head & neck, liver, colon, and breast. In general, the risk of cancer rises with increasing intake of alcohol.  If you drink & smoke cigarettes, the risk of developing certain cancers is even greater.
    • Mental health problems – alcohol dependence, depression, anxiety, and suicide.
    • Social problems – unemployment, financial crisis, and family/friend problems.
    • Damage to your liver, stomach and brain.

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning happens when a person drinks too much alcohol for their body to process (often with binge drinking) and can harm normal body functioning.  Alcohol poisoning is extremely dangerous and a medical emergency.  Signs of alcohol poisoning include: 

  • Semi-conscious or not being able to be woken up
  • Cold, clammy, pale or bluish skin
  • Vomiting while sleeping
  • Slow or irregular breathing (or stopped breathing)
  • Seizures
  • Incontinent of urine

What to do if someone has Alcohol Poisoning:

  • Call for help (911)
  • Put person into the recovery position by turning them onto their side, tilting their head back, tucking upper hand under chin to keep airway clean and bending their leg for support
  • Stay with the person until help arrives

Educate yourself about Alcohol and Other Drugs

Knowledge is power - we recommend that you arm yourself with credible alcohol and other drug information, about the risks associated with their use, ways to reduce your risks, and alternatives to using.

Credible Substance Information Websites:

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health 

Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines (CAMH)

Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction 

My Cannabis IQ

Mind Your Mind

What's with weed?

Read and Print the "Under the Influence - Myths and Facts" game to help participants learn about the various myths and facts when it comes to alcohol and other drugs. 

 Need Help?

Kids Help Phone - Visit them online or call 1-800-668-6868 to speak to a counsellor.

Ontario Drug and Alcohol Helpline - Visit them online or call 1-800-565-8603 to speak to a referral specialist.