Review & Resources: Rosie’s Talk on Peer Pressure, Drugs and Alcohol

Thank you to everyone who packed into the Queen’s Hall on Tuesday for Rosie Johnston’s frank discussion about drugs and alcohol.  Rosie’s talk covered a wide range of subjects including:  how to help our children navigate the exposure they have to drugs and alcohol with their various friendship groups, the social norms within the family around alcohol and the bombardment of advertising and social media.  Rosie explained what drugs were readily available to our children and what they were ‘cut’ with, including the shocking revelation that cannabis in this country is most likely to be skunk which can create psychotic episodes in young men.  She explained that there are certain personality traits that can make our children more susceptible to addiction; how the brain is now thought not to be fully developed until the age of 25 and how alcohol damages the brain if taken in excess before this age.  The sub-text to Rosie’s talk was based on her actual experiences from the age of 16, the addiction, loss of her best friend and consequent prison term.  Below is a list of websites recommended by Rosie:

If you’re worried about a teenager or loved one using drugs:  www.drugabuse.gov

If you’re worried about a teenager or loved one using alcohol:  www.alcoholconcern.org.uk

An independent, government funded website with information about drugs, alcohol and effective information and tips for talking to teenagers and children:  www.talktofrank.com

A vast array of academic papers and articles on teen mental health, brain development and drug and alcohol use:  www.bmj.com and www.rcpsych.ac.uk

When help is needed … someone sympathetic and practical to talk to: www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk and www.narcoticsanonymous.org.uk

Brilliant article on the development of the teenage brain and how drinking as a teenager affects it:  The Grim Neurology of Teenage Drinking – New York Times 2006

Boundaries – anything by Pia Mellody!   www.piamellody.com/ She is also on you tube:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFtHq7-dvHs

Peer Pressure – two fantastic websites that offer practical solutions and advice on a huge array of peer issues:  http://us.reachout.com/ and http://ie.reachout.com/

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