It is an inarguable truth that, “If there’s no drug in your mouth, you can’t swallow it.” But for many people, this isn’t a realistic approach.

The fact is that most people take drugs (considering that alcohol, nicotine and caffeine are drugs – see our Research page for more information). Another fact is that most people who use drugs don’t feel they have a problem with drugs. Even the medical community would not classify many people who use some substances as having a problem with or being addicted to drugs. People with drug addiction or drug-related problems are a minority (even if the results of their actions can have an exaggerated negative effect on our society).

For some people, problematic drug use can just be a “phase”. Others may be able to practice Harm Reduction and adjust their drug use to a level where they are satisfied with the results.

But for some people it may seem that the risks of continued drug use are just too great, or the rewards too small. For these people abstinence from one or more or all psychoactive substances – for a period or forever – may be the goal.

Some people may just want to abstain from a certain frequency or intensity of drug use – or from drug use in a certain context (such as drinking and driving).

At Impact we know that our youth clients are the ones who have to do all the heavy lifting in the change process, so we believe they need to be working toward a goal they are motivated to achieve. So we look to our clients to set (and reset, as they feel is appropriate) their goals in respect to their substance use – whether that be complete abstinence or something else.

We don’t believe that any one approach “works” for all people. We ask the question, “What works, for whom, under what circumstances, for how long?”