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Preventing Youth Substance Use

​​​Substance use most commonly begins during late childhood and early adolescence. It can lead to problems in adulthood, including chronic disease, substance abuse and mental health disorders. Evidence-informed drug prevention initiatives can reduce the likelihood of such problems and help children and youth grow up free of drug-related harms.  

A Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada’s Youth

In 2007, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) launched A Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada’s Youth to reduce illicit drug use among Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24. Four groups guided the main components of the strategy:

  • National Advisory Group on Youth Substance Abuse Prevention​

  • Media/Youth Consortium Advisory Council

  • School-based Canadian Standards Task Force

  • Community- and Family-based Canadian Standards Task Force

There are now over 135 partners and 730 stakeholders participating in the strategy, representing a wide variety of sectors and jurisdictions across Canada.

Building on the accomplishments of the first five-year strategy and input from partner​s and stakeholders, in 2013 CCSA launched A Health Promotion and Drug Prevention Strategy for Canada’s Youth. View the Children and Youth topics page to learn about the areas of focus.

Youth drug prevention resources and initiatives

Together, CCSA and its partners have developed multiple resources and continue to implement the recommendations of the strategies. Examples include:

  • In partnership with the Canadian Standards Task Force, CCSA developed a Portfolio of Canadian Standards for Youth Substance Abuse Prevention. This foundational piece was used in developing the International Standards by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

  • Working with the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health and the National Eating Disorder Information Centre, CCSA developed information products summarizing the links between substance use and mental health, and substance use and eating disorders, including implications for prevention and treatment.


Learn more about youth drug prevention and explore opportunities for collaboration.​​