Over the last year, an estimated 40% of high schoolers used a drug. This fact – along with the fact that teens are consuming alcohol at a shocking rate – show that student drug use is a serious problem. Over 35% of high schoolers consume alcohol on a regular basis. Even though these substances are illegal for teens to acquire and consume, they still manage to get their hands on it. This begs the question, where are they getting it?

Everyday Interactions:

Teens spend most of their time at home, or with their peers. These two areas are the most likely sources for their drug habit.


Procuring drugs at school is a lot simpler than one would hope. Teens will sell drugs and pills to their peers at school. A student looking to buy will likely find a greater variety of drug options at school than anywhere else. The best sources are surrounded by secrecy, but at school, a dealer could have frequent contact with your teen.

Fake IDs:

Many students use fake IDs to obtain alcohol. Thanks to modern technology they are fairly easy to get, and approximately 7% of high schoolers have admitted to using a fake ID to get alcohol at one point. Other teens do not have to find a way to acquire a fake ID, as they may have an older sibling who looks similar and they can use that sibling’s ID to buy alcohol.


A teen who is abusing drugs can often procure much of their stash at home. They can steal pills from prescription drugs that are stored in the medicine cabinet. New drug users are most likely to abuse prescription drugs over any other kind. This can lead to deeper issues, such as an opioid addiction. Make sure you pay close attention; if your bottles are emptying faster than they should be, someone is likely also taking your medication.

Also, be aware if adults in your home are consuming non-prescription drugs, as your teen may be able to dip into that supply as well.  This drug use in your home presents two problems: Firstly, it creates a supply in your house. Secondly, it validates the use of illicit drug use to your teen.

If you have suspicions about whether your teen is using, examine where the sources could be. There is a chance an adult could be supplying your teen. If you are co-parenting with a former spouse, ensure that they are not the source of the drugs. However, do not just accuse them. Seek advice from your teen’s school guidance counselor on how to proceed.

As far as substance abuse goes, alcohol is by far the most common. In part because it is often so readily available. You may like to keep a 6-pack in your fridge, and it is legal and fine for you to do so. Keep in mind, that as easy as it is for you to reach into the fridge and grab a beer, it is just as easy for your teen. What about hard liquor? While you may notice if a beer is missing, it is far more difficult to know if something is missing from a

What about hard liquor? While you may notice if a beer is missing, it is far more difficult to know if something is missing from a whiskey or vodka bottle. Liquor cabinets provide easy access to alcohol for teens.

Tips to keep drugs away from your teens at home:

  1. Do not keep leftover prescription medication.
  2. Lock your medicine cabinet.
  3. If there are people in your home using illicit drugs, ensure they receive counseling.
  4. Use locks on your liquor cabinet. If possible, you could even use a separate lockable fridge for beer and other chilled alcoholic beverages.


In this, the 21st century, online shopping is not a strange thing. So why would buying drugs online be strange? It’s not. Many shady websites exist in what is known as “the dark web”. These sites exist for illegal activities, namely drug sales. Teenagers are incredibly tech savvy, and many of them know how to access the dark web, and purchase drugs online.  Make sure to stay vigilant and help prevent your kid from getting caught up in this dark corner of the internet.

Other than the dark web, the internet also plays host to many illegitimate pharmacies. These pharmacies are often based in foreign countries, and not subject to Canadian rules and restrictions. Teens can access their sites and order drugs that come in discreet packaging. Studies have shown that half of these companies are not even selling what they say they are. In some cases they are selling sugar pills; but sometimes, what they are selling is deadly.

Problems posed by illegitimate pharmacy purchases:

  1. Your teen has no way of knowing the actual dosage, making overdose a very real possibility.
  2. Your teen has no way of knowing which drug they are actually purchasing.

Even if the pharmacy is striving to do legitimate business, other factors can put your teen in danger. Language barriers, foreign drug regulations may be lacking, and different drug formulas; these are all risks that your teen faces when purchasing drugs online.

Signs of an illegitimate pharmacy:

  1. It is in a foreign country.
  2. It doesn’t require you to have a prescription.
  3. It has significantly lower prices than your local pharmacy.

If you suspect your teen is using drugs, seek help. This is not an issue you have to deal with alone. There are many resources available to you, and organizations who are dedicated to helping keep your teen safe.