Information for Parents and Carers



In general, most young people, especially those under 16, trust their parents/carers and will respond to any information and support you offer.  However, as teenagers get older the culture gap may widen and communication may be more difficult.  This does not mean you should not try.  Before you talk to your child about drugs or alcohol, make sure you have accurate, up-to-date information (explore the A-Z of drugs on the Frank Website for information about different types of drugs) and make the time to have the conversation. 

It’s important to stay calm and open-minded. Getting too intense will put pressure on your child, so encourage a relaxed conversation, starting with questions about the ‘bigger picture’. Try to find out how things are going outside of home, with their friends, at school, etc. Make sure to ask questions that won’t result in one-word answers; this way, the conversation will be much more likely to flow.

Listen to what your child says and try to ensure a two-way conversation.

If you’re sure there’s a problem and your child refuses to talk to you, try not to panic.

Remember that there are different reasons why people take drugs or drink alcohol and it is important to know that if your child is drinking alcohol, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are taking drugs. For your child, it may be as simple as, ‘to have fun’. It might make your child feel relaxed, sociable and full of energy, and this may be a phase that they are going through.

It’s important to explain that some drugs are illegal and that alcohol and drugs can affect their physical and mental health. Let them know that while you may not approve, they can always talk to you about any worries they may have.

Although there are many stories in the media about drugs leading to addiction, crime and death, it is important to remember that: for most young people illegal drug taking is not a part of normal life. Most people who do try drugs do not continue using them. Likewise, fewer children are drinking alcohol however those who do drink are drinking too much too often.

Drug services, Alcohol services, counselling services, and self-help groups offer support to your child at any stage, whether or not they are ready to change their behaviour.

There are many helpful resources online regarding drugs and alcohol, below is a selection of some sites that give you further information:

National Drugs Helpline - FRANK






Drugs Scope






North East Council on Addictions - NECA