Drugs are part of our culture, whether we like it or not. Of course, there are socially acceptable and legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. However, illegal drugs such as cannabis and heroin have become more of a feature in our society. Media coverage and campaigning about drug misuse has increased, reflecting the growing concern about drugs and their effects on everyone.
It's your choice
No matter how they try, no-one can force you to take drugs. It can be difficult if others are putting pressure on you, but you can choose to refuse. If they won't take no for answer, give an explanation like not wanting to risk your health, having something important first thing in the morning, needing to stay alert for driving. It might be simplest to just walk away.
One of the most frightening things about drugs is that there is absolutely no way of telling how drugs will affect you as an individual. For some people it can make them feel happy whereas for others it can be one long nightmare.
There is no ‘quality control’ when it comes to illegal drugs. Drugs in powder form can be mixed with any other powder such as baby milk, household cleaner, flour, talcum powder, and even rat poison.
Drugs can be swallowed, eaten, sniffed, smoked or injected. Injecting under the skin can be especially dangerous, and because the whole dose is taken at once there’s a risk of overdose, and you could end up dead.
If injecting equipment is shared, even once, then there is the added danger of passing on highly infectious diseases such as HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS. There’s also hepatitis C which can cause liver damage, and eventual failure.
To be dependent on a drug means that you have a compulsion to use a drug in order to keep feeling good, or to block out bad feeling. The feelings don’t stay so once you come down you haven’t solved your problems, only ran away from them for a short time.
Drug dealers want users to become dependent on their drugs so that they keep making money from them. The dealers win financially, playing off misery and weakness, but if caught they will be severely punished by the law.
Drugs are given a classification depending on how much harm they can cause to the user, and to society generally. Class A drugs are the most dangerous, and if someone is caught dealing or posessing these drugs they will face larger fines and/or longer in prison than if caught with Class B or C drugs. We've divided up our drug information according to the different classes.
Types of Drugs
There are three main types of drugs:
Depressants or Downers Drugs like heroin, alcohol and solvents slow down the body and nervous system making you feel more relaxed and less self-conscious. They can be very dangerous, especially mixed with other substances.
Stimulants or Uppers These are drugs like speed, ecstasy and cocaine which speed up and heightens reactions to your surroundings. They can be particularly dangerous if you have heart or blood pressure problems.
Hallucinogens- Acid and magic mushrooms are hallucinogenic drugs, which alter the way you see, hear and feel things.
Know the Score- The place to go for definitive information about drugs in Scotland.
Talk to Frank- You can talk to Frank to get more information on drugs or check out the website.
Youth Health Talk Online- Hear young people's experiences of using drugs. Click on the heading that takes your interest, read the info or scroll down and click on the thumbnails to watch video clips of young people telling their story.