Addiction can happen at any age and it is important to talk to a medical professional about it. As such, we would advise that visiting your local GP should be your first step. They will be able to recommend recovery centres and organisations who can offer further help and support.
It is not only illegal drugs that people can become addicted to, some medication such as pain killers and anti-depressants are addictive too.
Please see the following websites in Related Information for further guidance.
'County lines' is a term used to describe networks of gangs and organised crime groups, who use children, young people and vulnerable adults to carry out illegal activity on their behalf.
This criminal exploitation is known as 'county lines' as young children travel across counties and use dedicated mobile phone 'lines' to supply drugs.
As well as the storage and supply of drugs, gangs also use children for the movement of cash proceeds (money mules) and to secure the use of dwellings (commonly referred to as 'cuckooing').
Criminal gangs groom children into trafficking their drugs for them with promises of money, friendship and status. Once they've been drawn in, children are often controlled using threats, violence and sexual abuse. These children can then become trapped in criminal exploitation and feel as if they have no choice but to continue doing what the criminals want.
What are signs of criminal exploitation and county lines?
The police work collaboratively with other forces and regional organised crime units to build intelligence, tackle the demand for drugs, ensure disruption of county lines activity, protect the vulnerable and carry out enforcement activity.
What to do if you have concerns
The only safe limit of alcohol to have in your blood and drive is zero!
It is not advisable to even have one drink and drive as alcohol impairs your judgement and lessens your reflexes. The official amount of alcohol is 35 microgrammes per 100ml of breath reading, this cannot be translated into an exact amount of units as it depends on many factors, height and weight, the time when last drink was consumed etc, so the best advice is not to drink at all or to order a taxi.
Many people go out on a weekend and drink more than half the weekly recommended units of alcohol in one night, this is a phenomenon known as 'binge drinking'. If you go out on a weekend and drink for drinking's sake or consume lots of alcohol in a short space of time then you could be a binge drinker.
In the UK, binge drinking is drinking more than:
Apart from the obvious risks to your health, it does not automatically follow that you have a problem with alcohol if you binge drink, although statistics do show that some binge drinkers go on to be chronic binge drinkers and develop a serious problem with alcohol.
However, you should be aware of the dangers of too much alcohol, not only to your health but also to your personal safety. When under the influence of alcohol you are more likely:
Alcoholics Anonymous have a very good phrase, 'If alcohol is costing you more than money, then you have a problem'.
It is an offence to sell cigarettes, tobacco and cigarette papers to a person under the age of 18 years old. There are also further penalties for those who persistently sell cigarettes to persons under the age of 18. The magistrates can prohibit them from selling cigarettes from certain premises for up to one year.
There is no law relating to a minimum age that prevents a person who works in shop from selling cigarettes.
In addition to the above, the police and park keepers in uniform have the power to seize and dispose of tobacco products from a person under 16 years who is smoking in any street or public place.
If you are aware of a shop selling cigarettes, alcohol or age restricted products to underage persons, you can report this to your local police force or Trading Standards Office.
It is an offence to sell alcohol to a person under the age of 18. If you know an off-licence that is selling alcohol to a person under the age of 18, you should contact your local police force or Trading Standards Office who will take the details. The person that is selling the alcohol to those under 18 could face a fine.
If you have spotted signs that your child/friend is drinking too much, there are several organisations that can provide help and support. Details of these organisations can be found in the Related Information.
GP's may also advise on the options available and signpost you to local support services, both for immediate help and long term support.
Whilst not recommended, children aged 5 to 16 are allowed to drink alcohol at home or on other private premises. Although there may be no offence of supplying alcohol, there may be issues relating to child protection.
It is advisable to contact the parents of the children involved to inform them of the situation. If you are concerned, you can also contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 or you can report it directly to them via the following link: NSPCC Helpline
In the first instance it might be worth speaking to your friend/child in a calm and understanding manner. There is often not a lot that a parent or friend can do without professional help unless the person themselves is willing to admit that they have a problem. The organisations listed in the Related Information will be able to offer support and help you take the right approach.
Please contact your local authority who will have the facilities required to dispose of the needles safely. If there are a large amount of needles appearing on a regular basis, please contact your local police force who will pass the information onto their drugs team.
Do not pick any needles up yourself as you may be injured and at risk of infection.
See the website in Related Information to find your local authority.