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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

Drug use in youth

Teen drugsAny drug can hurt you, even cannabis. So can legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco.

Knowing the facts about drugs and how they might affect you can help you to make better decisions about whether to use them. It can also help to reduce any harm drugs cause you.

Psychoactive drugs are drugs that affect your mind – like party pills and synthetic cannabis, and some prescription medicines. Synthetic psychoactive drugs are drugs that are made in laboratories. They are then put into or onto, a carrier (like paper, dried plant leaf or into a pill).

In 2014 the law on synthetic drugs changed. You can read more about the law change here.

Sometimes it helps to find out what experiences other young people have had with drugs, and the decisions they've made. You might like to watch some of the videos on to find out about other people's experiences.

If you're worried that you might have a problem with drugs, it could be a good idea to talk to your doctor about it. Your usual doctor has to keep all information about your medical care private, and is a good person to see because they know you best.

Coming off drugs

If you have been using any drugs regularly and then stop, you may have withdrawal symptoms. This leaflet gives advice about what withdrawal symptoms you can expect, and where you can get help.

Phone and helplines

It may be easier to talk to someone anonymously first, or you may be worried that someone else may has a drug problem. Try one of these helplines for advice and support:


Freephone 0800‑376-633 (any time) or free txt 234 to speak to a counsellor.

Email any time. Counsellors aim to respond to emails within 24 hours, so if you need help immediately it's better to phone, txt, or use the online chat.

Alcohol Drug Youth Helpline

Freephone: 0800‑787‑YTH (0800‑787‑984), 10 am to 10 pm, any day

Free TXT: send ADH to 8681 and a counsellor will txt you back.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

On the next page: Drug information for parents and caregivers

Information provided by the Canterbury DHB. Adapted by the West Coast DHB. Page created April 2016


See also:

Alcohol: know the facts

Drug overdose

Page reference: 261204

Review key: HIDYT-53199