Preventing Drug Abuse

14 November 2014

Did you know that last year, over 80,000 Canadian teenagers used prescription drugs to get high; and that marijuana (the most widely used illegal drug among today's youth) is 300 to 400 percent stronger than it used to be? Long term substance abuse causes changes to the brain and body that can damage a teen for life.  

See below for important information about preventing drug abuse, especially among teens. Please pass this information on to your organization’s members or feel welcome to post on your website, share through social media, or on bulletin boards.

• When used properly, prescription drugs can help. But, there are many dangerous and unpredictable side effects associated with abusing prescription drugs -- teens are especially vulnerable because their bodies and minds are still developing. You can help by:

  • Storing medication in a secure place, such as a locked box or cabinet.
  • Keeping track of your prescription drugs by counting the pills in each package.
  • Returning any unused or expired medications to your pharmacy or to a take-back program.

• Teenagers react more positively to facts than to emotional arguments. Here are a few facts about marijuana you can share with them:

  • Regular long-term marijuana use can harm the ability to think and make decisions, cause loss of memory, and decrease IQ.
  • Marijuana may increase anxiety and cause panic attacks, and in some cases cause hallucinations.
  • Marijuana smoke contains many of the same cancer-causing chemicals as tobacco smoke.

Visit to find out more, including About prescription drug abuse; About Marijuana;  and Talking with teenagers about drugs.

Thank you for helping to keep Canadians healthy and safe.