Giving advice and information, to young people, about substance misuse risk taking

Make sure you understand enough about drugs and substance misuse, including why children might experiment with them, so you can talk to children and young people in an informed way. For foster carers understanding the facts about drugs may also help you to:

  • promote the care plan needs of Children in Care
  • contribute to children’s risk assessments
  • inform you around what you could do in a crisis.


To understand substance misuse aim to improve your knowledge around the range of different substances and the range of different indications of substance misuse related behaviours. Also improve your knowledge around:

  • Substance misuse jargon
  • Strategies around engaging/involving children and young people in the assessment of their needs, including assessing an their understanding of services available
  • Assessing the risk to individuals and to others, and the importance of reviewing substance misuse risk assessments
  • Sources of information about, and the range of, substance misuse services available locally


For those who work with children and young people, its also useful for you to be aware of the:

  • importance of gathering full and accurate information, and how to do so
  • any legal requirements
  • the organisation’s policies and procedures in dealing with risk of danger to individuals
  • how to report accurately
  • the importance of stating any gaps in information or assumptions made


Listen as well as talk

Talking to teenagers can be sometimes be challenging. When you’re discussing drugs and substance misuse, don’t preach or give a speech and don’t make assumptions about what they know or do. Let the child or young person tell you their experiences. It’s often easier not to talk face-to-face, but to have a conversation side-by-side, such as when you’re driving in the car, washing up together, watching television or preparing food.


The following learning material provide useful information around the harm reduction substance misuse method:

Readers can also get information from other credible sources such as the drugs website: FRANK


Rehab 4 Alcoholism is a free and impartial helpline for people troubled with drug and alcohol issues. Rehab 4 Alcoholism aims to save lives by stopping addiction before it becomes too late. Tel: 0800 111 4108 Web:  

Oliver from rehap4addiction has provided the following information: My name is Oliver and I operate a national drug and alcohol addiction advice helpline called “Rehab 4 Addiction”. I started this free helpline back in 2011. You can find my website here:

Rehab 4 Addiction offers a free hotline dedicated to assisting those suffering from drug, alcohol and mental health issues. Rehab 4 Addiction was established in 2011 by people who overcame addiction themselves. You can contact Rehab 4 Addiction on 0800 140 4690.


Boris MacKey Community Outreach Manager for Rehab 4 Addiction has forwarded the following link for A resource for stopping drinking and improving mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parental substance misuse | NSPCC Learning

What are the UK drug laws?