How to talk to your children about drugs

Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, a visiting consultant at Priory Hospital Roehampton, south-west London, has been discussing advice for parents on communicating with children about drugs in his new book The Drug Conversation on Victoria Derbyshire’s BBC2 show.

You can see it here.

Dr Bowden-Jones, who has more than 20 years’ experience helping people with drug and alcohol problems, says he is still alarmed by how little young people know about the drugs they’re taking - or the risks.

The book offers parents up-to-date information about 'psychoactive' drugs - chemical substances which alter the functioning of the brain, causing changes in the way we think, feel and behave.

It helps people understand how drugs work in the brain, what problems they cause and which treatments are most effective. It also covers what drugs are, who uses them and why, and how teens use drugs and synthetics, also known as 'legal highs'.

Last week the Government introduced a blanket ban on 'legal highs' in the UK.

Laws criminalising the production, distribution, sale and supply of what are otherwise known as new psychoactive substances also began.

The chemicals, sold under names such as spice and black mamba, are designed to give users the same effect as drugs like cannabis and cocaine.

Offenders who break the new laws will face up to seven years in prison under the Psychoactive Substances Act.

Praising Dr Bowden-Jones’s book, Viv Adams, CEO of Adfam, the national charity working to improve life for families affected by drugs and alcohol, said: “Parents can play a vital role in both preventing their children’s drug or alcohol misuse, and in supporting them if problems arise.

“By ensuring that dialogue is always open, and honest, by sharing fears and setting boundaries, and by communicating a sense of trust in their children, parents are far more likely to influence young people towards a cautious view of substance use, and reassure them of sympathetic support if they do develop problems.”

The Drug Conversation; How to talk to your child about drugs, by Dr Owen Bowden-Jones is published by RCPsych Publications at £12.99

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