The first step in solving a drug-related problem is admitting you have one in the first place. It may be that you recognise behaviour changes like moodiness or depression, or physical symptoms like lethargy or loss of appetite. You may feel unable to handle an underlying problem and drug use began as a way of relieving stress.

Whether it’s recreational drug-use or a coping mechanism for life problems, the symptoms of regular drug-taking will make you seek help. It’s important to speak to someone – a close friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or to a helpline, and then seek professional advice.

You can get confidential advice from your doctor, psychiatric community nurse or drug helpline.

Here’s what to ask:

  • I have recently noticed that I have the symptoms of drug-use and I have been using these drugs, what can I do?
  • I’m finding it hard not to use these drugs; who can help me?
  • Are there any health risks to me?
  • What are the long-term effects? How will they affect my health in the future?
  • I have friends who use drugs, but they don’t seem to have these symptoms. Why?
  • So what happens if my problem gets worse? Where can I go for help?
  • Will I get into trouble for admitting I’ve taken drugs?I have underlying problems in my life; who can help me to sort these out? (Your doctor should be able to refer you to a counsellor for emotional problems or an organisation like the Citizens Advice Bureau if you have practical problems in your life).

Useful Information Helplines:

  • National Drugs Helpline 0800 77 66 00 (24-hour helpline with confidential information and advice)
  • ADFAM National 020 7928 8900 (Advice and support for families and friends of people with drug-related problems)
  • Narcotics Anonymous 020 7498 9005 (Drug addiction self-help group network)
  • National Association for Citizens Advice Bureau (NACAB) 020 7833 2181.

Useful Websites:

Narcotics Anonymous website on their drug addiction self-help group networkhealth issues for young people
National Association of Citizens Advice Bureau