Questions & Answers

Give your
friends the facts

Research shows that educating young people about the dangers of substance misuse can drastically reduce the likelihood of developing SUD. They need to know:
  • What controlled substances can do to their bodies 
  • What can happen if they continue this behavior 
  • Accurate statistics on addiction, such as: 
    (More than 200 people every single day
    die from drug-related death.)
  • The human body can become physically addicted to opiates in as little as three days.
  • How addiction can affect their loved ones
“How can I tell when my friend needs help?” 
This is one of the most common questions we hear from friends and loved ones. As a friend, we advise you to trust your instincts. When it comes to substance abuse, there are typically active signs and behaviors and physical evidence that a person is misusing drugs. Does your friend suffer from an underlying mental health disorder?
When teens are abusing drugs, many times their use coincides with an underlying mental illness.
Why do friends turn to drugs?
Teens and young people can turn to drugs for many different reasons. 
  • Curious about what alcohol feels like 
  • They see their friends using drugs and want to “fit in” 
  • Looking for something that allows them to escape reality 
  • Coping mechanism
  • Stress and anxiety 
  • Trying to fill a void that is unknown 

Questions Answered by Youth

Why do you think it is important for you and other youth your age to prioritize their mental health?
Mental health, it’s a serious thing that needs to be talked about. It’s important to start conversations as a teen because it helps clear your head from all the problem/stress that’s building up or that is starting to build up. It’s okay to share what’s on your mind, it’s completely normal. Just know that you’re always going to be good enough, and “the only person who can set your limits is yourself, and yourself only.
What is your advice for someone who is scared to talk to someone about their mental health or issues with substance use?
Many teens struggle with mental health and don’t know who to approach when they need to seek for help. It’s important for teens to know that it’s ok not to be ok. Mental health is our emotional, social well-being. It affects how we act, see the world, see ourselves, and how others see us. For a teen to admit that they may need help takes courage and it’s important to emphasize that.
What positive things do you do when you are feeling stressed or depressed? What helps you the most?
Something that really helped my mental health journey was learning the importance of self care. Self care can be the smallest thing but have the biggest role on your mental health. Meditation, exercise, hobbies like music and art are all great ways to improve your mental wellbeing.
What would you do if you had a friend struggling with substance misuse issues?
Talk to them. Slowly and honestly open up to them and let them know you are there for them and that you care. And also let the people who care about them know that they need help. It's also important to remember that it's their life, their journey, you can extend help, but they have to be willing to accept it.
How would you explain to your peers the risks of using substances like illegal prescription drugs, alcohol, cannabis, fentanyl, or other drugs?
It's important to know the consequences before they decide to take any sort of substance that can affect their mental health, like, their emotional well-being or their social well-being. Because if they do decide to take any sort of substance, it will not just affect them, but their peers and their family members, the people that really care about them.
Why should we break the stigma of opening up about mental health?
There are often family or cultural stigmas to mental health that are harmful. Or the idea of being a male and not being able to share your feelings to your family, because they're supposed to be this strong, masculine character and have this appearance of not having any emotions or feeling anything. We should be more open about mental health because everyone deals with it, no matter what your beliefs are, you still have something you struggle with.  It's important to recognize our mental health and that there is help, so that we don't feel alone.

Answers aren't always easy to come by on your own.