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Drugs & Alcohol


  • Drink Aware - Check your drinking
  • Truthaboutbooze - is the only dedicated alcohol education website aimed exclusively at under-18s in the UK, providing easy to access, reliable, unbiased information about alcohol and its effects, the law, and physical and mental health. It also allows young people to share their own opinions and experiences through moderated discussion panels.

People drink alcohol for all sorts of reasons. Many people enjoy alcohol and most of the time it is not a problem, but drinking heavily can damage your health, especially if you’re a young person.

Besides damaging the liver, heart and brain, heavy drinking can lead to loss of appetite, vitamin deficiencies, stomach ailments, skin problems, sexual problems and memory loss.

After drinking too much people are more likely to have an accident, become involved in a fight or have unsafe sex. These are all unnecessary risks.

National helplines:
  • Drinkline
    Free helpline and information and advice about alcohol.
    Telephone: 0800 917 8282
  • Alateen
    Help for someone affected by someone elses drinking.
    Telephone: 020 7403 0888
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
    24hr confidential help and advice for anyone with a drink problem.
    Telephone: 0845 769 7555


People take drugs for all sorts of reasons. Because they think drugs can make them forget their worries, because their friends do, or because they think it might be fun.

However, taking drugs can become a habit. Some people depend on them just to cope with normal life. Their drug use is likely to have a serious effect on their physical and mental health. Some drug users also resort to theft and burglary to get enough money to pay for drugs and get into trouble with the police.

You might be offered drugs by your friends, or by people you know. Often friends know less than you do about drugs, but they may want to look as if they know everything. Don't rely on what your friends say. To find out the real info about drugs you could talk to your parents, teacher, youth leader, doctor or your Youth Adviser.

If you are concerned about the recent increase in the use of the 'legal' drug methedrone read our Fact sheet on Methedrone or talk to Frank:

National helpline:


With all the talk about the dangers of illegal drugs, it’s easy to forget that you can buy one of the most widely used and highly addictive drugs at the corner shop. We all know that smoking kills, but we still do it. Why?

Some people say smoking helps you cope with stress. Some say it’s a social thing, a way of relaxing with friends. Some people smoke because they are unhappy. Many say they wish they had never started.

From Ist October 2007 tobacco can only be sold legally to customers 18 years old and above. If you're 16 or 17 years old and have smoked in the past, you'll no longer be able to buy tobacco products. For more information on and support with giving up the weed, try some of the following websites.

Tools to help you quit can be found on the Go Smoke Free website, including some helpful videos on coping with the cravings and what support is available.

National helplines:

  • QUIT
    Free advice & support to help smokers stop, including email counselling, from 9am to 9pm
    Telephone: 0800 00 22 00

• 0800 169 9 169 – NHS Specialist Pregnancy Smoking Advice.
Open 12noon-9pm.

• 0800 169 0 881 – NHS Asian Tobacco Helpline (Urdu).
Open 1pm-9pm.

• 0800 169 0 882 – NHS Asian Tobacco Helpline (Punjabi).
Open 1pm-9pm.

• 0800 169 0 883 – NHS Asian Tobacco Helpline (Hindi).
Open 1pm-9pm.

• 0800 169 0 884 – NHS Asian Tobacco Helpline (Gujarati).
Open 1pm-9pm.

• 0800 169 0 885 – NHS Asian Tobacco Helpline (Bengali).
Open 1pm-9pm. – Email counselling – Email advice line specifically for young smokers

Smoking is a major cause of illness and death from cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer. It accounts for one fifth of all deaths in the UK, that’s 120,000 deaths a year. A person who smokes cigarettes regularly, more than doubles his or her risk of dying before the age of 65. Half of all smokers will die from smoking related diseases.

Tobacco companies spend millions of pounds trying to persuade us that smoking is a normal part of everyday life. We see people smoking on TV, in films and magazines, at home, in the street, outside offices, in the pub, on the playing field. Sometimes it looks like everyone smokes. The reality is that only one in four adults are regular smokers, and every year more and more people decide to quit for good.


What happens when you quit?

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), such as patches or gum, can help if you are serious about quitting. NRT is available on prescription from your doctor, which means, it is either free, or much cheaper than buying it from the chemist. NRT will not usually be prescribed for people under the age of 16, although some doctors will make exceptions to this rule. If you talk to your doctor about smoking they will not tell anyone else without your permission.

Page updated: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 9:45 AM

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