Smoking, drinking or drug-taking? Where to get help to stop

If you smoke, drink to excess or take drugs, you probably know the effect it’s having on your body. And it’s going to impact on your baby too. Giving up might not be easy, but it’s by far the best option for you and your child.

If you’re worried about how your addiction might affect your children, it’s time to start talking to some of the organisations and support networks that can help you give up.

Smoking

If you want help in giving up smoking:

  • The NHS has a free Go Smokefree helpline on 0800 1690169. The line is open seven days a week, 7am to 11pm, and offers advice on how to give up. It can also refer you to a local self-help group.
  • The charity Quit offers a similar, free helpline on 0800 002200. The line is open from 9am to 9pm each day.
  • If you are about to have a baby and want to quit smoking, the NHS runs a daily 12-noon to 9pm ‘Pregnancy Smoking Helpline’ on 0800 1699169
  • For more details on NHS stop-smoking services see www.givingupsmoking.co.uk.
  • For more information on the impact of smoking on you or your children, see the NHS website or Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)

Body matters

Drinking

If you think you might have a drink problem and want to find out more, or want advice on how to cut down:

  • a good place to start is Netdoctor
  • your GP or local health trust can refer you to an alcohol advice centre or clinic where you can discuss your problem
  • your GP could prescribe the drug ‘Antabuse’, which helps drinkers avoid drinking, although it does not remove the craving. If you drink after taking Antabuse, you’ll experience symptoms such as headaches and nausea, but the drug does not help everyone and it can lead to more serious side-effects

NOTE: specialist alcohol detoxification facilities are rare in the NHS and it is unusual for the NHS to fund placements in private facilities. 

Top tips for staying in shape  

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the world’s biggest union of voluntary, self-help groups for people with alcohol problems.

If you join, you will meet people who have similar problems and the only requirement is an honest desire to stop drinking.

The therapy takes place without the presence of professionals, such as doctors or psychologists.

The AA’s national helpline is 0845 769 7555, or visit Alcoholics Anonymous for further information.

Drugs

  • The organisation FRANK has a free, 24-hour helpline on 0800 776600 for anyone facing problems with drugs.
  • FRANK can also refer you to services in your area, and its A-Z of drugs advice offers information on every drug available. See FRANK's website for more details.
  • The national charity DrugScope offers expertise on drugs and advice about where to find help in your area.
  • For the NHS’s advice on drugs use and where to find help, see the NHS website

Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous is a self-help network for people who want help to overcome their drugs problems. They describe themselves as "recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean".

They can be phoned (at local call rates) on 0845 FREEDOM and 0845 7730 0009. The network also offers online meetings three nights a week in addition to their local groups.

Visit www.ukna.org for further information.

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