Drugs and alcohol

There are many reasons why people start drinking a lot of alcohol or taking drugs. Some people do it when they feel angry, upset or depressed to try and escape their feelings – others starting drinking or taking drugs socially, but then begin to develop problems. If you do stupid things when you have had a drink, or struggle to stop drinking once you have started, then you may need some support to manage your drug and/or alcohol use.

Misusing drugs and alcohol can cause long-term damage to your emotional, mental and physical health, so it's really important that you stay safe, and talk to an adult you trust if you're worried it's getting out of control. It doesn't need to be a parent or carer – take a look at our section on Getting the Support you Need for advice on who else you can talk to.

If you're are worried you might have a problem with drugs or alcohol, there are local services who can help you – without judgement. Poole Young Adult Drug & Alcohol Service provides support to people under 19 (refer yourself by call 01202 741414 or ask a professional to make the referral for you) and elsewhere in Dorset, REACH Young People's Service provides support to people under 24 (call 0800 0434656).

Stay safe

If you are planning to drink or use drugs then try to stay safe.

Start low and go slow – pace yourself when drinking alcohol to minimise the risk of overdose.

Avoid missing drugs and alcohol – mixing drugs and alcohol can have unpredictable side effects and put additional strain on you organs.

Know what you are taking – make sure you know the dose and possible side effects of drugs before taking them.

Make sure someone is there to look out for you – if you are using alone, tell someone where you are and what you are doing, or make sure you have a friend who isn’t drinking or using drugs if you are using in a group. It will mean someone can help if it goes wrong.

Keep hydrated – aim to sip a pint of water over an hour, particularly if you are dancing.

Protect yourself – if someone you don’t know well is offering you free drink or drugs, ask yourself what they might want in return.

You might also find these helpful...

Drug use (YoungMinds)

Find out how drug use can affect mental health and where to find more information and support in this guide from Young Minds

Essential Drug & Alcohol Services (EDAS)

EDAS is available to support anyone with a substance misuse problem, as well as their families, carers and friends

Drugs, alcohol and smoking (Childline)

Whether you're worried about yourself or someone else, you can find information about drug and alcohol use here

Talk To Frank

Find honest information about drugs at the Talk To Frank website