Talking to youth

B.C. is facing a public health emergency. People are dying every day from overdose because of an unregulated and highly-toxic drug supply. All parts of society are affected. Overdoses are being linked with fentanyl and carfentanil, synthetic opioids that can be fatal when obtained illegally, even in a few grains. Fentanyl has been detected in cocaine, crack, MDMA (ecstasy), crystal meth, heroin, fake oxy, and fake Percocet.

It’s important that youth rely on accurate information, not just what they read online or hear through word-of-mouth. It is critical they understand that overdoses do not discriminate. With any drug use, serious harm is a very real possibility every time.

Substance use can affect young people's general health, physical growth, and emotional and social development. It can also change how well they make decisions, how well they think, and how quickly they can react. Using substances can make it hard for young people to control their actions. For some young people, alcohol or other drug use may turn into a substance use problem.

Role of parents, teachers and supportive adults

Research shows that youth are less likely to use substances when they have higher self-esteem, supportive relationships with adults –  parents, teachers, family members and other professionals – and positive role models.

Talk respectfully and honestly with the youth in your life about the facts and risks of using substances. Emphasize the lethal power of fentanyl and how difficult it is to know whether it has been mixed in with other drugs.

Read four tips for talking to youth about drugs.

Get informed

Learn about substances young people sometimes use. Find out how the substances work, what their street names are, and the signs of being under the influence. has information on:

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