Alcohol is seen by many as a more socially acceptable drug but that’s not to say it’s any less powerful than other drugs. Technically speaking, it’s a nervous system depressant, which means it slows down your body’s responses in all kinds of ways. Just enough can make you feel great, too much and you’ll have a hangover the next day.

The FRANK website lots of information on the effects of alcohol and the chances of getting hooked. 

If alcohol is causing you problems or someone in your family is experiencing difficulty coping with alcohol, there is help at hand.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of people who share their experience, strength and hope that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover.  Telephone 0800 9177 650 or visit the Alcoholics Anonymous website for information about groups near you.

Al-Anon offers understanding and support for families and friends of problem drinkers. Alateen offers support to 12-17 year olds whose lives are affected by a problem drinker.


There are lots of reasons why people start taking drugs or get into a pattern of taking more.

There’s a lot of help out there so don’t get stuck at the first hurdle. Talk to FRANK by calling, e-mailing or going on-line anytime you want. If you decide that drugs are a problem in your life, you may feel you need to talk to someone. Your GP can help confidentially and can refer you for treatment or counselling or there are local organisations where you can get help.

The FRANK website gives information about all types of drugs and their effects and includes stories from young people who have fought their drug issues.

Call the national helpline on Telephone 0300 123 6600 for help and advice 24 hours, seven days a week. This is a confidential service that offers advice and information for those who are concerned or have questions about drugs. Callers might be drug users, recovering or past users, friends, family, colleagues or contacts of drug users.

What should I do if my son/daughter is on drugs?

Typical questions put to Helpline staff include:

  • Why do people try drugs?
  • Does smoking cannabis lead to taking harder drugs like heroin?
  • What are the risks of taking illegal drugs?
  • How long after taking a drug can it be detected in my body?
  • Where can I get more help locally?

All staff employed on the helpline are experienced drug workers and many are qualified counsellors.

Solvent Abuse

Sometimes the fumes and gases of glues and aerosols are sniffed or sprayed into the mouth. Solvent abuse is very dangerous, even the first time it is tried.

If you need help or are worried about someone else, contact Re-Solv on 01785 810 762 or visit the Re-Solv website. 

Psychoactive Substances ('Illegal highs')

Since the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 came into law, New Psychoactive Substances (chemical substances with effects similar to illegal drugs) are currently illegal. Possession for personal use is not an offence but it is illegal to produce, supply and import such substances even for your own personal use. 

There is no way for you to be sure of what such substances might contain, even if there is a list of ingredients, or what short-term effects they will have on you. Very little is known about their long-term impact on the body. For more information, see the Release website.

The Mix website offers non-judgmental facts and advice about everything from club drugs to 'illegal highs'.