Parents need more drug information

A YOUTH drug counsellor has today called for parents to be better informed about the effects of cannabis use.Janet Holmes of Norcas Youth Service was speaking ahead of national Tackling Drugs Day which takes place across the country tomorrow .

A YOUTH drug counsellor has today called for parents to be better informed about the effects of cannabis use.

Janet Holmes of Norcas Youth Service was speaking ahead of national Tackling Drugs Day which takes place across the country tomorrow .

Ms Holmes said parents played a vital role in educating their youngsters about drug use and needed to arm themselves with information to be able to discuss the subject with their teens.

She said: “Cannabis use can cause lots of problems with the relationship between parents or carers and the young person.

“Lots of people have the view that if you smoke cannabis you will drop down dead and that is not really very helpful. Parents need to have an understanding and take the time to learn about alcohol and drugs then they can discuss it with their youngsters.”

In recent weeks The Evening Star has featured the stories of parents left in despair by their child's habitual use of cannabis.

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Some have said their children have become like strangers, committing crime to feed their habit and rejecting school and home life - one 16-year-old has even suffered psychotic episodes.

Ms Holmes said: “There has been a lot of work around cannabis and mental health. I am not a doctor but for some young people one of the signs of use might be paranoia. If you are already predisposed to mental health issues it is difficult to know if it is the mental health issue or the drug.”

Ms Holmes said in these cases Norcas would try and encourage the youngster to stop taking the drug to see if the paranoia diminished - if not they would need to visit their doctor.

She said many of the young people that visited the service referred themselves and consent was needed in order for Norcas to act.

The service can then adopt a holistic approach, helping teens to cut down on their alcohol or drug use and looking at the reasons why they are users.

Ms Holmes added: “We do an assessment and put them on a drug care plan and the first, and main thing we do, is look at the risks and effects of their cannabis use. We help them to identify a pattern of use and look at how they can cut down or stop using.”

Part of the work Norcas conducts focuses on moving youngsters away from what prompts them to take the drug.

This can mean avoiding certain friends or family members until the person feels they have the strength to interact with those people without turning to substances.

Have you suffered at the hands of drugs? Have you had difficulty in finding the help you need? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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