• Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy/MDMA
  • Heroin
  • Mephedrone
  • Ketamine
  • Poppers
  • LSD
  • NPS (Legal Highs)
  • Tranquilisers

Alcohol

Alcohol is the most popular social drug for many people. It helps us relax, can make us more comfortable in difficult social situations and can help us forget about tough problems in our lives.

Excessive alcohol use can lead to problems, such as losing control and also to long term health problems.

Alcohol Units

Alcohol units vary between drinks, meaning you could drink a small shot of spirits or a large bottle of beer and the amount of alcohol in them may be the same, in fact there could be more in the small shot.

Each unit is an amount of alcohol and the more you have, the more drunk you will become. This will initially affect your mood, but long term excessive drinking will impact your health.

14 is the recommended number of units per person per week.

The Law

If you’re 16 or under, you may be able to go to a pub (or premises primarily used to sell alcohol) if you’re accompanied by an adult. However, this isn’t always the case. It can also depend on:

  • the specific conditions for that premises
  • the licensable activities taking place there

If you’re under 18, it is against the law:

  • for someone to sell you alcohol
  • to buy or try to buy alcohol
  • for an adult to buy or try to buy alcohol for you
  • to drink alcohol in licensed premises (eg a pub or restaurant)

However if you’re 16 or 17 and accompanied by an adult, you can drink (but not buy) beer, wine or cider with a meal.

If you’re under 18 and drinking alcohol in public, you can be stopped, fined or arrested by police.

It’s illegal to give alcohol to children under 5.

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Alcohol can make you sick, which could make you choke on your own vomit.
Can make you aggressive and violent. Can lead to you getting hurt or being a victim of crime. Mixing alcohol and drugs can be very dangerous for your health. Can lead to long term health problems.
Can lead to unsafe sex or sexual assault.

Cigarettes

Cigarettes contain Nicotine, which is highly addictive. Nicotine alters the balance of two chemicals, called Dopamine and Noradrenaline, in your brain. When nicotine changes the levels of these chemicals, your mood and concentration levels change. Many smokers find this enjoyable.

The changes happen very quickly. When you inhale the nicotine, it immediately rushes to your brain, where it produces feelings of pleasure and reduces stress and anxiety. This is why many smokers enjoy the nicotine rush and become dependent on it.

Most people start smoking when they are in their teens and are addicted by the time they reach adulthood.

Smoking can cause many long-term health problems.

E-Cigarettes

  • E-cigarettes produce a vapour, that contains nicotine.
  • Unlike normal cigarettes, you can use E-cigarettes in places where smoking is not allowed.
  • The ingredients of E-cigarettes are often unknown.
  • The long term health effects are unknown, but there are a number of deaths that have been linked to E-cigarettes

The Law

  • It’s against the law to sell cigarettes, tobacco or tobacco products to under 18s.
  • All large shops and supermarkets in England now need to cover up cigarettes and hide tobacco products from public view.
  • Smoking in public is against the law. This does not include E cigarettes.
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Smoking causes your heart rate to increase. It also can cause long term health problems such as heart disease and cancer.
Smoking causes your skin to age.
Can cause dizziness and sickness. Smoking contributes to 120,000 premature deaths each year in the UK.
Smoking whilst you are pregnant presents a risk to your baby's health.

Cannabis

Weed, Skunk, Sense, Puff, Marijuana, Hash, Grass, Dope, Bhang

Cannabis is a naturally occurring drug which can make you feel very chilled out, happy and relaxed. A big myth about cannabis is that it’s safe because it’s natural. Cannabis has some very real effects on your mood, as well as creating longer-term problems.

It’s the most widely-used illegal drug in Britain, although the numbers of people using it are falling. Cannabis is naturally occurring – it is made from the cannabis plant.

The Law

Cannabis is a Class B drug – it’s illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell. Possession is illegal whatever you’re using it for, including pain relief.

Supplying your mates, even if you give it away, is also considered ‘supplying’ under the law.

If the Police catch you with cannabis you could be arrested, have a formal caution, a  penalty notice  and a possible conviction.

A conviction for a drug-related offence could have a pretty serious impact. It can stop you visiting certain countries – for example the United States – and limit the types of jobs you can apply for.

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Can make your eyes go red. This is because Cannabis makes your blood levels expand.
Cannabis can make you hungry.
Breathing disorders including lung cancer.
  • Can affect memory as Cannabis changes the way your brain processes information
  • Can cause anxiety and panic
  • Can make you feel euphoric
  • It can make you hallucinate
Regular use can lower a man’s sperm count and suppress ovulation in women.
Cannabis can increase your heart rate by 20-50 beats per minute lasting between 20 minutes to 3 hours.

Cocaine

White, Wash, Toot, Stones, Snow, Rocks, Percy, Pebbles, Freebase, Crack, Coke, Chiang, Charlie, Chang

‘Coke’ Is A White Powder. ‘Crack’ Is A Form Of Cocaine Made Into Small Lumps Or Rocks That Makes A Cracking Noise When Burnt.

Taking cocaine makes users feel on top of the world, wide-awake, confident and on top of their game – but some people are over-confident on it and so may take very careless risks. The effects of crack smoking are virtually immediate, peaking for about two minutes and lasting for only about 10 minutes.

When the effects of any cocaine use start to wear off there can be a very strong temptation to take more.

The Law

‘Coke’, ‘freebase’ and ‘crack’ are all Class A drugs – that means they’re illegal to have, give away or sell.Possession can get you up to seven years in jail, but supplying someone else, including your friends, can get you life and an unlimited fine.

If the Police catch you with cocaine, they’ll always take some action. This could include a formal caution, arrest and prosecution.

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Using cocaine can cause depression and anxiety, and possible mental health.
Can cause breathing problems and pains in the chest.
Injecting drugs can damage veins and cause ulcers and gangrene.
Body temperature rises to
potentially risky levels.
Snorting cocaine will seriously damage the cartilage in your nose.
Cocaine is a high risk for people with high blood pressure or a heart condition. Cocaine users have died from overdoses, heart attack/failure.
Can cause miscarriage, premature labour and low birth weight.

Ecstasy

XTC, Superman, Rolexs, Pink Superman, Pills, Mitsubishi’s, MDMA, Mandy, E, Dolphins, Crystal, Cowies, Brownies

Ecstasy (Also known by it’s Chemical Name, MDMA) gives an energy buzz that makes people feel alert, alive, in tune with their surroundings, and with sounds and colours often experienced as more intense.

Clubbers take ecstasy to feel energised and happy.

Users often develop temporary feelings of love and affection for the people they’re with and for the strangers around them.

The effects take about half an hour to kick in and tend to last between 3 to 6 hours, followed by a gradual comedown.

The Law

Ecstasy is a class A drug, so it’s illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell. Possession is illegal and can get you up to seven years in jail and/or an unlimited fine.

Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you up to life imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

If the Police catch you with Ecstasy, they’ll always take some action. This could include a formal caution, arrest and prosecution.

A conviction for a drug-related offence could have a pretty serious impact. It can stop you visiting certain countries – for example the United States – and limit the types of jobs you can apply for.

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Linked to liver, kidney
and heart problems.
There’s no way of telling what’s in ecstasy until you’ve swallowed it.
  • The comedown can make people feel lethargic and depressed.
  • Long-term users can suffer memory problems, anxiety and depression.
  • Many deaths associated with ecstasy use.

Heroin

Smack, Skag, Horse, H, Gear, Brown

Heroin is a drug made from morphine. A small dose gives the user a feeling of warmth and well-being, bigger doses can make you sleepy and very relaxed, but the first dose of heroin can bring about dizziness and vomiting.

‘Street’ heroin sold as ‘brown’ is sometimes now used by clubbers as a chill out drug after a big night out.

Heroin is highly addictive and people can quickly get hooked.

Warning

This video contains upsetting scenes

The Law

Heroin is a class A drug, so it’s illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell. Possession is illegal and can get you up to seven years in jail and/or an unlimited fine.

Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you up to life imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

If the Police catch you with heroin, they’ll always take some action. This could include a formal caution, arrest and prosecution.

A conviction for a drug-related offence could have a pretty serious impact. It can stop you visiting certain countries – for example the United States – and limit the types of jobs you can apply for.

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Sharing needles leads to risk of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. Injecting Heroin can damage veins and cause ulcers and gangrene. It’s easier to overdose from injecting than from other ways of taking the drug.
There is a risk of death due to inhaling vomit.
Heroin users have died from overdoses, heart attack/failure.
  • If you overdose you may begin to feel very sleepy. Your breathing will slow and you can fall into a coma. If your breathing slows too much you could die.
  • It’s very easy to overdose from heroin, which kills far more people in the UK than any other illegal drug.

Mephedrone

White Magic, Miaow, Meph, Meow Meow, MC, M-Smack, M-Cat, Charge, Bubble, Bounce, 4-MMC

Mephedrone is a powerful stimulant. The main effects and risks of mephedrone include euphoria, alertness and feelings of affection towards the people  around you, but you can also have feelings of anxiety and paranoia.

Mephedrone, or meow meow, can also overstimulate your heart and circulation; and can overstimulate your nervous system, with risk of fits.

The Law

Mephadrone is a Class B drug – it’s illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell. Possession is illegal whatever you’re using it for, including pain relief.

Supplying your mates, even if you give it away, is also considered ‘supplying’ under the law.

If the Police catch you with Mephadrone you could be arrested, have a formal caution, a  penalty notice  and a possible conviction.

A conviction for a drug-related offence could have a pretty serious impact. It can stop you visiting certain countries – for example the United States – and limit the types of jobs you can apply for.

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Heart

  • Affects the heart and circulation.
  • Usage can result in death.
Injecting

  • Injecting is more dangerous as mephedrone can be just 50% pure.
  • Injecting can damage the veins and cause abscesses.
  • Viral hepatitis & HIV/AIDS infections can be spread by sharing needles.
Temperature

Can cause body to overheat.
Nose

Can cause nose bleeds

Ketamine

Vitamin K, Super K, Special K, K, Green, Donkey Dust

Ketamine is a powerful general anaesthetic which stops you feeling pain and it’s used for operations on humans and animals.

The effects don’t last long, but until they wear off, ketamine can cause a loss of feeling in the body and paralysis of the muscles. It can also lead to you experiencing a distortion of reality.

The Law

Ketamine is a Class B drug – it’s illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell. Possession is illegal whatever you’re using it for, including pain relief.

Supplying your mates, even if you give it away, is also considered ‘supplying’ under the law.

If the Police catch you with Ketamine you could be arrested, have a formal caution, a  penalty notice  and a possible conviction.

A conviction for a drug-related offence could have a pretty serious impact. It can stop you visiting certain countries – for example the United States – and limit the types of jobs you can apply for.

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Can make you physically
incapable of moving.
Injecting can damage the veins and cause abscesses.
Abdominal pain or ‘K cramps’ reported by many long-term users
Liver damage can occur after regular, heavy ketamine use
  • Can be left vulnerable to hurting yourself or being hurt by others
  • Can lead to unconsciousness and choke on your own
  • Can be very dangerous when mixed with ecstasy
Can cause very serious
bladder problems.

Poppers

TNT, Thrust, Rock Hard, Ram, Liquid Gold, Kix, Amyls

Poppers are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, but amyl nitrite is regulated under the Medicines Act 1968 and there have been cases where the Medicines Act was used to fine shops for selling poppers. Poppers are also covered by general consumer protection legislation.

Possession is not illegal but supply can be an offence.

Poppers are not covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

The Law

Poppers are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, but amyl nitrite is regulated under the Medicines Act 1968 and there have been cases where the Medicines Act was used to fine shops for selling poppers. Poppers are also covered by general consumer protection legislation.

Possession is not illegal but supply can be an offence.

Poppers are not covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

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  • You may lose consciousness.
  • They can cause nausea, headache, and disorientation.
They can cause your blood pressure to drop to a dangerous level. Fatal ‘sudden sniffing death syndrome’ reported due to development of an abnormal heart rhythm.
They can burn your skin on contact and can kill you if you swallow them. They’re highly flammable.
There are a number of reports of cases of temporary and permanent loss of vision.

LSD

Window, Trips, Tab, Stars, Smiles, Rainbows, Paper Mushrooms, Micro Dot, Lucy, Liquid Acid, Lightning Flash, L, Hawk, Flash, Drop, Dots, Cheer, Blotter, Acid

LSD stands for its chemical name, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, and is commonly called ‘acid’. It’s a powerful hallucinogenic drug – this means that users are likely to experience a distorted view of objects and reality, including seeing and sometimes hearing things that aren’t there (these are hallucinations). The experience of taking lsd is known as a ‘trip’.

Time and movement can appear to speed up and slow down. Colour, sound and objects can get distorted and you can experience double vision.

These distortions of your senses can be quite unpredictable, sometimes pleasant, but sometimes very frightening (these are called ‘bad trips’).

The Law

LSD Is A Class A Drug, So It’s Illegal To Have For Yourself, Give Away Or Sell. Possession Is Illegal And Can Get You Up To Seven Years In Jail And/Or An Unlimited Fine.

Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you up to life imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

If the Police catch you with LSD, they’ll always take some action. This could include a formal caution, arrest and prosecution.

A conviction for a drug-related offence could have a pretty serious impact. It can stop you visiting certain countries – for example the United States – and limit the types of jobs you can apply for.

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  • People have been known to harm themselves during a bad trip
  • LSD trips can be confusing
and sometimes very scary
  • Longer-term implications for users with mental health history

New Psychoactive Substance

NPS, MDAT, Eric 3, Dimethocaine, Bath Salts, Legal Highs

New psychoactive substances – often incorrectly called legal highs – contain one or more chemical substances which produce similar effects to illegal drugs (like cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy).

The main effects of almost all psychoactive drugs, can be described using four main categories, stimulants,‘downers’ or sedatives, psychedelics or hallucinogens and synthetic cannabinoids.

The Law

Although some of these so-called ‘legal highs’ were legal in the past, since the Psychoactive Substances Act came into effect on 26 May 2016, none of these drugs are legal to produce, supply or import (even for personal use, e.g. over the internet) for human consumption.

This includes selling them or giving them away for free (even to friends) when they are going to be taken to get high.

The ‘legal highs’ that were made illegal as class A, B or C drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act, are still covered by that legislation. All other psychoactive substances not currently covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act will fall under the Psychoactive Substances Act.

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  • Feel overconfident and disinhibited, which can make you take risks.
  • Can make you anxious, confused and cause paranoia and psychosis.
  • Downer NPS can also cause unconsciousness, coma and death.
  • Can cause severe withdrawal syndrome in heavy drug users.
  • Many risks from NPS are unknown.
Affects your immune system, so you might get more colds and flu.
Can put a strain on your
heart and nervous system.

Tranquilisers

Xanax, Vallies, Rugby Balls, Roofies, Rohypnol, Norries, Moggies, Mazzies, Jellies, Eggs, Downers, Blues, Benzos, Benzodiazepines, Valium, Diazepam

Tranquillisers can induce periods of calmness, relaxation and sleep, and are used to treat anxiety and insomnia. In medicine, tranquillisers are used to treat anxiety and insomnia. In the club scene, tranquillisers are often used as chill-out drugs, and to help people sleep after taking stimulants. Some people use them to help come down off acid, cocaine, speed or ecstasy. Using tranquillisers can be risky, and especially dangerous if you mix them with other depressant drugs like heroin or alcohol.

Xanax

Xanax is an anti-anxiety medication. It can make you feel sleepy, relaxed and tired quite quickly, it is 20 times stronger than valium.

Xanax is very addictive and you can become physically dependant on it. There has been an increase in young people going to hospital due to taking Xanax.

Xanax can cause blackouts and put you at risk of sexual assault and other crimes.

The Law

Tranquillisers are controlled under Class C of the Misuse of Drugs Act. Unauthorised possession (i.e. without a prescription) could result in a prison sentence of up to 2 years and an unlimited fine.

Supplying, which includes giving some to your friends, could mean up to 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine.

A conviction for a drug-related offence could have a pretty serious impact. It can stop you visiting certain countries – for example the United States – and limit the types of jobs you can apply for.

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short-term memory loss and big doses can make a user forgetful and make them overly sleepy. They can be highly addictive. Withdrawal can cause panic attacks and fits.
Can cause tremors.
There are concerns that tranquillisers have been used in sex crimes, where a victim’s drink is spiked with a tranquilliser.
Can cause nausea and make you sick.