Drugs and alcohol

Whether you are worried about yourself, or someone else (such as a parent or friend), you can find more information about drug and alcohol use below. 


Drugs are chemicals that people take to change the way they feel and act. While many drugs are used as medicine, when we discuss drugs in this way, we usually mean drugs taken illegally, or for fun or escape. 

Drugs are highly addictive and can harm your mental and physical health. If you are caught with them, you can be arrested and charged with a crime. 

You may be pressured to take drugs by friends, or even by your parents or adult figures in your life. Drugs can make you vulnerable, as you may not have control over your own mind and body while you are high. This may make it easier for people to take advantage of you or abuse you. 

Signs you may have a problem with drugs

Below are some warning signs that you, or someone you know, may have a problem with drugs:

  • obsessing about when you can get high again, and where to get more 
  • feel you can't do basic things without drug use, like sleeping or relaxing
  • changes to your mood, or loss of interest in things like school, hobbies, or family

To find out more, and what you can do to help, we recommend the resources below. 


Alcohol is similar to drugs in that it affects the way you feel and act. It can cloud your judgement and make it easier for people to manipulate or abuse you. 

Drinking under the age of 16 is illegal. You can legally purchase alcohol when you are 18. 

It is possible to become addicted to alcohol. Some signs that you, or someone you know, may have an addiction include: 

  • often drinking so much you black out 
  • engaging in destructive behaviour while drunk and then regretting it the next day
  • being unable to deal with problems or stress without drinking
  • unable to set limits on your drinking, or can't stop drinking once you start

Parents with an alcohol problem

If you have a parent with a drinking problem, this can make you stressed or worried about your home life. This might have an effect on other parts of your life, such as school or your relationships with your friends. 

To find out more about how to get help for a parent who drinks too much, see the Childline guidance on parents and alcohol.