Youth is a time of significant development and change. It is also the period when substance use most commonly begins. Young people are disproportionately more likely to use substances, engage in risky patterns of use and experience harms from that use.
Evidence-informed approaches to drug prevention have a significant impact on youth substance abuse and contribute to the overall health and well-being of young people.
A Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada's Youth
A Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada's Youth, launched in 2007, is a national initiative led by CCSA as part of the federal government's National Anti-Drug Strategy
. The goal of the drug use prevention strategy is to reduce illicit drug use among Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24 by mobilizing Canada's youth substance abuse workforce, setting national prevention standards and building sustainable partnerships.
A Drug Prevention Strategy
for Canada's Youth is composed of three key components: standards for youth substance abuse prevention, a media/youth consortium and sustainable partnerships.
Canadian Standards for Youth Substance Abuse Prevention
CCSA's Canadian Standards for Youth Substance Abuse Prevention
are Canada's first national resource for substance abuse prevention. They provide prevention workers with step-by-step guidance on how to effectively plan, implement and evaluate prevention initiatives. The Standards assist prevention teams or individuals to strengthen the quality of youth drug prevention initiatives.
The media/youth consortium is a national collective led by CCSA. The consortium supports the empowerment, engagement and education of Canadian youth through the use of consistent evidence-based prevention messages.
Sustainable Partnerships for Youth Drug Prevention
The following groups have contributed to the development and sustainability of A Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada's Youth
- National Advisory Group on Youth Substance Abuse Prevention (YSAP): Established to facilitate input related to A Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada's Youth from provincial and territorial governments, substance abuse-related organizations, and community and youth representatives.
- Media/Youth Consortium Advisory Council (MYCAC): A national cooperative led by CCSA that provides strategic guidance on the development of effective communications strategies aimed at reducing the harm associated with alcohol and other drugs and substances as experienced by youth.
- Canadian Standards Task Force (CSTF): Composed of experts in the field of prevention and established to develop a set of evidenced-informed standards to assist health promotion teams, frontline workers, organizations and administrators improve the quality of their prevention initiatives.
To evaluate A Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada's Youth
, a mid-term process evaluation was completed in 2009 and a final outcome evaluation in 2011. The mid-term evaluation examined the Strategy's design, implementation and delivery. The key findings from this evaluation are presented in A Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada's Youth: Process Evaluation Highlights
. The final outcome evaluation determined the extent to which the Strategy was successful in meeting its planned outcomes. The evaluation identified the following key accomplishments of the Strategy:
- The launch of Xperiment.ca,
- The release of the Canadian Standards for Youth Substance Abuse Prevention, and
- The active participation of approximately 100 partners representing a wide variety of sectors.