Lots of parents worry about their children taking drugs.

Maybe you feel that you don’t know much about drugs, that you’re not sure what to say about them to your kids and that they might not want to listen?

You might be doing better than you realise. Your kids probably do care what you think even if they don’t show it. What matters even more is them being able to tell you what they think and feel too.

For more information, download Drugs: what every parent should know. This guide will help you feel more confident when speaking to your kids.  

When it comes to dealing with teenagers and drugs, it helps to talk some and listen more.

Why do young people take drugs?

Although many kids are likely to be offered drugs, most of them still refuse. For those that choose to take drugs, there can be several reasons:

Curiosity - Of course some will choose to ignore the warnings. They may do this out of simple curiosity or as part of a desire to take risks.

FrustrationSometimes, the decision to experiment with drugs might stem from frustration over personal or family problems.

Environment - Young people's experience of drugs can vary a lot depending on where they live. In some urban areas, drug misuse is common; but drugs are also available in rural areas.

What's the best way to talk to my kids about drugs?

You don't have to be an expert to talk to your kids about drugs. And there's no harm in admitting that you know less than they do.

Try showing an interest in the subject to get an open discussion going.

Get Involved

If the opportunity comes along, helping your kids with research for a drugs project at school is a great way for both of you to learn the facts and to discuss them together. It's also a chance to involve younger or older members of the family in the discussion.

Stick to the Facts

Plain facts speak for themselves and making too much of the dangers can make drugs seem more glamorous.

All drugs are potentially harmful and kids need to be aware of this, so discussing the facts can help dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings.

What if I think my child is using drugs?

Try not to jump to conclusions

Your son or daughter may not show obvious signs of having taken drugs, so you can’t always tell for sure. The best thing you can do is find out the facts. You will need to be able to talk, listen and understand.

If you think your son or daughter is under the influence of drugs, wait until they recover before trying to talk.

Conversation do's and don'ts:

  • Don't force the issue. Some of the best conversations come out of the blue - like when you're clearing up after a meal, or watching TV.
  • Do listen with an open mind.
  • Do say what you believe.
  • Do show you care.
  • Don't preach.
  • Don't use scare tactics

What if I've found something suspicious?

If you’re worried, or you find drugs or any equipment to do with drugs, ask for help. You shouldn’t feel you have to deal with this on your own. 

Call the confidential Know the Score Helpline - 0800 587 587 9.

Talking to someone who is trained to deal with your particular problem can make all the difference. With the help of a skilled and experienced drugs counsellor you may find that you and your child are able to talk and listen to each other more easily.

Alternatively, check for local sources of help and support in our directory of services.

You can also browse the rest of this website for more helpful tips and information.

Worried about someone?

Helping a friend or loved one with their drug abuse often starts with a conversation.

Worried about a friend?

Tips on talking to friends about drugs and how you can help them.