Parents Understanding Drugs

UK National Drugs helpline: 0300 123 6600

The National Drugs Helpline is a 24-hour, 7-days a week, free and confidential telephone service that offers advice and information for anyone.

It is run by the government agency, known as FRANK, created to provide drug support and advice for the public.

If you need emergency help, are worried about a friend or relative's drug use or want support coping with your own, contact FRANK on-line contact or by phone.

Drugs in the News

Eire is to make medical cannabis available for certain conditions Ireland to legalise cannabis for specific medical conditions

Guardian | 10 February 2017 | Cannabis |

Ireland is set to legalise the use of cannabis for treating specific medical conditions, after a report commissioned by the government said the drug could be given to some patients with certain illnesses.

the use of recreational drugs is common place on board cruises Sex with guests and acid trips: Life below decks on a cruise ship

Independent | 6 February 2017 | Drug Use |

Sleeping with customers, taking drugs on the job and making friends in the onboard sex dungeon. Just regular cruise ship life, according to Paul Hyatt.

drugs are an established part of the music business Dark side of hedonism: a rock journalist's battle with drug addiction

Guardian | 5 February 2017 | Drug Addiction |

To this day I don't know why I said yes. I can't say it was peer pressure. I harboured no secret longing to be a junkie. You'd think that, having just graduated with a first from Oxford, I might not have stuck my hand in this particular fire.

babies born to meth addicts can be addicts at birth or suffer problems from learrning difficulties to physical abnormalities Devastating impact of meth in the womb exposed in SA schools

Guardian | 2 February 2017 | Methamphetamine |

Justin Summers has curly brown hair and enjoys playing marbles. At 7, he is on the cusp of his journey through South Africa's education system. But before he's even started, the outlook for his education is dire.

not all states have legalised marijuana leading to legal anomalies Texas Teacher Shouldn't Be Punished for Marijuana Use in Colorado, Judge Says

The New York Times | 23 January 2017 | Cannabis |

A Texas high school teacher can use marijuana in Colorado, where it is legal, and should not get into trouble for it in her home state, where it is illegal, a judge ruled.

it is now legal in germany to prescribe cannabis for medical purposes German MPs vote to legalise cannabis for medicinal purposes

Guardian | 19 January 2017 | Cannabis |

Germany's lower house of parliament has passed a law legalising the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

famous actor stars in anti-meth film in Montana Montana anti-meth campaign casts Frozen's Elsa as jailbird addict

Guardian | 17 January 2017 | Meth |

A sequel to Frozen, Disney's biggest ever hit, is scheduled for release in 2019 but a sneak peek at what its characters have been up to has been released by the Montana Meth Project.

The Disney film Frozen heps with anti-Meth campaign Duterte's drug war in the Philippines is out of control, he needs to be stopped

Guardian | 5 January 2017 | Philippine Drug War |

At a major UN summit on drug policy, many states argued for a more balanced and humane approach. But there's one anti-drug crusader who refuses to face facts, Rodrigo Duterte.

the laws intended to make synthetic cannabinoids illegal may prevent new pharmaceutical discoveries Synthetic cannabinoids law may destroy UK pharmaceutical discovery

DrugScience | 4 January 2017 | Synthetic Cannabinoids |

On 14 December, the government put into effect new controls against a whole range of synthetic cannabinoids.

new laws created to ban previously legal highs, have driven their sale underground Ban driven new psychoactive substances underground

BBC News | 1 January 2017 | Legal Highs |

The new law to crack down on designer drugs has seen no prosecutions or cautions issued in three of the four Welsh police force areas.

the story of a heroin addict who eventually broke the habit A new year that changed me: realising I wanted to live & giving up heroin

Guardian | 29 December 2016 | Heroin |

It was the looks of contempt that did it. I didn't normally spend new year with my parents and sisters, but I had nowhere else to go. Time with my family seemed preferable to time on my own.

a man in california was charged with being under the influence of caffeine California man fights DUI charge for driving under influence of caffeine

Guardian | 24 December 2016 | Caffeine |

Caffeine may be the "nootropic" brain drug of choice in Silicon Valley, but an hours drive north, the stimulant could get you charged with driving under the influence.

products are available for dogs that contain derivatives from cannabis Lacing Dog Treats With Cannabis Is Big Business

Bloomberg | 21 December 2016 | Cannabis for Dogs |

These treats are raising millions and helping Fido weather thunderstorms.

the number of deaths from heroine have increased greatly Heroin deaths soar compared to other opioids, new study shows

PBS | 20 December 2016 | Heroin |

Heroin deaths have soared in recent years while deaths from other opioids have remained relatively flat. Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic painkiller, is also on the rise.

a large portion of overdoses due to drugs in the US are opioids Heroin deaths exceeded gun homicides in 2015

PBS | 18 December 2016 | Heroin |

Last year, more than 30,000 people died from opioid overdoses, which cause almost two-thirds of all overdoses in the U.S., according to data released last week by the CDC.

synthetic marijuana is incredibly strong and can leave users totally incapacitated Drug 85 Times as Potent as Marijuana Caused 'Zombie' State in Brooklyn

NY Times | 14 December 2016 | Legal Highs |

When emergency medical technicians were called to a mass casualty in Brooklyn, dispatchers used a word more associated with apocalyptic Hollywood movies than medical emergencies: zombies.

Drugs in the News

Nobel Peace Prize: Santos calls for 'rethink' of war on drugs

a nobel peace prize winner urges a rethink on the war on drugs

The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, has used his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech to call for the world to "rethink" the war on drugs.

He said the zero-tolerance policy might be "even more harmful" than all the other wars being fought worldwide.Drugs workers fear a "bad batch of heroin" could have led to the deaths of at least seven drug users in recent weeks in the Gwent Police force area.

BBC News, 8 December 2016

Heroin deaths prompt 'fix room'

a safe place for herion uses to safeguard against a bad batch

Drugs workers fear a "bad batch of heroin" could have led to the deaths of at least seven drug users in recent weeks in the Gwent Police force area.

BBC News, 26 November 2016

The babies starting life in rehab

babies born to addicts can be addicts from birth

According to NHS figures, 1,087 babies in England were affected by maternal use of drugs in 2014-15, while in Scotland 987 babies were affected.

BBC News, 25 November 2016

GHB: The killer drug

an increasing number of people are dying from GHB

The Metropolitan Police has said it will examine 58 GHB-related deaths, following the conviction of serial killer Stephen Port.

BBC News, 25 November 2016

Club drug testing 'may be useful'

anonymous drug testing at events can save lives

A leading police chief says recreational drug testing "may be very useful". Commander Bray is in discussion with the government about it.

Newsbeat, 24 November 2016

MPs call for cannabis legalisation

more mps in the UK call for the legalisation of cannabis

Britain should follow America's lead and legalise cannabis, and rake in £1 billion a year in tax revenues

Metro, 21 November 2016

Pharma's fight to block marijuana

the pharmaceutical industry is opposed to the legalisation of cannabis

Marijuana legalization will unleash misery on Arizona, according to a wave of television ads that started rolling out across the state last month.

Guardian, 22 October 2016

10 years for cannabis for cancer

people are sent to prison for providing cannabis for medical treatment

Police in Denmark have arrested a man and woman on suspicion of providing cannabis to cancer patients and people with other serious illnesses.

Independent, 5 October 2016

UK National Drugs helpline: 0300 123 6600

The National Drugs Helpline is a 24-hour, 7-days a week, free and confidential telephone service that offers advice and information for anyone.

It is run by the government agency, known as FRANK, created to provide drug support and advice for the public.

If you need emergency help, are worried about a friend or relative's drug use or want support coping with your own, contact FRANK on-line contact or by phone.

Featured Articles

an official panel has recommended that cannabis is sold in plain packaging in Canada Canada's recreational marijuana should come in plain packaging

Guardian | 13 December 2016 | Marijuana |

Canada's government should regulate the production of cannabis for recreational use and require plain packaging an official panel recommended. How cannabis is sold should be left up to the provinces and should include both retail storefronts and a mail order system, the report recommended. Authorities have been battling a surge in illegal dispensaries over the past year, particularly in Ontario and British Columbia.

government advisers are arguing for creating places where addicts can take drugs safely Home Secretary urged to open 'fix rooms' to cut drug-related deaths

Independent | 12 December 2016 | Drug Units |

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has been urged by Government advisers to consider creating units where addicts can take drugs under supervision.

mexico joins the growing number of countries to legalise cannabis Mexico's senate votes to legalise medical marijuana

Independent | 12 December 2016 | Cannabis |

Mexico's senate has approved the use of cannabis for medical purposes after voting overwhelmingly in favour of more relaxed drug laws.

Following a national drug policy debate, 98 senators voted to pass a new bill proposed by President Enrique Pena-Nieto to permit the use and production of marijuana for scientific and medicinal purposes.

another person dies after taking ecstasy Teenager dies after taking ecstasy

Independent | 11 December 2016 | Ecstasy |

A drugs warning has been issued following the death of a teenager who had taken ecstasy.

x New medical marijuana research could greenlight more uses in treatment

Guardian | 10 December 2016 | Cannabis |

The US Drug Enforcement Agency has shown signs this summer of allowing more farms to grow cannabis for official research purposes. Currently, researchers depend on 1 farm at the University of Mississippi for cannabis.

Eight states have voted to legalize recreational marijuana, and 28 states now allow its use for medical purposes. Under federal law, however, marijuana continues to be classified as a highly dangerous illegal drug.

x Ecstasy sold in US is less pure and more dangerous than in Europe, experts warn

Guardian | 10 December 2016 | Ecstasy Purity |

The purity of drugs being sold as ecstasy in the US is dangerously poor compared to Europe with many buyers unwittingly ingesting a dangerous concoction of substances.

xCocaine use in Britain so high it has contaminated drinking water

Independent | 6 December 2016 | Drug Tests |

Cocaine use in the UK is now so common that traces of the drug have contaminated the drinking water supply, a report has shown.

x Maps show cocaine, cannabis, heroin & amphetamines use

Independent | 1 December 2015 | Drug Use |

Scotland has the highest percentage of adults using cocaine in the world. New Zealand and Iran have been named as the countries with the highest rates of treatment for drug addiction in the world but for incredibly different types of substances, namely cannabis and opioids respectively. New Zealand reportedly has the third highest cannabis use in the world, just behind Iceland and the United States.

x Chemsex addicts and the man fighting to help them

Independent | 1 December 2016 | Chemsex |

This time last year chemsex, the scene of gay men who use disinhibiting drugs during sex, was a buzzword in the news and a cause of moral panic.

x Europe's outdoor cannabis capital

BBC News | 1 December 2016 | Cannabis |

Albania has become the largest producer of outdoor-grown cannabis in Europe. The potent plant has been described as "green gold" for struggling farmers. In a poor nation, it's a billion-euro industry.

x Where Marijuana Plants Flourish Under Energy-Saving LED Lights

NY Times | 24 November 2016 | Marijuana |

Behind the covered windows of a nondescript two-story building hundreds of marijuana plants were flowering in the purple haze of 40 LED lights. It was part of a high-stakes experiment in energy conservation - an undertaking subsidized by the local electric company. With cannabis cultivation poised to become a big business in some parts of the country, power companies and government officials hope it will grow into a green industry.

x Has the legal highs ban been successful?

Guardian | 24 November 2016 | Legal Highs |

Six months since the government banned so-called legal highs we would like to find out how the legislation, designed to outlaw trade in synthetic chemicals that imitate traditional illicit drugs, has changed their use.

Possession of the substances outside a prison is not a criminal offence, and a group of doctors and paramedics told the BBC that the ban on their sale, hadn't made much difference to the numbers of people falling ill.

x The countries with the harshest drug penalties in the world

Independent | 19 November 2016 | Drug Punishment |

The punishment for drug use varies from country to country and there are a number of nations where possession of illicit substances can lead to life imprisonment - or even death.

x British Medical Journal calls for legalisation of drugs

Independent | 14 November 2016 | Legalisation |

The British Medical Journal has called for the legalisation of illicit drugs for the first time.

x MDMA may pose greater danger to women than men, say scientists

Guardian | 14 November 2016 | MDMA |

Women are more likely to end up in emergency rooms, with research suggesting this may be due to the way MDMA interacts with body chemistry. According to this year's Global Drugs Survey, there has been a four-fold increase in British female clubbers seeking emergency medical treatment after taking MDMA in last three years, and women are now two to three times more likely to seek emergency treatment than men.

x Stephen Fry on his cocaine habit: 'I used to call it pudding'

Guardian | 4 November 2016 | Cocaine |

The British comedian Stephen Fry sat down for a fireside chat with journalist Tony Jones.

In a discussion on religious fundamentalism, drug and alcohol abuse, sex and marriage, Fry told the story of a friend, working in Buckingham Palace. Every British law must receive royal assent, so in 2014, after being passed by both houses of parliament, the same-sex marriage law reached the Queen.

x Cannabis may enhance night vision

Guardian | 27 October 2016 | Cannabis |

25 years ago, pharmacologist M. E. West of the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, noted that local fisherman who smoke cannabis or drink rum made with the leaves and stems of the plant had "an uncanny ability to see in the dark. "It was impossible to believe that anyone could navigate a boat without compass and light in such treacherous surroundings," he wrote after accompanying a crew one dark night, "[but] I was then convinced that the man had far better night vision than I had.

x Generation Adderall

NY Times | 12 October 2016 | Adderall |

Like many of my friends, I spent years using prescription stimulants to get through school and start my career. Then I tried to get off them.

x Can cannabis relieve pain and other ailments?

Guardian | 19 September 2016 | Cannabis and pain |

Queen Victoria was prescribed cannabis for period pains, and the US is embracing medicinal cannabis again - it's legal in 25 states for conditions such as AIDS, chronic pain, & seizures.

x Ecstasy deal in Nottingham club left girl in intensive care

Nottingham Post | 16 September 2016 | Ecstasy |

Two teenagers involved in supplying Ecstasy to a girl were hauled before the courts after she collapsed and was rushed into intensive care. Lewis Mawer and Tom Segal, both from respectable families, were told she "could have died" as they were spared custody at Nottingham Crown Court.

The girl, who was around the same age, asked 18-year-old Mawer to supply the drug to her on February 21.

x 'Hangover-free alcohol' could replace all regular alcohol by 2050

Independent | 12 September 2016 | Alcohol |

The Imperial College Professor has patented around 90 different alcosynth compounds. Two are being tested, and by 2050, he hopes alcosynth could replace normal alcohol.

x Legalise medical marijuana, MPs

Independent | 12 September 2016 | Alcohol |

A major inquiry led by a group of MPs and peers has concluded that cannabis should be legalised for medical purposes.

x Drug-related deaths hit record levels in England and Wales

Guardian | 9 September 2016 | Drug Deaths |

Drug overdoses hit record levels in England and Wales last year, sparking fierce criticism of the government's approach to drugs and addiction services. Deaths involving poisoning by opiates, cocaine and amphetamines, including MDMA, have all reached peak levels, according to a count of coroners' rulings recorded in 2015. Similar data has been collected by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) since 1993.

x I stole thousands from JP Morgan to fund my drug habit

Independent | 31 August 2016 | Drug Addiction |

They all say "it'll never happen to me". It was not until Emily McMillan collapsed on the floor of a courtroom, after being convicted of fraud and theft, that she hit rock bottom. She was an addict, and needed help.

That was 6 years ago, when she was a PA to senior executives at a top banking firm. Her face was plastered across newspapers when it was discovered she had stolen from the bank. McMillan has been clean since then.

x An Open Letter to Sadiq Khan: How to Make London's Nightlife Safer

The Huffington Post | 24 August 2016 | Drug Use |

Dear Mr. Khan,

As you know, one of London's most popular nightclubs, Fabric, has been closed, and its license is being reviewed, after two drug-related deaths. You pledged to find an approach that protects clubbers and London's nightlife - allow organisations to provide drug testing services in London's clubs.

x Use of Cocaine and ecstasy soars among wealthier households

Evening Standard | 28 July 2016 | Cocaine & Ecstasy Use |

Cocaine and ecstasy use has soared among people from wealthier households in England and Wales, new figures have shown.

x Hospital admissions for drug-related problems reach decade high

Guardian | 28 July 2016 | Hospital Admissions |

More people are ending up in hospital with health problems related to drug use than at any time in the past 10 years, despite an overall fall in the number using illegal drugs.

x Here's why there are no 'good' or 'bad' drugs - not even heroin

Guardian | 14 July 2016 | Drug Use |

Before she found heroin, Allison could not get out of bed most mornings. She contemplated suicide. She saw herself as "a shitty lazy person who felt like crap all the time". She was deeply depressed, and no wonder. She'd been molested by 3 family members by the age of 15. One of the 3 was her father. Psychiatrists would need little justification to prescribe any drug that might help alleviate Allison's suffering. But heroin?

x List of Amphetamines | 11 July 2016 | Amphetamines |

Various medications are available in the United States which contain amphetamines. This list of amphetamines is inclusive of many of the amphetamines or amphetamine containing drugs that are marketed under various brand names throughout the U.S. While amphetamines may also be marketed and sold in other countries, this particular list of amphetamines focuses only on those which are medically or otherwise available in the United States.

x Say Why To Drugs: unravelling the myster-E of MDMA

Guardian | 30 June 2016 | MDMA |

MDMA is a synthetic stimulant in the amphetamine family. It was first synthesised and patented in 1912, as an intermediate product when developing another medication.

x The chemsex scene: An increasingly popular and sometimes lethal public-health problem

The Washington Post | 10 May 2016 | Chemsex |

The young couple's day wound down like any other ordinary Monday - the men took their dog for an afternoon trip to the vet, followed by dinner and wine in a London flat

x 9 Side Effects of Marijuana

Health | 19 April 2016 | Marijuana |

Most users enjoy the drug's ability to induce a sense of euphoria, but that doesn't come without side effects. Indeed, research shows that using marijuana can cause a variety of short and long-term effects.

While almost everyone is familiar with the sudden desire for junk food caused by smoking weed - commonly referred to as the 'munchies' - many of the drug's other effects are lesser known.

x Tim Farron calls for legalisation of cannabis for recreational use

Guardian | 11 February 2016 | Cannabis |

Tim Farron is to become the first leader of one of Britain's main political parties to call for the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use after declaring that the war on drugs is over. In one of the most significant moves by the Liberal Democrats since they were reduced to a shell of just eight MPs at the election, Farron will call on the government to develop a framework for the legal regulation of cannabis.

x History of Amphetamine & Methamphetamine

TD Consultancy | 2016 | Amphetamines |

1887: Amphetamine first synthesized by German chemist L. Edeleano
1919: Methamphetamine is first synthesized by Japanese scientist A. Ogata.
Late 1920s: Amphetamine investigated as a cure or treatment against a variety of illnesses.

x Addicted to chemsex: 'It's a horror story'

Guardian | 22 November 2015 | Chemsex |

Miguel was in the middle of a three-day sex and drug binge when he looked at Grindr and saw an advert asking for people to participate in a film about sex and drug binges. "I hooked up with with a guy," he says, "and then we contacted them." Soon a cameraman was filming him injecting drugs.

x David Cameron, you were right about drugs. Don't err and stray now

Guardian | 3 June 2015 | Drug Policy |

I agree with David Cameron. To clarify, the earlier incarnation of the prime minister. "I ask the Labour government not to return to retribution and war on drugs," he pleaded in 2002. "That has been tried and it does not work." As a member of the home affairs select committee on drug misuse, he voted to consider "the possibility of legalisation and regulation" of drugs.

x The Drug-Addicted Male Escorts Who Get Pressured to Take Mephedrone and GHB at Chemsex Parties

Vice | 18 April 2015 | Male Escorts |

GHB, mephedrone, and meth have become so popular at gay sex parties that many sex workers say they're expected to take these drugs as part of their jobs.

x The UK needs common sense about ketamine

Guardian | 18 February 2015 | Ketamine |

Ketamine is an anaesthetic that has become a popular recreational drug. Last year, to reduce recreational use, the UK government decided to ban all ketamine-like drugs and put ketamine under greater controls. These changes were opposed by scientists who saw them as anti-scientific, and by doctors and vets who feared that the controls would reduce ketamine use with increase in patient suffering. Our fears turned out to be true.

x British drugs survey 2014: UK drug use is rising - but we're not addicted

Guardian | 5 October 2014 | Drug Stats |

Nearly one in three British adults has taken an illegal substance and a fifth of those still do so, with 40% of drug takers in the higher echelons of society.

x Indica vs. Sativa: Understanding The Differences

Health | 19 June 2014 | Indica and sativa |

Indica and sativa are the two main types of cannabis.

Today, it is widely accepted that marijuana has two different species: Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. Cross-breeding of the two types has led to a wide variety of hybrid strains with unique characteristics.

x How Long Does THC Stay In Your System?

Health | 22 April 2014 | Marijuana |

The amount of time your body retains traces of marijuana depends on a number of factors, including how often you smoke and your metabolism. Urine testing is the most common way of screening for marijuana use. But how long will marijuana show up in your urine? The accurate answer is: it depends.

THC is the active ingredient in marijuana. However, urine tests detect a different chemical called THC-COOH.

x Marijuana May Hurt The Developing Teen Brain

NPR | 3 March 2014 | US |

The teenager's brain has a lot of developing to do: It must transform from the brain of a child into the brain of an adult. Some researchers worry how marijuana might affect that crucial process.

x Hoffman died from toxic drug mixture

New York Post | 28 February 2014 | Drug Use |

Philip Seymour Hoffman died from a "speedball", a concoction that has killed several other celebrities, the city's Office of Chief Medical Examiner said. Hoffman's death in his Village apartment was an accident and due to an "acute mixed drug intoxication", including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine, the office said. A speedball is the intravenous injection of cocaine with heroin in the same syringe.

x How Marijuana affects on mind & body

The Journal | 11 January 2014 | Cannabis |

Recently legalised in Washington and Colorado, marijuana has medical and recreational uses but can also be damaging to our bodies and minds.

x Cocaine Incorporated

NY Times | 17 June 2012 | Cocaine |

One afternoon last August, at a hospital on the outskirts of Los Angeles, a former beauty queen named Emma Coronel gave birth to a pair of heiresses. The twins, who were delivered at 3:50 and 3:51, respectively, stand to inherit some share of a fortune that Forbes estimates is worth a billion dollars. Coronel's husband is a legendary tycoon who overcame a penurious rural childhood to establish a wildly successful multinational business.

x Ecstasy and cannabis should be freely available for study

Guardian | 31 May 2012 | Cannabis and Ecstasy |

The classification system that makes drugs such as cannabis and MDMA (ecstasy) illegal has prevented scientists from properly researching their possible therapeutic uses for conditions such as schizophrenia and depression.

x Alcohol 'more harmful than heroin or crack'

Guardian | 1 November 2010 | Alcohol |

Alcohol is the most dangerous drug in the UK by a considerable margin, beating heroin and crack cocaine into second and third place, according to an authoritative study published today which will reopen calls for the drugs classification system to be scrapped and a concerted campaign launched against drink.

x Amphetamines affect men more than women

Guardian | 8 April 2006 | Amphetamines |

Scientists may have found why men are more likely to take some illegal drugs and why women are more prone to depression. A study revealed that men produce more "happy chemicals" after taking amphetamines than women. The neurotransmitter dopamine is 3 times higher in the brains of men who have taken amphetamines. Men also reported feelings of being more confident, having more energy and being more sociable than women.

Parents Understanding Drugs