As more young people struggle to cope with drug and alcohol addictions, Britain prepares to open its first rehab facility for children.

A new specialist unit is being built in Cornwall to offer treatment to teenagers and your people who need help overcoming substance misuse problems. Part of Bosence Farm Community, it will be the first facility in the UK to focus solely on helping under-18s combat their dependence on drugs, alcohol and legal highs.

Kate Cook, Bosence Farm Community’s chief executive, said: “There is no residential provision in Cornwall and limited provision in the country for people under 18 who have drug and alcohol problems.

“There are significant barriers to parents in need of treatment taking up residential support because of concern for their children’s wellbeing, particularly when the seriousness of their problems may mean they lose custody altogether. This centre will mean that we can help families and individuals with complex needs right here in Cornwall, and significantly improve the outcomes.”

Bosence Farm Community is a charity which has been helping adults with substance misuse issues for the last 20 years. The new unit is expected to open in November and will initially concentrate on treating those aged between 16 and 18 before also admitting younger children.

Teenagers often experiment with illegal substances

Figures from the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) showed that almost four in 10 UK teens aged 15 or 16 had tried an illegal drug. And the use of legal highs among school-age children has soared in recent years.

Most parents worry that their teenager may try drugs. And the idea that their child could develop a dependence on drugs or alcohol can be very alarming.

If you notice any changes in your teenager’s behaviour such as becoming hostile are acting withdrawn, there is a possibility that substance misuse could be the problem.  They may also appear to lose interest in things which used to be important to them or be spending time with a different circle of friends than before.

Other signs include skipping school, experiencing trouble sleeping and a loss of appetite and appearing tired and depressed.

If you suspect your teenage son or daughter is abusing drugs or alcohol, you may want to check with a test. AlphaBiolabs offers a range of drug testing services for members of the public including a kit which can be used at home and will provide a result within minutes.

If you want to look at your child’s drug use over a period of months, a hair strand test can reveal long-term substance misuse and show exactly what they have taken in the weeks leading up to the sample being taken.