Young people dealing with drugs: How can they fight back?

young person dealing with drugs

Young people smoking (Teodoras Gilaiuna)

Many young people start dealing with drugs at a very young age for many different reasons. Environment, friends, curiosity or even self-medicating, are some of the reasons why teenagers start consuming these harmful substances.

Experiencing difficult situations such as living in unstable families or being at risk of becoming homeless might also be a possibility to consume these substances.

Many of them know about drugs, but just a few are aware of the devastating effects that these substances might have on them.

Young people dealing with drugs in England

Almost 16.000 young people received specialist substance misuse services between 2017 and 2018, according to the last report of the NHS. That means 35% less than ten years ago.

It could be seeming as a positive trend, however, the number of young people dealing with drugs at a younger age has increased. Another report of the NHS in 2016 revealed that almost a fifth (18%) of school-age children said that they had taken drugs during that year.

The research conducted by the Department of Education showed that school exclusions for alcohol and drug use have increased by 34% since 2012/13.


Young people smoking in the street (Blog Cannabis)

Young people smoking in the street (Blog Cannabis)


Cannabis is the most popular drug for young people. In England and Wales, almost 20% of the population between 20 and 24 years old consume cannabis, according to Drug and Age report of the United Nations Office Drug and Crime in 2018.

Many improvements have been made to prevent that many young people consume drugs and alcohol. However, the data seems to suggest that this issue is increasing rather than declining.

Drugs’ effects on young people’s mental health

When young people are dealing with drugs, many of them don’t really consider the potential damage that cannabis, cocaine, or LSD among others could have on their health, especially on their mental health.

Young people believe that drugs help them to deal with their daily life issues. According to the charity youngminds, most teenagers taking these substances have anxiety, depression, stress, or anger.  

Despite feeling ‘happy’, many of these drugs have a very negative effect on young people’s judgment. It causes them to develop risky and aggressive behaviours.  

Regular consumers of cannabis or LSD are more likely to develop mental health issues such as paranoia or psychosis.

The following video shows the story of a young person, Lorne, 17. In this video, he explains how the consumption of cannabis has devastated his life including his dream to become a professional football player. 


Getting help

Telling someone that you are addicted is not an easy task for anyone. Many people would feel embarrassed and scared about how others, especially family and closest friends, would react. But, speaking openly about this addiction is the best way to fight it back.

Where should young people dealing with drugs seek for help?

  • GP: Visiting the GP could be a great place to start. Doctors will provide young people with professional advice and support.

  • Charities: Young people dealing with drugs is nothing new. For that reason, there are different charities across the country which can help young people with drugs and alcohol issues. Check some of the charities available for young people.

  • Taking therapies: The NHS helps people affected by drugs or alcohol abuse with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It helps the person affected to see how his/her thoughts and feelings affect his/her behaviour.  


How do we help our young people?

Young people (YHNE)

Young people (YHNE)


At YHNE we help young people through our Youth Hubs sessions. These sessions give young vulnerable people a safe space where they have a voice and can be listened.

We support young people dealing with drugs by giving them the information and the support they need.

This article has been writing based on the information of Young Minds, NHS, Office for National Statistics, United Nations, and BBC,  and the Department of Education.

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