Substance Use Disorder is a disease of youth. Yet we don’t often think of it that way. According to a study in the New York Times, “of 40,000 who began drinking before the age of 14, nearly half had become alcohol dependent by the age of 21. In contrast, only 9% of people who began drinking after the age of 21 developed alcoholism.

And what makes this doubly troubling; a 2003 survey in Canada showed that young people aged 15 to 24 years were more likely to report mental health and substance use or abuse problems than any other age group

Writer David Sheff found this out the hard way.  As a teenager, his son Nic developed a dangerous drug addiction. And when Sheff began a desperate search for help, he realized just how little treatment addressed the unique needs of young people.

David’s search for treatment that worked for Nic became the New York Times Bestseller Clean. At the time, Sheff argued the treatment system, including Twelve Step programs and rehabs, has helped some but has failed many more.

He and his son Nic, shared their story with Michael Pond.

Here's where you can follow Nic Sheff’s progress.

The Wild Canadian Year

Wild Canadian Year


Visit our website to watch the series online, discover extra behind-the-scenes stories and view Canada's nature scenes in 360. Visit Wild Canadian Year

From CBC Kids

The Nature of Thingies