Most young people don’t use drugs, but 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.
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 (Blow, Coke, Charlie, Flake, Freebase)
- Crack (A type of Cocaine)
- Heroin (Smack, Skag, Gear)
- Ecstasy (MDMA, E, Xtc, Molly)
- Magic Mushrooms (Shrooms, Mushies)
- LSD (Acid, Trips, Tab, Smillies)
- Methamphetamine (Meth, Ice, Glass)
- Cannabis (Pot, Weed, Grass, Marijuana, Skunk, Draw)
- Synthetic Cannabinoids (Spice, Mamba)
- Amphetamine (Billy, Whizz, Paste, Base)
- Ketamine (Ket, K, Special K)
- Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Vallies, Roofies, Jellies)
- Anabolic Steroids
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.
Poly Drug Use (Mixing Drugs)
There is no completely safe was of using drugs as they all come with risks. Using any drug is generally a bad idea but using multiple drugs at the same time is an even worse idea. Mixing drugs can lead to unexpected consequences and can increase your chances of overdosing and coming to serious harm.
Mixing drugs with alcohol can also be very dangerous, for example if you use alcohol and Cannabis together you are 16 times more likely to have an accident than for alcohol or Cannabis alone.
Contamination and Purity
People who buy drugs can never be certain exactly what’s in them, or how strong they may be. Drug dealers will often ‘cut’ their drugs, this means they will add other things to bulk their drug supply out in order to make more money.
Sometimes the people making the drugs might not get things wright, they might add too much of one ingredient, or the wrong thing altogether. This can result in drugs which a really strong and as a result dangerous for the user. Some young people come to harm and sometimes even die each year as a result of high strength Ecstasy.
Some websites will advertise that they sell prescription medications such as Xanax and valium these websites are often selling fake versions of these medications and the products they provide can often be dangerous.
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. Many drugs can stay within your body for a long time and be detected for several weeks after use.
Drugs and travel
A conviction for an offence such as drug possession or supply, can mean that you wont be able to enter certain countries, for example you will be unlikely to gain visa entry into the United States.
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.
Drugs and your community
Any use of drugs has a wider effect than just the one on the user. It is very easy for many people to be negatively affected by the drug use of other. Those using drugs are supporting criminals who may be involved in serious and organised crime which can cause suffering to many people.
Useful contacts in your area
Turning point are a free & confidential service, working with young people under 25 who want support to stop or control drug or alcohol use. They work across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and provide tailored support, working towards an agreed care plan.
Turning Point Young Persons Hub 165 Granby Street Leicester LE1 6FE
Your university or college Student’s Union, welfare department or GP could also be a first point of contact for advice and signposting.
Sources of further information
- www.talktofrank.com – Everything you might want to know about drugs. For friendly, confidential advice, talk to Frank.
- www.nhs.uk/livewell/drugs - Nothing but the facts about drug use and the risks
- www.re-solv.org – A charity dedicated to the prevention of volatile substance abuse
- www.drugwise.org.uk – Evidence based information on drugs, alcohol and tobacco
- www.whynotfindout.org – Short films, information and FAQs about various drugs, particularly psychoactive substances and club drugs.