Youth and Substance Use

North Country Addictions Resource Center


Adolescence is the stage of life where significant changes and transformations occur.  Adolescents go through biological, psychological, social, and role changes at the same time, so everything about them—body, mind, emotions, relationships, and everything in between—is changing and developing. Youth (ages 12 to 17) and young adults (ages 18 to 25) who misuse substances or have a substance use disorder (SUD) encounter extra difficulties that affect their capacity to successfully make the transition from childhood to adulthood. The majority of adults with substance use disorder began using substances during their teens and young adults years and the need for youth substance use prevention has never been greater.

78.5% of St. Lawrence County youth surveyed reported that they have never used marijuana - 2019 Prevention Needs Assessment

Substance Use

According the to 2022 Monitoring the Future study and the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, we know that:

  • Among adolescents aged 12 to 17 in 2020, 20.9 percent (or 5.1 million people) had either an SUD or an Major Depressive Episode in the past year.
  • Marijuana and hallucinogen use in the past year reported by young adults 19 to 30 years old increased significantly in 2021 compared to five and 10 years ago.
  • An estimated 414,00 adolescents ages 12 to 17 (1.7 percent of this age group) had Alcohol Use Disorder.
  • Rates of past-month nicotine vaping, which have been gradually increasing in young adults for the past four years.
  • In 2020, 10.4 million people aged 12 or older (or 3.8 percent) used an e-cigarette or other vaping device to vape nicotine in the past month. The percentage of people who vaped nicotine was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (11.7 percent or 3.9 million people), followed by adolescents aged 12 to 17 (5.1 percent or 1.3 million people).

93.2% of St. Lawrence County youth surveyed believe their parents would find it "wrong or very wrong" for them to use e-cigarettes or vapes.

Youth Services

Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services are available to youth locally.

Prevention Services

Prevention activities work educate and support individuals and communities to prevent the use and misuse of drugs and the development of substance use disorders.

Treatment Services

Residential Rehabilitation for Youth (RRSY)- These are short- and long-term inpatient programs for youth with substance use and co-occurring disorders.

Recovery Services

Youth Clubhouses are drop-in centers for youth and young adults in recovery from or at risk of developing a substance use disorder. These programs provide recovery supports – including peer support – as well as skill-building and community engagement opportunities, educational and vocational support, recreational and prosocial activities, family engagement activities, and sessions on health and wellness.

Use the resource directory below to connect with services near you.