What Can Make Youth Experimentation with Substances Boil Over into a Bigger Problem?

There are a number of factors—called risk factors—that can contribute to youth substance use boiling over into a bigger problem. By reducing these things at the community, family and individual levels, we are creating an environment that will foster healthy behaviors and relationships.

+ Community Level

  • Low commitment to school
  • School Failure
  • Aggression towards peers
  • Associating with drug-using peers
  • Societal/community norms favorable to use, such as the number of retail alcohol outlets, adult use at youth sporting events, and community events where alcohol is available, etc.

+ Family Level

  • Substance misuse among parents, guardians or other adults in the family
  • Lack of adult supervision and permissive attitudes towards youth substance use, such as, "drinking is a rite of passage, it's inevitable"
  • Poor attachment/relationship with parents/guardians

+ Individual Level

  • Propensity towards negative emotions
  • Giving up
  • Not conducting themselves appropriately
  • Favorable attitudes towards harmful substances, like alcohol, tobacco and marijuana
  • Rebelliousness
  • Early Substance Use
  • Antisocial Behavior