Why do young people use drugs and alcohol?

There are many reasons why people take drugs or drink, and it is different for every single person. Some of the most common reasons are that you may:

  • worry that you will not fit in unless you do
  • just want to experiment
  • find that taking a particular drug, or drinking, makes you feel more confident, better able to deal with things and may help you face difficult situations
  • be stressed, unhappy, or lonely and find that you are turning to drugs or alcohol to help you forget your problems

When does drug and alcohol use become a problem?

Drugs and alcohol can make you feel good for a short period of time; just trying it can make you want to do it again and again

If you are taking a drug, or drinking, to help you cope with something like a feeling or a situation, then you might find, after a while, that you need it every time

If you find that you are using drugs or alcohol more often, or using more of it to get the same feelings, there is a risk you could start to become dependent on it

If your friends frequently use drugs or alcohol, then you are more likely to as well.

What are the dangers of taking drugs and alcohol?

Mixing drugs and alcohol can be dangerous; alcohol can increase the effects of some drugs.

Can you be sure that you know what you are taking? Drugs can contain other substances added by dealers to make more money, or the drug can be stronger than you expect and this could harm you.

Sharing equipment, such as needles, can spread blood-borne viruses, such as HIV and Hepatitis.

Drug and alcohol use can increase the chance of arguments, fights and accidents. It could also lead to you getting into trouble at school, being late, missing lessons or not being able to concentrate.

Using lots of drugs and alcohol can lead to anxiety, depression and, in some cases, psychosis.