Alcohol and other drug use can be complex and the issues and consequences that surround it can be confusing. It is important to know where to seek help.
Drug education helps children and young people understand that all drugs, legal and illegal, have the potential to cause harm, and that the drug experience is because of many factors including the person, the drug and the environment.
While most young people will not have problems with alcohol or other drugs, providing a supportive family environment where issues of concern can be raised and talked through fosters resilience and positive mental health, and can keep young people safer.
Giving your children accurate, age-appropriate information about alcohol and other drugs and talking openly on this topic, lets your children know that you are happy to have conversations about a range of subjects, including the ones that might seem harder to talk about. This can reassure them that no questions or issues are off limits.
The Mental Health Commission
The Mental Health Commission is responsible for a range of network of drug and alcohol systems that include prevention, promotion and early intervention, treatment and support services, as well as research programs. Confidential helplines are available for anyone concerned about their own or another person's alcohol or drug use.
The Drug Aware website provides factual, credible and accurate drug information for young people in order to help them make informed decisions. It also provides a live chat service where you can chat confidentially with a professional alcohol and drug councillor online.
E-cigarettes and vaping
E-cigarettes, or ‘vapes’, are not safe for young people. They come in many flavours, shapes and sizes that appeal to young people. Vapes can be hard to spot as they can look like everyday items including highlighters, pens or USB memory sticks.
It is illegal in WA to sell e-cigarette devices and nicotine vaping products to anyone regardless of age, unless they are prescribed by a doctor for smoking cessation purposes and obtained with a prescription from a pharmacy. E-cigarette devices and their components, whether they contain nicotine or not, cannot be sold by tobacco or general retailers in WA.
Many vapes contain nicotine. Nicotine can cause long-lasting negative effects on development, including impaired attention, learning, memory ability and altered mood. Young people who vape are 3 times as likely to take up smoking cigarettes.
Vapes can contain the same harmful chemicals found in cleaning products, nail polish remover, weed killer and bug spray, which can lead to serious lung diseases.
Young people are reportedly purchasing vapes online, from retail stores or from friends and contacts within the community. You can report suspected illegal sales of vapes to the Department of Health by emailing TobaccoPolicy@health.wa.gov.au