Talk to someone
Concerned about your own drug taking? Worried about someone else? Talking to an expert can help.
For free, confidential information and advice call the Know the Score Drugs Helpline on 0800 587 5879.
Worried about your drug use?
If you’re worried about your drug use then well done on taking the first steps and coming to us to find help and support. Whether you want to stop taking drugs altogether or cut back the information on this page will help you reach your goals.
Please seek advice from a professional before stopping your drug of choice altogether as it could be very dangerous if it’s a drug your body has become dependent on.
Cutting back or quitting
If you want to cut back or quit using drugs altogether you’ll need to break any habits that you’ve formed around your drug use.
Habits start because they help us in some way. Some people find that completing a workout gives them an endorphin high and for others a few drinks when out with friends helps them feel more confident.
For you it could be that smoking cannabis makes you feel less bored or lonely or that taking cocaine gives you more energy.
If we get some benefit from doing something then often we start doing them again and again.
Every type of drug has the potential to be habit forming and addictive. If you’ve formed a habit then your body starts to expect the feeling it is used to getting. If we don’t do the thing our brain is expecting then we’ll get what is known as cravings. A strong urge to take the drug or do the thing that gives you the good feeling.
Breaking a habit
If you’re trying to break a habit then replacing it with a new healthier habit will help. This way you’ll still get those rewarding feelings without the negative side effects you would get from the habit you’ve formed from your drug use.
The new habit will start to retrain your brain so that your old habit no longer has such a strong grip on you. Finding a habit that helps with some of the reasons for using drugs, can make it easier to switch and for the new habit to stick.
For example, you found that you like to use cannabis to relax, then trying yoga or meditation to get the same benefit without the risks.
Understand your feelings
If you can find new ways to cope with those old feelings that would lead you to take drugs then you’ll find you are able to leave your unhelpful habit behind.
It’s all about taking small steps and finding what works best for you. Quitting drugs or cutting back is a journey and you shouldn’t be disappointed or give up if you struggle at any point in your journey. It’s important that you get back on track and keep trying and reach out to us on webchat if you need any support or advice.
Other things to try
It may help to:
- Keep a diary or log – this will help you understand your habit and the feelings that trigger it
- Avoid triggers – try to stay away from people, places and situations that could trigger your habit
- Look after yourself – eat well, sleep, spend time with people you trust and be kind to yourself
- Stop for a short while – if you’re not ready to drop a habit for good, you could just see how it feels to give it up for a bit
If you’re dependent on drugs or alcohol (or think you might be) it’s important to get medical advice before stopping or changing your current drug or alcohol habits.
Stopping suddenly if your body is used to a certain amount of drugs or alcohol can be really dangerous and you’ll need medical advice to quit safely. Your doctor will be able to offer you help and advice to quit safely and in a way that won’t put you in anger.
Social life and friends
If you’ve given up drugs altogether or have cut back but your friends haven’t this can put you in a difficult position. Some people can still be around drugs or alcohol after they have given them up but in reality, in the early days at least, these people are few and far between.
If you find yourself in the difficult position that your friends are still actively using drugs while you are trying to quit you might need to make the difficult decision to stop seeing your friends for a while or make friendships with people who don’t use drugs.
This can be a really hard decision to make but your health and wellbeing comes first and having people around you who will offer you support and encouragement can ultimately be the thing that keeps you away from drugs.
However, we do recognise the importance of friendship and community especially for someone who is quitting or cutting back on their drug use.