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Substance misuse

Alcohol and substance misuse

While it is natural for some of you to experiment with alcohol and drugs while you are growing up, how well you handle the substance and alcohol scene is up to you.

Research shows that if you are well informed about sensible use and the possible dangers, you are less likely to develop a serious problem.

Studies by the charity Alcohol Concern show that just 12 per cent of 11 to 15 year olds said they had drunk alcohol in the previous week. This is down from 26 per cent a decade earlier.

The recommended safer drinking limits for adults are as follows:

  • 2-3 units per day for females

  • 3-4 units per day for males

You should have two to three alcohol free days during the week.

The Chief Medical Officer’s guidance suggests that under 15s should refrain from drinking alcohol due to an increased risk to their physical health.

For young people aged 16-17 the suggestion is to drink alcohol (should they wish) once per week and no more than 2-3 units. Ideally this should be supervised by parents or carers.

Take a look at Alcohol Concern’s Unit Calculator to find out how many units you could be consuming.

Alcohol is eliminated from the body at approximately one unit per hour. However, please bear in mind that the more you drink, the longer it will take for your liver to eliminate the alcohol from your body. This can have serious implications for driving mopeds, motorbikes and cars as you can still be under the influence the next morning. 

Another important aspect is your mindset and your environment before and during drinking as this can affect the outcome and the potential for problems to arise. This can be due to people making unwise decisions under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and lead to an increase in risky behaviours.

It is a known fact that young people are more likely to have risky sex (for example without contraception, with lots of different partners or unintended sex) when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As many as one-in-fourteen, 15 to 16 year olds said they'd had unprotected sex after drinking. And up to 40 per cent of sexually active 13 to 14 year-olds were ‘drunk or stoned’ when having sex. For more information on sexual health, including sexual abuse visit Sexual Health North Lincs.

There are plenty of cheaper brands of alcohol available. These are still very potent in strength and can be seen as a cheap way to get drunk. However, it is very easy to overdo it and you may end up needing to go to hospital with alcohol poisoning. For some this can be fatal. Evidence shows that they have a particularly damaging effect on health and behaviour, both in the short and long term.

Don’t feel under pressure to drink or take drugs if you don’t want to. Say "no" firmly but clearly and without making a big deal about it.

Less young people drink alcohol than you would think. And remember your friends will respect you more for saying how you feel about drinking or taking drugs. Talking to your friends about the reasons you don't want to can help the situation and you may not be the only one who feels this way. Try arranging to meet them to do other things that don’t involve drinking or drug taking.

For more information ‘Talk to Frank’.

Just because a substance is sold as 'legal' it doesn’t make it safe to use.

The actual contents can vary and users can’t be sure what's in a 'legal high' or what the effects are likely to be. Some 'legal highs' have been found to contain one or more substances that are illegal.

Packets should state on them clearly “Not for human consumption”. Some legal highs are stronger and the effects can last longer than illegal drugs. This makes them unpredictable and dangerous.

Legal highs should be packaged as “Not for sale to under 18s”.

Do not use if pregnant, if you have mental health problems, heart problems, high blood pressure or other serious health condition.

If you are caught by the Police with a legal high the process is to treat it as an illegal substance and confiscate this from you. If the substance is found to contain an illegal or banned substance you may be prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance.

REMEMBER: having a criminal record for drug offences can affect your future employment prospects and also overseas travel for holidays and employment. The reason for this is some countries have strict anti-drug laws including barring individuals with drug convictions from entry.

REMEMBER: too much alcohol poisons the body and can depress the breathing. Mixing drugs with alcohol only adds to these effects. Overdosing is serious. Some people die. Getting medical help by calling 999 greatly increases their chances of survival.

For more information 'Talk to Frank’.

If you are worried about a parent, family member or friend you can contact DELTA – North Lincolnshire’s under 19’s drug and alcohol service. It offers free help and support to young people who are worried about their own or someone else’s drug/alcohol use.

Call 01724 298528 - phone lines are open Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm and on Fridays from 9am to 4.30pm. There is an answerphone after these hours. 

You can contact your school or college nurse or your local GP or Medical Centre.


North Lincolnshire’s under 19s drug and alcohol service offers free help and support to young people worried about their own or someone else’s drug/alcohol use.

Call 01724 298528 - phone lines are open Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm and on Fridays from 9am to 4.30pm. There is an answerphone after these hours.

Address: 22-24 Cole Street, Scunthorpe, DN15 6QS

Step Forward

Step Forward is based at 189-195 High Street, Scunthorpe, DN15 6EA. It is a non-judgmental, recovery-focused service which will work with people using drugs or alcohol. Services offered include assessment advice, information, needle exchange, health, harm reduction advice and treatment and support.

Telephone: 08081 430640

For more information visit the Change Grow Live website

The opening times are:

Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm

Evening appointments are available until 7pm on Monday and Wednesday.

  • Rise Above - a health and wellbeing website for young people

Other sites of interest

  • LSCB website - safeguarding information for children and young people

Contact details

01724 298321

Health Improvement Team
Hewson House
Station Road
DN20 8XJ

Opening hours

Monday to Thursday: 9am to 5pm

Friday: 9am to 4.30pm

Last updated: 13/10/2016