Substance Use Tips

These tips are about substance use and how to identify, cope, support and recover.

  • When in recovery from substance use issues, remember that healing isn't linear & relapse isn't failure.

  • Worried about a friend's drug or alcohol use? Talk to them about it when they are sober, calm, and in a neutral space.

  • If you use substances, do a self-inventory: “Why do I use? How is it working for me? Is it a problem for me?”.

  • People respond to drugs in different ways, so don't base your substance use choices on the experiences of others. 

  • If you're beginning recovery, think about what obstacles are in your way. What could be your first step? 

  • Recovery can be overwhelming. Here's a video of how one young person copes with those overwhelming days.

  • H.A.L.T.= Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired? These feelings trigger substance use for some. http://bit.ly/1AAxAlF

  • Think about what's important to you (family, friends, school, health, job, pets, etc.). Is your substance use affecting them? 

  • Can't identify supportive people in your life? Make it homework to seek out helpful people or community groups/agencies.

  • Vocab check: How do you use the word “addicted”? The term is often used incorrectly and can be stigmatizing. 

  • Problematic use of drugs isn’t necessarily the same as dependence/addiction. Learn the signs. http://bit.ly/1JXr1M6

  • Trying to limit your substance use? Make a list of triggers & see if there are any you can avoid (hanging out with certain friends).

  • Everyone has a different relationship with substance use. Think about what yours is - why and when do you use?

  • Prescription drugs may seem safer but they cause more deaths than heroin + cocaine combined. Don't adjust the dose without a doc!

  • Keep yourself busy to avoid using drugs/alcohol out of boredom. Start checking activities off this list/add your own!

  • Substance use is a continuum. Think about where you sit on this spectrum and why.

  • Coffee might seem harmless, but remember that caffeine is still a drug and can trigger anxiety and sleeplessness.

  • If you're taking prescrip meds, research how they interact with other substances. Alcohol may reduce their effectiveness.

  • Quitting smoking is tough without support. Here are some programs that can help: http://bit.ly/1CDFIOy

  • DYK- alcohol is a depressant which slows down your brain, breathing and your heart rate. Learn more at http://CAMH.ca

  • If someone is unconscious/passed out & still breathing, put them in the position shown in this short video http://bit.ly/1SEttL9

  • Many substances can lead to overheating/dehydration. If you use, try to monitor your body temp & drink lots of water.

  • Check out the latest Ontario Student Drug Use survey and results: http://bit.ly/1RQglTA

  • Take turns with your friends being sober at parties to act as driver/decision-maker in case of emergency.

  • Have a friend trying to cut out drugs/drinking? Be supportive. Hang out with them in a drug-free environment.

  • Feeling disconnected can lead to substance use. What are your passions? How do they support wellness? http://bit.ly/1BrOHRF

  • Fact: Not all young people use drugs/drink! Remember this when faced with “peer pressure”.

  • If you’re going to use substances, take a minute to plan ahead to be safer about it: http://bit.ly/1Gtcc2K

  • Learn hands-only CPR to help you feel more equipped for emergencies that can arise from substance use. http://bit.ly/1KBeLCn

  • Mindfulness/meditation/yoga can teach tolerance of challenges & emotions instead of “escaping” or turning to an addiction to cope.

  • Using drugs carries risk, but there are things you can do to be safer about it.