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Trauma and substance use: Supporting youth clients who use substances with compassion

Substance use poses multifaceted challenges and often co-exists with experiences of trauma. Did you know:

  • Young people aged 15 to 24 are more likely to experience mental illness and/or substance use disorders than any other age group.
  • People with a mental illness diagnosis/psychiatric diagnosis are twice as likely to have a substance use disorder compared to the general population. At least 20% of people with a mental illness diagnosis/psychiatric diagnosis have a co-occurring substance use disorder.

(Source: CAMH – Mental Illness and Addiction: Facts and Statistics)

This training will focus on supporting youth clients who have experienced trauma and substance use with compassion. We will begin by reviewing general and foundational information on substance use. This will include terminology, understanding internal biases and a review of the different drug classifications.

We will explore the principles of harm reduction and trauma-informed care strategies for youth clients who use substances will be provided. This training consists of a blend of theory, frameworks, therapeutic techniques, and practical application for use with clients.

Learning objectives:

  • Understand the risks and reasons why individuals use substances  
  • Explore the connection between managing trauma symptoms and substance use
  • Build introductory knowledge of the impact of trauma on the body 
  • Learn trauma-informed application of harm reduction principles
  • Build knowledge of terminology, types of substances, risks, and vulnerabilities for developing challenges with substance use