Ensuring accessibility to drug prevention education in vulnerable regions
Education plays an important part in youth drug prevention – and working to ensure that parents and supportive adults have access to evidence-based information is an important part of what DFKC does.
Collaborate, Learn & Innovate for Canadian Communities (CLICC) – This innovative pilot project in partnership with BMO Financial Group aims to improve access to youth drug prevention support for families in underserved Ontario communities, where youth face an increased risk of problematic substance use and substance use disorder.
Why this is important:
- In Canada, 1 in 20 youth hospitalizations is related to substance use harm. There are another 5 emergency room visits for every hospital stay.
- COVID has amplified this crisis, with increased overdoses and accidental poisonings reported across the country
- Ontario is 1 of 3 Canadian provinces accounting for 90% of the opioid toxicity deaths across the country in 2021
Educating families to help prevent or intervene in a child’s substance use is key to reducing these harms, but limited access to services in many communities, such as those in rural & northern Ontario, can keep families from getting the help they need.
Key Pillars: Collaboration, Learn and Innovate
We’re building partnerships with local organizations to enhance our understanding of context and need that is specific to each community, giving us the knowledge to develop with them collaborative initiatives that address the gap in services within those communities, and improve the availability to youth drug prevention education, and access to relevant supports.
Our collaborations with community stakeholders deepen DFKC’s understanding of local community prevention education needs, ensuring that we, together with our local partners, can develop relevant information about the substance use landscape in the local, regional and national context as well as support meaningful and effective prevention and early intervention communication within the family and school settings.
Our experience shows that virtual trainings designed for parents and other trusted adults on substance use prevention and mental health are an effective approach to empowering communities where needs are greatest.
“For the past eleven years, Drug Free Kids Canada has created and disseminated awareness campaigns on the various aspects of substance use by youth. Thanks to BMO’s generous financial contribution, DFK is now able to include CLICC as one of our services and contribute to improve the situation of underserved communities in Ontario with this first phase of the project.”Chantal Vallerand, Executive Director of Drug Free Kids Canada.
Access the CLICC Project PDF here:
Project update: CLICC launches in three Northern Ontario communities
DFKC is collaborating with local organizations in 3 northern Ontario communities: Timmins, Thunder Bay and Sudbury, with the goal of a shared roll out of virtual trainings for parents, supportive adults working with youth, educators and families, thus ultimately supporting improved health outcomes for local youth.
Together with local organisations such as NEOFACS and Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board (CDSSAB) as well as trusted knowledge brokers such as the YMCA and CCSA, we are developing together new community-based virtual training modules for parents and other trusted adults based on DFKC’s existing education resources. Training modules focus on talking with youth about opioids; alcohol; cannabis, street drugs, etc., and are delivered through compassionate, non-judgemental lens that supports mental wellness.
These webinars provide facts and information about the present landscape of cannabis and youth, the opioid crisis, as well as practical tools in regards with youth substance use prevention.
¨Spotlight on Youth Substance Use – Prevention, Facts and Tools¨
Two webinars in English and French were presented by DFKC in collaboration with the Northern Eastern Ontario Family and Children’s Services (NEOFACS), YMCA Youth and Cannabis Program, the Canadian Centre on Substance use and Addiction and the Porcupine Health Unit.
A DFKC webinar was also presented in collaboration with the Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board (CDSSAB) featuring speakers from the CDSSAB, the YMCA Youth and Cannabis Program, the Canadian Centre on Substance use and Addiction.
“The data and information presented during the webinar was very informative. We believe the webinar served as great insight and knowledge to our Educators and CDSSAB Children’s Services staff that participated.”Gabriella Desmarais-Brunet, Program Manager, Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board
99% of the webinar attendees in Timmins found the presentations to be informative/very informative and helpful/very helpful.
- “Information was well presented and based on local facts.”
- “I have a 14 year old son. While this webinar scared me, it provided very helpful information about ways to start conversations about drug use. Thank you!”
- “I enjoyed learning more about the current data and the suggestions on how to talk to children about drug use at different ages and developmental levels.”
- “Liked talking point suggestions to engage in meaningful conversations with youth.”
- “Liked that it was focused on the North.”
- “Clearly give insight into preconceptions or assumptions we may have about the reality of substance usage. The tips for how to talk to children in the different age groups was great as well. Well done by all.”
- “It was scary to hear the feedback on numbers, but I definitely can share information with colleagues, friends and family in regards to talking to our youth especially.”
Looking ahead to 2023 – CLICC will continue to foster and strengthen relationships with our community and educative partners, to develop new community based training sessions that are adapted to local realities and the needs of local organisations within specific communities and continue to expand in reach to new communities.
CLICC Partners to date:
We are grateful to BMO Financial Group for supporting this important new initiative.
“BMO is pleased to be able to help make a difference by educating young people about the harmful consequences of the various substances they may be exposed to during their lifetime. This range of communication tools can be useful for starting a conversation with young people and providing educational support.”Victor Pellegrino, Regional President, Personal Banking, Quebec and Eastern Ontario, BMO Bank of Montreal.