Rock Bottom is not necessary in today’s youth. A panel on adolescent mental health wellness, addiction, recovery, and family origins.

Linda Lane Devlin & Christopher Bungay

with lived experience with Quinn and Jennifer

April 3rd, 11:00 am to 12:30

Glen Room 205 – TELUS Convention Centre Calgary

Rock Bottoms are not necessary in today’s youth, mental health wellness, and addiction, Linda Lane Devlin

About this Session

This abstract explores the idea that youth do not need to hit rock bottom in substance use. It suggests that proactive measures, such as education, therapeutic community involvement prevention programs, and support systems, can intervene before youth reach a crisis point. By addressing substance use early on, we can empower young people to make healthier choices and prevent the negative consequences associated with rock bottom experiences. This abstract emphasizes the importance of early intervention and support in promoting the well-being and resilience of youth in relation to substance use. There are several proactive measures that can be taken to prevent youth from hitting rock bottom in substance use: 1. Education: Providing the right comprehensive and accurate information about the risks and consequences of substance use can help young people make informed decisions. This includes teaching them about the physical, mental, and social effects of substance use and promoting critical thinking skills to analyze media influences. 2. Recovery-orientated systems of care and Implementing evidence-based programs in schools and communities can effectively reduce substance use among youth. These programs focus on building skills such as refusal skills, decision-making, and coping strategies to resist peer pressure and make healthy choices. 3. Early Intervention: Identifying and addressing early signs of substance use can prevent it from escalating to rock bottom levels. This involves screening and assessment tools to identify at-risk youth and providing appropriate interventions, such as counseling, therapy, or support groups. 4. Support Systems: Recovery Coaching and creating supportive environments for young people can play a crucial role in preventing substance use. This includes involving parents, caregivers, and mentors in their lives and fostering open communication channels. Building strong social connections and promoting positive peer influences can also provide a protective factor against substance use. 5. Access to Treatment: Ensuring that youth have access to timely and appropriate treatment services is essential. This includes providing resources for substance use disorder treatment, counseling, and recovery coaching services tailored to their specific needs. By implementing these proactive measures, we can create a supportive and empowering environment for youth, reducing the likelihood of them hitting rock bottom in substance use.

Learning Objectives
1. Understanding the risks and consequences of substance use: youth should be able to identify and comprehend the physical, mental, and social effects of substance use on their health and well-being.
2. Developing decision-making skills: insights and abilities to be able to recognize potential risks and benefits of substance use and make informed decisions based on accurate information. Building healthy boundaries so that they should be able to effectively resist peer pressure and say no to substance use in various social situations.
4. Developing coping strategies: youth should be able to identify healthy coping mechanisms and strategies to manage stress, emotions, and challenging situations without turning to substance use.
5. Recognizing early signs of substance use: Parents and youth should be able to identify warning signs and symptoms of substance use in themselves and others, and understand the importance of early intervention and seeking help.
6. Enhancing communication skills: youth should be able to communicate effectively with peers, parents, caregivers, and other trusted adults about their concerns, doubts, and questions regarding substance use.
7. Building a support network: youth should be able to identify and develop positive relationships with supportive peers, mentors, and adults who can provide guidance and encouragement in making healthy choices.
8. Understanding available resources and treatment options: youth should be aware of the available resources, treatment options, and support services for individuals struggling with substance use, and know how to access them.
By achieving these learning objectives, young people can develop the knowledge, skills, and resilience necessary to prevent hitting rock bottom in substance use and make healthier choices for their future.


Linda Lane Devlin, Certified Intervention Specialist, has 25 years of clinical experience. Linda is also a Board Registered Interventionist who has conducted many successful interventions. She is a long-standing member of the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation, an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counsellor through ICRC, and a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP) through the Pennsylvania Certification Board. Linda got her start working in the social services industry for over two decades and continued onto being one of the top Executive Management Leaders in the Addictions Health Care Industry in Canada. She was also involved in many Provincial and National Strategies in Health Initiatives, including the Council on Workplace Health and Wellness in which the building of a Psychological Safe Workplace “practical approaches to Success” were implemented, and the creation of the New National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the workplace.

Family Origins, Adolescence Mental Health and Addiction, Chris Bungay

About this Session

Most addictions start in adolescence. Kids who use drugs are at greater risk of developing long term dependence on substances. At their younger stage of brain development, teens are much more susceptible to developing dependency on any substance that alters their brain chemistry. In other words, a teen is more likely to develop a behavioural or physical addiction to a substance than someone trying a drug as an adult. A teen’s family of origin can increase or decrease their risk of suffering from addiction as an adult. Genetics, family attitudes and parenting approaches all have a role to play in how teens view and make choices about drug use. Similarly, even if a teen chooses to use drugs, family support can be crucial in helping avoid long-term addiction. In this presentation, Christopher Bungay will discuss the relationship between families of origin, adolescence, and long-term substance use. Risk factors that are often associated with teen drug use will be explored. Mr. Bungay will also highlight the types of family support that can minimize the risk of a child developing a lifelong substance use disorder.

Learning Objectives

– Understand the relationship between family genetics and teen drug use
– Identify risk factors associated with the family unit that can contribute to adolescent substance use
– List strategies that have proven to be effective in both preventing teen substance use and helping adolescents who are using substances


Rand Teed, Which Way to Turn, Understanding Adolescent Substance Abuse, Rand Teed Consulting, July 13, 2021, Kindle Edition
Joseph A. Califano Jr., How to Raise A Drug-Free Kid – The Straight Dope for Parents, Atria Books; Revised Edition (September 9, 2014)
Government of Canada, Is Cannabis Addictive?


Christopher Bungay is the President of Sober Kids Canada, a charity that provides free public education about teen substance use and digital media harms.

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