Alcohol/Substance Misuse

There are many different types of drugs.  The phrase ‘drug misuse’ is often used when someone is taking an illegal drug, or even when someone is taking medication in such a way that is either not recommended by a doctor or as described by a manufacturer on the packaging of over the counter medicines (those you can buy at the chemist without a prescription).

Taking any pills/medicine in large quantities, is not recommended and may be dangerous to your general health and in some cases could be fatal.

Examples of drugs that are commonly misused include:

  • illegal drugs,
  • tobacco,
  • alcohol,
  • glues, aerosols, gases and solvents.
  • prescribed medicines including painkillers, sleeping tablets, and cold/flu medicines

So What Are Illegal Drugs?

Some illegal drugs have been categorised as prescription-only, this means they may only be used legally if prescribed by a doctor, but are illegal to use, possess, or supply, in any other circumstances. This is because there are certain drugs that have been banned by law for use in this country.

Illegal drugs are categorised into three classes: A, B and C. Illegal drugs are classified under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, which can only be changed and added to by the Home Secretary.  In law each of these categories also carry a prison sentence and fines for possession of the drug and/or if found supplying the drug to someone else.  If you are found in possession of an illegal drug and are prosecuted (found guilty), you will then have a criminal record.

It is important to say that some drugs are legal when prescribed by a doctor for        pain-relief or to relieve the symptoms of certain medical conditions.

Addiction – What Do We Mean?

I am sure many of you will have heard someone say ‘I only take drugs at the weekend to help me chill out or relax’, or I just take someone to help me enjoy myself when am out with my friends’.  This is usually followed by, ‘I am not a drug user’, ‘I am not addicted to drugs’.  So there are different habit types of drug taking that include:

  • Experimental
  • Recreational
  • Occasional
  • Regular/Long Term
  • Dependent

Physical and Psychological Dependency

The longer you take a drug the more your body will get use to it (tolerance level).  This means that you will need to take a larger amount of the drug to get the same effect as when you started taking it.

Drug misuse in this way can lead to physical and/or psychological dependency.

Physical dependency – means that when you try to stop taking the drug you start to get withdrawal symptoms, you feel ill and to stop these feelings/symptoms you have to keep taking the drug.

Psychological dependency – means that you feel you’re not able to stop taking the drug, as you have taken the drug for a long time to make yourself feel good, or more confident and believe if you stop taking the drug things will change.