How should I talk to my child?

You don’t need to be a drugs expert to help your child learn the skills to make healthy choices. Worries about getting it wrong, not saying the right thing and not knowing enough can make it easier to say nothing, but it is important to keep talking. Starting early and encouraging conversations makes it more likely that your child will come to you if there is a problem.

Drug and Alcohol Information for Parents and Carers

The importance of drug education

Whilst drug and alcohol education is an important part of the school curriculum, to be really effective children need to learn at home too. This leaflet provides some key facts on alcohol, cannabis, cocaine and New Psychoactive Substances (the group of drugs formerly known as ‘legal highs’), tips on how to talk about this sensitive subject and details of where to go for more information and support.


  • start the conversation early so that children learn to speak openly
  • take the opportunity to have everyday conversations. Use social media, news, TV etc as a prompt.
  • set clear rules and boundaries. Your child should know your expectations.
  • take the opportunity to learn together, starting with the websites suggested on this page.


  • save things up to have one ‘big talk’
  • present your opinions as facts. Only give correct information and if you don’t know, say.
  • use threats or scare tactics. The evidence is they don’t work
  • be confrontational. Explain your point of view and listen to theirs.