friends of drug abusers / drug addicts are often faced with a
situation they feel totally unequipped to deal with, beginning with
a basic lack of
drug and alcohol awareness. As a
result drug addiction is often misunderstood.
Parents may be too
afraid to seek help, deterred by the stigma of having a drug user in
the family and worrying about what people will think of them. There
are also the more serious concerns about their son or daughter
breaking the law, possibly facing expulsion from school or even facing
charges of possession or supply of an illicit drug. These things can
make it seem impossible to approach the authorities to gain the
professional help they need for fear of the legal implications.
In 2003, David
Blunkett, then the UK Home Secretary, launched a two year anti-stigma
campaign to help dispel the feelings of shame and embarrassment
experienced by some families of drug users / drug addicts which
sometimes prevents them from accessing the support and advice they
The Government’s Drug
Strategy aimed to encompass not just those with a drug addiction, but
the families of drug users – the ‘forgotten victims of drug abuse’ –
by providing services for parents and carers. Part of this campaign
was the introduction of FRANK, an independent Government funded drugs
helpline which replaced the National Drugs Helpline.
In a seven month
period in 2007, the total number of calls made to FRANK was 26,059
which is an average of over 120 calls per day, illustrating the
obvious public need for further information on drug and alcohol abuse
A breakdown of the
calls made to FRANK for the period between 1 April 2007 to 1 November
2007 shows that the drug which was the subject of the most calls was
Cannabis / Marijuana, totalling 6617 calls which represents just over
25 percent of the total number of calls within the seven month
period. According to statistics, this is the most widely taken
illegal drug in schools. This was closely followed by Cocaine
totalling 5728 calls at just under 22 percent of the total call
At the other end of
the scale, the two drugs receiving the fewest calls were Viagra,
attracting 11 calls and Khat, (a herbal stimulant which is legal
within the UK, although illegal in many countries including the USA)
attracting 6 calls.
abuse and binge-drinking is an increasing problem in society, calls
regarding this only accounted for 2.92 percent of the calls.
about their children, or friends of drug users, can access immediate
advice regarding all aspects of drugs and alcohol addiction in
confidence and anonymously.
The free and
confidential FRANK helpline, also found online at
www.talktofrank.com, aims to support families as well as users and
contains an A – Z of drugs, FAQ sections, details of where to find
support, etc. Drug-Aware were recently added to the talktofrank
database as a useful resource for their website visitors. Visit
our listing on talktofrank.
If you need further
help / support:
In the UK, I would advise you to call Talk To Frank, the Government
funded drugs / alcohol helpline on 0800 77 66 00 or
In the USA, I would suggest you call Addiction Search toll free on
http://www.addictionsearch.com for someone to steer you in the
Some parents may
choose to purchase home drug tests
first step towards regaining some control over
their child’s drug and alcohol abuse / addiction.
Drug Addiction: Drug
Testing Children or Teenagers
asked what my position was on drug testing children / teenagers.
Here is a brief version of my answer.
Based on the latest statistics most people who start using drugs do so
in their early teens. The average starting age for heroin in many
cities in the UK is just 15, and a survey of over 20,000 UK school
children showed that 9% of 13 year olds and over a quarter (27%) of 15
year olds had used an illegal drug at some point in their lives.
So should a quarter of parents wait until their 15 year old children
are already doing drugs or are addicted before taking any action?
Testing gets all of the cards on the table and opens up communication
- showing that you are looking out for them and offering them a valid
excuse when faced by peer pressure to take drugs.
I personally went through my late teens working in a forensics lab and
employee drug testing helped me avoid the numerous offers of drugs
I received from friends of friends and when out socialising - all
without losing any credibility, etc.
home drug tests FAQ page for
testing frequently asked questions.