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East Lothian Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Support

This is an exciting new project and the first time MYPAS has provided services within East Lothian.

Our Project Workers will provide friendly, confidential and non-judgemental drug and alcohol supports for young people (aged 12 to 19) in East Lothian.

We offer:

  • one to one support for young people worried about their drug and/or alcohol use
  • group work programmes that can be run in schools or youth centres
  • training for staff working with young people who want to increase their knowledge about young people’s drug and alcohol use, harm reduction messages and approaches
  • information and advice for families worried about the drug and alcohol use of a teenage relative

Support for young people

Our staff can meet you on your own to give you info, advice or support about drug and alcohol use. You could:

  • learn about the impact drugs and alcohol have on you
  • talk about how things are going 
  • explore ways to stop or cut down
  • better understand why you use alcohol or drugs 
  • focus on the strengths and skills you already have 
  • figure out ways to change things for the better 

Your drug or alcohol use doesn’t need to be out of control to receive support

The kind of support you’ll be offered will be tailored for you.

If you need a bit more information to help you keep safer that’s what we’ll give you.

or

If you want to cut down because your alcohol and/or drug use is causing problems for you and the people around you, then that’s what we’ll help you with.

or

If you feel it’s best to stop using, we can help with that too.

We won’t tell you what to do

We won’t tell you what to do, but will encourage you to change things for the better if your alcohol or drug use is causing problems. For example, we can give you useful tips to help prevent things getting out of control. 

You can talk about other things, not just alcohol or drugs 

You might want to talk about other things like; 

  • difficult feelings & worries
  • friendships
  • family situations
  • tips for building confidence
  • money worries 
  • school 
  • anger problems 

You’re in control  

Telling someone about your problems can be helpful but it can also be scary. If you don’t want to talk about difficult things right away, that’s ok. You’re in control of what you talk about. And no matter what it is you tell us, we won’t judge you.

The best ways to get support

You can get support from MYPAS by

  • contacting us yourself 
  • a worker or family member referring you for support (this could be your guidance teacher, a carer or parent, social worker, other supportive adult) or,
  • asking a teacher or youth worker to arrange for us to meet you in your school or youth centre so we can tell you more about the service, especially if you aren’t sure it’s for you 

What happens when we receive a referral

We will contact you as soon as possible to arrange an initial meeting. 

The initial meeting is a good opportunity to meet your worker and have a friendly chat to find out what the support will be like. 

If you want, you can use this meeting to let your worker know a bit more about you and what you feel you most want support with.

After this first meeting you won’t have to wait long for the support sessions to start as we don’t have a waiting list at the moment.

We won’t tell anyone 

Support is confidential. 

We won’t pass on your name, details or any information about you without your permission.

But if we have serious concerns about you, or about another young person’s safety (including dangerous drug use or drinking), we’d have to tell others.

If we do need to break confidentiality, we’ll explain our reasons beforehand and let you know what’s going on.

How many sessions you’ll have and how long they’ll last

You’ll agree with your worker how often you meet with them. You will also agree where and how long support will last.

It could be once a week or more often than that. It could be every couple of weeks. And it can last as long as you feel you need it. If you change your mind, and feel you don’t need it, that’s ok too.

Where the support will take place

We will meet you in an appropriate place that feels most comfortable and safe for you. This might be in school, a youth centre or community centre.

It also doesn’t have to be sitting in a room. You might do an activity with your worker, like go for a game of pool, a walk along a beach, a visit to the gym or meeting up for lunch 

What if you aren’t sure about one to one support?

You can meet a worker for a ‘one off’ meeting to get the information you need.

You could also meet a worker to find out more about support, and then make your mind up afterwards if you want to give it a chance.

You and your friends could take part in a group rather than speaking to a worker one to one. 

What you should do if your friends are using drugs a lot and you’re worried about them

Sometimes people who have a drug or alcohol problem don’t think, or refuse to believe, it’s a problem.

If you think your friends have a problem and you want to help them, think about what you’re going to say.

You won’t want to look like you are nagging them but if you can, talk to them, say how you feel and, above all else, listen to what they have to say. 

If they are under 19 you could suggest they talk to one of our workers in confidence to find out more about our service, or to get more harm reduction information about the drugs they’re using. 

There are also phone lines like Talk to Frank – 0300 123 6600 and Know the Score – 0800 587 5879, which offer free and confidential support.

Useful information for parents, teachers, youth workers and social workers 

Young people who are worried about alcohol or drugs can find it difficult to approach an adult for support. Even if it’s someone they trust, like a parent or a teacher. 

Young people may fear getting into trouble if they speak to an adult. They worry what might happen if they open up to someone. They worry the adult might think badly of them. 

Even though these things might not happen, it can prevent young people getting the support they need. 

If there is a young person you think might benefit from support then please get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss further or take a referral. Referrals can be taken over the phone, through email or by filling out and sending our referral form. 

It is important that young people are aware of and consent to the referral. 

MDMA Leaflet and Poster

MYPAS has produced a MDMA leaflet and poster for young people in East Lothian and Midlothian. The leaflet provides information on:

  • What MDMA is
  • How it makes you feel
  • The risks
  • How to keep yourself safer
  • How long it lasts
  • The comedown
  • What to do if someone has taken too much MDMA

Contact us for copies of the leaflets and posters. They are also available to download here as an electronic copy and as an e-Poster.

Other places you can get information and support

Phone lines like Talk to Frank – 0300 123 6600 and Know the Score – 0800 587 5879, offer free and confidential support.

The Midlothian and East Lothian Drug and Alcohol Partnership website has information on other drug and alcohol services available in Midlothian.