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Drugs and alcohol

Did you know?

Alcohol is considered to be a drug

Even though alcohol is often drunk at happy events (parties, get-togethers with friends, etc.), drinking too much can have harmful consequences. Alcohol reduces your mental and physical abilities, which can lead you to run a variety of risks: inappropriate actions, unprotected sex, road accidents, etc. Alcohol can also create dependency. Someone is dependent on alcohol if they can no longer spend a whole day without drinking, for example.

Several kinds of drinkers

Non-drinker: has never drunk alcohol or hasn’t drunk it in the last 12 months.
Experimental: had a drink once just to try it.
Occasional: drinks no more than once a month.
Regular: drinks on weekends, once or twice a week, or 3 times or more a week but not every day.
Daily: drinks every day.


About 1 out of 4 high school students has participated in gambling (mainly card games and scratch-and-win cards) in the last 12 months. A small minority, 3.2%, play at least once a week. Although 86% of young people have no gaming problems, 11% are considered to be at-risk players.

Frequently asked questions

Can I get hooked after trying something once?
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The effects of a drug or of alcohol differ from one person to another, depending on the context, and they can change from one occasion to the next. One thing is certain: dependency means more than trying something once. Most importantly, you need to identify the reasons leading you take more of the substance. For example, having a beer at a party isn’t the same as drinking alone to forget a problem… You need to be aware of the feelings you have when you take a drug or a drink.

How should I quit: gradually or cold turkey?
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There are no right or wrong ways to stop drinking or drugging. The important thing is, if you realize that alcohol or drugs have become a problem you want to solve… then just try! Some young people prefer to stop once and for all and decide they’ll never touch the alcohol or drug they were dependent on again. Others find it easier to go gradually. If you have support during the process, you’ll increase your chances of success, because it’s often hard to break free of an addiction without any support at all.

Who can help me treat my dependency?
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There are several resources, depending on your situation and where you live. The counsellors at your school or Tel-jeunes can listen to you and guide you to a drug treatment centre (Centre de réadaptation en dépendance, CRD), the Drugs: Help and Referral line, the Gambling: Help and Referral line, etc.

What are the risks related to drinking or drug taking?
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Taking drugs or alcohol can have numerous physical and mental consequences (weight loss or gain, sleep or behaviour problems, dependency, accidents, faster development or aggravation of certain mental illnesses, etc.). You may think you’re in control but drinking or drugging blurs your perception of reality. In addition, the effects of a drug or alcohol can be different from one time to the next. So it’s important to remain alert and consume in moderation.