Substance Misuse

For many parents, young people's substance misuse is very worrying. Lots of young people try drugs or alcohol; the vast majority of them don't go on to develop serious drug/alcohol problems.

What's important is how you can protect, support and talk to your child. To help you talk to your child, you could find out about the following:

  • what drugs look like;
  • what are the signs and symptoms of drug/alcohol use;
  • what are the effects, risks and consequences of drug/alcohol use;
  • where you can get help locally.

The following points are things that you can do to help you respond positively to your child should drug or alcohol issues arise:

  • reflect on your own childhood experiences. How easy was it to talk to your parents if you got into trouble or if you did something wrong? If you didn't talk to them, what stopped you? Do your children feel they can talk to you if they have problems?
  • focus your thinking on your own perceptions of substance use. Consider your own drug taking behaviour;
  • inform yourself about substance use/misuse;
  • talk to your children about drugs and alcohol and listen to what they have to say about the subject;
  • help your children to be better educated about the risks with using drugs and alcohol.

Find out where you can get help and support.

If you do have concerns about your child and you think they're using substances – don’t panic – help is available.

If your child doesn't want to talk to you, ask them to talk to an adult they can relate to. This might be your partner, a member of your family or a friend. On the other hand, it might be a young people's practitioner such as a youth or Connexions worker or your family doctor. 

  • The Alcohol Education Trust has launched a new parent area on their website. It contains practical tips for parents on how to delay teenage drinking, the law and how to start a conversation with the right message for the right age group.
  • Talk to Frank is a national website. It has information for young people, practitioners and parents and carers who are worried about their child.
  • Mentor, for support with keeping children and young people safe from drugs.
  • Search the online service directory to find helpful services near you.



York Family Information Service

01904 554444