Brief Summaries - Substance Abuse Prevention Projects - Quebec


When examining the pathways of young people, it has been established that early, persistent delinquent behaviour accompanied by substance abuse, is a strong predictor of adult criminal behaviour. When combined with increases in the rates of self-reported problem use of illegal substances and higher levels of acceptance of drug use among youth, concerns from a crime prevention perspective are warranted. (for more information, see

As a result of these linkages, the NCPC supports projects that include addressing and preventing substance abuse.

The following brief project descriptions provide information on some of the projects funded by the NCPC in Quebec between 2009-2014 that, to varying degrees, worked to prevent substance abuse as a risk factor for criminal behaviour.

These projects may help inspire those concerned about these issues and provide a way to explore approaches to prevention that will be a good fit in communities.

Organization: Centre jeunesse de Montréal – Institut universitaire
Project Title: Evaluation of the cognitive-behavioural program for adolescent girls residing at the Centre jeunesse de Montréal – Institut universitaire
Duration: January 1, 2008 – March 31, 2012

In 1998-1999, the Direction des services de réadaptation à l'enfance et aux adolescentes (child and adolescent rehabilitation services) at the Centre jeunesse de Montréal – Institut universitaire decided to renew its approach to assisting troubled adolescents by transitioning them into a cognitive-behavioural program. In 2006, financial support was secured for the first phase of the project, which consisted of finalizing program content, improving practices and setting up the tools required to conduct rigorous scientific evaluation research. The second phase involved working directly with some 200 teenagers with behavioural problems in residential units, and assessing the effects of the program on their delinquency and its associated factors, on a quasi-experimental basis. A few of the troubled teenage girls, especially those with serious behaviour disorders, came from highly disadvantaged family and social environments. One study reports that the safety and development of these adolescent girls are seriously jeopardized by drug abuse and by their recruitment by gangs for the purposes of prostitution (Corrado, Odgers and Cohen, 2000).

The program had two components where each adolescent participated 30 hours per week. The initial “individual” component was designed to identify the behavioural problems of the participants and the circumstances in which they occurred. Three clinical tools were used to reinforce prosocial behaviour: analysis of behaviour excesses and deficiencies, self-observation and a behaviour contract between instructor and participant. The second “group” component included four educational workshops designed to help participants acquire socially acceptable skills for confrontation strategies and stress management. The workshop themes included: acquisition of communication skills; anger management; stress management; and problem solving. For each workshop, weekly activities led jointly by instructors and school teachers were scheduled over 15 weeks.

Parent cooperation and involvement in the program were essential in order to promote the practical application of the social skills and concepts the participants learned during the educational workshops.

Centre jeunesse de Montréal – Institut universitaire
9335 St-Hubert Street
Montreal, Quebec
H2M 1Y7
Telephone: 514-858-3516
Fax: 514-385-7220

Organization: Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach
Project Title: Kawawachikamach Integrated Crime Prevention Initiative
Duration: April 1, 2008 – September 30, 2011

This project was designed to prevent crime in the Aboriginal community of Kawawachikamach by addressing intergenerational patterns of alcohol abuse and violence. Community capacity is developed through the training of youth community facilitators, establishing connections with community organizations and implementing programs targeting youth at-risk. Activities focused on creating positive role models, promoting healthy and culturally-rich lifestyles and stimulating ambition by promoting leadership and education in the community.

This project targeted approximately 280 youth participants between the ages of 7 and 25 from the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach. Activities consisted of an adapted After-School Program, which included an additional facilitator to help organize games and recreational activities for the children, helping them with their homework, and teaching them overall life skills. The Youth Council (also known as the Youth for Change group) members acted as mentors to the participants, partaking in opportunities to connect with elders, and engaging in leadership skill training. The project participants were able to connect with positive role models and elders in the community while participating in traditional skills camps and healing canoe journeys and camps. This resulted in the transfer of traditional skills and life skills to the youth. Participants were linked with service providers who addressed their specific risk factors, including addictions and substance abuse. The project also adapted the Junior Rangers Program, which promotes values of discipline, hard work and performance to at-risk youth. The goal of this project was to provide links between the youth, their families, the school and the resource workers in the community, by implementing recreational and cultural activities and adapting certain existing programs to high-risk, high-need youth. The final component of this project was the establishment of a local Crime Prevention Advisory Committee whose role included evaluating the progress and impacts of the project and proposing improvements.

Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach
P.O. Box 5111
Kawawachikamach, Quebec
Telephone: 418-585-2686

Organization: Solidarité Ahuntsic
Project Title: Our Youth is Everyone's Business
Duration: September 2, 2008 – September 1, 2010

This project, which involved 10 or so partners mobilized by Solidarité Ahuntsic, was based on a comprehensive, integrated approach. It targeted 50 young people in two age groups — children aged 6 to 12, and youth and young adults aged 13 to 25 — as well as their families in the Meunier–Tolhurst low-income housing area of Montreal. This was a very underprivileged neighbourhood, where a study identified illegal activities and behaviours such as youth membership in street gangs and gang-related crime, including vandalism, drug use and drug trafficking.

A study of these two age groups provided a clear view of the priority risk factors being addressed. As a result, interventions focused on countering the absence of positive behaviour models, insufficient parental supervision, academic failure and low employability, lack of after-school sports and recreational activities, and interaction with criminal youth gangs.

The activities planned for children aged 6 to 12 included meetings with positive role models, the implementation of sports programs, summer camps and art activities, homework assistance and academic support workshops, drug awareness sessions, and the services of a community support officer for children and their families. Activities for the 13 to 25 age group included a pre-employability program, coffee-break sessions for needs assessments, referrals and guidance, outdoor activities to boost self-esteem, sports and cultural activities, and the services of a youth worker to help young people understand various problems and to fulfill established needs through referrals to local resources.

Lastly, this intervention also considered the needs of their parents by offering workshops on taking responsibility, and on prevention, information sessions and referrals to local support services.

Solidarité Ahuntsic
10780 Laverdure Street
Montreal, Quebec
H3L 2L9
Tel: 514-382-9090
Fax: 514-382-7191

Organization: Maison Marie Frédéric
Project Title: Developing, implementing and disseminating skills development products for a new program based on a multisectoral, collective and integrated approach to preventing recidivism of high-risk or potentially criminogenic behaviour among young adults (aged 18–25, mixed) experiencing problems or social exclusion.
Duration: February 18, 2008 – February 17, 2011

This recidivism prevention project targeted a mixed group of 80 young adults (18 to 24 years of age) who exhibited multiple risk factors: aggressive, disruptive and impulsive behaviour, anti-social and criminal behaviour, alcohol and drug use, and a criminal social network (street gangs). The project adopted an approach based on resiliency and empowerment to bring participants to understand how the above risk factors could lead to re-offending. The program also aimed to help participants acquire or access protective mechanisms to counter these anti-social behaviours.

At the outset, each individual was offered safe, stable accommodation for 6 to 9 months as well as coaching, during which case management plans tailored to individual needs were drawn up. These included psychological counselling, self-awareness, conflict management and communication workshops, and social and life skills training.

The project also adopted a wraparound approach in which all of the partners — from those at the clients' entry point to those who played a major role in guiding and supervising the clients — worked together to ensure the success of the intervention.

Maison Marie Frédéric
990 Saint–Vallier Street West
Quebec City, Quebec
G1N 1G3
Tel: 418-688-1582
Fax: 418-688-8436

Organization: Centre jeunesse de Québec – Institut universitaire
Project Title: The PréCrimAdo Program: Preventing the criminalization of high-risk teenagers through application of the mediation approach in youth centres
Duration: May 12, 2008 – December 31, 2010

This program targeted youth aged 10 to 15 years who had been identified as substance abusers and at risk of becoming involved in criminal activity. It was put in place in three youth centres in Quebec using the mediation approach to help participants and their parents recognize and mitigate the risk factors associated with anti-social behaviour, drug use and negative peer influence. Services were provided by professional mediators who worked with the youth and their parents, encouraging them to manage their conflicts more effectively and to embark on a process of change. Given the importance of cooperation in helping the youth, the negotiation process involved family members and other partners, including schools, local community service centres and community organizations.

Centre jeunesse de Québec – Institut universitaire
2915 Bourg-Royal Avenue
Quebec City, Quebec G1C 3S2
Tel: 418-661-6951

Organization: Les Centres jeunesse de la Montérégie
Project Title: Developing, implementing and evaluating a promising innovative anti-crime program: the delinquency intervention program
Duration: November 3, 2008 – March 31, 2012

The program's goal was to reduce delinquency and anti-social behaviours among at-risk youth aged 14 to 17 years. The project's delinquency intervention activities targeted 900 young people, including 16 young sex offenders and 16 young female offenders, who were subject to sentence monitoring. What was innovative about the program is that the specific combination of interventions used was determined by the type of offender targeted.

Through a focused intervention strategy that combined clinical activities with youth, their parents and their family, this program acted not only on the individual determinants of delinquency in a young person, but also on those originating in their families. Each individual youth underwent an assessment to identify the specific risk factors at the root of his or her delinquency. An intervention plan was drawn up, outlining a combination of activities, including assistance and support for substance abusers, psychological services, emergency social services, and workshops to teach social skills.

Parents, family members and other people who played an important role in the lives of these youth were involved in the program.

Les Centres jeunesse de la Montérégie
575 D'Adoncourt Street
Longueuil, Quebec
J4G 1M6
Tel: 450-928-5125

Organization: Centre jeunesse de Montréal – Institut universitaire
Project Title: Montreal intensive supervision program – Street gangs
Duration: August 3, 2009 – August 2, 2014

The Montreal intensive supervision program – Street gangs project works with teenagers and young adults aged 15 to 25 who are directly involved in or at high risk of becoming involved in criminal gang activity. This program combines intensive monitoring with sustained social integration activities. The intervention program comprises clinical support, employment or educational support, and other support measures. Community involvement and the coordination of resources from multiple organizations are crucial to the project's success and its goal of positive re-integration of youth into the community.

All participants undergo a risk and needs assessment for criminogenic factors. A focused plan of action is then developed for each participant, in collaboration with the members of his or her family and social environment. Intervention takes the form of clinical interviews with the participant (3 or 4 times a week) and mobilization of all the resources related to supervision and social integration (school, employment, leisure activities, specialized support).

Participants in the program spend 20 to 40 hours per week involved in activities related to the project. These can include school, professional training, job readiness training, job searching, volunteer work and recreational activities. Street workers support the participants in the program. Group workshops to teach and strengthen social skills are held once a week and focus on communication skills, alternatives to violence, conflict resolution, problem solving and developing empathy.

For more information on this project, consult the following website:

Centre jeunesse de Montréal – Institut universitaire
4675 Bélanger Street
Montreal, Quebec
H1T 1C2
Tel: 514-896-3439
Fax: 514-896-3401

Organization: Centre Dollard Cormier – Institut universitaire sur les dépendances
Project Title: Programme d'intervention appui aux familles [Strengthening Families Program]
Duration: August 30, 2010 – August 29, 2015

The purpose of the project is to implement the French version of the Strengthening Families Program at three locations, namely Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudière–Appalaches.

The program targets children aged 6 to 11 who present externalized problems, namely violent behaviour, delinquency, early use or abuse of psychoactive substances or signs of behavioural disorders. In addition to these factors, the parents of these children also present, or have presented, psychoactive substance abuse.

The goal of the Strengthening Families Program is to reduce risk factors, namely the behavioural and social problems of the participating children and families, and to enhance protective factors by improving family relationships and the skills of both children and parents.

The program should result in reduced alcohol consumption and drug use by the parents, and it should prevent the children from drinking and using drugs. The topics addressed and the exercises completed during the fourteen sessions and at home are designed to improve family relationships, improve parenting skills and decrease corporal punishment, stress and parental depression.

Centre Dollard–Cormier – Institut universitaire sur les dépendances
950 de Louvain Street East
Montreal, Quebec
H2M 2E8
Tel: 514-385-1232

Organization: Maison des Jeunes l'Escale de Montréal–Nord Inc
Project Title:
Duration: January 4, 2011 – September 30, 2014

The goal of Prévencité is to provide assistance and support services to young people aged 16 to 19 presenting multiple risk factors: behavioural problems, drug and other substance abuse, poor academic performance and delinquent peers. Prévencité's activities draw on the Leadership and Resiliency Program (LRP), a promising approach designed to enhance the inner strength and resiliency of young people and to prevent them from using drugs and resorting to violence.

Some one hundred participants aged 16 to 19, selected because of their behavioural problems, will benefit from the full program of resiliency groups, volunteering and outdoor activities.

During weekly resiliency group sessions held at school during school hours, the young people in the program talk about violence and substance abuse prevention, anger management, and healthy peer and family relationships. They learn how to set and achieve goals. They develop empathy by caring for others and working with mistreated or abandoned animals or in a group kitchen. They also lead awareness activities for younger children. Lastly, they take part in outdoor activities offered after school and during the summer.

Centre des Jeunes l'Escale de Montréal–Nord Inc
4255 Place de l'Hôtel de Ville
Montreal–Nord, Quebec
H1H 1S4
Tel: 514-328-4180

Date modified: