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British Columbia

Resources in British Columbia

Click on the organization below for a link to the home page of their website.

The sources of information listed are intended only as a partial list of the resources available within the province. You are encouraged to conduct additional research for provincial resources that will suit your family’s needs. If you know of other mental health and substance use resources for families in the province, please contact us at:

Find out more about parents’ preoccupations in BC – a special tracking report made possible by Odlum Brown Limited.*

In 2022 most (90%) of all accidental apparent opioid toxicity deaths in Canada occurred in British Columbia, Alberta, or Ontario.1

British Columbia is dealing with a devastating public health crisis of accidental opioid toxicity deaths (mostly due to fentanyl in street drugs) that’s having a tragic impact on families.

It’s important to DFKC that we support parents and guardians by providing them with the information about youth and substance use they can use to engage in meaningful talks with their kids to help them understand the dangers and first time use or experimentation. We’ve conducted a study that tracks parental preoccupations in British Columbia compared to parents in the rest of the country.

BC Parents’ Preoccupations

While the majority of parents across the country are concerned or very concerned about their child’s mental health and bullying, BC parents are more concerned than the parents in other provinces. When it comes to their child’s use of substances, the potential exposure to fentanyl in street drugs is understandably top of mind.2

BC parents are also very concerned about their kids’ use of other substances; including vaping, cannabis, alcohol, street drugs or the use of prescription drugs to get high. These concerns have increased across the country since 2020, with BC parents being more concerned that their counterparts in other provinces.

When it comes to actual risks of substance use by kids, 41% of BC parents think that cannabis is safer that alcohol, 35% feel that vaping is safer that smoking and more than a quarter of the BC parents polled feel that using cannabis before driving is not as bad as drinking and driving. 

The gap between parents and teenagers’ beliefs about the proportion of teenagers using legal prescription drugs recreationally has increased. Teenagers seem to believe more of their peers use substances, unlike parents.  More BC teens (13 – 19) think their peers are using (35%) compared to teens in other provinces (29%.)

When it comes to drug accessibility, BC parents and teenagers agree in terms of alcohol and vaping devices’ accessibility, but parents overestimate their kids’ ability to access cannabis, prescription drugs and street drugs.  

What do teens think?

This tracking study also surveyed teens aged 13 – 19 years.

Most young people in BC are very aware of the dangers of fentanyl.  (81%) perceive a real risk to street drug use, versus kids in other provinces (66%). They also understand the risks of prescription and OTC drugs to get high.  But fewer kids in BC (45%) believe that cannabis, alcohol, and vaping can also be risky to their health.

One teenager over four who noticed a change in their behaviour since the pandemic considered using substances to cope with mental health issues.

Two thirds of those teens consider using cannabis and alcohol, probably because they find them more accessible and less risky than prescription drugs, street drugs and mixed substances.  9% of the group of BC teens responding to those questions also considered the use of street drugs.

Kids are being offered drugs at parties.  A third (31%) of younger teens in BC have been offered drugs, compared to 15% in the rest of Canada. 40% of older teens (16 -19) in BC have been offered substances – that number is 46% in other provinces.

19% of kids in BC know someone who has had a bad drug experience, while only 9% of kids in other provinces know someone who has suffered a bad experience with drugs, a drop from 2020.

Understanding the effects of substance use on youth and engaging with their kids in open and ongoing safety conversations about mental health and substance use can help parents reinforce the importance of making healthy choices with their kids.

* These statistics are from the DFKC Tracking study 2022. We thank Odlum Brown Limited for their support of this project.

  2. DFK Tracking study 2022 excerpt. In 2022, parents in British Columbia are preoccupied by issues related to mental health and substance use than they were in 2020.  They were concerned or very concerned for their child’s mental health (77% – rest of Canada 60%) being bullied (70% – RoC 60%  and being exposed to fentanyl (55% – RoC 48%)

Get real time help!

Care representatives are available 24/7 for you and anyone else who is concerned about the use of substances by a young person in their life. This is a free service for families everywhere in Canada.

Click here to access the Parent Support Hub.

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