A person's life does not need to be a mess for them to be an addict.
An addict can be a person living on the streets begging to survive, or a high functioning professional with good friends, a loving family, and a successful career.
A person who drinks too much every weekend may be an addict. A person who takes painkillers most days, may be an addict. A person who cannot relax in social situations withou a drink or an E first, may be an addict.
It is better to be safe rather than sorry. If there is even the slightest chance of a problem, seek non-judgemental, confidential advice.
See a GP.
Whether you are concerned about yourself or someone else, the first thing to do is to visit your GP.
A GP will not judge, and a GP consultation is confidential. Furthermore, a GP is familiar with and has access to the services and treatments to deal with addiction.
There are many wonderful organisatons like FRANK and Release that can provide outstanding information and advice. Both offer outstanding services that are confidential and non-judgemental. Speak to them to answer questions, but if after doing so, there is any concern that there might be a problem, book an appointment with your GP.
This will depend on where you lie on the 'addiction spectrum'. A doctor will help you work out the appropriate service you need.
If your body is physically dependent on a substance, then you need to detox it from your system. This will be medically assisted so you come off your evil-of-choice in a gradual and safe way. Group therapy will follow, as well as individual discussions looking at the reasons behind your addiction.
"Addiction help isn't about a doctor repeatedly telling you, 'this is bad for you'. It's about working with the person and looking at the pros and cons of using," says Dr Hill.
Recovery is a process and not an end in itself. Take it one day at a time. For example, if you're a heavy drinker, telling yourself "I'll try not to drink tomorrow" instead of "I can never drink again" might help. Hard though it might be, it's worth being optimistic about the future.
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.
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.
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.
The Metropolitan Police has said it will examine 58 GHB-related deaths, following the conviction of serial killer Stephen Port.
A leading police chief says recreational drug testing "may be very useful". Commander Bray is in discussion with the government about it.
Britain should follow America's lead and legalise cannabis, and rake in £1 billion a year in tax revenues
Marijuana legalization will unleash misery on Arizona, according to a wave of television ads that started rolling out across the state last month.
Police in Denmark have arrested a man and woman on suspicion of providing cannabis to cancer patients and people with other serious illnesses.
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.
There is a common misconception that teenagers who experiment with drugs and alcohol are inherently "bad kids".
Many parents assume that teenagers experiment because they are rebellious and want to lash out. That may be the reason a small percentage of teenagers try drugs and alcohol today, but the dangerous trend is not that simple or one-sided. Understanding is the first step to helping.
It was the absence of two phone calls, 16 years apart, that signalled the start and tragic end of Simon Millington's struggle with prescription drug addiction.
As midnight approached, his mother, Margaret Millington, began to panic as she waited for the call to explain his absence, usually made without fail.
"When it got to 4am or 5am, I knew something was wrong," Margaret says.
Heroin on prescription and supervised injecting rooms are among a range of measures that the government's drug advisers have suggested to reverse the UK's soaring numbers of drug deaths.
Responding to a sharp rise in the number of heroin-related deaths in recent years, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs said maintenance of drug treatment programmes was essential to prevent further increases.
Natasha Butler had never heard of fentanyl until a doctor told her that a single pill had pushed her eldest son to the brink of death, and wasn't coming back.
"The doctor said fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. How did Jerome get it?" she asked as the tears came. "Jerome was on a respirator and unresponsive. The doctor told me all his organs had shut down. If he makes it he'll be a vegetable."
When Aldous Huxley was dying in 1963, he asked his wife to inject him with LSD, and he passed away, she wrote afterwards, without any of the pain and distress that cancer can cause in the final hours.
Huxley, who wrote The Doors of Perception about his experience of taking the psychedelic drug mescaline, anticipated just such a death in his last novel, Island.
Drug-related deaths in England and Wales have hit record levels, official statistics show.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures reveal that a total of 3,674 drug poisoning deaths involving legal and illegal substances were recorded in 2015, up from 3,346 in 2014 and the most since records began in 1993.
Walking beside me through a market town centre is a lean, healthy, 46-year-old man. "So, you wanted me to show you how I used to look?" He draws in his stomach, rounds his shoulders, paws imaginary sweat from his cheeks, and suddenly I'm looking at a junkie - jumpy, wheedling, begging for a fix. "And this is how you walk when you're going to score heroin." Subtly hunched over a sunken midriff, he strides ahead, as fast as he can without breaking into a run. "It's all in the stomach," he grins when I've caught up.
The UK has Europe's largest online market for drugs proving the "futility of the war on drugs". After investigating eight of the world's largest "dark web" market places, researchers found that the UK's online drugs trade dwarfed that of other European countries and was second in size only to that of the US.
UK dark web sellers were doing 20,748 deals worth £1.8m a month, nearly double the 11,039 worth £920,000 in Europe's 2nd largest market, Germany.
I shot heroin and cocaine while attending Columbia in the 1980s, sometimes many times a day and leaving scars. I kept using, even after I was suspended from school, after I overdosed and even after I was arrested for dealing.
My parents were devastated. They couldn't understand what had happened to their "gifted" child. They kept hoping I would just somehow stop, even though every time I tried to quit, I relapsed within months.
Newspaper breaks new ground by declaring itself in favour of treating drug use and possession as a health issue rather than a crime.
The Times has boldly gone where few newspapers - and very, very few politicians - have ever dared to go before by declaring itself in favour of legalising drugs in Britain. The paper has supported a call by the Royal Society for Public Health to decriminalise the possession and use of illegal drugs.
A new drug considered to be 10,000 times more powerful than morphine has hit the market in the US after being discovered in Canada.
The synthetic opiate W-18 is a psychoactive substance and opioid similar to heroin, but is 100 times more powerful than fentanyl.
It is now making its way to the US at a time when fentanyl-related deaths in Canada continue to rise.
Since entering recovery 28 years ago, I've spent a lots of time thinking about addiction. The most common definition is "compulsive drug use despite negative consequences". It's odd then, that we use punishment to stop it.
During my addiction to heroin and cocaine, I kept using despite being suspended from University. I kept injecting despite losing friends. I kept on despite the risk of death, disease, family disappointment and the stigma.
Norway's courts will now be able to sentence drug-addicted convicts to treatment programmes instead of sending them to jail. Following trials in Bergen and Oslo, the programme is being introduced nationwide.
Announcing the expansion of the programme, Justice Minister Anders Andundsen said: "We're rolling out a program that has been tested since 2006, in which addicts have been sentenced to treatment with concrete follow-up."
Deaths from drug overdoses have jumped in nearly every county across the United States, driven largely by an explosion in addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin.
Some of the largest concentrations of overdose deaths were in Appalachia and the Southwest, according to new county-level estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It's still more than three months until finals, but there's a whiff of panic in the air of the Edinburgh student flat where I'm having dinner. "Everybody's feeling it," says Suzy. Feeling what? "The pressure. There's just so much pressure."
"Everything. I shouldn't even be here. I didn't even want to go to university but everyone said I should. And the work! It's just... there's so much of it! I feel like I wouldn't even have a chance if it wasn't for modafinil."
Hundreds of schoolchildren, among them a pupil of only eight, have been caught with drugs on school premises, new figures reveal. Class-A drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine were among the illegal substances seized, according to the data from police in England and Wales.
There were more than 2,000 incidents dating back to 2011, suggest figures. Teachers described the statistics as a "worry" and the "tip of the iceberg".
Drinking alcohol is not fatal unless people consume too much alcohol. The CDC reports that nearly 88,000 alcohol-related deaths occur each year, and binge drinking accounted for about half the deaths.
By comparison, the number of deaths caused by marijuana is almost zero. A study found that a fatal dose of TCH, the potent chemical in marijuana, would be between 238 and 1,113 joints in a day to overdose on marijuana.
Recently legalised in the Washington and Colorado, marijuana has medical and recreational uses but can also be damaging. The high from marijuana comes from Tetrahydrocannabinol, which is found in varying potency.
Most of THC's effects happen in the brain, where the chemical interacts with cannibinoid receptors in the brain. Our bodies make chemicals similar to THC andTHC co-opts these natural pathways to produce most of its effects.
Matthew Smith was heavily into drugs. He was dodging school and creating havoc at home. One day he went too far and his mother threw him out.
"By day I was the mummy of a sweet little girl, baking cakes with her, reading her stories," she says. Once Lydia was in bed. "I'd start worrying about Matthew, my teenager. Often I wouldn't have seen him all day but I knew exactly what he was up to. He was taking drugs.