Many people use substances. For example, you may drink coffee or pop that may have caffeine in it. This substance helps you feel alert and awake!
There are other legal substances such as over-the-counter and prescription medications, alcohol, and cannabis. There are also a number of illegal substances such as cocaine, methamphetamines, ecstasy, and many others.
People use substances for a wide variety of reasons and your use of substances is a personal choice. It is important to know what you are putting in your body, how it affects you, and why you are using it. In many instances, people can use substances responsibly, in a way that does not negatively impact their ability to go about their everyday life.
At times though, substance use can cross over into misuse, abuse, or even addiction. This is even more common when other aspects of your mental or physical health are suffering. Our resources can help give you more information about how to address these concerns yourself or to help a friend in need.
Substance use can be viewed on a spectrum. Understanding where a person is on this spectrum is important for meeting people where they are at, and providing appropriate care options that promote health and reduce risk or harm. A harm reduction approach can be applied at any point along the spectrum. If you understand how someone views their substance use on this spectrum, you can then foster conversations around supporting their goals and the plan for care.
What to look for: Problematic Alcohol Use – Foundry – (foundrybc.ca)
Understanding reasons for drug use amongst young people: a functional perspective | Health Education Research | Oxford Academic (oup.com)
Spectrum Diagram from: Harm Reduction: Spectrum of Substance Use (albertahealthservices.ca)
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All information on this site is intended to provide assistance and guidance but cannot replace the care of a medical professional.