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Explaining Harm Reduction To Families (NEW resource)

Help families understand the most effective tool we have to keep young people who are already using drugs, safe from harm....

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Screening + Assessment

Screening and assessment are hugely important aspects of youth AOD work. Regardless of specific tools or the particular sector you’re from, these articles provide useful information and advice to tailor AOD screening and assessment to the needs of young people.

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Need some resources for your practice? Whether you are a new worker or you’ve been around for years, the youth AOD toolbox supports your practice. It takes the vast range of evidence and literature that supports youth alcohol and other drugs (AOD) work, and presents it in a way that you can use in your work.

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YouthAOD Toolbox


Our service gets lots of referrals from young people using ice but they never end up engaging. Any tips?

Ice (methamphetamine) affects the mechanisms in the brain that help with planning and motivation.  Intake processes that place the onus for follow up on the young person may be difficult for a young ice user to engage with. Check out our Top Tips for working with young people using meth.

Is all cannabis laced with ice now?

Unlike tobacco, alcohol or prescription medication, any drug that is not regulated can in theory, be laced with another substance. In our experience it is highly unlikely for an inexpensive drug (such as cannabis) to be contaminated with a more expensive drug such as Ice (methamphetamine). 

A young person I work with has told me she is going ‘cold turkey’ what does that mean?

Cold turkey refers to suddenly stopping using a drug (usually opiate based, but could be another substance such as a prescription antidepressant) and deciding to experience withdrawal symptoms for the short term rather than gradually reducing substance use over a longer period of time.

Symptoms a person goes through will depend on the drug, amount and duration of use. Decreased tolerance and subsequent accidental overdose as well as complications of withdrawal are possible risks.

Why are there such strong cravings from ice?

When someone is dependent on any drug, there is the potential for cravings. Ice is associated with particluarly strong cravings because it effects the brains dopamine system which is responsible for reward, motivation and pleasure. Check out more about how it works

I am not an AOD specialist but I know quite a bit. Do I need to refer?

Sometimes the worker or workers who know a young person are in the best position to work with that young person, especially if that client has lots of other workers. Other times a specialist support service is the best way to go. If you are not sure we always recommend having a discussion with YoDAA or your local Youth AOD provider. 

What about pill testing kits?

Although all ecstasy tablets claim to contain MDMA, many of them are cut with other (often harmful substances) and some don't contain MDMA at all. Pill testing kits can test for the presence of MDMA but not necessarily reliably pick up harmful additives. User forums, where people anonymously review the different tablets on the market are another harm minimisation approach worth considering, also this video about trying a pill or powder.


Helpful Articles

Youth AOD Work

Keeping in touch with YoDAA!

YODAA's fortnightly newsletter is a celebration of all things youth AOD. Highlighting new initiatives, best practice, news, events, resources and the amazing youth AOD work being done on the ground. ...

Youth AOD Work

Harm Reduction

For Youth AOD work to be effective it must be philosophically aligned to Harm Reduction....

Understanding Youth Drug & Alcohol Use

What influences youth AOD use?

Supporting a young person to reduce the harms related to their drug and alcohol use requires an understanding of the factors that influence use....

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Drug Facts

A basic knowledge of drugs and alcohol is critical when supporting young people. YoDAA’s drug facts gives you the quick and essential run down of what’s what. We’ve also included directions of where to find more in depth info if you need (and if you have the time!)

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Need help or advice? YoDAA offers consultation for workers supporting young people with AOD-related issues.

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is a digital tool designed to help young people (and their supporters) consider where they are at in relation to their drug and alcohol related needs. It encourages help seeking where necessary and offers next steps for help and support.

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