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Substance Misuse & Addictions

Substance Misuse & Addictions

What is it?

Substance misuse is when you take drugs that can affect the way you think, feel and behave. It can refer to using an illegal substance (such as cannabis or cocaine) or using a legal substance in the wrong way, such as alcohol or taking ‘legal highs’. ‘Legal highs’ contain one or more chemical substances that produce similar effects to illegal drugs. Taking these substances regularly could result in an addiction, which means you become dependent on taking them. People can also become addicted to a wide variety other things including gambling.

Sometimes young people become pressured into trying out different drugs by their friends. Substance misuse and addictions can affect health, wellbeing, attending school and family life.  Often substance misuse and mental health difficulties occur together, for example cannabis use is linked to an increase in the likelihood of developing Schizophrenia.

What might help?

  • Talk to someone: A friend, a family member, a teacher, someone who you feel you can trust. Accepting that you have a problem is the first step forward.
  • Don’t give in to peer pressure: Some young people feel forced to try things out because their friends are doing it. Remember you are your own person and have a right to make your own decisions.
  • Use a support network: Having people around you that can support you to stop or reduce your substance misuse can be really helpful.
  • Seek Professional Help: Speak with your GP about specialist services for young people with substance misuse and addictions.

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