DRUG Information

Amphetamines & Speed

Amphetamines & Speed

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What is it?

The name amphetamine refers to a whole group of manmade stimulant drugs. They speed up your whole mind and body.

Street speed usually comes as a white or off white powder. This is usually amphetamine sulphate. Dealers sell it by the gram in little paper wraps.

You can add to a drink, wrap it in a rizzla and swallow it, snort it (inhale through a straw up your nose) or inject it.

How does it make you feel?

If you swallow it, you’ll feel it coming on 30-50 minutes after taking it. It makes you feel bright, alert, chatty, wakeful. You’ll lose you appetite, clench your jaw, feel warm and get sweaty palms.

There is a definite come down from speed. The following day you will feel low, sluggish and generally washed out. The longer you’ve been going for, the worse the comedown.

What are the health effects?

Long term use of speed can really screw up your head. People get bad mood swings, paranoid and anxious depression.

If you have an underlying heart problem, speed can trigger a heart attack. It can also trigger epileptic fits in anyone who is prone to them.

If you use a lot you’ll probably build up a tolerance to the drug and then you’ll need more and more to get the same effect.

The law

Unprescribed amphetamines are illegal Class B drugs, of which the maximum sentence for possession is five years in prison. For supply it goes up to 14 years in prison. If you have speed that is prepared for injection then it is treated as a Class A drug, and crystal meth is also a Class A drug. All sentences can come with an unlimited fine.

BZP

BZP

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What is it?

BZP is a man-made stimulant drug that makes you feel alert, more awake and gives enhanced sensations. Occasionally it comes in its pure form as an off-white powder or a slightly yellow liquid. More often, it is combined with similar chemicals called piperazines, and pressed into pills.

These pills come in all shapes, sizes and colours. It’s sometimes found mixed in ecstasy tablets.

How does it make you feel?

BZP gives you a rush of tingling all over the skin, and makes you alert, bright-eyed and cheerful. Feelings of euphoria may occur.

The effects can last for 4-8 hours. Food is a turn off and sleep is impossible.

Most people feel headachey, tired, washed out and perhaps a bit sick the next day. Some people still can’t sleep and feel restless and anxious for 24 hours.

What are the health effects?

BZP can over-stimulate the brain and lead to epileptic fits or seizures in people who have never had them before.

BZP is touted as a safe, herbal drug. It is not herbal, it is 100% man-made and its safety profile isn’t really understood in the long term.

The law

BZP is a Class C drug.

Posession can mean a prison sentence of two years. Supplying can mean a sentence of 14 years. Both punishments can also mean an unlimited fine.

Caffeine

Caffeine

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What is it?

Caffeine is probably used more widely than any other drug on the planet. It occurs naturally in more than 60 different plant species.

Caffeine is a stimulant which most people get in tea, coffee, energy drinks, soft fizzy drinks and some pain killers.

There is about 75-200mg of caffeine in a cup of coffee, about 50mg in a cup of tea and a 360ml bottle of cola contains about 30-50mg of caffeine.

How does it make you feel?

Caffeine makes you feel bright and alert. It gives you a wake-up boost when you’re feeling tired, drowsy or bored.

It takes about two hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off.

Having too much of it in one go, usually about 400mg, is pretty horrible. It can give you the shakes, make you anxious, headachey, sleepless and might upset your stomach too.

What are the health effects?

Caffeine raises blood pressure so it isn’t good if you have high blood pressure or heart disease. So far, no one has found any really scary long-term health effects.

Regular and frequent use of caffeine will give you tolerance – so you become less sensitive to the effects of it and then require more and more to get the same effect.

The law

Caffeine is a legal drug, so you can have it (and have as much of it) as you like. But that doesn’t mean having loads is a good idea…

Cannabis

Cannabis

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What is it?

Cannabis comes in many different forms. Hash or solid is cannabis resin, which is a dark or light brown solid. Marijuana or grass is the dried leaves and flowers of the plant. Some varieties of the cannabis plant are more potent, and these are often referred to as skunk.

More recently there has been an increase in strong strains of weed, including skunk and some ‘homegrown’ varieties. They can be 2 – 3 times stronger than normal weed and often have a more potent smell.

Cannabis can be smoked with or without tobacco. It is either rolled up in cigarette papers as a joint, or smoked from a pipe, or bong (water pipe).

Some people bake hash in cakes, drink it in tea or just eat it on its own.

How does it make you feel?

Dope will make you chill out and smile a lot. You might get the giggles and feel really hungry. All of your senses will be heightened. Food tastes delicious and music sounds really fab. You might lose track of time, and find yourself monging out on the sofa for a few hours.

Some people have one or two drags on a joint and feel light-headed, faint and sick. This is sometimes called a ‘whitey’. Cannabis can also cause feelings of anxiety, suspicion, panic and paranoia.

What are the health effects?

Tobacco and cannabis share some of the same chemical ‘nasties’, so, like smoking tobacco, smoking cannabis can make asthma worse, can cause wheezing in people without asthma and can lead to lung cancer. Like tobacco, it’s also addictive. If you develop a tolerance and try to stop using cannabis, you may experience withdrawal symptoms like mood changes, cravings, difficulty sleeping or sweating and shaking. Not nice.

Regular cannabis use puts you at risk of later developing psychotic illnesses including schizophrenia. If you have a family background of mental illness, you may also have an increased risk.

Some people use cannabis to relieve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis or chronic pain.

The law

Cannabis is an illegal class B drug. The maximum penalty for possession is five years in prison, and for supply you can get 14 years in prison. You can get an unlimited fine for both.

Cigarettes & Tobacco

Cigarettes & Tobacco

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What is it?

Tobacco is the dried, shredded and processed leaves from the tobacco plant. It comes in ready made cigarettes, rolling tobacco and cigars. It is usually smoked. Some people chew tobacco leaves.

The main addictive ingredient in tobacco is nicotine. Tobacco smoke contains 1000s of chemicals and some are very poisonous. When you take a drag (inhale) on a fag, the nicotine kicks in about eight seconds later, leaving the smoker feeling slightly energised and also calmer than before.

What are the health effects?

The nicotine found in all tobacco contributes to it being one of the most addictive drugs around. Some research claims it is more addictive than heroin.

If you find you can’t manage without a fag but want to give up, you can get help through your GP.

Set a date for stopping and stop with a friend if you can. You should quit totally on your set day. Giving up smoking may make you feel tired, irritable and a bit depressed – these feelings will pass.

If you don’t succeed the first time, keep trying. Most people have more than one attempt at giving up before they manage it so try again. When you don’t have a cigarette…

  • After 20 minutes your blood pressure and pulse return to normal.
  • After 24 hours your lungs start to clear.
  • After two days your body is nicotine-free and your sense of taste and smell improve.
  • After three days you can breathe more easily, and your energy increases.
  • After two to 12 weeks, your circulation improves.
  • After three to nine months coughs, wheezing and breathing improves.
  • After one year your heart attack risk is half that of a smoker.

Long term smoking can lead to lung and heart disease as well as cancer. If you are still struggling go to http://smokefree.nhs.uk/ or book in for an appointment with your GP.

The law

Tobacco is legal. Smoking has been banned in public places in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It’s illegal to sell cigarettes, tobacco or cigarette papers to anyone under 18, but it is not a criminal offence for a person under 18 to smoke.

Cocaine

Cocaine

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What is it?

Coke is a white powder that comes from the Coca plant, which mostly grow in South American countries. It is usually snorted (inhaled through the nose), but can also be injected or swallowed.

It can be made into a smokeable drug – known as crack.

How does it make you feel?

Coke is a highly addictive stimulant that temporarily speeds up the way your mind and body work. It makes you feel exhilarated, confident, excited and awake.

The buzz lasts for up to an hour. There is an immediate comedown when the effects wear off, when the user might feel they want more.

What are the health effects?

Because the buzz is so short it can be tempting to take more and more, which makes it highly addictive – you can develop a tolerance to coke over just one night. By the end of the night you’ll need more of it to get the same effect that you got when you started – and a result you can overdose. The risk of heart failure or heart attack is increased when mixing cocaine with other drugs or alcohol.

There is an increased likelihood of taking careless risks, as cocaine makes you feel confident and alert. Snorting coke can seriously damage your nose over time. Long term it can give you heart and breathing problems, and can also make you feel depressed, anxious and paranoid.

The law

Cocaine is an illegal class A drug. The maximum penalty for possession is seven years in prison. For supply it’s life in prison. You can get an unlimited fine for both. Head to Talk To Frank if you want more advice.

Crack

Crack

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What is it?

Crack is a smokeable form of cocaine. It comes in the form of off-white lumps, known as rocks.

It is usually smoked in a pipe or on tin foil. It’s called crack because it crackles when it is heated.

How does it make you feel?

Crack is a powerful and swift hit. It takes seconds to come on. It will give an initial rush of spine-tingling exhilaration. It levels out in a couple of minutes to a fairly intense high that lasts about 10-15 minutes.

Some people find the buzz too much while others straight away feel that they must have more.

What are the health effects?

Because it is such an extreme and short-term high, people find themselves taking more and more crack to keep the high.

Coming down is sometimes called crashing. It can leave you feeling really depressed and empty.

If you start using regularly it can eat away at your life. People become obsessed with it and will do anything to get hold of it. The gradual drip, drip of a crack habit will destroy every part of your life. Smoking crack also carries the risk of lung damage.

Otherwise the health effects are the same as they are for cocaine – heart failure being the most serious.

The law

Crack is an illegal class A drug. The maximum penalty for possession is seven years in prison. For supply it’s life in prison. You can get an unlimited fine for both.

Crystal Meth

Crystal Meth

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What is it?

Crystal Meth looks like small ice crystals. It is like a very powerful form of speed, and is usually smoked like crack. It can be eaten, snorted (inhaled through the nose) or injected.

How does it make you feel?

It produces a rush at first which is initially like crack. The effects of it last much longer than crack does – from 2 to 12 hours.

The day after a session on meth you will get a real comedown effect where you feel flat and washed out. The more you use, the worse the comedowns.

What are the health effects?

Crystal meth is really powerful and addictive, especially if you smoke it or inject it.

This is a dangerous drug that can seriously affect your health, relationships and life. If you take it you’re also at risk of an overdose – which can lead to lung and kidney damage, or worse.

The specific health effects are similar to those of speed and cocaine.

The law

Crystal Meth is an illegal class A drug. The maximum penalty for possession is seven years in prison. For supply it’s life in prison, and you can get an unlimited fine for both.

Ecstasy & MDMA

Ecstasy & MDMA

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What is it?

Ecstasy, and MDMA which forms part of an ecstasy pill, are the most commonly used club drugs. Ecstasy pills come in all different shapes, sizes and colours. Often they have a symbol embossed on them.

MDMA is the base that ecstasy is made from before it is mixed with other chemicals and nasties to form a tablet. MDMA is sold as a powder that is snorted or swallowed.

Different ecstasy tablets contain different amounts of MDMA, and there is no telling how ‘pure’ each tablet is, which can put you at risk.

How does it make you feel?

E usually comes on about an hour after you’ve taken it. It makes you feel energised, chatty and confident. The world seems to sparkle and colours look vivid. You’ll want to dance and you’ll love everyone.

But E or MDMA can also give you a really bad time. Don’t take either if you don’t feel comfortable and safe with the crowd you’re in, as it can make you anxious, frightened and paranoid. It tightens your jaw muscles and you might gurn unattractively. It also raises your heart rate.

The effects of MDMA and E usually peak at 2-3 hours and start to wear off after 4-5.

The day after you will feel really flat, washed out and tired. Some people get a low that lasts several days.

What are the health effects?

There is no way of knowing what is actually in E or MDMA. Clearly it’s safest to steer clear. But, if you do go ahead with E, take half or a quarter of a tab at first to check for any bad reactions you may have. This way, you will get an idea of how strong it is as well. Too much E can give you full-blown hallucinations, which can be very scary. Because it often takes a while to kick in, there is a danger of overdosing.

Dancing the night away in hot clubs will make you very dehydrated. You need to drink plenty of water, but it’s tempting to drink too much. Drink too quickly and it affects your body’s salt balance, which can be as deadly as not drinking enough. The drugs can also cause the body to release a hormone which stops it making urine.

Long term use can cause you all sorts of health problems, from depression to heart disease, to liver and kidney damage.

The law

Ecstasy is an illegal class A drug. The maximum penalty for possession is seven years in prison. For supply it’s life in prison. You can get an unlimited fine for both.

GHB/GBL

GHB/GBL

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What is it?

GHB is a man-made anaesthetic drug. It has been popular on the club scene since the mid 90s. Although it is called liquid E, it is not like ecstasy at all. The effects are quite different.

It often comes as a clear liquid that tastes slightly salty. People take it by the capful. Sometimes it comes as a powder that is dissolved in water.

How does it make you feel?

GHB is a bit like alcohol, only more potent. A small capful can make you confident, happy and relaxed.

Too much will make you feel dizzy, sick, confused and wobbly. You may experience vomiting, convulsions and muscle stiffness. Way too much will put you totally out, or in extreme cases respiratory collapse.

If you buy it in a bottle, it’s hard to know how strong it is. It can take 10 minutes to an hour for the effects to come on, and the difference in dose needed to get you high versus overdosing is very small.

The day after you’ll probably feel quite groggy.

What are the health effects?

GHB has been used in ‘date rapes’. You can’t taste GHB in drinks and a strong dose can put you right out – leaving you open to sexual assault.

With that in mind, be very careful of who you take drinks from. Don’t go back to a drink if you’ve left it on its own, and stick with your mates through a night out.

Mixing GHB with alcohol or other drugs is extremely dangerous, and the long-term health effects of the drug aren’t really understood.

The law

GHB and GBL (a very similar drug) are both illegal Class C drugs. Either carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison for possession and 14 years for supply.

As a date-rape drug, administering a substance with intent to overpower a person in order to engage them in sexual activity carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Heroin

Heroin

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What is it?

Heroin is a browny-white powder sold in paper wraps. It is a processed form of opium. The man-made form of heroin is morphine.

It is sold by the gram or by the bag, and is usually smoked or injected. Smoking heroin is also called ‘chasing the dragon’. A small bit of powder is put onto tin foil and heated into a liquid. This gives off smoke which is then inhaled. If it’s injected, it’s dissolved in water first. It can also be snorted, swallowed or smoked with tobacco.

How does it make you feel?

The first time people use heroin, they usually get sick, dizzy and sleepy, but after using it a couple of times your body starts to get used to it. It then makes you feel warm, happy, confident, cosy and content. It gives you a croaky voice and your pupils get really tiny – pinned eyes.

When people take higher doses they start to get very sleepy and can fall asleep mid-sentence, and throw up quite a lot too.

Once people are addicted to heroin they get very bad withdrawal symptoms including weakness, sweating, shivering, skin crawling, achey bones, watery eyes, runny stomach and feelings of despair and depression. Heroin is a highly addictive drug and habits can get out of control.

Users also build up a tolerance over time – meaning they need more heroin to get the same hit.

What are the health effects?

The health effects of heroin generally come from the lifestyle that goes with it. Like crack and crystal meth, heroin is a very powerful drug that will wear your life away. Living with a heroin habit is living a nightmare.

Street heroin is never 100% pure and comes cut with all sorts of things that could be dangerous if injected. Worse still, it’s impossible to know how strong a batch of heroin is and as such it’s very easy to overdose ifrom a strong batch (if you inject). Many heroin deaths happen this way.

If you share needles to inject you stand a high chance of getting HIV or Hepatitis C. No one should share needles, ever.

The law

Heroin is an illegal class A drug. The maximum penalty for possession is seven years in prison. For supply, it’s life in prison and you can get an unlimited fine for both.

Ketamine

Ketamine

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What is it?

Ketamine is a relative of PCP (angel dust), and is used in human and animal medicine as an anaesthetic. Medical ketamine comes as a clear liquid ready for injection, while street ketamine is usually a white crystalline powder, although occasionally it comes as capsules or tablets.

Ketamine is normally snorted through the nose, but it can be swallowed or injected.

Ketamine is mainly in use today as an anaesthetic for farm animals.

How does it make you feel?

People use ketamine to get an out-of-body experience – it makes you feel as though your mind is detached from your body.

Small doses make you feel floaty, dreamy and trippy. Larger doses can give you powerful hallucinations, and you may feel that you have entered another level of consciousness or crossed into another world. It is quite a supernatural feeling, sometimes known as going ‘into the K-hole’.

Taking ketamine can give you black outs. You might be unable to move, walk or talk and yet you feel fully awake. This can clearly be very frightening.

The effects of Ketamine wear off in about 3-4 hours, but you may still be left feeling sick and wobbly on your feet.

What are the health effects?

You can easily hurt yourself on Ketamine as you can’t feel pain.

Don’t mix ketamine with alcohol – that can be especially dangerous.

Ketamine causes very serious bladder problems, with severe pain and difficulty in passing urine.

Injecting ketamine can damage the veins and cause serious problems including abscesses (swollen areas of tissue full of pus) and blood clots.

Regular use can lead to increased tolerance where you need more and more to get the same effect. Eventually it can lead to very serious mental health problems. People have lost touch with reality altogether as a result of this drug.

The law

Ketamine is an illegal Class B drug – having being upgraded from Class C in February 2014. The maximum penalty for possession is now five years in prison and 14 for supply. You can get an unlimited fine for both.

Khat

Khat

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What is it?

Khat consists of the leaves and shoots of a shrubby plant that has natural speed-like compounds in it. It has been chewed for centuries in some African and Middle Eastern countries.

Khat is sold in twig-like bunches in some greengrocers and specialist health food shops. The leaves have a withered appearance and lose a lot of their potency a few days after being picked.

A normal chewing session lasts about six hours over one or two bundles. Most people who use chew once or twice a week.

How does it make you feel?

It makes you feel more awake and alert. You have no appetite and you’ll get really chatty. Some people get a feeling of calm that grows over a few hours.

Chewing khat makes you produce lots of saliva which you have to spit out constantly.

What are the health effects?

If you use khat more than once or twice a week, you can end up with insomnia, anxiety, depression and irritability. Some people can get violent and aggressive as well.

Khat discolours your teeth, and using it on a long-term basis will increase your chances of mouth cancer.

The law

The khat plant was classified as a class C drug in the UK in June 2014. It carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison for possession and 14 years for supply.

LSD/Acid

LSD/Acid

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AKA

Acid, blotting paper, blots, microdots, tabs, trips, Lucy. The chemical name is Lysergic Acid Diethylamide.

What is it?

LSD is the original psychedelic drug. It is a man-made chemical that usually comes in tiny dot-like tablets or small squares of blotting paper that are called tabs of acid. When you take a tab of acid you will experience a trip.

How does it make you feel?

If it is mild, acid will give you a dreamy experience. Colours and lights look very vivid. You will probably see sparkly trails following moving objects. All your senses become heightened.

If the acid is strong then you can experience full-blown hallucinations. You will see and experience things that don’t exist – which could lead you to do things in real life that are dangerous to you.

There is no way of knowing how strong a tab of acid is – which makes taking it pretty risky.

People can have ‘bad trips’, where they experience extreme fear, paranoia, depression or panic. The chances of this are increased if you take acid when you feel at all stressed or unhappy, because acid builds on how you already feel. A trip can last anything from 5-12 hours, which is a long time if it’s not a good one.

What are the health effects?

The most common problem with acid is the ‘bad trip’ experience. If you try it, make sure you are in a place where you feel safe and comfortable, surrounded by people you trust.

If you use it regularly often you can suffer with mental illnesses. If you have a family history of mental illness then acid is best avoided.

Some people have complained that they suffer acid flashbacks long after a trip. These are not really understood.

The law

LSD is an illegal Class A drug. The maximum penalty for possession is seven years in prison and life for supply. You can get an unlimited fine for both.

Magic Mushrooms

Magic Mushrooms

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AKA

Mushies, shroomies, shrooms, sillies, liberty caps. The scientific name is Psilocybe mushrooms.

What is it?

There are two types of magic mushroom in the UK – psilocybe cubensis and psilocybe semilanceata. The most common one is psilocybe semilanceata, aka the liberty cap. These contain compounds called psilocybin and psilocin which give you a mild trip.

Liberty caps are tan coloured. The cap is no more that 5-15mm across with a ‘nipple’ on top. They grow on grassy meadows where sheep and cows have grazed and appear between September and November. But be careful – there are some poisonous lookalikes which are harmful to consume.

Magic mushrooms can be eaten raw or dried, cooked in food or brewed up in tea.

How does it make you feel?

Liberty cap mushrooms make you feel giggly, a bit spaced out and mildly trippy. A trip lasts for about 4-5 hours and is generally much milder than LSD. Afterwards you may feel a bit flat and you might get an upset stomach.

As with any psychedelic drugs you can get a bad trip which can be quite scary. There’s no way of knowing whether you’ll get a good or a bad trip.

What are the health effects?

The main worry with mushrooms is that you mistake a poisonous species for a liberty cap. Picking your own is pretty risky; there have been cases of fatal poisoning.

Your body develops a tolerance to mushrooms very quickly. So if you take them two days in a row, you’ll have to take more on the second day to get the same effect. Tolerance wears off in a few days.

Be very careful with Fly Agaric – the white mushroom with the red cap. Deaths are rare, but it is pretty nasty. You’ll get twitching, sickness, drowsiness, low blood pressure and dizziness, salivation and a powerful trip all at the same time. Worse, you could go into coma.

The law

Magic Mushrooms are an illegal Class A drug. The maximum penalty for possession is seven years in prison and life for supply. You can get an unlimited fine for both. Fly Agaric are not controlled.

Poppers

Poppers

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What are poppers?

Poppers are small bottles filled with liquid chemicals called Alkyl Nitrates. There are three different types of poppers – amyl nitrate, butyl nitrate and isobutyl nitrite.

They are sniffed direct from the bottle and have a strong acrid smell.

Poppers are often sold in sex shops, clubs and gay bars.

How does it make you feel?

Poppers give you a sudden rush that lasts for a few minutes at most – due to a sudden surge of blood to the heart and the brain.

Some people sniff poppers during sex to enhance the experience.

On the down side, poppers can leave you feeling a bit sick and faint. A lot of people get bad headaches from it.

What are the health effects?

Repeated sniffing can cause headaches, nausea, coughing and dizziness.

Don’t swallow poppers, the liquid is very poisonous and can be fatal.

Poppers are highly flammable.

It’s best not to use poppers if you are taking Viagra, as the combination can drop your blood pressure beyond a safe point.

The law

Possession of poppers is not illegal but supply could be an offence under the Medicines Act.

Solvents

Solvents

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What is it?

Solvents are usually household chemicals that give off fumes. They are things like glue, hairspray, gas refills for lighters, paints, thinners and correcting fluids.

How does it make you feel?

Sniffing dulls your senses and makes you feel woozy and perhaps a bit giggly. The effects only last 15-40 minutes. When they wear off it is quite common to feel sick and headachey.

If you keep going on glue for a long time, you can start to feel very weird and will probably throw up quite a lot.

What are the health effects?

Sniffing solvents from a bag is likely to give you a rash around your mouth and it can damage the lining of your nose and airways.

Accidents are much more likely if you are out of it on solvents.

Solvents are really quite poisonous. If you use them regularly, these chemicals will damage your brain, liver and kidneys.

Never spray solvents directly down your throat. This could kill you – or at the least leave you very sick.

The law

It is illegal for shopkeepers to sell butane gas lighter refills to anyone under the age of 18.

It is illegal for shopkeepers to sell other solvents to under 18s if they suspect that they are for sniffing.

Steroids

Steroids

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What is it?

Anabolic steroids are a group of hormones found naturally in our bodies. They are involved in growth, physical development and the function of the reproductive organs.

The drugs are manmade versions of the same or similar hormones. They come as pills or capsules. They are usually taken by mouth, but can be injected. Their medical use is limited to boosting red blood cell numbers in anaemic patients.

Bodybuilders, sports fanatics and athletes use them to increase the rate and amount of muscle growth.

Anabolic steroids aren’t the same as the steroids used to treat eczema and asthma – these are corticosteroids.

How does it make you feel?

Taking anabolic steroids, training hard and eating a high protein diet is likely to build your body weight up and increase the size of your muscles. Some people say they feel more aggressive and competitive as well.

Occasionally people get ‘roid rage’ where they are violent and sexually abusive. No-one knows if this is down to the drugs or the people though.

What are the health effects?

Anabolics can stunt your growth if you are young. Heavy, regular use could shrink your testicles, raise your blood pressure and damage your liver, kidneys and heart. Girls can end up with more body hair, smaller breasts and a deeper voice. Like many other substances, they are also addictive.

The law

Anabolic steroids are prescription only drugs. Possessing them for personal use is not illegal. But, counterfeit steroids that are quite readily available over the internet are Class C drugs. The maximum sentence for possession for supplying anabolic steroids is 14 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Drug testing has outlawed the use of steroids in sport.

Tranquillisers

Tranquillisers

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What are they?

Tranquillisers are manmade drugs. They are used medically to treat anxiety, epilepsy and sleeplessness, and are normally swallowed.

How do they make you feel?

Tranquillisers like Valium and Ativan make you slow down, relax and chill. You might yawn a lot and feel drowsy. Sleeping pills, like Temazepam, are a bit stronger but tend to wear off more quickly.

Barbiturates or barbs were popular in the 70s and 80s. They became known as downers as they were often used to ease down from tripping or speeding. Barbs were very easy to overdose on and are now rare. People use the milder modern tranquillisers in the same way.

What are the health effects?

Tranquillisers are addictive and as such are a difficult habit to break. If you take them regularly you will develop a tolerance to them so that you need more to get the same effect. Withdrawal symptoms are pretty nasty. People get anxious, sick, sleepless, restless, grouchy and develop banging headaches. Occasionally people have epileptic fits when they come off.

You can overdose on them, especially if you are using them with alcohol.

A number of people have died after injecting Temazepam. This is a really dangerous thing to do, as it’s hard to get the dose right.

The law

Tranquillisers are prescription-only drugs, and without a prescription they are treated as illegal Class C drugs. The maximum penalty for possession is two years in prison and 14 for supply. You can get an unlimited fine for both.

Barbiturates are illegal Class B drugs. The maximum penalty for possession is five years in prison and 14 for supply. You can get an unlimited fine for both.

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