People have used substances to change their mood, thoughts or behaviours for thousands of years. Using substances can be a part of a healthy, rewarding life. It is common for youth to have many new experiences as they age, including trying substances such as alcohol or cannabis.
It is important to talk openly with your child about substance use from an early age to help them understand what substances are and their effects. Parents and caregivers can help their child develop the knowledge and skills to make decisions related to substance use.
See below for information on types of substances, how to talk with your child about substance use, and what to do if you are concerned about problematic substance use. You will also find information about concurrent disorders, which is when mental illness and substance use disorders happen at the same time.