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Parental Drug and Alcohol Awareness Workshop


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Title: Parental Drug and Alcohol Awareness Workshop

Parental Drug and Alcohol Awareness Workshop
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Vanessa Rogers

Workshop aims
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Increased awareness about alcohol, cannabis and
    Novel Psychoactive Substances (legal highs)
  • Information about the law and associated risks of
    misusing drugs
  • Informal advice on how to have a positive
    conversation with children about drugs and
  • Where to go for additional information, support
    and advice in Hertfordshire.

What is a drug?
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • A drug is any chemical you take that affects the
    way your body and / or mind works.
  • The three drugs we are looking at in this
    workshop are
  • Alcohol
  • Cannabis
  • Novel Psychoactive Substances (legal highs)

The basics
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Not all drugs are bad or dangerous.
  • Illegal drugs are classified based on harm to
    self and others.
  • The legal status of NPS can change swiftly.
  • Even legal drugs can present a risk to health and
  • Some drugs are controlled by age.
  • Some can be bought over-the-counter.
  • Prescription drugs can be dangerous if misused.

Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Is the legislation that sets out illegal drugs as
    Class A, B or C
  • This is broadly based on harm to the user or to
  • The class affects the penalty for an offence
    involving the drug.
  • Drugs controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act
    are illegal to buy, possess, produce, give away
    or sell.

Offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act
  • Possession of a controlled drug.
  • Possession with intent to supply another person.
  • Production, cultivation or manufacture of
    controlled drugs.
  • Supplying another person with a controlled drug.
  • Offering to supply another person with a
    controlled drug.
  • Import or export of controlled drugs.
  • Allowing premises to be used for the consumption,
    supply or production of any controlled drug.

Other classifications
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Medicines Act 1968 covers prescription drugs and
    medicines sold over the counter.
  • Legal highs - often sold as plant food, pond
    cleaner, research chemicals or bath salts.
  • The Home Secretary can invoke a temporary class
    drug order (an instant ban) lasting up to 12
  • Supply of drugs under these orders is illegal.
    Possession is not always an offence, but the
    drugs may be seized and disposed of.

Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • All young people try drugs.
  • Myths about the number of young people trying
    drugs can be perpetuated by stereotypes, media
    and peer perceptions.
  • This matters because perceptions of social
    norms can shape behaviour.

Hertfordshire facts
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • 25 of secondary aged pupils in Hertfordshire
    said that they had an alcoholic drink in the last
    week (Health Related Behaviour Survey, 2012)
  • 11 of secondary aged pupils in Hertfordshire
    said they had taken some form of illegal drug
    (Health Related Behaviour Survey, 2012)

National statistics 2014
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • 38 of 11 to 15 year olds had tried alcohol at
    least once and 8 had got drunk in the last week.
  • Majority were given alcohol by family or friends.
  • 86 of those living with a non-drinker dont
  • 15 of 11-15 year olds had taken drugs 6 in the
    last month.
  • Cannabis is the most popular illegal drug.
  • Only 26 say they have never been offered drugs.

Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Only people with problems take drugs.
  • Whilst it is true that some things can influence
    individual decisions, anyone might take drugs
    regardless of gender, age, ethnicity and social

Exercise 1 Why?
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Why might someone choose to take drugs, drink
    alcohol or smoke tobacco, despite adverse health

Reasons for use
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • to unwind after a stressful day . to feel
    euphoric for fun
  • to feel nothing to celebrate to experiment
    to rebel
  • to feel more confident to work longer hours
    why not?
  • to enhance performance to be sociable to
    fit in
  • to prevent / stop boredom to alleviate
    emotional pain ...
  • other health problems peer pressure ...
  • to aid relaxation to help creativity because
    it is a habit
  • to satisfy cravings to avoid withdrawal
  • to make it easier to express feelings to help
    lose weight
  • because its there escapism a hobby its
    cheap .
  • . it helps concentration to experience an
    altered state
  • because its Friday because its Saturday
    just because ..

Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Most common drug in the UK.
  • Widely available.
  • Socially acceptable.
  • Relatively cheap.

Alcohol- the worlds oldest drug?
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • British teenagers are near the top of an
    international league for binge-drinking and drink
    related problems.
  • Central nervous system depressant that impairs
    the brain judgment.
  • Dangerous drug accidents whilst intoxicated,
    overdose even death.
  • Short and long term health risks

UK Chief Medical Officers Alcohol Review
  • Drinking any alcohol carries health risks.
  • Men and women should not regularly drink more
    than 14 units of alcohol a week.
  • This guideline changed from daily units in
    January 2016 following research that indicated
    previously unknown health risks.

Factors that influence the effects of alcohol
  • age
  • gender
  • experience
  • physical condition
  • how you feel
  • amount of food eaten
  • other drugs or medicines taken

Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Ways to sober up
  • Coffee
  • Drinking water
  • A cold shower
  • Only time sobers you up.
  • The liver processes alcohol at a rate of about
    one unit per hour.

Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Cannabis Pot Bud
  • Marijuana Skunk ...
  • Weed Blow Dope ..
  • Green Ganja ... Hash

Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Cannabis is harmless
  • Increased risk of mouth and lung cancer and other
    lung conditions.
  • Can increase likelihood of psychosis.
  • Risk of road traffic accidents whilst driving
    under the influence.
  • Impaired judgement leading to increased risk of
    poor decision making.

Cannabis Quiztrue or false?
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Cannabis is the widest used illegal drug in the
  • Most cannabis is imported into the UK.
  • Smoking cannabis leads to mental health problems.
  • If you are caught in possession of cannabis you
    will only receive a caution.
  • The maximum for supplying cannabis is five years
    in prison.

Cannabis the Law
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Cannabis is an illegal substance under class B of
    the Misuse of Drugs Act.
  • Possession up to 5 years in prison, an unlimited
    fine or both.
  • Supply and/or production up to 14 years in
    prison, an unlimited fine or both.

Cannabis Facts
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Cannabis is a depressant and hallucinogenic drug.
  • Looks like dried leaves, buds and flowers or a
    black/brown block of resin.
  • The mind-altering ingredient is THC.
  • Levels of THC can vary from 2 to 20.
  • Skunk contains higher levels of THC so is

Cannabis use
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Often smoked with tobacco or inhaled in other
  • Distinctive smell that clings to hair and
  • Effects relaxation, increased senses, slowing of
    thoughts, time seems to pass more slowly,
    sometimes mild hallucinogenic effects.

Novel Psychoactive Substances
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • 6 of young people say they have been offered
    them, but only 2.2 say they have tried them.
  • Associated with live music festivals.
  • Can be bought in head shops or online.
  • Commonly known as legal highs.
  • Often used with other drugs (alcohol).
  • Untested and potentially dangerous.

Legal Highs Facts
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Legal Highs are substances that mimic the effects
    of illegal drugs but are not (at present) covered
    by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
  • Some mimic heroin, cocaine, cannabis,
    amphetamines, ecstasy, benzodiazepines (e.g.
    diazepam, temazepam), LSD.
  • Can range from herbal extracts that contain
    caffeine to highly toxic synthetic chemicals.
  • New ones on the market all the time.

Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Legal means safe.
  • Few, if any, have been tested for toxicity and
    can have serious adverse effects.
  • Some contain illegal substances.
  • As they are designed to mimic illegal drugs, the
    same risks are likely to apply.

Legal Highs information
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  1. Depressant relaxant, sedating, mimic opiod-like
    drugs (and alcohol)
  2. Hallucinogen mimic LSD-type drugs
  3. Stimulant mimic substances like cocaine, ecstasy
    and amphetamines
  4. Dissociative feeling of detachment, separation
    of mind and body, like ketamine.
  5. Synthetic Cannabinoids not derived from cannabis
    plant, downer-type drug with psychedelic

Whats the problem?
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Legal suggests safe and not very strong, which
    could encourage more users.
  • You cant be sure whats in it.
  • Laws change quickly so it may have illegal
  • No long term health research done yet.
  • Cheaper than the real drug, making it more

Nitrous oxide
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Laughing gas
  • NOS
  • Whippits

Nitrous oxide
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • A naturally occurring clear, sweet smelling gas
    that is produced synthetically for sale.
  • Very popular at the moment.
  • Has a long medical history as a mild anesthetic.
  • Currently legal and widely available to buy.
  • Difficult to legislate for as it has a legitimate

Nitrous oxide effects
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • NOS causes giddiness, a dreamy or floating
    sensation, and a pain-free state.
  • Inhaling it produces a short high.
  • This can pose serious risks to the brain and body
    when its used outside of a medical setting.
  • Inhaling can result in a lack of oxygen to the
  • Tolerance builds up, can be addictive.

Nitrous oxide and the law
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • You can tell if someone uses drugs.
  • It can be easy to miss potential indicators.
  • You cannot know everything your child does when
    they arent with you.
  • You cannot tell just by looking at someone.

Potential indicators
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Secrecy and unexplained need for extra money
  • Moody and uncommunicative
  • Drugs paraphernalia
  • Distinctive odour (skunk and cannabis)
  • Change in appetite (munchies)
  • Impaired coordination, concentration, and memory
  • Slowed speech, constant cough, chronic sore
  • General disinterest and lack of motivation
  • Red or bloodshot eyes (often masked by eye drops)
  • Impaired tracking and visual distance
  • Delayed decision making and distortions in time

Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • You must be an expert to talk about drugs.
  • You dont need to be a drug expert to talk to
    your child about making sensible choices.
  • Learn about alcohol units and basic drugs
  • Go to to find out more.

What can parents do?
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Start talking about it early.
  • Role-model sensible decision-making.
  • Dont scare children with exaggerated horror
    stories, find time to talk e.g. at family meals.
  • Use things like soap opera storylines as a
  • Discuss your values and attitudes.
  • Be prepared to set clear rules.
  • Trust them and let them know they have your

Comments from young people
  • Ive had the drugs talk from my parents - only
    it was more like a threat than a talk.
  • My parents told me if I do drugs they will chuck
    me out.
  • Id like to speak with my mum but its too
  • My dad says drugs are different since his day.

What should I say?
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Remind your child that, despite media stories,
    taking drugs is not the norm and most young
    people dont think it is.
  • Dont echo messages in the media that over-hype
    drug use and can reinforce the idea that
    everyones doing it.
  • Take the opportunity for everyday conversations.

What can I do if Im worried?
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • If you are worried get help and support.
  • Dont make accusations.
  • Especially if you think someone is under the
    influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Dont make threats or hasty decisions.
  • Wait to talk it through.
  • Make it clear its the behaviour you dont like,
    not the person.

In short,
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • Find out
  • Keep talking and listening
  • Tell them your values and boundaries
  • Avoid shock tactics
  • Get to know their friends
  • Let them know youre always there for them
  • Remind them they are responsible for their
  • Ask for help and support if you need it

Information and support
Drug Alcohol Awareness
  • 2. Adolescent Drug Alcohol Service for
    Hertfordshire (A-DASH)
  • 3. Parental Drug Awareness Service (PDAS)
  • 01707 393934
  • 4. Drinkline
  • 0800 917 8282