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Webinar Recap: Emerging Trends in Youth Substance Use - How to Distinguish Evidence and Hype

We live in an age of constant information; we are bombarded by the latest news as it happens. This information – while timely – is often sensationalized, incomplete or removed from context. Fortunately we can employ filters to substantiate what we read or hear.

Today's youth spend an excessive amount of time with various types on media on electronic devices. Youth, however, tend to be influenced by media and may not have the same experience or skills – or desire - to filter and verify the barrage of information.

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Parent Action on Drugs recently presented a webinar on this topic. The webinar Emerging Trends in Youth Substance Use: How to Distinguish Evidence and Hype examined the influence of media-driven information and how to distinguish the facts. Parent Action on Drugs examined the research and considered what is significant in contributing to youth risk, and how policy, educational messaging and community action can use credible information to mitigate risk. The particular topics focused on included high caffeine energy drinks – and their combination with alcohol, the effects of youth exposure to mixed media, new research on cannabis and youth, and the intersection of these with adolescent brain development.

There are a number of challenges to staying informed with the correct information - how do we, as health promoters, educators and youth workers, separate out the evidence from the hype?

• Be aware of how information is presented. The internet has increased the time pressures around publication – but often incorrect or partially accurate information is released. Check the credibility of sources. Who provided the information? Was it funded? Understand the perspectives of your sources.

• Stay on top of the issues, in how they relate to you. New substances are constantly appearing, but they may not be an issue in your area. Each community is unique.

• Watch for trends - ask local community about what is prevalent in your areas.

• Work with knowledge exchange specialists such as Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) to provide knowledgeable filters and summaries, such as

The webinar can be viewed via recording or through modified slide handouts. For original slides and questions about or access to research references, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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