Substance abuse continues to be one of the most serious and costly issues affecting youth and society today. Studies by Employment and Immigration Canada show that alcohol and drug abuse are the main reasons youth drop out of school. Even the occasional use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drugs by youth has consequences, increasing the risk of youth violence, criminal activity, accidental injury and death, teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS infection, drunk driving, brain damage and other physical diseases.
Data shows that peer influences and role modeling have major impacts on youth knowledge, attitudes, behaviour and friendships. Peer educators, youth teaching youth, can be effective in helping youth to be constructive, to aspire and achieve more in school, family and community life, work toward goals, lead healthier lives, and prevent problems with alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.