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

x 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.


x 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.


x 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.


x 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.


x 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.


x 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.


x 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.


x Canada's recreational marijuana should come in plain packaging, panel says

Guardian | 13 December 2016 | Cannabis |

Canada's government should regulate the production of cannabis when it is legalized for recreational use and require plain packaging an official panel recommended.


x 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.


x 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 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 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 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 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.


Drugs in the News

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

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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'

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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

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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

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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'

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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

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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

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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

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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


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 '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 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 List of Amphetamines

Amphetamines.com | 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.


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

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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.

Guardian, 14 November 2016

Ecstasy deal in Nottingham club left girl in intensive care

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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.

Nottingham Post, 16 September 2016

Cannabis may enhance night vision

there appears to be evidence that cannabis can improve night vision, derived from Jamaican fishermen

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.

Guardian, 27 October 2016

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

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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?

Guardian, 14 July 2016

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

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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.

When he stood for the Tory leadership in 2005, he declared "Politicians attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator by calling for crackdown after crackdown. Drugs policy has been failing for decades."

I stole thousands from JP Morgan to fund my drug habit

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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.

BBC News, 31 August 2016

A new year that changed me: realising I wanted to live & giving up heroin

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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 really as I'd pretty much run out of friends. Time with my family seemed preferable to time on my own.

To be clear; this wasn't about them, it was about me. I'd been a heroin addict for 10 years and my life was a mess. I got by on a round of handouts and petty crime. Lying had become second nature; I'd been to rehab 5 years previously.

Guardian, 29 December 2016

Maps show cocaine, cannabis, heroin & amphetamines use

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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. In Iran, between one and three per cent of the overall population are reportedly addicted to substances.

Parents Understanding Drugs