Substance Use, Addictions & Related Behaviours

We promote and implement evidence-based substance misuse prevention strategies that are comprehensive, long-range and integrated into the school environment.

Resources for substance use, addictions and related behaviours

See ideas and resources below for substance use, addictions and related behaviours:

  • Use substance use lesson plans from CAMH to support substance misuse curriculum for students in grades 9 - 12.
  • Have Hamilton Police Services provide a presentation on a range of substances students in Junior Kindergarten to grade 12. Call 905-546-4900 to book.
  • Book a Life up in Smoke presentation for your grade 6 students with Hamilton Police Services and public health nurses.  This presentation talks about various substances.  Contact your school’s public health nurse or email to book a presentation.
  • The a to z: Substance Use module can be navigated individually or in groups by students aged 14-16, or facilitated in the classroom. Includes facilitator guide and activity ideas.
  • Getting High?  An online decision-making tool created in collaboration with youth. The tool guides students through questions to consider when choosing whether to take a substance

  • Access lesson plans from:

    • Media Smarts to support grades 4 - 11 substance misuse curriculum.
    • Project Alert to support grades 7 - 8, including online training for teachers, posters and videos.
    • RCMP Illegal Drugs to support grades 7-8 substance misuse curriculum.
  • Use the Taking it Global teacher toolkit for secondary students.
  • Help students perform a needs assessment of their school to identify priority areas within the school.
  • Review and update school policies about substance misuse. Advocate for including these policies in the school agenda and on the school website.
  • Read Building on our Strengths:Canadian Standards for School-based Youth Substance Abuse Prevention about implementing substance misuse initiatives.
  • Coordinate discussion groups consisting of students of diverse perspectives (related to age, gender, interests, etc.) to identify emerging trends and/or key issues related to substance use/misuse and identify the supports needed in the school
  • Engage and encourage students on Health Action Teams to promote substance misuse prevention and school health.
  • Encourage students ages 14 to 25 to join the Hamilton Youth Advisory Council, that enables students to start a program or project in the community based on their interests, such as substance misuse.
  • Review the What’s with Weed? education campaign about the effects of youth marijuana use. Call Parents Against Drugs at 416-395-4970 for information and local resources.
  • Have students explore the Xperiment website (by CCSA) to learn about substances in an interactive way.
  • Suggest students initiate an OSAID Chapter in their school to raise awareness of impaired driving.
  • Get Ready (by Parent Action on Drugs) is a free peer leadership program for Grade 7 or 8 peer leaders to deliver to their Grade 5 peers. This evidence based program builds skills in both peer leaders and students participating, and also provides education about substance misuse.
  • Establish a resource centre in the school to access information on substances and available community supports for students, parents, staff and community.
  • Monitor school property and places youth may use or share substances.
  • Encourage Health Action Teams or Positive School Climate Teams to create positive spaces for socializing, in collaboration with school administrators.
  • Report smoking on school property by calling the City of Hamilton Tobacco Hotline at 905-540-5566.

Host a Parent’s Guide to Prevention- Kids and Drugs workshop delivered by police officers to parents with children age eight to 15.

Promote strategies for parents to prevent underage drinking.  To request print resources contact your school’s public health nurse email

Promote Parent Action on Drug resources about substance misuse to parents.

Promote The Other Talk resource to parents for strategies on addressing alcohol with their children.

Participate in or promote tobacco control campaigns including Big Tobacco Lies, Smoke-free Movies, Unregulated & Unchecked

Alternatives for Youth
Alternatives for Youth offers substance use counselling for youth age 12 - 23 and their families. Call 905-527-4469.

City of Hamilton Child and Adolescent Services
Child and Adolescent Services offers family therapy, individual counselling, play therapy and psychotherapy. Make a referral through Contact Hamilton.

John Howard Society of Hamilton
The John Howard Society of Hamilton offers substance misuse prevention programs for youth age 12-17. Call 905-522-4446.

SNAP Connection
SNAP, also known as Stop Now and Plan, is a program for children under 12 years of age and their parents to help regulate feelings and prevent impulsive reactions. The program uses cognitive-behavioral principles and offers family counselling, parent education and supports groups.  

Ask your public health nurse about substance misuse prevention or email

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