Milton Keynes 0-19 Service

Drugs and Alcohol Abuse

Drug and alcohol abuse (also called substance misuse) can include alcohol, drugs or glue. Some people who use substances develop a dependence on them which means that they feel the need to use the substance regularly and find it really hard to stop using it.

Over time, this can interfere with a user’s day-to-day life as well as their physical health. They often feel like they need to use the substance to have a good time and to go out with their mates. Drug or alcohol abuse can also affect mental health, with effects from some drugs including paranoia, anxiety and depression.

Some people end up taking a combination of drugs and alcohol to manage withdrawal symptoms, which can be very dangerous and increase the risk of overdose. Likewise, a large majority of street drugs are now cut with other substances, such as chalk, talcum powder or caffeine, meaning that it’s hard to know exactly what you’re taking, especially when the dose of the drug can vary so widely.

When alcohol or drugs become a problem people may do things that are out of character such as commit a criminal act or put themselves in risky situations where they may be taken advantage of or hurt.

Health problems caused by substance misuse can include:

  • High/low blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart/lung/liver disease
  • Depression
  • Anxiety/panic attacks
  • Psychosis/ paranoia
  • Trouble sleeping

If you think you, or someone you know, has a problem with drink or drugs, you should speak to an adult you trust. This could be a parent or carer, a teacher or your school nurse.

You can also visit one of the websites below for more information


A free and confidential support service for children and young people (telephone 0800 1111)


Friendly, confidential drugs and alcohol advice for young people