Substance Use, Addictions & Related Behaviours

Teachers play an important role in educating students about substance use, addictions and related behaviours. Prevention messages are most effective when shared with students early and throughout their school years.

The following resources can be used by teachers in the classroom or to support school initiatives. For questions, contact Client and Community Support at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 7006 or email clientcommunitysupport@wdgpublichealth.ca.

School Programs

Consider the Consequences of Vaping (Health Canada) is a program that encourages youth to make informed choices using online self-led modules, resources and activities.

Know More Opioids (Health Canada) is an awareness program to engage teens and youth across Canada about the opioid crisis, signs of overdose, naloxone and the impact of stigma.

Pursue Your Passion (Health Canada) is a program for educators to help increase student awareness about the effects of Cannabis use on the brain and mental health. Activities and other resources available.

Recommended Websites

CANNABIS 

Cannabis: What Educators Need to Know (PDF) is an info-sheet to help educators to have informed conversations with students about recreational cannabis.

Talking About Weed (WDG Public Health) features videos, resources and supports, and information on ways to reduce health risks associated with cannabis use. For grades 9-12.

Talking Pot with Youth: A Cannabis Communication Guide for Youth Allies help adults understand the youth perspective and practical ways to have a supportive conversation about cannabis with youth. For grades 9-12.

TOBACCO 

Media Smarts - Tobacco Marketing offers lesson plans and resources about tobacco marketing in both traditional and digital media. For Grades 4-10.

Talking About…Series (Lung Health Foundation) offers activity guides to help facilitate discussions with youth about cannabis, tobacco and vaping in a fun and informative manner.

Tobacco Wise (Indigenous Tobacco Program) provides messaging to learn about the traditional or sacred use of tobacco by First Nations and Métis people.

Vaping

Clearing Up the Cloud (WDG Public Health) provides information about how vaping works, what’s in a vape, youth vaping statistics and quit vaping resources.

Not An Experiment provides lesson plans, activities, games and more on vaping. Includes quit plan for students.

Vaping: What secondary school educators need to know (PDF) is a fact sheet that provides general information about vaping and outlines important facts, associated risks and additional resources to support educators in having informed conversations with students.

Vaping: What’s the Hype? provides curriculum-linked activities to learn and critically think about vaping. For Grades 5-9.

What the Vape?!?! (Lung Health Foundation) is an online module that teaches why vaping is not normal or harmless and how to take action.

Other

Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction offers an educator guide and video modules to help educators understand and build confidence talking about substance use with youth. For Grades 6-12.

Ophea provides lesson plans, ideas for action and professional learning for educators.

Prescription Opioids, including Fentanyl: What Educators Need to Know is an info sheet for educators on the topic of prescription opioid misuse, including a focus on fentanyl.

Project ALERT is a classroom-based substance use prevention curriculum that is proven to reduce the experimental and continual use of drugs among students. Includes online teacher training, lesson plans, posters, videos and newsletters. For Grades 7 & 8.

School Mental Health Ontario: Substance Use and Addiction is a resource for educators that outlines the continuum of substance use and includes resources on cannabis, prescription opioids, and vaping.

Talking with Teenagers about Drugs

This Government of Canada webpage includes tips for talking with teens about drugs, information about cannabis, prescription drugs and other substances, and links to additional resources.