Alcohol and Drugs
Children understand about alcohol and its effects from a young age. They can recognise drunkenness and addiction and can tell the difference between acceptable and unacceptable drinking behaviour.
Alcohol is also a potentially harmful substance. For adults, drinking in small quantities is fine but it is illegal for people under 18 to buy alcohol or drink it in public.
Alcohol is a big issue in the UK but talking openly to your child about it is important as it can help them develop a sensible relationship with alcohol. Drinkaware has lots of information and advice to help you talk to your child about drinking.
Are you worried about your own drinking?
These organisations can help you:
Alcohol Concern 0300 123 1110
Open Road 0844 4991323
Alcoholics Anonymous 0800 9177 650
- Healthy Suffolk
Most young people will come into contact with drugs in some form or another at some point in their life. Most teens will decide not to take them but If they do it can be for a variety of reasons: peer pressure, rebellion or simply out of curiosity
As a parent, it’s a good idea to fully understand the facts about drugs. If you talk openly to your child about drugs and the risks and effects of them, it can help them feel more confident and comfortable about making the right choices both now, and in the future.
You can describe drugs using four broad categories:
Over the counter drugs
For example aspirin or ibuprofen to treat general pain. These drugs can be bought without a doctor's prescription from a pharmacist or some shops. Misusing these drugs can have harmful side effects. The instructions on how and when to use these drugs must be followed.
These drugs are controlled because they could be dangerous or addictive, so they must be used under professional guidance. You need a prescription to buy them - if you don't these drugs are illegal. Only a pharmacist can sell them to you and only if you have a prescription from a doctor. If you take these drugs without a prescription your health could be in danger - some prescription drugs have caused death when taken without guidance.
These are also commonly known as "legal highs" which mimic the effects of drug such as cocaine or ecstasy. The phrase ‘legal’ is often an inaccurate name which makes some people think they are safe. One of the biggest problems with legal highs is that little, or no research has gone into their effects, especially their long-term effects and the fact that a substance may not have been banned yet does not make it safe. Substances with similar health risks to cocaine and ecstasy can increase the chances of seizures, comas, and in the worst cases, death.
The law on so-called legal highs changed on 26 May 2016. The 'New Psychoactive Substances Act' came into force, making it illegal to supply any ‘legal highs’ for human consumption. The changes in the law mean it’s now an offence to sell or even give psychoactive substances to anyone for free, even to friends.
Illegal, classified drugs
These are drugs such as heroin, cocaine or cannabis. These drugs are classified as A, B or C depending on the harm they cause. For example Crack Cocaine is a Class A drug, 'Spice' and 'Mephedrone', cannabis and a large number of synthetic cannabinoids are class B drugs. Ketamine is a currently a class C drug.