Setting Rules for Your Teen's Free Time

When to talk to your children about drugs

Conversations when you suspect your teen's drug use

The Risks of "Experimentation"

How to talk to your kids about drugs if you did drugs

Young people use drugs for different reasons in different situations



Young people use drugs for different reasons in different situations.

Here are a few explanations that may be helpful in understanding the ways in which people use drugs.

Some people take a drug because they are curious about what the effects feel like. Using drugs in this way is often called experimentation. You may have heard of "recreational drugs". When people use this term, they are talking about drugs that are taken for pleasure, or for social reasons —when going to a club or a party for example. Most young people who take drugs use them in this way. They may not suffer any major harmful effects to their health. Problem drug use has a harmful effect on a person's life. They may need to take a drug just to feel able to cope with normal life. Their drug use is likely to affect their health and they may suffer from mental health problems, lose their friends, have money problems or get into trouble with the law. Only a very small proportion of people who ever take drugs will become "problem users". If you think your child is using drugs in this way, contact the agencies listed on the back cover. They can give you advice, information and support.

Regardless of why all drugs carry risks. The following are risks involved in using any illegal drug.

  • The user can never be sure of exactly what they are taking.
  • What is bought is unlikely to be pure, and they won't know what it has been mixed with.
  • Not knowing the strength of what has been bought could lead to accidental overdose.
  • They can't be sure what effect a drug will have, even if they have taken it before.
  • It is often very dangerous to mix different drugs, and this includes taking a drug and drinking alcohol.
  • If needles, syringes or other injecting equipment are shared there is a serious risk of dangerous infections being spread such as HIV and hepatitis B or C. Injecting can also damage veins. In addition, unlawful possession of a controlled drug is a criminal offence. A drugs conviction can cause problems obtaining a travel visa to enter some countries. It can also affect job prospects. An employer may check if an applicant has a criminal record or any past convictions.


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