IMPACT recognizes that there is and probably always will be a certain segment of the population of youth who use drugs. More importantly, we recognize that, in the general population, drug use is commonplace – most people use drugs (considering that alcohol, nicotine and caffeine are classified as drugs – see our Research page for more details).
It is therefore not our goal to convince everyone or even anyone to not use drugs, nor do we take a moral stand on whether drug use is wrong or right. But we do acknowledge some facts:
- We know that drug use can directly and indirectly affect the health, well-being, security and happiness of individuals, families and the Abbotsford and Mission communities as a whole.
- We know that drugs have a role to play in a great number of health and legal crises that occur in our communities.
- We know that all research to date on youth drug use points to a multitude of complex factors that may lead youth to use and, more importantly, abuse drugs.
We recognize that, like the path to youth substance abuse can be complex, the path to reducing substance use or the harms that can accompany it can be and usually are complex. But we also know that, while some youth may seek the thrill of danger, very few, if any, actively seek actual harm.
- No one wants to end up a drunk driving fatality statistic.
- No one wants to be the victim of a drug related murder or overdose.
- But the fact is, intended or not, a great number of people are suffering from the negative consequences of drug use – whether from their own drug use or from that of someone else.
Many people use drugs because they like the short-term effects that drugs can produce – good feelings (or an absence of bad ones), energy, relaxation, a new tint to the old picture. Drugs may lead to social bonding for some as well. We don’t deny these effects, though we also recognize that there may be other ways to get these same effects, but that sometimes these can be hard to reach, not only due to personal skills or opportunities, but also due to socio-economic or other factors that may not be in the control of the individual. These non-drug approaches may lead to more durable and long-term satisfaction than drugs can provide – without many of the risks and side effects.
We also know that some people may not be ready to stop any, some or all drug use. Just because someone may not be ready to stop doesn’t mean they cannot still take actions that might improve their lives, whether or not they continue to use drugs. At Impact we try to help youth identify their goals and the internal and external resources that might be available to them to move closer to those goals.
Above all, it is IMPACT’s goal and mission to help the youth of Abbotsford, Mission and the Fraser Valley to have the tools that will help them reach for more satisfaction with their lives – and to feel like they are stretching and challenging themselves in ways that are satisfying – while feeling supported and encouraged through the journey.