Bringing up a child can be a stressful job, and often parents and carers worry about whether their child or teenager is using drugs and/or alcohol.
More young people choose not to use drugs or alcohol compared to those who do.
Research shows that the numbers of young people choosing to use drugs and alcohol is reducing. For most of those who do experiment with drugs or alcohol, this will be a passing phase and they will stop without coming to any harm.
A small number of young people, however, can start to experience difficulties as a result of drug and/or alcohol use.
These can include :
If you are worried about a child or young person's drug/alcohol use we can offer you support. Check out the links to other websites for parents on this page.
Although we work with young people who use drugs we cannot make them stop. We won't lecture or 'go on' at young people or tell them what they should and shouldn't be doing. We provide education and information on the risks and consequences, such as involvment with the police and the impact on health, education and relationships, and encourage healthier lifestyle choices.
Part of being a teenager is developing independence and making your own decisions. We encourage the young people we work with to consider the impact of their actions, take responsibility for themselves and their actions and develop skills to increase their self esteem and resilience.
Ideally we would like all the young people who we work with to be open and honest with their parents about their drug and alcohol use, and we encourage this. However we understand that this may be difficult for some people.
Young people are able to access the service if they can demonstrate that they can understand information discussed with them. Information is confidential within the service, except when there is concern that the young person may harm themselves or others or be at risk of harm from others.
We can support parents with ideas on how they can help their child and have access to specialist parenting programmes.
It can be really difficult and distressing to think that your child might be using substances. Young people tell us that one of the best ways to get information is from their parents/carers, however a lot of parents tell us that they don't know much about drugs and what to say to their child. It may be useful to learn a little more yourself so you feel more confident raising your concerns with your child. Use reputable websites such as Frank to increase your knowledge, or seek advice from services such as Footsteps or Adfam.
However waiting until you are worried about drugs or alcohol to start discussing these issues with your children can be counter-productive and lead to arguments. Bringing up the subject can feel uncomfortable, but using opportunities such as news articles, tv storylines etc can be really effective ways of seeking your childs views and being clear about yours before any problems arise.
"I'm happy to know I can ring you for help and advice even if my child is closed to the team"
"Just wanted to say thanks...the change in my child is amazing and you've helped with that. I know he's not perfect but his behaviour to me and his family is. Thanks for everything."
"My child is less cheeky... I'm grateful for the time that was spent with my child. I believe it to be a beneficial service for other youngsters."
"Staff have always been there for us if we've needed support."