Youth workers often encourage young people to explore relationships between drug use and different aspects of their lives.

The relationship between school/work (or something meaningful to fill your time), and drug and alcohol use is one example.

  • Sometimes young people feel like using drugs or alcohol because they are having problems at school or work or they feel they don’t fit in. 
  • Some young people use drugs or alcohol because they have dropped out of school or the workforce and feel bored or lonely.
  • Sometimes it is actually because of drug or alcohol use that managing school or work becomes difficult in the first place.

Whatever the relationship for most young people, being engaged with something meaningful to do and having positive experiences with school or work tend to help either prevent or help resolve problems with drugs.

In fact for many young people accessing drug and alcohol support services, support to remain at school or work, or help re-engaging can be the most helpful support towards an overall positive outcome. Are you thinking about dropping out? We recommend a read of this article from ReachOut.


Going back to school or work can be a huge stress. It can seem like a big jump, especially if you have been disengaged or unhappy for a while. It’s not just about the opportunity to go to school or work it’s also about how confident you are and skills and supports you have to make it work.

Re-engaging can be daunting so set small goals and take manageable steps. Something as simple as getting some structure in your day-getting up and going to bed in a routine-is great preparation for school and work.  Check out this article from ReachOut for some more tips on looking for work. 

There is often a connection between school or work and drug use. What the relationship is can be different for everyone.

Getting help isn’t always easy. Don’t forget there are some great services such as council youth services that may be able to help you in this area.