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.
FRANK offers friendly, confidential advice and information on all things drugs-related to anyone including users, families, friends, and carers. Call on 0300 123 6600.
Release offers free and confidential advice on drugs related subjects and drugs law, provining referrals to lawyers and local drug services. Call on 020 7324 2989
Addaction helps change behaviour from drug or alcohol abuse to worries about mental health. Call on 020 7251 5860.
Young People - For information about drugs check out the information on www.thesite.org run by YouthNet UK
Agencies which provide support and information
www.lukeandmarcustrust.org.uk For anyone fighting drug or addiction problems within their family or circle of friends and needs help, information, or just a shoulder to cry on.
www.smartrecovery.org.uk Smart Recovery UK runs a network of self help/mutual aid meetings where, through open and confidential discussion participants help each other and themselves with recovery from any kind of addictive behaviour. Also online community of meetings. The purpose is to help individuals seeking abstinence from addictive behaviours to gain independence, achieve recovery and lead meaningful and satisfying lives.
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. In order to understand us, you have to put yourself in our shoes and imagine what we are really experiencing. Do you remember what it was like to be a teen? Understanding is the first step to helping.
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 narkotikaprogrammet (narcotics programme) is being introduced nationwide, effective immediately.
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."
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.
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 Columbia University. I kept injecting despite losing friends - though difficulty socializing was one of the main reasons I took drugs in the first place. I kept on despite the risk of overdose death, disease, the disappointment of my family and the stigma.
A new study revealing that the UK has Europe's largest online market for illegal drugs proves the "utter futility of the war on drugs", reform campaigners have claimed. 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 drug deals worth £1.8m a month, nearly double the 11,039 deals worth £920,000 in Europe's second largest online drugs market of Germany.
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.
Cocaine deaths reached an all-time high in 2015, and deaths involving heroin or morphine have doubled over 3 years to reach record levels.
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."
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. At the time, many in the psychiatric field thought psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin, the active ingredient of magic mushrooms, and LSD held huge promise to alleviate all kinds of severe mental distress.
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.
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."
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.
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.