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Youth Addiction and Mental Health

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Alcohol and Other Drugs
Most teens and young adults who try drugs or alcohol won’t develop substance use problems. But, for some it can become a real problem.

During your teen and young adult years, you’ll have to make decisions about drinking or using other drugs. This is a time to try new things. Deciding to use alcohol or other drugs is a personal choice. The decisions that you make can also affect others in your life. Some young adults choose not to use alcohol and other drugs at all, others will try them and won’t use them again, and some will continue to use them.

Alcohol and Other Drugs Includes:

  • any type of alcohol
  • c​annabis
  • illegal or street drugs (e.g., ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, crystal meth)
  • prescription medicine not being used for medical reasons or for different reasons than what it was prescribed for
  • over-the-counter medicine used for recreation instead of medical reasons

Using alcohol or other drugs can affect your health, growth, how you feel, and socializing with others. Many young adults don’t have problems. However, the younger someone is when they use alcohol or other drugs regularly, the higher the chance of them having problems later on. There are other factors which put a person at a higher risk of developing substance use problems. These factors don't mean that a person will develop a problem for sure, but they do increase the risk.

Factors that Increase the Risk of Developing Problems:

  • family history of alcohol or other drug use problems
  • trouble coping with or managing stress and other problems
  • problems at home
  • having untreated anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns
  • not fitting in at school, at work, or with peers
  • having a stressful life change or going through a trauma

All substances have risks and using them can negatively affect your life and future dreams. Our goal is to help you understand alcohol and other drug use, signs that they may be having a negative effect, and tips on how to stay safe. It's important for people who have used drugs or are thinking about it to know what they’re getting into.

Although alcohol is a drug, we’ve created another section for it because it’s the drug that most teens and young adults use and it can be harmful in many ways.

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