Drugs and alcohol support for care experienced young people

As you become a care leaver, you may find yourself seeing a lot more drugs and alcohol in your social circles. In the UK, the legal drinking age for alcohol is 18 and the use of drugs - even marijuana - is illegal.

We are aware that some of you under our care will be exposed to drugs and alcohol when you shouldn’t and could even be pressured by your friends to take drugs and drink alcohol. This is not okay. If you feel you are being pressured to do something you don’t want to do you can talk to your Pathway Advisor (PA) or anyone from the Positive Futures Team. You can also speak to any of the organisations we’ve shared on this page.

Why do people use drugs and alcohol?

We understand that drugs and alcohol may help you feel good about yourself or help you cope with difficult things you may experience. This is called a vice and everybody has a vice of some sort, but there are far healthier vices to have like:

  • Painting
  • Gaming
  • Exercising
  • Something that allows you to get creative

The problem with having drugs and alcohol as a vice is that as you go through adulthood you will find yourself needing more and more drugs and alcohol to help you feel good again. This will cost you lots of money and lead to bigger problems and stresses overall. Here is a video called Nuggets to help explain this:

What is addiction?

An addiction is feeling like you need to have something so strongly that you feel like you can’t live without that thing. This can lead to your vice running your life rather than you running your life. Lots of people have addictions and as a result, there is a lot of help out there to help people with negative addictions. Most importantly, remember that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

I need support, who can I speak to?

You can speak to anyone you trust if you feel you are struggling and they can point you in directions to get support. If you talk to us about it, we can make sure there are things in place to help you with anything you need. You can also speak to your GP for any health concerns you have.

Here are some websites you can visit and numbers you can call if you need help:

  • FRANK - 0300 1236600
  • YoungMinds - YoungMinds textline (Text YM to 85258)
  • The Mix - 0808 808 4994 also provides a webchat service on their website
  • We are with you - provides online support via webchat service
  • Uturn - a part of FRANK but offers online advice and tips on dealing with peer pressure and mental health and drugs, also encourages referrals directly from Care Leavers, carers or parents 
  • Drinkaware - also offer an online webchat service
  • Alcoholics Anonymous - offers local support groups for people to share their experiences and solve their problem of alcoholism. 24/7 helpline 0800 9177650 or email help@aamail.org
  • Narcotics Anonymous - similar to Alcoholics Anonymous but for drugs. Tel: 0300 999 1212 or email pi@ukna.org