As children age, their stress levels increase. This stress can stem from various sources, including academics, family dynamics, extracurricular pressures, social media influences, and a swiftly changing body. As adolescents enter middle and high school, they may experience substances for the first time. It is essential to comprehend the dangers of adolescent substance use and the preventative measures that families and communities can take. Using substances at an early age increases the likelihood of addiction. The human brain continues to develop until the early 20s. The regions of the brain responsible for risk assessment and judgment are not completely developed in teens and young adults. 


Furthermore, substance use has specific effects on the brain. Since their brains are still developing, forming connections, and learning patterns, it is more dangerous for a young person to use any substance, legal or illicit, because their brains are still maturing, forming connections, and learning patterns. Young drug use may unintentionally "teach" the brain to rely on substances to manage with stress or pressure.


90% of people who have a substance use disorder started using alcohol or drugs before they turned 18.


Research shows that the earlier a person starts using drugs in their life, the greater the risk of long-term issues, like developing a substance use disorder. (23)



Youth Resiliency Toolkit

This guide was designed to offer helpful suggestions to parents, caregivers, and educators looking for resources that strengthen youth resiliency and potentially prevent or delay experimentation with substances.



Guide to Raising Resilient Kids

In addition to school programs, caregivers can learn how to help prevent addiction and other health problems in teenagers and children. This resource, from Partnership to End Addiction, contains practical, individualized guidance.


Drug Guide for Parents

Evidence-Based Drug Information


Information including drug descriptions, street names, risks, and what your child may have heard about them to inform and support your conversations with your children.



Herren Project

Discussion Guides

Information including drug descriptions, street names, risks, and what your child may have heard about them to inform and support your conversations with your children.




How to Help a Loved One

If a person you care about is using drugs and you are concerned that they might be in danger, there are some things you can do to help them stay safe and give them the best possible chance of recovery.



Adverse Childhood Experiences


Evidence shows that stress and trauma, especially when prolonged, can interrupt healthy child development, putting them at risk for lifelong health issues including an increased risk for prescription opioid misuse.




Download and share


Support the Share Facts Save Lives campaign with shareable content. These materials can be used to educate and create a path towards recovery.


Treatment and recovery support


Access to mapping tools related to SUD treatment, such as residential treatment facilities, withdrawal resources, recovery residence options, and more.


Know your options


OPTIONS Maine liaisons  serve as a judgment-free point of contact who will meet people where they are in terms of their substance use.

2-1-1 Maine

Services directory


2-1-1 is a free, confidential information and referral service based in Maine available 24/7 that connects people of all ages to local services.