Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
North Wales Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
Drugs and Alcohol
Lots of young people want to know about drugs and alcohol. It is important to know, that despite one's willpower, it's very easy to end up finding that you have a problem. You may initially think that you have your drug or alcohol use ‘under control', however, these things can be very addictive and may soon start to control you.
What are the commonly used drugs?
Society's favourite drugs are alcohol and tobacco. They are both very addictive and are misused by millions of people. There are many other drugs which are addictive. Some of these are 'legal' and others 'illegal'.
Some legal substances, such as petrol and glue, if abused, can be very harmful. Even medicines, such as painkillers and certain drugs for sleep problems, can be addictive, particularly if they are not used in the way they were prescribed.
The obvious 'illegal' drugs are things like cannabis (hash), speed (amphetamines), ecstasy (E), cocaine and heroin.
Why do people take drugs or alcohol?
People may do this for many reasons like:
What leads to problems with drugs and alcohol?
These too can happen due to different reasons like:
What are the dangers of taking drugs and alcohol?
Drugs and alcohol damage your health. Here are some basic facts:
How do I know when I am hooked?
The most common sign that you have a drug or alcohol problem is when you feel you no longer have a choice. You find yourself having to take the drug more and more to get the same effect. You may find it difficult to cope without it. You may say "It's not that I need it", but find it is a habit that you are unable to give up.
Read and answer the questions below honestly:
If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’, you may be hooked.
What do I do if someone offers me drugs or alcohol?
If you do have something, remember what the safe limits are for you. Think ahead, keep a watch on how much you take, and have a plan to stop or leave the situation.
What do I do if my friend or someone I know needs help?
It can be very difficult to see someone you like or care for having a drug or alcohol problem. You may try to tell them to stop, or suggest that they leave when they seem to be taking more than they should.
Don't try talking to them when they are drunk or have taken a lot of drugs. It's best to speak to them the next day. You may suggest that they should get help.
In an emergency, such as falling unconscious or hurting themselves, don't hesitate to call an ambulance for help.
Remember: you are not responsible for what your friend does. Take care of yourself, speak to others like their family or a teacher you can trust and talk to.
Where can I get help?
There are different ways of getting help. It is helpful to first talk to someone you trust:
You may even like to speak to a professional, like your GP or practice nurse, a local drug project or Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). They can refer you on to the relevant services, and will be able to offer you advice and support.
You can find this information in your local area telephone book, or local Council website or you can ask for the address from your health centre.
Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline
Free bilingual Helpline: 0808 808 2234 or text DAN to 81066