It has been reported recently that drug use is beginning as young as 11 years old in Britain. Drug use is most certainly on the up amongst British children and teenagers. In fact, British teenagers are more likely than their European counterparts to have taken illegal drugs. Although cannabis is still the most heavily used drug by British children aged 11-16, worryingly many are now experimenting with heroin and cocaine. Unfortunately, the falling price of these drugs is making them easier for the younger generation to obtain and sustain the use of. Those without the monetary means, simply turn to crime to raise the funds by shoplifting, burglary, street and car theft.
There are many reasons for children to experiment with drugs and often it is the most vulnerable children who go on to fall into addiction. It is a common opinion that the use of alcohol often leads onto substance abuse.
So, what can be done to combat this epidemic?
Education is key. Children need to be fully aware of all the facts surrounding alcohol and drugs. It’s not effective enough to tell them to ‘just say No’, they need to know why. They need to know what the consequences of drug use are, not just on their body but on their loved ones and their future.
According to statistics the crucial age of drug and/or alcohol initiation is 13. Kids need to be educated before this age, so they have enough facts and information to be making well informed decisions. Communication is vital, talking, answering any questions they may have in an honest manner will all help to educate them. As a parent, if you have misused drugs at some point during your life, then you may be undecided and concerned about if to reveal this to your child. Obviously, this is a personal choice, but research does show that an individual is much more likely to take the advice of someone who has experience regarding the issue.
Kids will hear about drugs everywhere, so do not be afraid to instigate plenty of conversations about them, keep track of where your child is and be a part of their lives.