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Parental Advice

What do drugs look like?

There is no certain way to identify illegal substances except by analysis. However, signs to look out for include:

  • Small plastic or elaborately folded wraps
  • Burnt foil and spoons, syringes and small bottles
  • Herbal substance or a solid, crumbly brown resin
  • Shredded cigarettes
  • Unusual pills, powders or liquids in small quantities
  • Strong sweet smoky smell

How do I recognise the signs of drug taking?

It is often difficult to tell if someone is using drugs because different substances can affect people in different ways. However, the following signs apply in a great many cases:

Sudden changes in mood and behaviour e.g. from happy and energetic to moody and irritable
Abnormal sleep patterns
Loss of appetite
Depression
Lack of motivation
Lying and stealing money or goods
Secrecy about activities and whereabouts
Keeping late hours and new or strange friends

I’m being intimidated because I or a family member owe a drug debt.  What can I do?

It is often difficult to tell if someone is using drugs because different substances can affect people in different ways. However, the following signs apply in a great many cases:

Sudden changes in mood and behaviour e.g. from happy and energetic to moody and irritable
Abnormal sleep patterns
Loss of appetite
Depression
Lack of motivation
Lying and stealing money or goods
Secrecy about activities and whereabouts
Keeping late hours and new or strange friends

Where can I get help to support family members with substance misuse?

Useful Websites
www.health.gov.ie - Department of Health
www.hse.ie - Health Service Executive
www.Drugs.ie - Comprehensive drug abuse information website
www.Hrb.ie/home/ - Health Research Board website
www.dtcb.ie/home/default.asp - Drug Treatment Centre Board
www.Emcdda.europa.eu - European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
Useful Phone Numbers
National Family Support Network01 898 0148
HSE Drugs Helpline Freephone 1800 459 459
HSE website provides useful contact numbers on Addiction & Counselling Services

A comprehensive directory of alcohol, drugs and related services is also available at local health promotion offices. 

The Garda National Drugs Unit and the National Family Support Network, have developed ‘the Drug Related Intimidation Reporting Programme’ to respond to the needs of drug users and family members experiencing drug related intimidation - further information is available here.

How can I prevent my child from becoming involved in drugs?

There is no sure way to prevent your child from using drugs but you can decrease the chances of it happening if you:

  • Maintain good communication with your child. Make sure they know they can talk to you if they have any concerns or issues.
  • Be interested in their activities and know who their friends are. Help with homework and give them lifts to and from sports and other activities.
  • Have open discussions with your child from a young age about drug use: what they would do if offered drugs
    Inform yourself about drugs.
  • Praise and encourage healthy behaviour.
  • Set clear boundaries in your home.

How can I tell if my child is drug dealing?

In most cases, if your child is using drugs, there are obvious signs to look out for. However, not all children who sell drugs also use them. Here is a list of signs that your child maybe selling drugs.

  • Unexplained cash lying around
  • Can suddenly afford designer clothes
  • On mobile phone a lot more or has more than one mobile phone
  • Unexplained small plastic bags
  • Keeping late hours and new or unknown friends

Can I speak to a Garda in complete confidence?

Yes.  To speak to the Gardaí in complete confidence please avail of the following services:

Garda Confidential Line Free-phone 1800 666111

Crimestoppers 1800 250025

Click here for the Garda Station Directory