Drugs and Alcohol

Advice to doctors, drug agencies and the government

We asked young people to give advice on:
• How to improve information about drugs and alcohol
• How to make services better for people with drug and/or alcohol problems.
• How doctors and other health professionals should talk to young people about drugs and alcohol

Improving information about drugs and alcohol.
  • Shock tactics like the ‘drugs will kill you’ message don’t work on young people. Instead, provide balanced, accurate drugs information so that young people can come to their own conclusions.
  • More first-hand experience of what it’s like to have been a drug user and/or alcoholic. It will make a big impression and help young people understand the issues.
  • Messages regarding alcohol need to hit where it hurts. Tell young people that binge drinking makes them less attractive.
  • Young people need more information about the impact that drugs and alcohol can have on a person’s health– schools are the best place to deliver this.
Improving services and treatment for people with drug and alcohol problems:
  • More services, such as Drop-In Centres, are needed in schools where young people may go for information about alcohol, drugs, and sexual health.
  • The Government should put more time and money into treatment for drug addiction.
  • When people are moved from young people’s services to adult services, make the transition faster and smoother.
How doctors should talk to young people about drugs and alcohol:
  • Speak in plain English and don’t use big words. It only causes confusion.
  • Don’t look down on young people and see them just as ‘drug addicts’.
  • Be patient with your patients.
  • Remember that teenagers might be nervous when they come to see you.

Last updated: January 2015
Review date: January 2017

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