medical form - recreational drugs

(56 Posts)
unusednickname Fri 18-Oct-13 18:53:15


I spent most of my teenage years off my face. Mostly hash, acid, ecstacy and coke blush

I haven't touched anything for about 20 years. I've had a responsible career working with people in a senior management position, I'm a mum etc etc. I don't smoke, don't drink, don't even go out...

I just can't help thinking that the word 'cocaine' on a form is going to scupper my chances. Is it?

Pancakeflipper Fri 18-Oct-13 18:54:11

What is the wording of the question on the form?

unusednickname Fri 18-Oct-13 18:57:15

It's a table - 'do you or did you ever...' and then there's a list - 'smoke tobacco...Use street/recreational drugs' and you have to fill in boxes marked 'Quantity' and 'duration/details'

aroomofherown Fri 18-Oct-13 18:59:58

I'm not sure I'd admit it. Are they likely to interview people who knew you then who would mention it?

unusednickname Fri 18-Oct-13 19:01:07

No...but lying seems wrong and worse to lie and get caught out?

Pancakeflipper Fri 18-Oct-13 19:05:48

could you not 'compromise and put in the hash/acid and explain it was teenage/youth stupidity and not touched it for 20 yrs ( and forget the cocaine bit)

unusednickname Fri 18-Oct-13 19:06:48

Is the cocaine bit a dealbreaker do we think? Does anyone have any experience with this?

Hels20 Fri 18-Oct-13 19:14:23

Hmm- this is difficulty. There was something relating to my sister (who has died) that totally destroyed me when it happened but I didn't mention it - but I am not sure I would have lied if they had asked me a direct question about it. Just because talking about what had happened to my sister was extremely painful (more so, even than her dying of cancer).

But I am hopeless at lying. I wonder if you say that you experimented with these drugs in your past and leave it at that - you were never an addict, haven't touched them since you were a teen/early 20s. Sometimes these things can be a positive - as in, you will have experience of helping any child of yours with drug issues.

They are not looking for white as white characters. One person who was on my course with me had been a chronic alcoholic as had his parents but he hadn't touched a drink in 20 years. He still got approved. And it was probably a bonus (you can maybe understand how birth parents might succumb to drug/alcohol addiction and not be judgmental of the birth parents). I think you should say something that you had experimented with hash/ecstasy and had tried Coke - a lot of people have...they should respect your honesty.

They are looking for what you are like NOW. And I was always told "be honest" because if something comes up later about an issue you had when you were younger, the fact you weren't truthful will scupper your chances more than the issue itself (which is v historic.)

What is your SW like? If youngish, I am sure she wouldn't hold this against you and you would get brownie points for honesty.

What would your attitude be like to drugs? Would you allow your friends to smoke hash around your children? Would you give money to your children to buy drugs? Or would you explain the dangers and risks involved in taking drugs and educate them? If the latter - I would have thought that was more important.

Finally - have you ever admitted to any of this to your GP? If so - definitely admit because it will come up on your medical forms.

FannyFifer Fri 18-Oct-13 19:16:04

I would assume they didn't mean 20+ years ago.

clabsyqueen Fri 18-Oct-13 19:21:32

Do not even think about admitting it. It is not relevant. At all. Very few people didnt experiment in their youth but it would not be seen in this way. I think it would work against you tremendously.

My friend admitted to having had an ecstasy tablet in her twenties at one of her ante natal appointments (god knows why?!) and her unborn child was assigned a social worker! She was visited after the birth to check she was a suitable mum. She was stupid and the system is silly.

clabsyqueen Fri 18-Oct-13 19:22:08

She was almost 40 when she had her first baby!

unusednickname Fri 18-Oct-13 19:23:52

Thanks for the responses. I haven't ever talked to a professional about it because it was never a problem iyswim? I did a lot of clubbing so it was entirely recreational and it stopped pretty sharpish when I started living as an adult.

And no I would never even let someone who had been drinking beyond a beer or so be around my children and certainly not any drug exposure. I just don't live that kind of life anymore in any way. These days I feel pretty reckless if I have a Mars Bar smile.

And yes I think it would make me perhaps more able to understand the complexities of the birth parents' life (because maybe 'there but for the grace of God'?) and better able to talk to my child about drugs. I've certainly seen a lot of shit reactions to drugs I can talk about.

And I suppose they'd want to talk to me about all this? I'm just worried that it might be a dealbreaker sad

PenguinBear Fri 18-Oct-13 22:33:24

Do not under any circumstances mention it. If there is nothing in your medical records or anything which I'm assuming there isn't, you won't be caught out.

Mentionting it will scupper your chances sadly sad.

My mum had been assessing adopters for years and things like that really count against you!

Kewcumber Fri 18-Oct-13 22:48:31

You are off your rocker if you are even fleetingly considering admitting really recreational drug use. Particularly given the rolr that drug use frequently plays in adoption.

Home studies are a job interview for the position of parent. Would you think it a good idea to discuss in a job interview?

Magslee Sat 19-Oct-13 10:07:11

I was also a bit concerned about this question but believe in honesty and so put down that I had used hash and pills - the last time being about 10 years ago. The social workers talked to me about it to gauge my attitude to drugs now and how I would deal with issues that might come up for a child both regarding their background and their own potential future drug use. They did seem a little surprised I'd put it on the form and did laugh knowingly when I asked if everyone else just lied!

I don't think having used drugs is necessarily a bad thing - I have a good understanding of the realities, the risks and the problems and can have an honest discussion with a child from a point of experience. I was also very clear that I haven't used drugs in the recent past and wouldn't use them in future. There were no problems at all with my approval as an adopter.

And, when the foster carer made up various potentially very damaging allegations about me, I think the fact that I had been so completely honest throughout the assessment meant that the social workers dealing with the allegations were much more inclined to believe me.

The problem with dishonesty is not necessarily the actual thing you lied about, it is the fact you then show you are prepared to lie which casts doubt on everything you have said up to that point.

Having said all that, I was being assessed by a council in a big city and with very sensible and savvy social workers so that might have made a difference to how they approached things.

Best of luck with whatever you decide.

ps I can't see why cocaine would be viewed as worse than acid - they are both class As I think?

Kewcumber Sat 19-Oct-13 14:14:33

"I don't think having used drugs is necessarily a bad thing"

I don't either but I think you massively expose yourself to your social workers views on it.

I have done plenty of stupid things over the years and wouldn't have dreamed of volunteering it to my social worker. I didn't lie about anything that was current (or even recent).

Magslee Sat 19-Oct-13 17:46:08

absolutely agree social workers' views are a massive unknown variable and I was very lucky - was just sharing my experience of what happened in my case

Magslee Sat 19-Oct-13 17:56:30

sorry - posted too soon - meant to say ...and wouldn't want anyone to disclose just because I did! It's a big and very personal decision.

unusednickname Sat 19-Oct-13 18:53:27

Thanks all. And thanks Magslee for your story.

TBH I think if I lied I'd just be waiting for it to come back and bite me throughout the whole process which it could do quite easily.

Lots to think about. I am in a big rough tough city with social workers to match so... We'll have to see I guess.

Kewcumber Sat 19-Oct-13 19:00:29

which it could do quite easily why do you think that?

It certainly wasn't a risk I was prepared to take (drugs not an issue but other things) but I guess you feel strongly about it.

I would count London as a big rough tough city! And most social worker all over the country have seen all sorts - I don't think you can guarantee that they will be relaxed about drug taking.

I think as long as you think it through and accept that its possible it may scupper the adoption process or string it out for longer, then you have to do what you feel comfortable with.

Branleuse Sat 19-Oct-13 19:13:17

dont say anything

wafflingworrier Sat 19-Oct-13 19:19:18

be honest. best of luck. I think they'll respect you for it

Kewcumber Sat 19-Oct-13 19:25:21

I think they'll respect you for it - thats a BIG assumption.

Social workers I have known would have taken a variety of approaches. Not all of them positive or respectful. I have known social workers who have concerns to scupper the adoption process before it gets to panel and if you don't get to panel (even to be turned down) then it is extremely difficult to challenge as there is no legal process to appeal something which didn't happen only the right of appeal against a panel decision.

Libertine73 Sat 19-Oct-13 19:31:02

I wouldn't mention it, wouldn't even consider it personally, unless you had treatment which you didn't then where there's no record there's no proof. I fail to see any way it could bite you on the arse.

Moomoomie Sat 19-Oct-13 21:07:58

I wouldn't mention it at all. Itis so far behind you, as you say, you have changed so much since then.
As Kew says, you wouldn't talk about it at an interview!

unusednickname Mon 21-Oct-13 19:05:29

Once again thanks for replies (and sorry to do a runner on the thread for a few days).

I think it could bite me because they'll possibly be interviewing at least one person who knew me then. Not to mention my family...

Also it's not that I'm bringing it up, it's that I've been asked a question and then asked to sign what amounts to a legal document to say that I have told the truth. And that's a different proposition.

And if I were in the same position with a medical for a job interview? Hmmmm...well possibly not, but if they were going to be interviewing everyone I've ever known in order to ask them just this kind of question? Well then I'd have to think very carefully indeed before I lied...

And Kew I do appreciate your input. I would certainly consider London to be a big city. I live about six miles away from you grin

Kewcumber Mon 21-Oct-13 21:50:16

Ultimately its only your decision to make - I do take the point about being asked a direct question. I killed everyone who knew me under 30 so the problem never arose.

Mrpip Mon 21-Oct-13 22:00:40

I think unless taking drugs led to medical/emotional care I'd not mention it. Youth is youth, we all did things we wouldn't do now and that's really the difference. If it's not been part of your life for 20yrs and you don't do it now I struggle to comprehend why this would be relevant to your current life.
Who's actually going to benefit from this information?
In my experience I doubt it will help your application. Now if you were looking to work with youngsters who have experienced drugs or the effects of drugs then personal experience may be a benefit, but in a adoption application when you've not indulged for 20 .

SoonToBeSix Mon 21-Oct-13 22:15:19

I wouldn't mention it unless it could be on your medical records. It is too long ago to be relevant.

MaryZombie Fri 25-Oct-13 21:04:40

i wouldn't mention it.

Or if you do, admit to a few spliffs as a student.

I was stupid enough to mention (in passing) that my Granny used to put away a fair few vodkas, and (separately, while just "chatting" one day) that my brother (who I hadn't lived with for 15 years) has got pissed the last time he had come to a family party.

Bloody hell, I wish I hadn't. I was asked all sorts of questions about whether addiction ran in my family, what my attitude was to addicts and alcoholics, whether my brother would ever see my kids, etc etc. It was horrible.

And dh, who had two parents who were imo functioning alcoholics, 7 aunts who died from alcohol-related diseases, and whose family is incapable of meeting up without getting rat-arsed, just never mentioned it and was never asked.

It is, as Kew says, a job interview.

Don't lie about anything current. But don't give them ammunition to shoot you with either.

floatyjosmum Sat 26-Oct-13 13:10:55

I would say something. If it does come out in a reference visit etc then they will question your honesty about everything!

People who have used class A drugs do get approved its about showing that you don't do it now and wouldn't do it again!

scarlet5tyger Wed 30-Oct-13 21:07:29

I think I'd be honest.

A foster child in my local authority was in the middle of being moved to kinship care when it came out that the relative she was moving to had previously used amphetamines. The whole thing broke down immediately. They said it wasn't that the relative had used drugs that was the issue, it was the lying as that meant they questioned everything else discussed in the assessment.

milkysmum Wed 30-Oct-13 21:14:34

I would say do not mention as not relevant. Some social workers are fab and will understand that this in no way is a reflection on who you are now BUT some are terribly judgmental on stuff like this and it could go against you unfortunately. You do not know who you will be allocated sadly. Good luck x

Hels20 Thu 14-Nov-13 18:12:43

Unused nickname - can I ask what you ended up deciding to do?

unusednickname Thu 14-Nov-13 18:48:43


unusednickname Thu 14-Nov-13 18:54:09

I put it on the form. Enough professionals - including my GP told me they weren't certain but they guessed it was too long ago to be seem as relevant once we'd discussed it - me and my SW I mean.

Don't know if it's OK yet though. smile

Will keep you posted. If it is OK I mean - if it isn't I'll be running away and hiding.

unusednickname Sat 07-Dec-13 22:48:06

So I saw my SW yesterday and 'fessed up and she was great smile Basically thanked me for my honesty (a lot) and said it wasn't an issue. Such a relief.

Not approved yet but it's a real weight off my mind.

Lilka Sat 07-Dec-13 23:07:13

Brilliant news smile

Keep updating us as you go through the process

excitedmamma Sat 07-Dec-13 23:10:44

phew!! ... honesty always the best option... I think you did the right thing.. all part of our colourful backgrounds!!

Good luck with the rest of the process... x

Hels20 Sun 08-Dec-13 07:14:26

I think this was the right thing. And am pleased they seem to have taken a pragmatic approach. Also - you might have given off the wrong vibes about it all and they might have thought you were trying to hard something else.

unusednickname Sun 08-Dec-13 10:19:07

Yes I rather thought I might come over as a woman with something in her mind if I hid it smile

And I am going to update but this is a name change (and a cunning one at that) because one day I think I'll meet everyone at some support network and I don't want you all thinking 'Ah here comes the druggie' smile

Thanks for the advice - popping off to get back into a respectable nickname...

excitedmamma Sun 08-Dec-13 13:40:33


Kewcumber Sun 08-Dec-13 20:51:21

no need to worry nickname... we hand out forms for people to fill in prior to a meet with questions like "please disclose all previous history of drug use" and we all know you're going to be honest, don;t we? wink

On the other hand you will know we are mostly seasoned liars and will wonder just what exactly lurks in our past (and present....)

Pedent Mon 09-Dec-13 09:36:09

Great outcome.

When the time comes for me to fill in the forms, I'll have a couple of teenage mistakes to mention, so this thread is very reassuring.

unusednickname Thu 19-Jun-14 20:25:47

Thought I'd update the thread now I'm approved smile More for people doing a search than anything.

They didn't even ask me any questions about it.

Just goes to show. (not sure what it goes to show but anyway...)

odyssey2001 Thu 19-Jun-14 20:38:56

It shows that honesty is the best policy.

Reading the beginning of the thread, I was astonished and saddened by how many people were telling you to lie. Not a great start at being a parent imho. So I was really pleased you decided to be open and honest, and your approval proves that it was the right thing to do, both for the process and morally.

I hope that others who may be struggling with the same question read to the end to see how it turned out.


screamingeels Thu 19-Jun-14 20:43:10

ooh congratulations! Thanks for the update and great that the homest approach worked for you.

Barbadosgirl Thu 19-Jun-14 20:47:21

I admitted to smoking cannabis a few times in my youth. The doctor doing my medical thought it was most amusing, she said I was very honest, most people lied. Funnily enough my sw drew on this as evidence I has "experimented" in my youth and might have a level of understanding if my future teenage children started experimenting when talking to us, obviously she did not put this on the PAR!

I think by then I already had a good relationship of trust with my sw but that sort of thing could have gone massively Pete Tong if she did not have that outlook.

imip Thu 19-Jun-14 20:49:32

Congratulations unused!

Just wanted to add that on a similar question for an interview with the national security service in my home country (first time they were recruiting spies since the Cold War), I conceded that I smoked dope at uni (because what of respecting uni student didn't grin), but I lied and said I hadn't used acid and speed.

I didn't progress any further through the interview process sad. I thought as a spy, drug use would have been an asset? I many think of any other aspect of the psychological application I could have failed!

MerryInthechelseahotel Fri 20-Jun-14 00:00:08

Maybe they knew you were lying imip

Xcountry Fri 20-Jun-14 00:11:19

unless you were ever cautioned, charged etc with a drugs offence I wouldn't bother.

imip Fri 20-Jun-14 05:34:02

Yeah, perhaps! But it did seem a bigger sin to admit using illegal 'harder' illegal drugs to the security service !

Kewcumber Fri 20-Jun-14 09:28:55


Odyssey - I don't think it shows that honesty is the best policy. I think it worked in this case.

You don't need to be "saddened" about people not mentioning something that they did 20 years ago before they had children and don't have a problem with now. There were issues I didn't mention. I didn't think they were relevant to raising my child now and I would have considered it a massive invasion of my privacy to be expected to share it with social workers who have no special training or insight in that area.

I expect people to be honest about current and recent issues or older issues which might affect your approach to raising children. Decades old issues I think are fair game to chose to leave in the past.

odyssey2001 Fri 20-Jun-14 09:58:23

However, every event and decision in your life has brought you to this point. Both the good ones and the bad ones. We were not talking about the odd spliff once or twice, it was a lifestyle the op chose and then changed. This shows a lot about their personality. I guess it depends on how you view the assessment process - is it because they want to catch you out and fail you or because they want to guide you towards being the best adoptive parent you can be? My opinion is that it was the latter.

I feel I can be saddened about the advice. It is my opinion and still don't think lying to the social worker about something so big is the best approach. If an applicant is prepared to lie about that, what else will they lie about? Undiscovered domestic or child abuse? A belief that discipline begins and ends with smacking? Current drug or alcohol abuse? A lie is a lie.

Kewcumber Fri 20-Jun-14 10:52:47

We'll just have to agree to disagree on this Odyssey. Every thing I've done has indeed led me to where I am now and I didn't discuss every thing I've done over the past 49 years. Some of it major life events or things which have an impact on the person I am now.

I am quite capable of distinguishing those things which might have an impact on a child I adopt today and those which won;t and I think you'll find no-one was suggesting OP lies about domestic or child abuse but didn't make a point of raising something so far in the past which has no current relevance.

I'm not sure "a lie is a lie" is very helpful in this situation - its naive to suggest all lies are created equal when I would say that failing to mention something that you are confident is completely irrelevant is a very different kettle of fish to making concerted attempts to hide something like child abuse. Its also naive to assume that all social workers are created equal!

Obviously you don't agree and told 100% truth about everything that ever happened in your life at your home study. Mine would have been a great deal longer if I'd shared every detail of everything I'd ever done. Particularly with a social worker who latched into some of the most peculiar aspects of my childhood and wanted to investigate and discuss them in detail when they really couldn't have been less an issue or less relevant. I very quickly came to the conclusion that I was a better judge than the SW of what I would find to be an issue than her. I was right. The "issues" she raised haven't even been thought about (even fleetingly) in the 10 years since my home study whereas the issues I perceived to be problematic have been present in our lives intermittently since.

I suppose it whether you take a pragmatic approach to a home study or the philosophical.

odyssey2001 Fri 20-Jun-14 11:31:56

What I found most interesting is that there were some things that I (and my partner) brought up in passing that we thought were irrelevant (but mentioned anyway) that became far more important further down the line.

We are a woven tapestry and although some threads are more important than others, they are all relevant. We went in with the attitude although we knew ourselves, we weren't the right people to judge the type of parents we may turn out to be.

As I said, tiny threads became very important later on, especially when it came to matching. I think it is at the child-finding stage that these threads become relevant as it stops being about whether you are fit to parent a hypothetical child but whether you are the right parents for that specific, potential match.

I agree that all lies are the are not entirely the same and I was probably being too flippant. However, there is a difference between omitting a minor detail and intentionally leaving out an entire section of one's life and then lying about it on an official form (such as the medical).

Life would be very boring if we all agreed about everything! Mumsnet wouldn't exist if we all saw eye to eye and then where would we be! grin

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