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Addiction Treatments Necessary as Number of Addicts Rising


New figures have shown that there has been a forty-five per cent increase in the number of people being treated for drug and alcohol addictions in Northern Ireland over the past two years. There are now more than 8,000 people receiving treatment in the country; more than half of those are getting support from voluntary bodies or charities, despite these organisations facing cuts in their financial support.

Well Needed Funding

A top doctor has claimed that funding must continue to be given to these organisations as they do important work that is necessary for those struggling with addiction. Cutting funding could mean that some of these charities may be forced to close or to stop providing help to those who need it most.

Austerity measures throughout the UK have caused funding cuts to many worthwhile organisations and those who suffer with addiction are paying the price in many instances. Just last year, an addiction centre in Ballymena was told that its funding was to be cut, which then threw the future of the centre into doubt. In addition, with the growing number of people receiving treatment for addiction, it highlights the fact that these services are in growing demand and funding needs to be continued.

Dr George O’Neill, chairperson of Addiction NI said, “Overall 54% of those who receive treatment receive it from the voluntary communities and charities. These are the very bodies who are under threat from funding cuts. The other interesting thing is the majority of the under 18s with alcohol and drug problems are dealt with almost exclusively by the voluntary sector and charities.”

Spotting Addiction in Teenagers

Teenagers with addiction need to be helped and there are many charities and private rehabilitations across the UK working with addicted teenagers and helping them to turn their life around. Support from the family is extremely important but the truth is that most families do not know much about addiction. Unless they have had experience with drugs before, addiction will be a completely new thing; trying to help an addicted child overcome his or her habit before it gets too far can be tough.

The first thing to do is to recognise the problem. With no experience of drugs, some parents are unable to spot the signs of addiction until it is too late. It pays to be vigilant because early intervention goes a long way towards successful rehabilitation. Below are a few things to look out for in a teenager who may have a drug or alcohol addiction.

  • Lack of motivation. This is a common symptom of just being a teenager so it is understandable that many parents will overlook it. However, if you notice a sudden change in behaviour and lack of motivation in things that he or she was previously interested in, then you should be vigilant for other signs of addiction.
  • Missing pills. If you notice that pills or medication is missing from the home, it could be the case that your teenager is taking them. Many teenagers become addicted to prescription medication that they have ‘stolen’ from the home, so make sure you know what medication you have and keep an eye on it.
  • Sudden change in weight. Many medications or drugs can cause rapid changes in weight, so if you notice that your teenager has suddenly gained a lot of weight or is looking like he or she has lost a few pounds for no apparent reason, you should look for other signs of addiction.
  • Many drug addicts become irritable when they cannot get their hands on their drug of choice and living at home with parents means that teenagers cannot access drugs as and when they choose. This can lead to them becoming irritable and moody.
  • Becoming secretive. Teenagers with drug or alcohol problems will not want their parents to know about their habit and may become secretive about their life. They will lie about their whereabouts and may develop a sudden need for privacy.
  • New friends. Many teenagers will develop new sets of friends when they move to high school and it could be that these new friends have introduced your child to the world of drugs. If you notice that your teenager’s behaviour has changed since hooking up with these new friends then it could be that they are all taking drugs together. Keep your eyes peeled for a combination of these signs.

Reasons Why Teenagers Take Drugs

Becoming a teenager is not easy. Some breeze through life and make the transition from junior to high school with no problems but for others, it can be extremely tough. Unfortunately, social media has made things even more difficult for some people with online bullying becoming a major problem in some schools across the UK.

The truth is that most teenagers will dabble with drugs and alcohol but thankfully, for most of them it never becomes an issue. However, for some it can lead to addiction and a life of pain and suffering. There are many reasons why teenagers turn to drugs and alcohol – below are a few.

  • The area where a person lives can contribute to whether or not they take drugs in the first place. Some communities have high unemployment, poor local service, and low quality housing; in these areas, drug use is all too often prevalent. Drug gangs may be roaming these areas encouraging teenagers to try drugs and alcohol in the hopes that they will become their next batch of customers. However, it is not only poor areas in which drug use is common. Many teenagers in private schools are taking drugs and a number of them will end up in rehabilitation centres for addiction treatment.
  • To relieve stress or take away pain. Being a teenager can be difficult. Growing up and dealing with changing hormones and the pressures of school can cause certain individuals to feel stressed and unhappy. Many of them will try to block out these feelings by drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
  • Teenagers will have heard about certain drugs from their peers and may want to experiment for themselves to see ‘what all the fuss is about’. Most teenagers can dabble without any consequences but others will become hooked quite quickly.
  • Rebellion is a natural part of being a teenager and many of them will want to do things that their parents or teachers will disapprove of. Taking drugs and alcohol as a way to rebel is quite common.
  • Peer pressure. Peer pressure plays a major role in whether or not a teenager will take drugs. If their friends are taking drugs or drinking alcohol, they may be pressured to do the same. Some teenagers will not want to be called ‘boring’ and may indulge just to have the pressure taken off them.

Getting Help for Teenage Addiction

Teenage addiction is a huge worry for parents, but there is help available. If you suspect that your teenager may have a problem with alcohol or drugs, call Addiction Helpline today. Our team of expert counsellors can help to confirm if an addiction is likely and can advise on treatments and rehabilitations centres from which you can get help.

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