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Substance Abuse

Many youth and teens admit to using -- and misusing -- alcohol, drugs, energy drinks and other substances. It is important to realize the risks associated with substance misuse by knowing what's at stake.  

Types of Substances

Alcohol is called a depressant drug because it slows down your brain’s ability to think and to make decisions and judgements.  Whether the alcohol comes in beer, wine, or liquor doesn’t matter.  It’s the amount of alcohol in your drink, not the type of drink, that affects you.

Barbiturates are powerful depressant drugs - which means they slow down your central nervous system.  That’s why the slang word for them is “downers.”

Caffeine. As with the discovery of many other drugs, the biological effects of caffeine were first noted as a result of the observance of animal behaviour.

Cannabis, Marijuana, hashish and hashish oil are all products of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, a hardy annual that grows in both tropical and temperate climates.

Energy Drinks are relatively new products with unique safety concerns. Energy drinks usually have high amounts of caffeine, sugar and other herbal and vitamin ingredients, but little nutritional value.

Hallucinogens are drugs that bend your mind so that you see and hear things that don’t really exist – you have hallucinations.

Steroids include a wide variety of chemicals found in both plants and animals - for example, cholesterol, toad poisons, sex hormones, and plant toxins. 

Solvents and Aerosols are drugs that were never meant to be drugs.


Fourcast Addiction Services (Serving Northumberland, Haliburton, Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes) - 1-800-461-1909

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Drug and Alcohol Helpline - 1-800-565-8603

Energy Drinks - Videos and Resources - Middlesex-London Health Unit 

False Security Report: Student Attitudes to Substance Use in City of Kawartha Lakes - Prepared by John Howard Society of Kawartha Lakes & Haliburton and HKPR District Health Unit

Dear Kawartha Lakes Youth - video - John Howard Society of Kawartha Lakes

Tips for Talking to Youth About Substance Use - CAMH

Drugs Not 4 Me Campaign