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Children and drugs

How to speak to children about drugs and make sure they're aware of the law and the risks.

Children are less likely to take drugs than try alcohol. But like with alcohol, it's better to talk with your child early.

How to talk to children about drugs

It can be difficult to know how and when to start. Try having brief, open and relaxed conversations.

You could try using cues such as drug issues happening on TV, in the media or Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) projects at school to start a conversation.

Try to stay calm. It can be upsetting to find out your child is taking drugs, but getting angry and shouting may stop them from speaking to you in the future.

Talking to them calmly and when you're both relaxed will encourage them to be open about their actions and stop them from becoming secretive.

Encourage your child to be honest with you. Ask them what they're taking, how often and where they're getting the money to pay for it.

It's also important to find out why they're taking drugs. It could be due to stress, peer pressure or to boost their confidence. But there might be another reason. Listening to what they say and how they feel can give you an idea of how you can help.

Teaching your child about the effects of drugs can help them to make a decision for themselves and make sure they're aware of the risks.

Drugs can:

  • affect their physical and mental well-being
  • make them vulnerable to harm
  • expose them to exploitation

Read Frank's glossary of drugs which includes their slang names, effects, risk and the law.

If you don't feel confident talking about drugs, try familiarising yourself with them beforehand. Remember it's okay if they ask you something you don't know. You could even look on the Frank website together.

If you're worried about drugs

If you're worried about your child's behaviour, you could speak to your GP.

They'll be able to:

  • refer your child for local support and treatment services
  • refer them for counselling
  • talk to you about how you or other family members are coping.

You can also contact the NSPCC Helpline for advice

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