Help with Substance Misuse

Drugs are substances which can cause a big change in your body when you take them. Whilst some drugs such as medicines can help you feel better, there are also lots of illegal drugs that can have a negative effect on your physical and mental wellbeing.

A drug is any chemical that a person takes.  This can be in the form of a pill, a liquid and a powder or in another form.  These can affect the way you think, feel and act.  Alcohol is also included within this.

A drug can be something legal and commonly used, such as over the counter tablets or prescriptions. However, it is mostly the illegal drugs that people take for enjoyment or any other non-medical reason.


There are lots of different reasons why people might take drugs or drink alcohol. It might be:

  • to fit in with a group or appear popular
  • to see what it feels like
  • because they feel like they should, or they feel pressure to do it
  • to distract from difficult thoughts or feelings, or to try to make these feelings go away
  • to feel more confident or able to talk to people


It can be hard to recognise when you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, as this can develop over time without you noticing. Below are some common signs that you might have a problem with drugs or alcohol.


  • You feel like your drug or alcohol use is no longer under your control, and that you cannot cope without it – you “need” to do it, even if you don’t want to.
  • You build up a tolerance to the drug, meaning you might start to need more and more of it in order to feel the effects.
  • You get withdrawal symptoms when you don’t take it. For example, you might feel sick, anxious or develop shakes
  • You often have unexplained cuts and bruises, blackouts, confusion and difficulty remembering what happened while drinking or on drugs.
  • You are feeling secretive and ashamed about what you are doing, or doing it in private or on your own.

It is important to reach out for help if you are worried about your drug or alcohol use. In Bolton young people can contact the 360° Substance Misuse Service on 01204 462444. If you are over 18 you can receive support from Achieve on 01204 483090. If you struggle to speak to people over the phone you could send a Chat Health message to a Bolton Public Health Nurse on 07507 331753

FRANK also offers friendly, confidential advice on all things drugs-related. You can call them for free on 0300 123 6600


Articles & Guides

Dealing with pressure

Talk to Frank have provided 10 ways to deal with feeling pressured to take drugs

Drugs and Alcohol – A guide for young people

Young Minds have produced an online guide for facts about drugs and alcohol

Bolton 360° – Substance Misuse Service ( 11 – 19)

An overview of the child and adolescent services available to young people in Bolton.

Support and information on drugs and alcohol

The Mix provide some useful information about to young people up to 25 about alcohol and drugs

Bolton Achieve Substance Misuse Service (18+)

An overview of the substance misuse service available to anyone over 18 in Bolton


Parental Alcohol and Substance Misuse

The WITH project have developed a video for young people who have a parent/carer with substance misuse

What is a drug?

FuseSchool have produced an educational animation about what drugs are


Local information about services available to support your mental health