There are many different types of drugs that people use. All drugs, whether they’re ‘legal’ such as tobacco, alcohol, glue or aerosols, or ‘illegal’ such as cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, or heroin, can be very addictive and cause serious harm. Even prescribed medicines can be very dangerous if they’re used in the wrong way. Using these things can be known as substance misuse.
People might start using drugs and alcohol for lots of different reasons. It might be to help them cope with difficult feelings or situations, peer pressure, to help them ‘fit in’ or as an experiment.
The immediate effect of taking drugs or alcohol might make you feel good and you might think that you have control over what you use. However, a lot of substances are highly addictive and things can quickly spiral out of control.
Using drugs and alcohol comes with many serious risks, including:
- addiction – taking them more and more, not being able to say no when offered them and thinking about them every day
- lack of motivation to do your normal daily activities, such as go to school or college
- causing problems in your relationships with friends or family
- doing things that you wouldn’t normally do causing accidents or incidents
- getting a criminal record (or prison) if found with an illegal drug
- damage to your physical health; including overdose and death
- causing serious mental health problems such as psychosis or depression
- with illegal drugs you never know what you are actually taking.
You should never feel pressured into using drugs or alcohol. If you have worries and difficult feelings that you’re finding hard to cope with, then it’s important that you get the right kind of help. Drugs and alcohol won’t make them go away, chances are they’ll actually make it worse.
If you find that drugs or alcohol are affecting your life, or if you feel under pressure to use drugs or alcohol for whatever reason then it’s important that you ask for help.
If you would like to know more about drugs and alcohol and the help you can get you might find these websites useful: