PAD is now closed. 1983-2019

Please note that PAD is now closed.  This website is now a static site.

Parent Action on Drugs has addressed issues related to youth substance use since 1983. Due to loss of funding it is with regret that PAD is now closed. This website will remain as a static website until September 2021 so that you may continue to access PAD resources.

Key resources such as our newly developed cannabis tools: the Weed Like to Know Chatbot, website which houses the CYC questionnaire and the SMS tool, have been transferred to the National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education (NICHE) so they will continue to be available to you. The Parent Action Pack and the Strengthening Families for Parents and Youth (SFPY) will now reside with the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA).

It has been our pleasure to have worked with so many wonderful youth, parents, educators, health professionals and volunteers.

We wish you well as you continue to support youth, families and communities.

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2 digital CANNABIS Education Tools

Parent Action on Drugs (PAD) is pleased to announce that with the generous support of CanopyGrowth and in partnership with Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP) PAD has developed and today launches two digital cannabis education tools for parents and youth. One, the Weed Like to Know Chatbot is designed for parents as well as adult caregivers, influencers and adolescents aged 10-14 to enhance dialogue and prevent early initiation of cannabis consumption. The second, What’s With Weed (WWW) SMS Tool was developed for teens and young adults to provide factual information about cannabis, the risks, harm reduction, and an opportunity for youth to reflect on their cannabis consumption to prevent problematic use and promote well-being.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Since PAD is now closed our cannabis tools: the Weed Like to Know Chatbot, website which houses the CYC questionnaire and the SMS tool, have been transferred to the National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education (NICHE) Any questions about these tools, please contact NICHE directly. 

“Weed Like to Know” Chatbot

PAD employed the technical expertise of Massively, a leader in artificial intelligence, to develop a fun and interactive chatbot designed to engage, educate and encourage conversation between parents and their young adolescents about cannabis. This tool promotes supportive communication between parents and children, a protective factor in promoting resiliency and preventing problematic substance use and youth initiation of cannabis use.

Through activities like charades, quiz questions, and “what would you do?” scenarios, chatbot users learn age-appropriate evidence-based information about cannabis, its effects, the law, risks to youth during brain development, and reasons youth consume or not. Content related to harm reduction and safety is also covered.

Weed Like to Know can be accessed on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, through the PAD website Additionally, the chatbot will be deployed directly inside display ads on targeted websites.

What’s With Weed SMS Tool:

PAD collaborated with Evolution Health Systems, a trailblazer in creating digital health tools, to work together to build a youth-focused cannabis education and problematic use prevention tool aimed at teens and young adults (15-21 years). The resulting tool is an SMS (short message service) program easily accessed by anyone with a mobile phone. Individuals can subscribe through our completely revamped, comprehensive cannabis education website, WWW SMS subscribers receive a text message (proactive messages) each day for 54 days covering factoids about weed and how it works in the brain and body, cannabis laws, tips for reducing risks and safer use, questions to reflect upon one’s use and why, alternative approaches to coping with life stress, and support for cutting down/quitting. Subscribers can also select from a list of “keywords” to get additional, targeted educational and support messages. Although the tool is more relevant for youth who use cannabis, or those who may be concerned about their use, anyone can learn valuable information.

The WWW site also includes an anonymous brief intervention questionnaire, Check Your Cannabis, and personal risk profile report. The WWW suite of tools is a non-judgemental approach to providing youth the information they need to make informed choices to minimize harms and promote healthy development.

We invite you to explore these cannabis tools and share them with the youth, parents and those who work with youth in your community of practice to empower them to communicate, reflect and make informed decisions about cannabis use.

Thank you,

The PAD Team

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FREE Parent Support Group from Families for Addiction Recovery

Families for Addiction Recover (

Parent to Parent peer support

FAR is launching a FREE Parent Support Group for parents with children struggling with substance use.  The Parent Support group will provide a safe space where parents can share their journeys, find support, and share resources and information.  This group will be facilitated by a parent with lived experience, who holds a B.A. in Psychology and an Addiction Care Worker Diploma.

WHEN? Every first and third Monday of every month, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. starting December 3rd, 2018. (December 3rd & 17th2018 / January 7th & 21st2019 / February 4th & 18th / March 4th & 18th / April 1st & 15th)

WHERE? Bellwood Health Services, 175 Brentcliffe Road, Toronto. Paid and street parking is available.

Participation is free, no registration required.

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Parent Action Pack Brochures 2018 now available in print

It includes:

  • a new section on fentanyl,
  • updated statistics,
  • and an expanded section on cannabis.













And check out the Parent Action Pack website here.


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“Weed like to know” New tool about Cannabis

Be one of the first families to try our new educational chat bot, “Weed Like to Know”.  It’s designed to stimulate conversations about cannabis between parents and kids ages 10-14. Learn and explore the issues together with this interactive, fun, digital tool. To access it, direct message us through FB Messenger (@parentactionondrugs) or Twitter (@pad_ontario). Our aim is to keep improving it, so let us know what you think.  Email us at 

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Help shape Canada’s approach to substance use issues!

Health Canada has launched a public consultation on potential next steps in the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy (CDSS).

The purpose of this consultation is to engage Canadians on new and innovative ideas on how to further strengthen the federal government’s approach to substance use issues through the CDSS. The consultation will last for 90 days, closing on December 4, 2018. To participate you will provide feedback through an on-line questionnaire based on key themes, including:

  • Taking action on the root causes and risk factors of problematic substance use
  • Reducing stigma towards people who use drugs
  • Improving access to comprehensive, evidence-based treatment services
  • Applying a public health lens to regulation and enforcement activities

Here is the link to participate:


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PAD’s 2018 Annual General Meeting

Notice of
2018 Annual General Meeting of Parent Action on Drugs

Monday, September 17, 2018
6:30 p.m.

North York Civic Centre, Committee Room #1
5100 Yonge Street, Toronto M2N 5V7

Featuring a presentation by Massively on the development of a chatbot for parents and youth to engage in discussions on cannabis.

Contact the Parent Action on Drugs office if you would like to attend.  416 395-4970 or

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Thanks to those that donated to PAD for the Great Canadian Giving Challenge

PAD received a total of 525 entries into the Great Canadian Giving Challenge

this year.  Thank you to our donors for the chances to win. 

It’s too late for this year for the contest, but not too late to donate

and help PAD continue their programs and services. 

Click on the Donate Now button at the top of the page. 



Start your summer right. Help us win $10,000.



Please Help our Charity Win $10,000

Every $1 you donate to our charity in June via

counts as a ballot to help us win $10,000 from the GIV3

Foundation. Please donate today – we really appreciate your help!


Donate to help us win


For full contest rules and regulations, please read the Official Contest Rules

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Newly revised Parent Action Pack Brochure 2018 now available online

The newly revised Parent Action Pack Brochure is now available electronically in English. 

It includes:

  • a new section on fentanyl,
  • updated statistics,
  • and an expanded section on cannabis.














And check out the Parent Action Pack website here.

Print version and French edition to follow.

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Teaming up with University of Waterloo to educate students about the alcohol and breast cancer connection

Thanks to a grant from Women’s College Hospital’s Women’s Xchange $15K Challenge, PAD and Campus Health Promotion at the University of Waterloo (UW) conducted a focus group study involving UW, Laurier, and Conestoga College students to develop awareness messages about alcohol consumption and lifetime risk of getting breast cancer. This study allowed us to understand what resonates with the audience, female students, 18-22 years of age, and which communication channels they prefer to receive health information.

Why does it matter undergraduate women know about this relationship? There is convincing evidence of a causal relationship between alcohol consumption and female breast cancer, but the level of awareness about this dose-response association is low. Plus, the window of time when breast tissue proliferation is high and potentially more susceptible to carcinogens, like alcohol, is between menarche and first pregnancy and post-secondary students are at an increased risk for high alcohol exposure. Therefore, it is not only important to increase awareness that the more alcohol a woman consumes over her lifetime the higher her risk for breast cancer, but there is also an elevated risk associated with consumption earlier in life.

The findings of the study suggest that educating students about specific health risks not typically associated with alcohol may be an effective strategy to promote contemplating reduced alcohol consumption. To learn more about the study, the messages developed and the next steps for disseminating the awareness ads, please read the summary report and watch our dynamic and informative video. If you are involved in post-secondary health promotion and interested in acquiring and disseminating the awareness tools we produced (posters, GIF for social media), or have questions or feedback, please contact PAD at, or me directly at

Jane McCarthy, MSc, MPH

Manager, Program Development

Parent Action on Drugs

Printable versions of the posters – click on link below and then right click and do a save image as to save it to your computer for printing.

Poster 1 – printable version

Poster 2 – printable version

15K Final Project Report (Summary)


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