What do we do?

Parents and carers

Parents have a significant influence over their children throughout their lives, including their teenage years, so working in partnership with parents is a more effective approach to changing young people’s understanding, attitudes and behaviour in relation to drugs and alcohol. However, the world for young people is a very different place than it was for their parents, including in their exposure to drugs and vulnerability to risk.


The DSM Foundation drug education team delivers workshops for parents and carers, in schools, colleges and community settings, and via live online webinars, which provide a great opportunity to increase awareness of what issues their children face, and what they can do to help them stay safe.   


Workshops involvefinding out about: 

  • levels of young people’s exposure to drugs and alcohol – what, where, when and how
  • what young people, and their parents and carers, need to know about the risks of drugs and alcohol
  • factors that affect young people’s decisions about drugs and alcohol, including teenage brain development
  • how to have effective conversations with your child, and practical suggestions for what you can do to support them to stay safe
  • where to go for more information and support. 


Workshops can be delivered in person in schools, colleges and community settings, or online via live webinar. These are generally organised on our own zoom platform, in discussion with the setting, but can also be delivered on a school’s own platform it that’s preferred.


Settings are sent a template for an email to send out to parents, which provides information about the workshop content and about the DSM Foundation. We also send out a survey link for them to share with parents prior to workshops, so they are able to identify their priorities for the event. They are also able to submit questions confidentially beforehand via the survey, as well as during the evening. At the end of workshops, parents are able to access a page on our website set up specifically for these events, which includes a downloadable leaflet that covers all the key information covered in the workshop and more, as well as links to other information and support. We also send settings a recording of online sessions for parents to access if they want to revisit it later, or were unable to attend.


To hear Fiona tell her son Dan’s story and find out what a workshop covers, watch this short (three minute) film: 

Parents said:

“Excellent workshop, would thoroughly recommend to all parents of teenagers.”

“I am a psychiatrist so probably have more experience with drugs than other parents but still found it very useful and have definitely picked up info and tips Thank you.”

“It made me aware that it is an issue that we need to talk about gently, regularly, and openly from a younger age than I suspected. Regardless of your experience with drugs.”

“After this evening, as a parent of a 13 year old boy I now feel more aware of all the help and support there is available to parents and carers.”


Teachers said:

“Informed, insightful and full of practical tips. Feedback from parents involved was extremely positive.”


I Wish I’d Known – Young People, Drugs and Decisions: A Guide for Parents and Carers, Fiona Spargo-Mabbs (Sheldon Press, 2021)

This book for parents by DSMF Director and Founder, Dan’s mum Fiona, interweaves the story of one family’s terrible loss with calm, measured and practical advice for parents. This book is everything Fiona Spargo-Mabbs wishes she’d known, everything she wishes she’d done, before she lost her son. Because however you parent, and whatever you do, at some point your child is likely to be in a situation where they have to make a decision about drugs. What if that decision is ‘yes’?

Click here for more information about the book or to order a copy 

For information, advice, support and resources see our parents and carers information pages.

To book a parent workshop, please email us at bookings@dsmfoundation.org.uk