As you get older, you are likely to come in to contact with drugs and alcohol. It is important to know that it is illegal to buy alcohol or cigarettes until you are 18. Drugs can be extremely damaging to your health and may result in death if they are not prescribed by your doctor or they are used incorrectly. If you have been prescribed medication by your Doctor you should make sure you read the label to see how much you should be taking. If you think you have taken too much prescribed medication then you should call an ambulance immediately. However, some drugs are illegal to possess yourself or supply to others. The A, B or C classification is used to categorize the drugs in respect of their dangers, which in turn means stronger penalties.
Cocaine (Coke, Bump, Charlie)
Crack (A type of Cocaine)
Heroin (Smack, Dope)
Ecstasy (MDMA, E)
Magic Mushrooms (Shrooms, Mushies)
LSD (Acid, Lightening)
Methamphetamine (Meth, Speed, Ice)
Cannabis (Pot, Weed, Grass, Marijuana)
Amphetamine (Speed, Phet, Billy, Whizz)
Possible short-term side effects from some of the drugs above are heart attacks, psychosis, dangerous hallucinations and even death. Long term effects can be mental health problems, lung and heart problems as well as damage to your immune system and HIV from shared needles.
Giving or sharing drugs with friends constitutes supply. A drugs conviction has many consequences and can have a huge effect on every aspect of your life. It could affect your education, your future career plans and could even prevent you from going on holiday to certain countries.
The maximum sentences for intent to supply drugs are:
- up to life in prison or/and an unlimited fine for a Class A drug.
- up to 14 years in prison or/and an unlimited fine for a Class B or Class C drug.
If you are caught in possession of illegal drugs you will likely be given a Police Caution if you are under 18. However depending on your age and past criminal history the effects can be more severe.
Drugs and studying
Some people think that taking certain drugs enables you to stay awake, and so helps you to cram in hours of studying. In actual fact, most drugs will have an adverse effect and could have an impact on your memory and concentration. Each school, college and university has its own policies and practices about what will happen if you are caught with illegal substances. You will be dealt with appropriately by the establishment and in most cases you could be excluded.
Drugs and future employment
An increasing number of professions automatically exclude individuals with past convictions related to drugs. You could be asked about previous convictions on your application and may also be required to do a drugs test for a job interview or at random intervals during your employment, even if you do not have a record. Lying about something like this could hinder your application.
Drugs and driving
It is an offence to drive or be in charge of a motor vehicle when unfit through drugs. If you are found guilty of driving when under the influence of drugs, there’s an obligatory 12 months disqualification and a fine. In cases involving accidents then longer disqualifications, stiffer fines and imprisonment can apply.
Useful contacts in your area
- Your university or college Student’s Union, welfare department or GP
- Drug and alcohol advice center (over 19) - 0116 222 9522
- New Direction (under 19) - 0116 222 9559