Barrier 1: Drug Addiction
What are the statistics on drug use in Canada?
Drug addiction is a serious issue facing Canadian youth. Almost one-third of Canadian youth between 15-19 and over half of young adults aged 20-24 have used drugs according to a Statista survey. Drug addiction can have lifelong repercussions on every aspect of a person’s life.
According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, youth between the ages of 15-24 are more likely to develop addiction issues than any other age group. They also state that prevention and awareness programs about addiction have shown positive results. It’s important to address drug addiction before it becomes an issue.
How does this affect Youth Employment?
Addiction makes it difficult for anyone to gain and maintain employment. Youth are incredibly vulnerable to employment issues caused by addiction. A combination of lack of work experience, perceived immaturity, and limited resources already make obtaining employment a challenge for Canadian youth. If they develop a drug addiction, their chances of finding gainful employment plummet.
In addition, people who are unemployed are more likely to develop substance abuse issues or have pre-existing issues worsen. This makes drug addiction a cyclical issue, which is why it is crucial to prevent it from ever developing in the first place.
Drug addiction can also introduce additional barriers to employment as it puts youth in a position to incur a criminal record. A criminal record can be a very large barrier when it comes to youth employment. By preventing drug addiction, we can also prevent criminal charges for some youth.
Another way that drug addiction can impact employment for youth is that it has the potential to create education gaps, which is yet another of our identified employment barriers. When a high school student struggles with drug addiction, their focus is no longer on their education. They could end up falling behind in classes or dropping out altogether.
How do we intend to address this barrier?
Seminars and workshops around the barrier of addiction will focus on prevention and awareness when it comes to drug use. We have guest speakers to address various issues around drug addiction
Some key points to the prevention of drug addiction include having strong attachments to family, friends and community, as well as having the opportunity to engage in structured, supervised activities. Our workshops and seminars serve a triple purpose when it comes to addiction prevention. Not only do we focus on awareness, but we also involve the families in our activities, as well as create a space for young people to engage meaningfully with others.