Young man crouched down in the park holding his head

I can't talk to my parents about my drug use problem because my dad is an addict and my mom works full time. 


"My father is addicted to drugs and, so, I am addicted to drugs."

"I am no longer in high school as I got expelled for assaulting someone in the community. I have a lot of built-in anger and I am mad at the world."

"I cannot speak about my drug use problem because my father is an addict and my mom works full time. I don’t have anyone I can trust. I feel like my dad is addicted to drugs because of me."

"My parents grew up in a different country so they don’t really understand me."

I don’t have anyone I can trust. I feel like my dad is addicted to drugs because of me.

Youth are struggling to talk to their parents

“I would feel uncomfortable talking to my parent about drugs and alcohol.”

“Seeking help from parents when addicted to drugs.”

“Coming clean to parents about drug addiction.”


As a parent, caregiver or other supportive adult

Educate yourself and be relatable. "Remain calm and don’t pass judgment. Normalize behaviour and create a safety plan instead of judging your child for doing it. Educate yourself on the drugs, learn about the side effects, then teach your child. Be proactive – start the conversation before they start doing drugs. And be relatable – put yourself in their shoes, think back to when you were a teenager and share relevant stories."

— Taylor Rose and Nidha Yaqub, Stop Exploiting Youth (SEY) Program, Pacific Community Resources Society 

Be open-minded. "Ask your child open-ended questions such as, what do you think about this news story or advertisement? Youth fear judgment so if you ask direct questions they may not answer."

— Richard Tatomir, Clinical Counsellor and Professor, Simon Fraser University 

Have conversations about peer pressure at an early age. "Be proactive and educate your kids on substance misuse. Make the child feel comfortable. Learn about drug use and teach your children about the facts. And talk to children about peer pressure and the hard transition from grade 7 to 8."

— Tejinder Gill, South Asian Family Strengthening Team, Options Community Services

Talk to a professional if your child is using substances. "If you’ve noticed your child is turning to substances for coping, it is important to connect them with professionals who can work with them on making healthy choices regarding substance use. Substance Use Liaisons are able to connect with any student in Surrey Schools and parents can notify the school they would like to make a referral or contact Safe Schools directly. Check out other resources available to your child and family."

— Alana Thomas, Safe Schools, Surrey School District