Accessibility tools

Drugs / substance misuse

Want to know more about drugs? Need help for you or a friend? Don’t put yourself at risk, do something now!

Drugs are chemicals that cause changes in the body. If used appropriately, they can be good for your body but if not, they will be harmful. Examples of substance misuse (or drug abuse):

  • taking drugs for reasons which they were not intended
  • taking too much of the drug (more than is recommended by the manufacturer)
  • using products that were not originally produced for human use

Children are an easy target. Drug pushers will befriend young people in order to get them hooked onto drugs by initially offering them free or at very low costs.

Why take drugs?

People start using drugs for many different reasons:

Peer pressure 

Young people may think that they will fit in better with friends or be more accepted in a group if they take drugs. It may be that friends use drugs and they don’t want to be the odd one out. The feelings of loneliness and isolation are usually made worse by drug taking.

Self esteem

It is normal for teenagers to suffer with a low self esteem. Young people may be tempted to think that drugs could help raise their self esteem. Sadly, drug use usually lowers self esteem. Rebellion – All teenagers like to rebel against authority whether it’s school, parents or the police. Like smoking and drinking alcohol, drug taking is seen as risk taking. Unfortunately, the risks of drug taking tend to be higher than other risk taking activities.


For some people, the curiosity of wanting to know what the drug effects feel like for themselves, leads them to experiment with drugs. Although there are drugs that have some harmless effects, ALL illegal drugs have serious harmful side effects, including addiction which causes drug dependency.


Once a person has started to use drugs, it is very difficult to stop using them because most are addictive. The greater the use, the greater the risk of serious health complications and death.

Opportunity and boredom

Although there are many activities for teenagers to do, all teenagers feel bored at times. If the opportunity of trying drugs arises it can be difficult to refuse.

Who makes drugs?

Pharmaceutical companies make licensed drugs to be used in the treatment of illnesses. These may be sold in pharmacies and shops, or be prescribed by doctors, or used in hospitals.

Chemical Companies make chemicals for industrial purposes but some of these can be misused by people to induce physical side effects. Although these are dangerous drugs they are legally sold for the purpose they were intended.

Criminals. Most illegal drugs are made and supplied by criminals whose sole purpose is to make money. As many drugs are addictive, the user not only needs a regular supply but also is willing to pay high costs to ensure they have the drugs that they need.

The government and drugs

Governments, local authorities, police forces and many other groups and agencies are spending lots of money and time trying to fight the war on drugs but criminals make a lot of money supplying drugs. The best way to stop these criminals exploiting young people is for people to refuse to use drugs.

Find out more at Talk to Frank