Substances are a part of the lives of many youth and young adults. There’s also more to substance use than we see at a glance, and more to it than what we think we know.
Below are resources and services if you’re looking to explore your substance use, get support, or make sure you’re staying safe. There are also stories and support for friends, partners, and family members of youth who use substances.
Need help now?
Our substance use can impact our mental health. We can also be using substances to cope with how we are feeling. If you need someone to talk to, there’s help available.
- Kuu-us Aboriginal Crisis Line: Call toll free 1-888-588-8717
- BC Mental Health Support Line: 310-6789 (no area code required, local volunteers)
- YouthinBC.com: Online chat service for youth, available Noon to 1am
Provincial substance use services and support
- Alcohol and Drug Information & Referral Service – 1-800-663-1441. Free 24/7 confidential multilingual information and referral to community resources. Information about detox, counselling, treatment, recovery, and support groups.
- First Nations Health Authority: Offering mental health and substance use services to Indigenous people in BC
- Foundry Virtual BC: Young people aged 12-24 and their caregivers can drop-in or schedule a virtual counselling appointment, find peer support, access primary care, get support with employment, access groups and workshops, or browse library of tools and resources.
- Foundry Centres: Foundry also offers in-person services in communities across BC. Young people aged 12-24 and their caregivers can drop-in or schedule a counselling appointment, find peer support, access primary care, get support with employment, access groups and workshops.
- Understand the basics of substance use and get tips for reducing risk of harm from Foundry
- Read facts about effects and risks of mixing medicine, alcohol, and street drugs at drugcocktails.ca
- Learn more about Naloxone and how to take home a Naloxone kit from Toward the Heart
- The Lifeguard app is for people using substances alone to ensure that emergency services are notified if they are not responsive.
- Vancouver Island Drug Checking Project can help test your drugs to see what they contain
- Foundry has a page with information on different substances, what to look for when it comes to your substance use and also self-check quizzes
- You and Substance Use….A Workbook walks you through substance use, ways to make changes and stay safe
Not using substances, but curious?
Hearing from others who have lived experience using substances can give us an understanding of what can contribute to substance use, what the recovery journey can look like and can also validate our experience based on what others have been through.
- I’m Riding This Thing, It’s Not Riding Me is one young person’s story of stopping using substances and the impact on their life
- Light at the End of the Tunnel is one young person’s story of navigating gender identity and drugs
Friend or family member of someone who uses substances?
Being concerned about a young person in our life is not easy and it can be hard to know what to do first. Below are tips for having conversations about substance use and how to support ourselves, while supporting others.
- Referrals to Youth and Family Substance Use Services
- How to respond to an overdose
- Learn more about Naloxone and how to take home a Naloxone kit
- Tips on how to support a friend who is using substances
- Parenting and Substance Use
- Moms Stop the Harm advocates for the change of drug policies, provide peer support to grieving families, and assist those with loved ones who use or have used substances
- Substance Use and Youth – A Guide for Families and Their Caring Communities
As people who use substances, supporters of people who use substances, and young people who don’t use substances at all, there are opportunities for all of us to be involved.
- Share de-stigmatizing information about substances and using substances on social media so people have correct information and know where to get help
- Have supportive conversations with people in your life about substance use in a way that is normalizing and promotes harm reduction
- Get trained to use Naloxone and carry your kit with you
- Join your local organizations who are delivering services to people who use substances and see how you can help
- Share the substance use campaign with others to spread the word!