In years gone by, it was thought that if youth were only taught the factual benefits and risks of drug use – and if the risks clearly outweighed the benefits – they would make the “logical” choice, and simply not use drugs.
Research conducted on this theory over the last two decades has consistently shown something quite different. While studies have found that anti-substance use/abuse campaigns do increase knowledge and awareness of the risks of drug use among youth, they have been shown to only have a slight effect on attitudes and, more importantly, behaviours. In other words, education on drug facts alone has not significantly reduced the number of youth who use drugs.
In some cases, this kind of drug education has been shown to raise curiosity for first-hand knowledge about the effects of drugs. In youth who are already using drugs, sometimes the discussion of drugs or the display of drug paraphernalia, no matter how negative the context, has been shown to cause cravings.
Keeping mindful of this research, this section of the IMPACT website provides links to Health Canada and other sources of general information about the different classes of drugs. We do believe that it is helpful for people who are considering using drugs, or who already use drugs to know what they are getting into. Likewise, knowing some of the long-term and sometimes permanent results of drug use can help those who are in recovery to understand and cope with the lingering effects.
This information may also help those who use drugs to try to be more selective about the type and amount of drugs they take, as well as the situations where, when and how they use drugs – and thereby reduce some of the risks to which they may be exposing themselves.
If you have other questions or find that you are unable to meet personal goals to stop, reduce or even just maintain your drug use at its current level, IMPACT counsellors are always here to help any youth age 12 to 24 in the Abbotsford and Mission communities.