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Health and wellbeing

Drugs and alcohol

Many parents might be concerned that their child might experiment with alcohol or drugs as they grow up.

It is important to make sure that children are aware of the risks and how to keep themselves safe.

Even young children might have questions and it’s better to talk to them earlier rather than later about the consequences of drinking or taking drugs.


It is very likely that a child or young person will be offered alcohol at some point.

It is important for parents and carers to be open and talk to their children about the risks of drinking. Find out what they know and make sure they know the laws on alcohol and under 18s.

The NSPCC suggests having ‘a few brief conversations over time’ and trying ‘not to lecture your child’. The charity offers excellent advice about how to talk to your child about drinking.

It is also important to talk to children about how to drink safely if they choose to when they are legally old enough. The Drinkaware Trust has advice about staying safe while drinking.

Childline also offers lots of support and guidance aimed at children and young people about alcohol, especially about what to do if they are feeling pressured by their friends to start drinking.


Children are less likely to take drugs than drink alcohol, but it is still important to talk to them about the risks.

It can be a difficult topic to bring up with a child or young person. The NSPCC advises parents to have ‘brief, open and relaxed conversations’ and to use cues such as drug issues happening in TV shows or in the media to start a conversation about drugs.

The Frank website is an excellent resource for information about drugs, which includes a glossary of slang terms and advice for worried parents.

Frank says that it is important for parents and carers to remember that:

  • For most young people illegal drug taking is not a part of normal life.
  • Most people who do try drugs do not continue using them.

Local support services

Y-Smart – provide drug and alcohol support services for young people in Devon.

EDP drug and alcohol services – support individuals and families with complex issues, including substance misuse, mental ill health, and other harmful, addictive and offending behaviour, to improve their health, wellbeing and employability.

If you are concerned that a child is being abused please call

0345 155 1071

or email

If it’s an emergency call 999

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