Information for Professionals

Stages of change

These are the stages that a person may experience when making life changes.

  1. Pre-contemplation - A person is not even thinking about a change
  2. Contemplation - A person is thinking about a change but not ready to make it
  3. Preparation - A person is ready to change and planning how to do it
  4. Action - A person is actively making the change
  5. Maintenance - A person is sustaining the change over the long term

For more information, check the online self-directed tutorial available through the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Stages of Change.


Harm reduction

Harm reduction refers to any program, policy, intervention or approach that seeks to reduce the health and social consequences associated with a behaviour. It focuses on consequences rather than the use itself, and does not require abstinence (not drinking or using drugs).

Harm Reduction - Questions and Answers

Harm Reduction Policies and Programs for Youth

Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users

Preventing Overdose Waterloo Wellington

Overdose Intervention and Prevention Projects

Screening tools

A brief intervention by a health professional can have effects lasting up to a year. It can reduce the risks associated with alcohol use, including injuries, violence and chronic disease.

Alcohol Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral Guide 

Guidelines for Healthcare Providers to Promote the Low Risk Drinking Guidelines

Alcohol Related Health Risks

Working with specific groups

Why Do Girls and Women Drink Alcohol During Pregnancy? Information for Service Providers

Responding to Older Adults with Substance Misuse

Older Adults

Professionals Working with Teachers

Professionals Working with Youth


Resources on substance misuse prevention may be borrowed free of charge from the Public Health Resource Centre:

Substance misuse resources

Parenting resources

For more information, contact the Public Health Resource Centre at 519-575-4400, ext. 2256.