Substance use among young people can affect their physical, emotional, social, intellectual and developmental needs, however the notion of ‘problematic’ drug or alcohol use is different for young people than adults. This is partly because they are younger – what might seem to be ‘normal’ adolescent experimentation in a 17-year-old could be grounds for intervention in a 12-year-old. Therefore, each young person must be considered individually taking into account developmental stages/age/ understanding/patterns of use and safeguarding concerns.
Some indicators are as follows; but don’t jump to conclusions, some of them listed are ‘typical teenage behaviour’ but a number of factors together may be an indication of substance use:
It is not always known what chemicals are present in new psychoactive substances, also known as legal highs. The only way to stay completely safe is not to use substances. If a young person you know becomes unwell as a result of something they have taken, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible. The first priority of the emergency services will be to make sure the young person is safe.
You can also find help via DASS (Drug and Alcohol Support Service) which is a confidential service for young people up to 19yrs who are seeking support to reduce or stop their use of substances. Referrals can be made from any professional, parent/carer or the young person can refer themselves.
Worried about a child – If you are concerned that a child or young person has suffered harm, neglect or abuse, please contact Portsmouth Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
If a child is at immediate risk of harm, call
the Police on 999
If you are concerned about a child living households where there is substance misuse, then please refer to our Family Safeguarding page on this website.
Rebound Group – based at the carers centre, Southsea. offering support and assistance in both group and one-to-one counselling settings. 07939 580167.
Parents Support Link – supporting and informing the families and friends of people who use drugs and alcohol. 023 8039 9764
Talk to Frank – helpline for anyone concerned about drug or solvent misuse. Advice and information for drug misusers, their families, friends, carers.
Addaction – a UK wide treatment agency, helping individuals, families and communities to manage the effects of drug and alcohol misuse.
ADFAM – has local groups for families affected by drugs and alcohol and a range of information
Re-solv – helpline: 01785 810762 Helpline providing information and support for people concerned about solvent or volatile substance abuse problems.
UKNA – UK Narcotics Anonymous: 0300 999 1212, helpline and regular self-help meetings for addicts who have a desire to stop using and who wish to support each other in remaining drug free.
AL-AnonUK – Al-Anon Family Groups offers support and understanding to the families and friends of problem drinkers, whether they’re still drinking or not. Alateen is part of Al-Anon and can be attended by 12- to 17-year-olds who are affected by another person’s drinking, usually a parent.