Showing posts from February, 2014

2014: What drug trends are we going to see amongst young people?

It may seem a little strange giving predictions for 2014 at the end of February (you usually see things like this in early January at the latest) but I've just completed my first month back in schools and I now feel a little more confident in writing about what I believe are some of the most concerning drug trends amongst school-based young people this year. Last year was definitely the year of the 'synthetics'. It was so-called 'synthetic cannabis' that first attracted media attention and of course, we then had a number of young men who died across the country after taking a new synthetic product (NBOMe) that they believed was LSD. Synthetics have not completely disappeared but when new laws came into place and many of the compounds and products became illegal, they lost their attraction for many and even though many continue to be able to be bought over-the-counter (or rather 'under-the-counter' as one Year 10 told me last week) they appear to have pea

Should I expose my child to a family member who has an alcohol problem?

Concerned parents often ask my opinion about how they should they deal with a family member who they believe has alcohol problems, particularly in terms of exposure to their children. Should they stop their child from seeing this relative (if they are able) or should they be using the very obvious problem as a 'teaching moment', hopefully one that will ensure their child will have a more healthy attitude towards alcohol? Sadly, many of these parents are talking about their husbands or wives, some separated or divorced and no longer sharing the same home, but others still live together and really struggling with this extremely difficult issue. The sheer number of parents who contact me about this particular issue just goes to show how many people in our society have significant problems with their drinking (whether you want to call them 'alcoholics' or whatever). Research suggests that about one in 10 people who drink alcohol will develop significant problems so when

What role do genetics play in how much your child will drink?

Some of the saddest parents I meet are those Mums and Dads who approach me after a presentation desperate for help who simply don't understand where they went wrong with their 'out-of-control' teen! These are good parents who usually have a number of children, some of whom have already got to the other side of adolescence without too many problems, and all of a sudden they have found themselves with a son or daughter who is completely different to the rest of the family. They just don't understand why their son or daughter is acting out to such a great extent, particularly when it comes to drinking alcohol. What really confuses them is that they believe that their parenting style hasn't changed – they are doing exactly the same thing with this child as they did with the others – why then are they getting such a different result? Sadly, my presentation to parents doesn't help them much, in fact it usually makes it worse, because in it I stress the importance o