How common is drug abuse in children and teenagers in the UK?
It's a growing trend, affecting parents of even younger child as drug abuse and experimentation moves from teenage to adolescent victims. The shocking truth is most parents simply are not aware of just how readily available modern drugs are in playgrounds and other social points of interaction.
That said most young people do not admit to using drugs. 76% of young people aged 11-15 say they have never taken drugs. Admitted drug use is just 11% of 11 year olds rising to 37% of 15 year old UK Children. That adds up to just under 600,000 secondary school aged pupils in England (18%), admitting they took at least one drug last year. And that may just be the tip of the iceberg.
Which are the most popular drugs used by teenagers?
Cannabis remains the most widely used illegal drug with just 2% admitting the use of an NPS. NPS is short for New Psychoactive Substances, previously known as Legal Highs.
Parents can make a big difference to the decisions that young people make about drugs, particularly if you:
- Talk to and listen to your children
- Place clear limits, with consequences and expectations on your children’s behaviour and administer fair and consistent discipline
If you are worried your child may be drinking or taking drugs:
- Talk to them about your concerns and encourage them to share their experiences and views.
- Peer pressure is the most influential factors affecting young people’s drug and alcohol consumption.
- Model the behaviour you want – children look to their parents and carers for guidance and you shouldn’t underestimate your influence.
- If your child has tried drugs, remain calm and discuss it with them.
NPS (Legal Highs) what are they?
- New psychoactive substances or NPS (formerly known as “legal highs”) are a group of drugs designed to bypass the former legal controls of illegal drugs.
- In May 2016 the Psychoactive Substances Act came into effect, banning all non-exempt psychoactive substances.
If you decide you want to test for drugs including Cannabis and the NPS groups of drugs there are various options available for you to consider.
- Testing can confirm the extent of a regular habit or regular use. It is less helpful in one-off or unusual experimentation.
- It can be valuable in older teenagers considering driving before they encounter roadside police drug tests.
- It can form part of a compact or agreement or part of a treatment package.
- Residential schools may ask to test your teenagers. It's their duty to provide and maintain a drug and alcohol-free, safe environment, in 'loco-parentis'
Drug testing kits for parents
If you wish to test your children to see if they are using drugs, we have a wide range of drug test kits that are suitable for home drug testing.
If you need any help or advice please do not hesitate to contact us