How can I stop my child from taking drugs?
As a parent you have a huge influence on the behaviour of your children. Be aware of your influence as a role-model. How do you use alcohol? Do you smoke? Children learn from the adults around them. What have they learnt from you?
Would learning about drugs help me keep my children drug free?
Most people are not well informed about drugs. This is particularly true of parents. You should aim to learn as much as you can about the subject. This will make it easier to talk about drugs with your children.
When should I first talk to my children about drugs?
Talk to your children about drugs from an early age. Don’t make a big deal about it though. The best approach is to let the topic come up “naturally”. Wait for a relevant television item, newspaper article or a discussion about a movie and bring up the subject of drugs then.
How should I approach talking to my children about drugs?
Good communication is vital. It must be honest, regular and open. Listen carefully to your children’s opinions, and try not to be judgmental. Avoid lecturing. This advice applies to other issues besides drugs.
Does the home environment make a difference to drug use?
Show you love your children by spending time with them and by making them feel valued. Let them know you are proud of them and do this often. Children with a high self-esteem find it easier to resist pressure to use drugs.
How do I know my child is experimenting with or using drugs?
Unless you actually discover your child using drugs, or they tell you about their drug use, you can’t be sure that they are using drugs. Listed below are many physical and behavioural signs of drug use. If your child exhibits a number of these signs then there may be a chance they are using drugs.
What are depressants?
Depressants include alcohol, cannabis, heroin, morphine, solvents, GHB, sleeping pills and painkillers. They tend to depress the central nervous system causing a lowering of heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate. They tend to make the user feel relaxed and drowsy, slur speech and dull pain. High doses may depress the functioning of the brain to such an extent that breathing stops. They are potentially very addictive.
What are stimulants?
Stimulants are nicotine, caffeine, cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine and amyl nitrite. Stimulants tend to cause a sense of energy, alertness, talkativeness and wellbeing. They stimulate the central nervous system causing increases in heart rate and blood pressure. High doses can be dangerous and even fatal. Like depressants, stimulants can be very addictive.
What are hallucinogens?
Some hallucinogens are LSD, magic mushrooms, datura, ketamine, DXM, PCP. These drugs tend to change the way we see, hear and feel things (i.e. hallucinations). The effects can be extremely variable and depend on many factors. Some of these drugs can be very dangerous, either directly or by causing accidents.
What are steroids and sports drugs?
Some steroids and sports drugs are anabolic steroids, growth hormone, testosterone, beta-2 agonists, diuretics and erythropoietin (EPO). These drugs are used by athletes and other people to improve their performance and/or their appearance. They usually aid in either increasing muscle mass or improving oxygen transport in the body. Many of these drugs have serious side effects and can be dangerous, especially for young people.
If regular use of a drug continues, the body adapts to the presence of the drug. Consequently the user has to take a higher dose of the drug to feel the desired effect. This is referred to as “tolerance”. Over time, addicts have to take very high doses just to feel normal. They no longer get the “rush” they experienced in the early stages of their drug use.
A normal dose of heroin or morphine for a long-term addict may be enough to kill a first time user. Similarly an alcoholic may be able to drink a whole bottle of spirits while a light drinker would be very sick if they drank this amount.
Can you drink alcohol while you are pregnant?
Alcohol is particularly dangerous as even a single heavy drinking session creates the potential for damage to the developing foetus. This is particularly true in the early stages of pregnancy (when the woman may not even know she is pregnant). It is prudent not to consume large amounts of alcohol if trying to conceive and while pregnant or breast-feeding.