Drugs – Facts & Myths

You may have a parent, relative, brother or sister or someone else you love who is taking drugs.  Or you may be worried about drugs yourself.

Young people today are more likely to coming into contact or know someone who has a drug problem earlier in life.  This is why it is important that we learn to talk about drugs and what harm they can do, as early in life as possible.

There is a lot of good information about drugs available, but there is also misinformation and myths about drugs out there, so we hope the information provided will help you understand a bit better.

Alcohol (is a depressant) is the most popular drug taken today by all age groups, followed by Cannabis (a depressant).  The choice of drug taken is usually linked to what is available and or the circle of friends you hang out with.

Ask yourself do I, or how would I know if I had an alcohol problem?  Here are a few simple questions that may indicate a problem:

  • Do you take time of school/work because you have a hangover or do your regularly have a hangover?
  • Are you having arguments with friends and family about your drinking?
  • Do you drink alcohol to block out feelings and thoughts?
  • Do you drink to cure a hangover?
  • Are you aware that you are drinking more and more?  If YES, think about why you do this.

Cannabis

Cannabis is a class ‘B’ drug which is illegal to have, give to someone else, deal and or grow. Possession of this drug carries up to five years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.  If you are caught supplying (dealing) this drug to someone else you could serve up to fourteen years in prison and or receive an unlimited fine.  Cannabis is not physically addictive, but some people may become psychologically dependant.

Some people believe that if you smoke cannabis it will result in you, taking stronger more harmful drugs, although there is no evidence as such, to confirm or reject this view.  In addition, there has been much debate that cannabis use, particularly in teenage years increases the risk of developing psychosis.  Whilst there is no evidence to support this claim, there has been a sharp increase in the number of young people being referred and treated for psychotic illnesses by psychiatric services.

Risk – Use of cannabis is known to affect:

  • your short-term memory (school work may suffer)
  • your energy level will be reduced
  • increase your pulse rate which may bring on seizures if you suffer from epilepsy
  • increases your chances of developing lung cancer or bronchitis
  • you may become psychologically dependent

Amphetamines

Amphetamines are class ‘B’ drugs.   Possession of this drug carries up to five years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.  If you are caught supplying (dealing) this drug to someone else you could serve up to fourteen years in prison and or receive an unlimited fine.

Risk – Using amphetamines may cause:

  • prolonged use of moderated doses can bring on a form of psychotic (characteristics include paranoia, aggression, hallucinations, headaches, insomnia)
  • chest pains
  • blurred vision and confusion
  • palpitations
  • overdose (this could be fatal)

Heroin & Cocaine

Class ‘A’ drugs.   Possession of this drug carries up to seven years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.  If you are caught supplying (dealing) this drug to someone else you could serve a life sentence in prison.

Risk – Use of heroin and cocaine include:

  • reduction in pain, fear and apprehension perception
  • central nervous system depression
  • poor concentration
  • reduction in sex drive
  • reduced appetite
  • apathy (lack of interest of feeling)
  • most dangerous problem is toxic reaction due to overdose – usually an acute life threatening event.

Magic Mushrooms

When treated (dried) this is a Class ‘A’ drug.  Possession carries up to seven years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.  If you are caught supplying (dealing) this drug in its prepared form to someone else you could serve a life sentence in prison and an unlimited fine.

Risk – Include:

  • hallucinations
  • loss of contact with reality
  • blurred vision
  • panic attacks
  • paranoia
  • palpitations
  • flashbacks can occur

Ecstasy

A class ‘A’ drug.  Possession of this drug carries up to seven years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.  If you are caught supplying (dealing) this drug to someone else you could serve  a life sentence in prison and an unlimited fine.

Risk – Include:

  • insomnia
  • panic attacks
  • nausea
  • anxiety
  • jaw-clenching
  • blurred vision
  • co-ordination impairment
  • liver and respiratory failure (could be fatal resulting in death)

Solvents

Solvents such as aerosols, glue, lighter fluid, tippex etc) is in a category of its own.

There is some evidence to suggest that physical dependence can occur with solvent abuse.  There are a number of complications but there are too many solvents on the market today that it is not possible to tell you about them all.

The risk of solvent abuse is that it can kill you.