As a parent, it can be absolutely terrifying to find out that your child is taking drugs. While it’s important to remain calm and avoid overreacting, it’s also essential to take immediate action to help your child get the help they need.
If you suspect that your child is using drugs, it’s important to take action immediately. Drug use can lead to a downward spiral of poor health, financial troubles, and criminal activity. It can also damage your child’s relationships and future prospects.
However, it’s important to remember that there is help available. There are many resources that can assist you in getting your child into treatment and on the road to recovery. With the right support, your child can overcome this challenge and go on to lead a happy and productive life.
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Drug Taking Warning Signs in Children
Parents are often the first line of defence when it comes to spotting the warning signs of drug use in their children. While many kids experiment with drugs at some point, early intervention can prevent drug use from becoming a more serious problem.
Some common warning signs that a child may be using drugs include sudden changes in their behaviour, secretive behaviour, mood swings, loss of interest in hobbies or activities, declining grades, unexpected hyperactivity or lethargy and withdrawal from family and friends. If you suspect that your child is using drugs, it’s important to take action right away.
Talk to your child about your concerns and make an appointment with a healthcare professional to get further guidance. By being proactive, you can help your child avoid the serious risks associated with drug use.
Discussing Drug Abuse with your Child
If you suspect your child is taking drugs you are going to have to talk to them. Now it can be difficult talking to some teenagers at the best of times, with their emotions and hormones all adjusting as they transition from children into adults.
But this conversation really needs to be had with your child. It could be that you have misread the situation and explain that you need clarity on the situation for their benefit.
Depending on the age of your child and their personality could dictate how you go about starting this conversation. With younger children, you could maybe start by talking about the dangers of certain drugs and build towards asking them further questions.
With older teenagers, a different approach may be necessary as they may be in a defensive mode regarding the conversation. If you are having difficulty communicating with a teenager do some research and decide on the best approach  to take in starting this conversation.
Why do Kids Take Drugs?
In today’s world, kids are under more pressure than ever before. They’re expected to succeed in school, make friends, and participate in extracurricular activities, all while navigating the ups and downs of adolescence.
Unfortunately, kids turn to drugs through peer pressure in most cases, simply just trying to fit into a crowd  or because all their friends are doing it. Although some children also sadly turn to drugs as a way to cope with the stress of everyday life.
What Drugs do Kids Take?
Children and teenagers can take a variety of drugs. Most children who experiment with drugs may try Cannabis or “Weed” but some do experiment with much stronger drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
Most frequently used drugs children and teenagers need treatment for include:
- Alcohol – This is the 1st drug many teenagers try. They may have easy access to alcohol in the home or wait outside shops asking irresponsible adults to purchase alcohol for them.
- Cannabis – Cannabis is also generally easy to attain in the UK. Some children may live in a household where Cannabis is available and they may also gain access to the drug through friends.
- Nicotine – Many children will try a cigarette when growing up. Not many will receive intensive treatment for nicotine addiction as we do not associate nicotine addiction with the same seriousness as we would with alcohol addiction for example. But smoking is still really serious for your health and attempts should be made to help them quit.
- Ecstasy – This drug has been widespread now for a long time in the UK. Traditionally a drug people would take when going to dance events or nightclubs. According to the UK Government, this is the 4th most popular drug used by teenagers behind Alcohol, Cannabis and Nicotine.
- Cocaine – Cocaine is a drug people can gain access to and many teenagers will try the drug in experimentation. Cocaine addiction can be very dangerous although addictions are more common in adults than in children due to the accessibility of the drug.
- Ketamine – We have been seeing more children being treated for ketamine addiction over the last few years. This increased from under 1% to 5% in the year 2020. Ketamine looks like cocaine and is usually snorted and makes people feel detached and relaxed.
- Heroin – The chances of your child or teenager becoming addicted to Heroin are slim. Of all children seeking help for addiction only 0.4% have a heroin addiction . But if they do have an addiction to heroin, this can be severely life-threatening and assistance should be sought immediately.
A big risk with children who start taking drugs at a young age is they may find they need to take higher and higher doses over time to get the same effect, this can lead to a serious addiction.
Additionally, drugs can have dangerous side effects, ranging from organ damage to death. It’s important for kids to understand the risks of drug use before they experiment with substances.
Will my Child be Expelled from School for Taking Drugs?
Schools have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drugs, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your child will be expelled for taking them. The consequences will depend on several factors, including the type of drug, the amount taken, and your child’s age and past disciplinary record. If it’s a first offence and your child is cooperative, they may be able to stay in school and receive counselling or treatment.
However, if they’re a repeat offender or are uncooperative, expulsion is more likely. In the end, it’s up to the school district to decide what disciplinary action to take. They will also consider whether there are any extenuating circumstances, such as addiction or mental illness.
If you’re concerned about your child’s behaviour, it’s best to talk to their school counsellor or administrator to get clarification on the school’s policies.
Are Kids with Learning Difficulties more Prone to Addiction?
It is a common misconception  that children with learning difficulties are more prone to addiction. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. In fact, children with learning difficulties are no more likely to develop an addiction than their peers.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to addiction, including genetic predisposition, mental health disorders, and trauma. However, the most important factor is exposure to drugs or alcohol.
Children who grow up in homes where substance abuse is common are much more likely to develop an addiction themselves. Therefore, it is important to provide support and resources for families struggling with addiction. This will help to prevent children from developing addictions in the first place.
Does Environment Increase the Chances of Drug Addiction?
It is well known that addiction is a disease that afflicts people from all walks of life. However, it is often assumed that addiction is solely a matter of personal choice. While it is true that anyone can become addicted to drugs, the environment plays a role in the development of addiction.
People who grow up in poverty or who are exposed to violence are more likely to turn to drugs as a way to cope with their situation. Additionally, people who have easy access to drugs are more likely to develop an addiction. This is why drug education and prevention programs are so important; they help to create an environment in which addiction is less likely to occur.
Will my Child Copy my Drug Habits?
Drug use is a serious problem that can have a lasting impact on the lives of those who use them. Although it is often parents who first introduce their children to drugs, it is important to remember that children are not always copycats. In fact, many children grow up to be responsible adults despite having parents who used drugs.
However, there are some factors that can increase the likelihood that a child will copy their parent’s drug habits. For example, if drug use is commonplace in the home or if the parent is struggling with addiction, the child is more likely to imitate their parent’s behaviour.
Additionally, children who do not have a strong support system or who feel alienated from their peers are also more likely to turn to drugs. As a result, it is important to be honest with your child about your drug use and to provide them with the support they need to make healthy choices.
As a parent, it’s only natural to worry about your children following in your footsteps. You may be concerned that your child will copy your drug habits, especially if you struggle with addiction. But it is important to remember that every child is different. Just because you use or have used drugs in the past doesn’t mean that your child will automatically do the same.
There are many factors that contribute to addiction, including genetics, environment, and mental health. So even if you have a history of drug use, there’s no guarantee that your child will follow in your footsteps. Instead of worrying about what might happen, focus on being a positive role model for your child. Set a good example by taking care of yourself and making healthy choices. By doing so, you can help your child avoid making the same mistakes that you did.
Are Drugs More Common in Big Cities
While drug use is a problem in all parts of the country, it is more prevalent in big cities. There are a number of reasons for this. First, big cities tend to have a higher concentration of poverty and crime. This creates an environment in which drugs are more likely to be available and where people are more likely to turn to drugs as a way to escape their problems.
Second, big cities are often home to large immigrant communities. These communities may be exposed to drugs as part of their culture and may also have difficulty accessing treatment and prevention services. Finally, the anonymity of big cities can make it easier for people to buy and sell drugs without fear of detection. As a result, drugs are more common in big cities than in other more rural areas.
Many people from rural areas may 1st experience drugs when moving away from their hometown to enter university in a big city, where drugs are more widespread and where availability of substances is greatly increased.
University Students and Drugs
Although university students are often stereotyped as party-loving drug users, the reality is more complicated. This can vary from city to city and between different university social groups.
According to the Office for National Statistics  full time students are 19% more likely to have taken drugs in the past year compared to any other working group. In fact, one study also suggests that 85% of students at one university  have tried an illegal drug of some form.
The main reasons for this are the nightlife culture and accessibility of drugs in large cities. Most students who take drugs in University will not go on to develop a long standing addiction and could see it as part of experimentation growing up. But for those with addictive personalities, it could be the beginning of a long standing addiction.
-  do some research and decide on the best approach - https://www.familylives.org.uk/advice/teenagers/drugs-alcohol/talking-to-teens-about-drugs
-  simply just trying to fit into a crowd - https://drugfree.org/article/top-8-reasons-teens-try-alcohol-drugs/
-  0.4% have a heroin addiction - https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/substance-misuse-treatment-for-young-people-statistics-2019-to-2020/young-peoples-substance-misuse-treatment-statistics-2019-to-2020-report
-  common misconception - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/substance-misuse-and-people-with-learning-disabilities/substance-misuse-in-people-with-learning-disabilities-reasonable-adjustments-guidance
-  Office for National Statistics - https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/articles/drugmisuseinenglandandwales/yearendingmarch2020#:~:text=Data%20from%20the%20Smoking%2C%20Drinking,estimate%20in%202016%20(3.2%25).
-  85% of students at one university - https://www.vice.com/en/article/ppxd3b/uni-drug-taking-345
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