According to Mentor, these misconceptions include:
‘These drugs are legal’
‘If something is legal that means it’s safer and OK to use’
‘Lots of young people are taking these drugs’
Like any drug, it’s important to not scare your children with a barrage of horror stories. This tactic can make young people blasé about the dangers of substances. They believe that these horror scenarios will not happen to them.
Start discussion early, and keep talking so it doesn’t suddenly come up as a big thing.
Remind your child that, despite media stories, taking drugs is not the norm and most young people don’t think it is. Don’t echo messages in the media that over-hype drug use among young people, since these can reinforce the idea that ‘everyone’s doing it’.
Find time to talk about all the big issues – try to have family meals regularly. This is a crucial chance for parents and young people to talk. And that may include a discussion about drinking and drugs.
What is school doing about alcohol and drug education? Can you help reinforce knowledge, skills and attitudes? Visit Mentor for more information.
The key message to remember, though, is just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s safe. Legal highs can have short-term and also long-term health effects. The risks are increased when mixed with other drugs and alcohol.
For friendly, non judgemental, confidential help, support and advice contact Compass Warwickshire young person’s substance misuse service on 0800 088 7248, or visit www.compass-uk.org.