Substance use and taiohi (youth)

Estimated Duration: 
4 hours

This module aims to support you with your skills and knowledge development to identify and support the treatment of substance use and other issues that affect the mental wellbeing of taiohi/young people.

The transition from childhood to adulthood is a time of immense change, physically, mentally and socially. It is a time of experimentation when most taiohi will be exposed to new ideas and experiences. It is natural to be curious, and some will choose to try substances, with or without the knowledge of their whānau during this time.

At the end of this course, you will have learned:

  • The importance of cultural frameworks and how to reflect on your own work practice when dealing with taiohi/youth.
  • How adolescent brain development impacts their decision making processes.
  • Why and how young people use substances including drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and other new psychoactive substances.
  • What other common addictions can impact taiohi/youth, such as gaming or pornography use, and how to tackle this.
  • The effect of trauma and adverse childhood experiences in the mental health of taiohi/youth.
  • How to work with co-existing problems; the interaction between mental health and substance use.


Following the course, you will find a short quiz designed to help consolidate your learning. When you complete the quiz please hit the 'submit' button to receive your certificate. This course provides 4 hours of CPD.

This course has been endorsed by The Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) and by The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) for up to 4 CME credits for their General Practice Educational Programme (GPEP) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) purposes, and the College of Nurses Aotearoa (NZ) for PD hours.


This content has been developed by Whāraurau, a workforce development centre for child and youth mental health, situated within UniServices, at the University of Auckland, in 2021. Whāraurau would like to acknowledge Dr Grant Christie, Youth Addiction Psychiatrist, CADS Altered High Youth Service, WDHB, and Ashley Koning, Addiction Programme Lead/Principal Advisor, Te Pou in helping develop this content.


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