What are Drugs?

Using drugs can alter the way we think and feel, affecting our ability to make safe and sensible decisions.  Drugs can affect different people in different ways.
Drugs are generally split into three groups:
  • Stimulants – such as Cocaine, Crack-Cocaine and Amphetamine
  • Depressants – such as Alcohol, Heroin, Benzodiazepines and Volatile Substances (e.g. Solvents)
  • Hallucinogens – Cannabis, LSD, ‘Magic’ Mushrooms
Not all drugs and substances people use are illegal – people can and do misuse legal products such as prescription drugs, ‘over the counter’ drugs or uncontrolled substances (such as alcohol, synthetic compounds, glue or solvents) by using them in a way that does not follow any legal or medical guidelines.  For example, alcohol misuse has become a major social issue leading to serious health problems in recent years, with a negative impact on the cost of dealing with such problems.   
There are no ‘typical’ drug users.  Individuals who use drugs come from a variety of backgrounds across the broad spectrum of society.  There are a wide variety of reasons as to why people experiment and in some cases continue to use and misuse drugs. 

Consequences of using illegal drugs or misusing legal drugs or uncontrolled substances:

  • Dependency through repeated use adversely affects ability to function socially
  • Misuse can lead to both short and long term health problems (physical and mental) 
  • Breakdown or strain relationships (family and friends)
  • Impact on current or future employment or career prospects
  • Financial difficulties 
  • Involvement in antisocial behaviour and criminality (impacting negatively on local communities) 
  • Overdose risk (potentially fatal). When more than one substance is mixed (legal and/or illegal) this produces a cumulative effect and an often unpredictable outcome 
  • Injecting drugs greatly increases the risk of contracting blood-borne virus (from the sharing of equipment and/or paraphernalia)

With a drug-free lifestyle you can:

  • Take advantage of improved prospects for health and wellbeing
  • Feel safe and be in control
  • Enjoy positive life choices
  • Avoid unnecessary damage to relationships
  • Avoid unnecessary financial strain and the potential impact on education, work performance, travel and career prospects
  • Avoid unnecessary legal issues, conflict and criminality
  • Contribute to a healthier and safer community 
  • Be reassured that you are not contributing to exploitation and violence associated with organised crime