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Youth Substance Use Prevention

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The adolescent brain is still developing and especially vulnerable to the effects of harmful substances like alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. The Community Prevention Office partners with city agencies and community-based organizations to delay the age in which youth first begin to use substances and to prevent substance use disorders.

What is Addiction?


The Community Prevention Office:

o   Develops and disseminates educational materials and media messages to youth and families
o   Promotes health education that addresses substance use and social-emotional learning
o   Supports expansion of engagement opportunities accessible to all youth populations
o   Increases coordination of prevention efforts between public, private and non-profit sectors

The Boston Approach

From 2017-2018, we talked to youth, families and others across the city to better understand why youth use substances and to identify actions that may decrease the rate at which youth turn to drugs and alcohol. 

This plan was developed through the lenses of:
o   Positive Youth Development—we aim to facilitate efforts that engage youth, enhance young people's strengths and build assets.
o   Health Equity—we prioritize the advancement of opportunities that are available to youth, especially those that struggle to reach their full health potential due to socially assigned circumstance (e.g. race, sexual orientation) and lived environment (e.g. housing, food access).

Check out these helpful resources!

Talking to Your Middle School-Aged Child about Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

7 Ways to Protect Your Teen from Alcohol and Other Drugs

BSAS Youth and Young Adult Substance Use Services Directory

BPHC Marijuana Youth and Caregiver Factsheets

Vaping Frequently Asked Questions

MA Substance Use Helpline

Grayken Addiction Support 

Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: