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Young People and Substance Misuse

The latest official data shows that drinking and drug use among young people has more than halved over the past 10 years. Yet there are still significant numbers of young people across the country using and misusing substances, and some of these are at risk of developing severe and enduring substance misuse problems that continue into adulthood. Health inequalities relating to substance misuse are evident, with vulnerable groups (such as those excluded from school, young offenders and care leavers) far more likely to experience substance misuse problems.

As a member of the Young People’s Health Partnership, a consortium of organisations working with the Department of Health, Public Health England and NHS England as strategic partners to raise the profile of the health agenda across the voluntary youth sector, Addaction has produced this briefing about young people’s substance misuse and how local services and commissioners can respond to this issue. This is a huge and complex issue so we have chosen to focus this document on one area that Addaction believes is vital in any local approach to drug and alcohol misuse among young people: early intervention.

Early intervention best practice demonstrates what the Young People’s Health Partnership is all about: an integrated approach to young people’s health and wellbeing, building the skills of the youth sector, partnership working, and – most importantly – young people leading the way.

Throughout the briefing we draw on Addaction’s experience of delivering early intervention, prevention, treatment and recovery support to young people and frontline professionals across England.