Drugs and Alcohol – Children and Young People

Why People Take Drugs

There are lots of reasons why people take drugs. Some people try drugs because friends are doing it or to look popular in front of people. Some people think drugs can help them forget about feeling sad or hopeless, problems at home or problems at school. And some people may like the thought of doing something dangerous or illegal.

Sometimes people are put under pressure to take drugs.

All drugs are potentially dangerous and taking drugs – especially if you are unsure what they are can be fatal.

4 things to remember about taking drugs:

  1. you never know exactly what’s in them (sometimes drugs are mixed with other substances even things which are really harmful)
  2. you can’t be sure how they’ll affect you each time you take them
  3. drugs can have long-term side effects
  4. some drugs are highly addictive and can be hard to stop even if you know they’re bad for you.


Risks of taking Drugs

There are risks in taking any kind of drugs. Some common risks are:

  • damage to your physical and mental health
  • becoming addicted and feeling like you can’t cope without drugs
  • falling behind with school work
  • falling out with family and friends
  • getting into trouble with the police or involved in a crime.
  • being more likely to do dangerous things
  • overdosing or having a bad experience from what you’ve taken, also known as a ‘bad trip’
  • owing money to drug dealers or gangs who may become violent if you can’t pay.


Seeking Help

The information in the links below might be helpful to you and lets you know where you can get confidential support. If you are at all worried you can talk to an adult you trust e.g. a teacher or youth worker.

Alternatively you can talk to Childline by calling free on 0800 1111 or online through 1-2-1 counsellor chat.

If you ever have immediate concerns about your own welfare or safety or the safety of another person always dial 999. Always tell someone if you have taken anything, especially if you feel unwell.

Useful Links

Childline – information and advice about drugs, alcohol and smoking from the NSPCC

Talk to Frank – free confidential drugs information and advice, by phone, text or online