A guide to teens and drugs

New figures from the EU’s drug agency have revealed that British young people are using more drugs like cocaine than their European peers, with 1 in 20 British 15-34 year olds having taken cocaine in the last year.

The agency has also revealed a rise in the use of synthetic ‘legal highs’, like Meow Meow but the use of cannabis has dropped.

And the recent headlines saw The X Factor’s wild child Frankie Cocozza, 18, being booted off the show on 8th November 2011 after setting a bad example for his young fans and boasting backstage about taking cocaine.

Frankie made a statement at the time saying ‘I’d like to apologise to Gary, my fellow contestants and everyone who has voted for me, but, as of today, I will no longer be in The X Factor. My life during the show has gone out of control and my behaviour off stage has over-stepped the rules of the competition.’

If you’re a mum of teens, this might make you worried, but remember, despite stories like this cropping up in the news, the majority of teens are not using drugs. However, they might be offered them at some point, so it’s worth being aware of the dangers.

The best thing you can do if you’re worried is talk to your teen. Use our guide to illegal drugs like cocaine and legal high drugs to make sure you know the facts when you’re talking to your teen.

How to talk to your kids about drugs

1. Use news items to open up conversations about drugs.
2. Don’t tell shock-horror stories (they lose impact as the child gets older).
3. Keep reminding them that drugs are illegal, can kill and that many schools now expel first-time drug-users.
4. Set a good example, don’t get drunk in front of them and give up smoking.

Take our drugs quiz, which will tell you how much you know about illegal drugs and help you feel informed enough to to talk to your kids about them, when the time’s right.

Next: Find out about the facts on cannabis or cocaine.