Drugs

Drugs

Drugs have been around in our society for many years.  There are many different types of drugs available, and people will use and experiment with drugs for many different reasons.  Some people will use drugs to increase their energy levels or make themselves feel more alert, whilst others will use them to calm down, relieve stress or anxiety.  Others may use drugs because they want to forget their problems for a while.  Many people first try drugs out of curiosity or because their friends are doing it.  Some people just want to have a good time.  No matter what the reason, there are always risks and consequences attached to using drugs, but that doesn’t stop people from using them.

When using drugs, the effects can vary from person to person.  Many factors can affect your experience of using drugs, for example if you are male or female, your age, if you are taking any other medication or substances, if you’ve had something to eat, if you’ve used the drug before, and where you’re using the drug and who you are with.  Even if you have used a drug before, it doesn’t mean you can guarantee you wont experience a bad reaction.

Using drugs doesn’t automatically lead to addiction and many people can use drugs on a recreational basis without coming to any significant harm.  However there is no specific point at which drug use moves from casual to problematic. It varies from person to person.  Drug abuse and addiction is less about the amount of drugs taken or how often, and more to do with the consequences of drug use. No matter how often or how little you’re taking, if your drug use is causing problems in your life—at work, school, home, or in your relationships—there is a good chance you could have a drug abuse or addiction problem.

 

In this Section:

 

 

How Do Drugs Work?

Drug information - LANDED Peer Education Service

Different drugs affect our bodies in different ways.  These can be divided into three main categories.

Stimulants (Uppers)

Uppers - Drug Information - LANDED Peer Education ServicesStimulant or Upper drugs increase energy, heart rate & blood pressure. They stimulate the central nervous system and can affect breathing and cause increased alertness and confidence. Stimulants can also suppress your appetite or need for sleep.

 

Stimulant Drugs:

Cocaine, Ecstacy, Nicotine, Amphetamines (Speed), Mephedrone, Poppers, Anabolic Steroids. 

Depressants (Downers)

Downers - Drug information - LANDED Peer Education ServicesDepressant or Downer drugs affect the central nervous system by slowing down your breathing, heart rate and brain reactions. Using depressant drugs can make you feel relaxed, sleepy and less anxious.

Depressant Drugs:

Heroin, Alcohol, Solvents, gbh, Benzodiazepines (Valium)

Hallucinogenics

hallucinogenics - Drug Information - LANDED Peer Education ServicesCan affect all 5 senses causing you to experience things differently, can cause mild to strong hallucinations (seeing and hearing things that are not there) and cause you to feel disorientated.

Hallucinogenic Drugs:

Cannabis, LSD, Magic Mushrooms, Ketamine, Spice, Black Mamba

WARNING:  Taking any drug too often can lead to dependency or addiction which can cause physical and or mental health issues. 

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Drugs & The Law

Drug information - LANDED Peer Education Service

The legal classification of drugs relates to how harmful they are seen to be to the person who uses them, and to the rest of society.  This means that the more dangerous a drug is perceived, the higher the classification and the legal penalty associated with them.  Drugs are legally classified into Class A, Class B or Class C.

 

Being in possession of an illegal drug carries a lesser penalty than if you were producing or supplying it.  However many young people are unaware that if they buy drugs for themselves and their friends to use, they could be charged with supplying. (Even if it was a case of everyone pulling their money together and that person only goes to collect the drugs.)

Class A Drugs

Ecstacy, LSD, Heroin, Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, Methadone, Magic Mushrooms, Amphetamines (If prepared for injection)

Posession:

Up to 7 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine. (or both)

Production:

(supply or dealing) Up to life imprisonment or an unlimited fine. (or both)

Class B Drugs

Cannabis, Amphetamines (Speed), Spice, Ketamine, Black Mamba, Annihilation, Mephedrone

Posession: Up to 5 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine. (or both)

Production: (supply or dealing) Up to 14 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine. (or both)

Class C Drugs

Tranquilizers (if they were not prescribed to you by a doctor), GHB, Anabolic Steroids

Posession: Up to 2 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine. (or both)

Production: (supply or dealing) Up to 14 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine. (or both)

Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs can also be harmful if misused. They should only be used by the person to whom the doctor made out the prescription to. If you are found in possession of prescription drugs (such as tranquilizers) and they were not prescribed to you then this will be seen as a Class C drug offence and you could be charged.

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Legal Highs

Drug information - LANDED Peer Education Service

legal-highs - Drug information - LANDED Peer Education Service

Legal Highs are chemical compounds that have been produced to mimic the effects of some illegal drugs. The term “legal highs” can be very misleading as many people assume that as they are legal and can often be bought from a shop or online that they must be safe to use.  Legal highs can be every bit as dangerous as illegal drugs, in some cases even more so.  There is often a lack of research associated with these substances so  no one really knows what long term damage users could experience from using legal highs.  Packaging often contains a message saying things like “Not for human consumption” but this is just a legal loophole that is used to protect the people who sell it from being prosecuted.

Looks like:

Legal highs are normally sold as powders, pills or capsules. They come in a whole range of colours but are mostly brown, white or yellow.  They can also come in a variety of shapes and sizes sizes, and some legal highs can resemble herbal cannabis (grass) but the effects can be very different.

Effects:

Like other drugs Legal Highs come in Uppers, Downers and Hallucinogenic forms but can often be much stronger than other illegal drugs they are supposed to mimic.  As ingredients can differ it is very difficult to know what chemicals are in them and  how they will affect users.

Risks:

As there has been very little research into the short and long term risks of Legal Highs, it is difficult to predict the risk to users.  However experts believe these are similar to that of illegal drugs they are created to mimic. Strength & content can vary and so the risk of accidental overdose is greatly increased.  Other risks include paranoia, psychosis, drowsiness, seizures, hallucinations and in worst cases death.

Law:

The Government has introduced a new system that means they can place a ban on any potentially harmful substance while they wait for advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).  This ban can stay in place until the Advisory Council decides whether the drug should be banned permanently.  These last for typically 12 months while research is done into the effects of the drug.  During this time it will not be illegal to possess the drug, however it will be illegal to import, distribute or sell it. Anyone caught doing this could face up to 14 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

 

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Drug A to Z

Drug information - LANDED Peer Education Service

Cannabis

cannabis Drug information - LANDED Peer Education ServiceStreet Names: 

Skunk, Hash, Dope, Weed, Blaw, Puff, Solid, Grass, Resin

What is Cannabis?

There are several different kinds of cannabis (skunk, grass, hash and oil are some of the most common).  Although they all come from the cannabis plant, they all look very different.

The T.H.C (tetrahydrocannabinol) within the plant is the active chemical that gets the user “stoned”.  Although it can cause you to chill out, it can also make you hallucinate. 

Ways of taking Cannabis: 

Smoked in a joint with tobacco or in a pipe, vaporiser, bong, hot knives, eaten on its own, baked in a cake or mixed through food. Oil is applied to cigarettes then smoked (although cannabis oil is very rare) .

Short Term Effects:

  • Can affect your five senses, so you can experience things differently-colours look brighter, music sounds better, etc
  • Can make you feel hungry and have the munchies.
  • Users can feel relaxed and chilled out
  • Can make you feel paranoid and anxious
  • Can make you whitey/or green out if mixed with alcohol or if you use too much

Long Term Effects:

You can become psychologically dependent on cannabis.

  • Excess use can cause memory loss
  • Can cause lung disease and cancer – especially when used with tobacco
  • Can affect fertility
  • Can increase the chance of developing mental health problems – especially if there is a history of mental health problems within your family
  • Can affect your motivation and make you lazy and isolated from your mates

Harm Reduction:

  • There are 4000 chemicals found in tobacco.  Mix that with cannabis and you are adding 4400 chemicals to your body.  Try using a pipe or bong and cutting out the tobacco.
  • Don’t drive whilst using cannabis.  It can affect you in the same way alcohol can and it’s against the law
  • Try not to inhale to deeply
  • Avoid alcohol when using tobacco.  It can greatly increase your chances of having an accident and you are more likely to “whitey” if you use both together

Cannabis & the law:

Cannabis is a Class B drug therefore; possession can result in:

Up to 5 years imprisonment/and or an unlimited  fine

Supply can result in up to fourteen years imprisonment and an unlimited fine

Cocaine

cocaine Drug information - LANDED Peer Education Service

Street Names: Coke, Charlie, Crack, Ching, Freebase

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine comes from the South American coca plant, although by the time people see it in powder form it has had many additional chemicals added to it.

Cocaine is normally a white powder; crack cocaine (a form of cocaine) usually takes the form of rocks/small lumps. Freebase cocaine (cocaine that has been prepared for smoking) is less common than the other two forms of cocaine and is a crystal like substance.

Ways of taking  Cocaine: Snorting & Injecting.  Crack cocaine or freebase is usually smoked using a pipe or small glass tube, but can also be smoked using tin foil.

Short Term Effects:

  • Increased confidence – sometimes makes users over confident and very chatty
  • Feel good feeling
  • Users feel alert, wide awake and energetic
  • Heart beats faster
  • Loss of appetite
  • You could become aggressive, anxious or have panic attacks
  • Bad “come down” – a heavy night on cocaine can make you feel like you have the flu for the next day or two.
  • Risk of Hepatitis C if you share drug using equipment – straws, bank notes etc

Long Term Effects: 

  • Can be physically and psychologically addictive
  • Snorting cocaine can cause tissue damage to the nose as well as to the Septum (the stem that separates the nostrils) leaving users with one big nostril!
  • Can cause anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks and depression
  • Increased risk of heart attack and heart failure
  • Can increase the risk of developing mental health problems – especially if there is a history of mental health problems within your family
  • Risk of overdose increases when mixed with alcohol or other drugs.
  • If injected, there is an increased risk of HIV or Hepatitis if you share drug using equipment – needles, cups, water etc

Harm Reduction:

  • Don’t mix with other drugs
  • If snorting or injecting  don’t share ANY equipment
  • Avoid using alcohol when using cocaine – you won’t feel the same effects than if you were using them separately and you’re putting a lot of strain on your body.  Mixing both together leads to a new and toxic chemical forming within the body called coca-ethylene.

Cocaine & the law:

Cocaine, crack cocaine and freebase are all Class A drugs .

  • Possession could lead to up to seven years in jail and or unlimited fine.
  • Supplying someone else, including your friends, could result in up to life imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

Ecstasy

ecstasy Drug information - LANDED Peer Education Service

Street Names:

E, eckies, , disco biscuits, MDMA, XTC, Mitsubishi’s, sweeties, (rockstars, def cons are few of the known types available, these change according to area, what’s available)

What is Ecstasy?

Ecstasy has been around for a number of years, it is reported to have originated in Germany around 1912.  It became very popular in the 80’s and early 90’s with the rise of the dance scene as it allowed clubbers to feel happy and dance for hours.  Ecstasy is widely known as the “love drug” as users often develop short term feelings of love and affection for those around them.  Can come in capsule, tablet and liquid form, but most commonly takes the form of white tablets or different coloured grainy tablets with a picture or symbol imprinted on to them.  Pure Ecstasy (MDMA) usually comes as a white crystal powder and will usually be present in different amounts within tablets, but in some cases MDMA may be substituted by PMA which is a new chemical compound which is more toxic to the system than MDMA

It usually takes around 30 minutes for users to feel the effects after taking ecstasy, with effects lasting around 6 hours.

Ways of taking Ecstasy:

Ecstasy is normally swallowed  or  sniffed.

Short Term Effects:

  • Increases heart rate
  • Can make you feel alert, energetic and chatty
  • Feelings of euphoria/love for the people around you
  • Increases body temperature which can lead to dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaw tightening and chewing lips and/or inside of mouth(gurning)
  • Users can feel paranoid and anxious
  • Comedown from Ecstasy varies, some Ecstasy can leave you feeling a bit down /hangover type symptoms for a couple of days.

You can never be too sure what’s in your ecstasy tablet.  You might think you’re taking MDMA but you’re actually taking the much stronger and more toxic PMA and the effects might be very different than you expect.

Long Term Effects:

  • Can lead to psychological dependence
  • Long term users can develop mental health issues such as anxiety and memory loss
  • Can be very dangerous if you have an existing medical condition

Harm Reduction:

  • Don’t mix with any other drugs. Many Ecstasy related deaths have also involved the use of alcohol.  Alcohol dehydrates you, and so does Ecstasy.  Mixing these two can lead to the body overheating and being unable to cope with the effects of being dehydrated.
  • Use only small amounts of the tablet/powder at a time, this allows you to see how your body will be affected by the drug.
  • Wait for the tablet to take effect, many people re-dose to quickly which can lead to overdose. Allow on average 45mins-1 hour.
  • Try and keep cool, taking a break from dancing regularly to allow your body to cool down.
  • Sip a pint of water or non-alcoholic drink over an hour to keep your body hydrated.  DO NOT drink too much water too quickly as this can be fatal.

Ecstasy & the Law:

  • Ecstasy is a Class A drug.
  • Possession could lead to up to seven years imprisonment and or unlimited fine.
  • Supplying someone else, including your friends, could result in up to life imprisonment and/or unlimited fine.

Heroin

heroin Drug information - LANDED Peer Education Service

Street Names:

Smack, Kit, Junk, Brown, H, Skag

What is Heroin?

Heroin is a drug made from morphine which is extracted from the opium poppy flower. It has a long history and has been used for hundreds of years to treat pain.  In its purest form it is a white powder  but like other drugs by the time it hits the street it has had many other chemicals and products added to it so the colour  of the powder will often be light brown/brown in colour.

Ways of taking Heroin: 

Smoking, Inhaling, Injecting or Snorting.

Short term Effects:

  • Slows down the heart
  • Gives a feeling of warmth
  • Users will feel sleepy and relaxed
  • Using Heroin for the first time can make you vomit and feel dizzy

Long Term Effects:

  • Heroin is highly addictive
  • Users get used to it very quickly, build up a tolerance, and need to use more to get the same effect
  • Risk of overdose – especially if you haven’t used it for a while and take the same amount as you used to take
  • Withdrawal symptoms can make you feel ill and cause stomach cramps, vomiting,diarrhoea, weight loss, shivers and sweats
  • Long term use can change how you look
  • Risk of HIV and Hepatitis from sharing drug using equipment
  • Injecting can cause damage to your veins that can lead to abscesses and gangrene resulting in the loss of limbs.
  • Can cause problems in relationships, at work and at home.

Harm Reduction:

Try not to use the drug alone, always make sure someone is with you

Snort or smoke the drug, but if you must inject, take a small amount first to test the strength before you inject all of it into your system all at once

When injecting always use clean fresh needles – never share needles! By not sharing you are protecting yourself and reducing the chances of contracting H.I.V /Hepatitis C.

Do not mix with other drugs, particularly benzodiazepines, tranquilisers/methadone or alcohol as they can lead to overdose/coma.

Heroin & the law:

Heroin is a Class A drug therefore

  • Possession could lead to up to seven years in jail and or unlimited fine.
  • Supplying someone else, including your friends, could result in up to life imprisonment and/or unlimited fine.

Ketamine

ketamine Drug information - LANDED Peer Education Service

Hallucinogenic – Class B

Street names: Ket, Special K, K, Vitamin K

What is Ketamine? 

Ketamine is a very powerful general anesthetic which is often used on both humans and animals during medical operations.  It is often referred to as “ the horse tranquiliser”.  When used properly by a medical professional, it stops you from feeling pain.  It comes in liquid and powder form, but when bought on street level it is mostly found in powder form, although can sometimes be found in tablet form.

Ways of taking Ketamine: 

Usually snorted, but can be swallowed if in tablet form, or injected if in liquid form

Short term effects: 

  • Can make you feel chilled out and relaxed
  • Can alter the body’s ability to feel pain – so you could be hurt and not feel it.
  • Users can experience hallucinations and out of body experiences that feel like a floating sensation – “the k-hole”
  • Can cause short term paralysis of the muscles leaving users unable to move
  • The dosage should be dependent on body weight so it can be very easy to take too much.
  • Especially dangerous if mixed with alcohol or other “downer” drugs as it can affect heart function and breathing

Long term effects:

  • Panic attacks and depression
  • Can affect long and short term memory
  • Can aggravate existing mental health issues
  • Can damage the liver
  • Users can develop serious bladder  and kidney problems leading to them having to pee much more often.  Peeing can be very painful and can often contain blood and tissue.
  • Can cause incontinence (peeing uncontrollably)
  • Users can develop a psychological dependence
  • Risk of HIV and Hepatitis from sharing drug using equipment
  • Injecting can cause damage to your veins that can lead to abscesses and gangrene resulting in the loss of limbs.

Harm reduction:

  • Do not share any snorting or injecting equipment.
  • Inject into muscle not vein.
  • Do not mix with any other drugs – especially alcohol or other downer drugs
  • Ensure you are in a safe place with friends when using – do not use ketamine on your own.

Ketamine & the law:

  • Cannabis is a Class C drug therefore; possession can result in:
  •  Up to 2 years imprisonment/and or an unlimited  fine
  • Supply can result in up to fourteen years imprisonment and an unlimited fine

LSD

LSD - Drug information - LANDED Peer Education Service

Street names: 

Acid, tabs, micro dots, trips. 

What is LSD?

LSD(lysergic acid diethylamidemmon) is commonly known as acid. It is a strong hallucinogenic drug that was invented –  supposedly by accident, by Albert Hoffmann in the mid 1900’s.  LSD causes users to “trip” which means they experience things that are not there.  Users can have good or bad “trips”, but once it starts, it can’t be stopped.  A trip can last anywhere between 2 – 8 hours.

LSD usually comes in “tabs” which are little square pieces of paper with pictures on them.  The paper is usually blotting paper which has been soaked with a liquid containing LSD.  It can also be found in liquid and small pellet form, but these are less common.

Ways of taking LSD:

Swallowed if in tab/tablet form. Liquid is also swallowed but may be added to something to disguise the taste.

Short term effects:

  • A good “trip” can make users feel relaxed and happy
  • Users can see or hear things that are not there
  • Colours shapes or sizes can seem distorted
  • A bad “trip” can be very frightening and traumatising
  • Users can feel anxious and tired
  • You could  physically hurt yourself whilst “tripping” as your surroundings may seem unfamiliar
  • Feeling down or emotional can lead to a bad “trip”
  • Can affect time and movement

Long term effects:

  • Can cause flashbacks of your “trip” weeks, months or even years later
  • Can cause paranoia
  • Could trigger an undiagnosed mental health issue.
  • Users can build up a tolerance which means you need to take more

Harm reduction:

  • Use only when you are in a safe place with friends
  • Take only a quarter tab to start with and wait for it to kick in.  LSD can take up to 2 hours to start working so be patient
  • Do not mix with other drugs

LSD  & the law:

  • LSD is a Class A drug
  • Possession could lead to up to seven years in jail and or unlimited fine.
  • Supplying someone else, including your friends, could result in up to life imprisonment and/or unlimited fine

Mephedrone

mephedrone - Drug information - LANDED Peer Education ServicePsychostimulant – Class B

Street names:

Meph, Drone, Meow, MMCAT ,Magic, Bubbles,  Plant Food,4MMC

What is Mephedrone?

Mephedrone is a fairly new drug so there isn’t lots of research available to tell us what the long term risks are.  It is part of the Cathinone family and is closely related to amphetamines (Ecstasy & Speed). It’s a very powerful stimulant drug and the effects are similar to those of cocaine and speed.  It was at one point sold as a legal high but has since been reclassified as a Class B drug.

Usually comes as a fine white or yellowish powder, but can sometimes come in capsule or pill form.

Ways of taking Mephedrone: 

Snorted or wrapped in paper and swallowed, but can also be injected.

Short term effects:

  • The effects of mephedrone usually last for about an hour but peak after 30 minutes.
  • Users say it is very “moreish” which makes users want to take more and more
  • Users can become more alert, confident and talkative
  • Similar to ecstasy, it can make users feel very affectionate to those around them
  • Can cause irritation/pain to nasal area after snorting
  • Users can feel sick  and anxious
  • Can cause really bad headaches
  • Users can experience a heavy comedown
  • Reduces appetite
  • Can cause heart and circulation problems

Long term effects: 

  • Long term effects are not well known at present, however paranoia, memory loss and feelings of low energy levels have been reported.
  • Nosebleeds and pain in the nose are common among users
  • Insomnia and teeth grinding
  • Users can experience blue fingers due to the drug affecting the circulation in the body.

Harm Reduction:

  • Don’t share any snorting or drug using equipment – straws, bank notes etc
  • Take regular breaks if dancing and replace fluids by sipping water regularly.
  • Avoid mixing with other drugs especially downers such as alcohol as this can lead to your heart being placed under a lot of pressure.

Mephedrone & the law:

Mephedrone is a Class B drug therefore;

Possession can result in:

Up to 5 years imprisonment and or an unlimited  fine

Supply can result in: up to fourteen years imprisonment and or an unlimited fine

Nicotine

nicotine Drug information - LANDED Peer Education ServiceStreet names: 

fags, snout, smokes, ciggies, tabs

What is Nicotine?

Nicotine is the drug that is found in cigarettes.  It is a stimulant or upper drug.  It is found in cigarettes, loose tobacco and cigars.  It is mixed with tobacco and a range of chemicals that make it taste better.  When smoked it hits the blood stream instantly giving the smoker a “rush” which can make them feel relaxed and alert.  Nicotine is highly addictive, and after just a few, smokers can find themselves craving cigarettes.  Each cigarettes contains over 4000 chemicals – many of which are known carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals)

Ways of taking nicotine?

Smoking cigarettes, smoking a pipe, chewing tobacco

Short term effects:

  • Increases heart rate
  • Can reduce appetite
  • First time use can cause dizziness and sickness
  • Highly addictive
  • Users say it helps them to relax, but what is actually happening is each cigarette is feeding the smokers craving which makes them feel more relaxed – until they need another cigarette

Long term effects

  • Smokers face a range of health problems – lung disease, lung cancer, throat cancer, hardening of the arteries, heart attack, strokes, loss of limbs, gum disease.  Shall we go on?
  • Smoking also affects your physical appearance – stained teeth, tooth loss due to gum disease, yellow fingernails and finger tips, and wrinkles
  • Smoking related illnesses kill over 120,000 people a year
  • Half of all people who smoke will die from a smoking related illness.
  • Smoking just 10 cigarettes a day will cost you over £1000 per year
  • Pets and young children have increased risks from smoking

For more information on the risks and effects of nicotine please see our smoking & tobacco section.

Harm reduction

  • There are no harm reduction messages for smokers.  even smoking 1 cigarette a day can be harmful to you and those around you.

Tobacco & the law: 

Legal but only to people ages 18 or over.  It is illegal for anyone under 18 to purchase cigarettes and illegal for vendors to sell them to anyone under this age.

PMA (Para-Methoxyamphetamine)

PMA Drug information - LANDED Peer Education ServiceStreet names: 

Green Rolex, Red Mitsubishi, Pink McDonalds, Mitsubishi Turbo, Dr Death

What is PMA?

PMA stands for Para-MethoxyAmphetamine.  It is a man made chemical that is very similar to MDMA which is the active ingredient in Ecstasy.    Although they are similar, PMA is much more toxic to the body than MDMA, and as it is more potent, even smaller doses can be very dangerous.  It can also take longer to take effect which can result in users taking more as they think its not working.  It is known to cause high body temperatures in a similar way to Ecstasy.  Usually comes in tablet form and can be lots of different colours and shapes.

Ways of taking PMA:

Usually swallowed but can be ground down and snorted.

Short term effects:

As PMA is a fairly new drug, research into the risks and effects is still unclear but it is expected that they will be similar to those of ecstasy.

  • Similar to the effects of ecstasy
  • Users can feel alert and full of energy
  • Increase’s the heart rate
  • Causes body temperature to rise.
  • Users can experience vomiting and sickness
  • Users can think they’re buying ecstasy but its actually PMA.  Don’t rely on test kits that you can buy online.  they are often inaccurate or can be hard to interpret.
  • As they take longer to work, and are more potent than MDMA, there is an increased risk of overdose.
  • Can be especially dangerous if mixed with alcohol
  • If you do experience problems, seek medial help immediately, and make sure you tell the paramedics what you’ve taken.  You wont get in to trouble, and it might save your life.

Long term effects: 

  • Can lead to psychological dependence
  • Can cause long term mental health issues such as anxiety and memory loss
  • Can cause paranoia and depression
  • Can cause a dangerous reaction if you have a pre-existing medical condition such as heart problems, high blood pressure, epilepsy or asthma.

Harm reduction: 

Most users wouldn’t take PMA by choice but as it’s often found in Ecstasy tablets, you might end up taking it without even knowing so be really careful.

  • It can take longer for the effects of PMA to be felt, so be patient and allow a couple of hours before re-dosing.
  • Take smaller amounts; as little as quarter of a tablet can be enough to cause the body to overheat.
  • Try to sip water often; do not drink pints of water at a time as this can be as harmful to the body as not drinking enough.
  • Keep an eye on your mates and don’t go off on your own – make sure someone knows where you are.

PMA & the law:

PMA  is a Class A drug.

  • Possession could lead to up to seven years imprisonment and or unlimited fine.
  • Supplying someone else, including your friends, could result in up to life imprisonment and/or unlimited fine.

Synthetic Cannibinoids

Synthetic Cannabis Drug information - LANDED Peer Education ServiceStreet names: 

Annihilation , Mary Joy, Spice, Black Mamba, Clockwork Orange , Blue Cheese

What are Synthetic Cannabinoids?

Synthetic Cannabinoids are chemicals that are designed to act like the THC (TetraHydroCannabinol) element of cannabis.  Usually found as liquid or oil, the chemical is mixed with plant matter or dried herbs so it looks more like herbal cannabis (grass).  It is then packaged for sale and labelled as something like incense.  The packaging will often if not always display a message saying ‘not fit for human consumption’.  Synthetic Cannabinoids can have a stronger effect than cannabis.

Ways of taking Synthetic Cannabinoids:

Mixed with tobacco and smoked in a joint, smoked in a pipe, bong or bucket.

Short term effects:

Similar to cannabis although as it is a fairly new drug, there is a lack of  in depth research available.

  • Users can be happy and relaxed
  • Many people will get the giggles
  • Can make you feel  hungry (hit the munchies)
  • Some users can experience mood changes
  • Can make you anxious and paranoid
  • Can cause hallucination
  • Can increase heart rate
  • Can make you feel restless and on edge
  • Users can feel feeling tried or drowsy
  • Can make you sick or make you feel sick

Long term effects: 

  • Can increase the risk of developing psychotic illnesses including schizophrenia.
  • Can cause lung disease /cancer especially if used with tobacco
  • You can become dependent and experience withdrawals if you stop using it.  Effects of withdrawal can include mood changes, weight loss and loss of appetite, diarrhoea, the shakes and difficulty sleeping.

Harm reduction: 

  • 4000 chemicals found in tobacco mix that with the chemicals found in Synthetic Cannabinoids and that is a lot of chemicals
  • Don’t mix with other drugs
  • Try not to inhale to deeply
  • Use smaller amounts, as some Synthetic Cannabinoids are known to be stronger than cannabis.

Synthetic Cannabiniods & the law:

The law relating to Synthetic Cannabinoids is not completely straight forward as some products have yet to be classified under the Misuse of drugs Act and therefore some are still considered to be Legal Highs.  Synthetic Cannabinoids that have been classified such as Black Mamba and Annihilation are Class B drugs therefore;

Possession can result in up to 5 years imprisonment/and or an unlimited fine

Supply can result in up to fourteen years imprisonment and an unlimited fine

Although some Synthetic Cannabinoids remain legal, if they are found to have traces of controlled Synthetic Cannabinoids, you can be charged and prosecuted as being in possession of a  Class B controlled  substance.  As with all substances, there is no guarantee of what it’s been mixed with, so the possibility of controlled substances like Black Mamba and Annihilation  being present is very high, and ignorance is not an excuse – you could still be charged by the police.

Solvents

solvents Drug information - LANDED Peer Education Service

Street names: 

Gas, glue, aerosols, laughing gas, buzzing, volatile substances

What are solvents?

Many household products such as glues, gasses and aerosols contain chemicals that can give users a “buzz” when sniffed or breathed in.  This is known as Volatile Substance Abuse or VSA.  The affects of VSA is a bit like feeling drunk, and users can feel dizzy and giggly.  Solvents are downer drugs which mean they slow down the heart, breathing and brain reactions.  Abusing solvents can be really dangerous as the strain they put on the  heart can be fatal – even if its your first time using solvents.  This is known as Sudden Sniffing Death.

Ways of taking solvents:

Inhaling either directly or using a container or a bag.  Some products can be squirted directly down the throat, but this is a particularly dangerous way of using solvents.

Short term effects:

  • Can make you feel as though you’re drunk
  • Can make you feel dizzy and giggly
  • Can make you feel confused and disorientated
  • Can cause mood swings and make you act aggresively
  • Slows down your heart rate and breathing
  • Can make you feel tired and drowsy
  • Can make you vomit or feel sick
  • Can cause hallucinations
  • Users can develop a rash around their mouth
  • Squirting gas down your throat can cause the throat to swell which makes it hard to breath and can cause a heart attack
  • Mixing with alcohol is very risky and could lead to users becoming unconscious which can lead to death

Long term effects: 

  • Users can develop a psychological dependency
  • The body can develop a tolerance so you need to use more to get the same “buzz”
  • Can cause liver, kidney, muscle and brain damage.
  • Users can die through choking on their own vomit
  • Most solvents are flammable so there is an increased risk if you smoke

Harm reduction: 

There is no safe way to use solvents –you can die using solvents for the first time! .

Solvents & the law:

Solvents (Volatile substances)  are currently legal , although many come with an age restriction on how old you need to be to buy them.  In Scotland, shopkeepers can be charged with “recklessly” selling solvent products if they know they are going to be abused.

Tranquilisers

tranquilisers Drug information - LANDED Peer Education Service

Street names: 

Vallies, jellies, benzos, moggies, blues, downers.

What are Tranquillisers?

Tranquillisers are downer drugs.  They slow down the heart rate, brain reactions and breathing.  They provide a calming affect and are often used to relieve stress and anxiety, and can be used to help you sleep.  When used legally, tranquillisers are normally prescribed by a doctor for short term use, and are closely monitored to avoid the patient becoming hooked.  When used illegally, tranquillisers are often used to soften the come down effects of upper drugs like cocaine and ecstasy.   They usually come in tablet or capsule form and can be a range of colours, but can also be found in injection form or suppositories (a tablet that you put up your bum) .

Ways of taking Tranquillisers?

Usually swallowed, but can be injected

Short term effects:

  • Makes you feel sleepy, calm and relaxed
  • Can cause short term memory loss particularly if used in high doses and mixed with other downer drugs
  • Especially dangerous if mixed with alcohol
  • Some people crush tablets or remove the liquid from capsules so they can be injected.  This can lead to blocked veins, abscesses, gangrene and the loss of limbs as the tablets often contain high levels of chalk, or the liquid from capsules can solidify inside the veins.

Long term effects

  • Psychological and physical addictive – addiction can happen even if you have only been using for a few weeks
  • The body can become used to them quickly meaning that you need to take more
  • Stopping taking tranquillisers if you have been using them for a while can lead to withdrawals which can cause headaches, vomiting, confusion and anxiety.  Always seek medical help if you have been using for a while and want to stop.

Harm reduction

  • Do not mix with other drugs  – especially alcohol or other downer drugs
  • Do not use over any length of time – remember addiction can happen after a few weeks
  • Only use them if they have prescribed to you from your G.P.

Tranquilisers & the law: 

Tranquillisers are a Class C drug if they have not been prescribed to you.  This means you must be able to produce a valid prescription, or your name must be on the pill bottle or packet

  • Possession could lead to up to two years in jail and or unlimited fine.
  • Supplying someone else, including your friends, could result in up to 14 years imprisonment and/or unlimited fine.

2c

2c Drug information - LANDED Peer Education ServiceStreet names: 

TRIPSTACY, T-7, SEVENTH-HEAVEN, 7-UP, 2CT, 2CI, 2CE, 2CB.

What is 2C?

2C is a relatively new drug that is not widely available in this country, although it is popular in other European countries.  It is unusual as it is both a stimulant and a hallucinogenic drug (a mix between an ecstasy tablet and an acid tab).  It is part of a family of drugs that also include 2CB, 2CT-7, 2CI and 2CE.  Users feel energetic, alert and in tune with their surroundings.  Effects usually last between 2 – 4 hours but taking more can make effects last longer.

In March 2013 there was a press release from the Department of Health advising of the dangers of using any of the 2c drug family after a cluster of hospitalisations.  2C is usually found in powder or pill form

Ways of taking 2c?

Either swallowed or snorted

Short term effects:

As 2C is a fairly new drug, there is a lack of  in depth research available about the long term effects of this drug.

  • Users feel energetic and alert
  • Can distort the senses causing hallucinations
  • Can cause increased sexual arousal
  • Can cause headaches, nausea and vomiting
  • Can cause panic attacks
  • Can cause confusion , anxiety and paranoia
  • Taking too much will intensify the experience leaving users feeling out of control

Long term effects

  • The body  can build a tolerance to the drug so users need to take more to get the same feeling.
  • Users can become  psychologically  dependant

Harm reduction

  • Similar to the advise given to ecstasy users
  • Use only a small amount at first and wait to see how you react – maybe try a quarter of a tablet first
  • It can take up to two hours for it to take effect – do not re-dose before then as you risk taking too much and it all hitting you at once
  • Avoid using high doses as this can cause you to feelings of panic and anxiety.
  • Take it with people you know and trust in case you react badly to the drug.

2C & the law: 

2CI, 2CE, 2CB and 2CT-7  are under the phenethylamine group. They would then be classed as a Class A drugs which means that it’s illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell.

So under the Class A drug

  • Possession could lead to up to seven years in jail and or unlimited fine.
  • Supplying someone else, including your friends, could result in up to life imprisonment and/or unlimited fine.

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Drug Help Services

Drug information - LANDED Peer Education Service

Below you will find a list of helpful organisations that offer support and help if you are experiencing issues or problems relating to drug use.  You can also contact your local Social Work Department or Alcohol & Drugs Partnership for details of local drug services in your area, including those that offer counselling and other therapeutic services.  Your local NHS will also have details of services operating in your area.

 

Substance Misuse Liason Nurses

This service operates within three hospital sites at HairmyresMonklands and Wishaw, from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. The service offers support to patients and their families who are experiencing problems with with alcohol or drugs.  You can find the location of these services, as well as directions from your local area on the map below.

  • The Substance Misuse Liaison Nurse Service is run by a nurse at each site.
  • It is the aim of this service to ensure people who have alcohol and drug problems receive the care they require.  To do this their specific social, physical, mental and emotional needs must be addressed.

Lanarkshire Drug Services:

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Further Information:

Drug information - LANDED Peer Education Service

Landed have several resources available to help teach young people about Substance Misuse, if you are an organisation you can view our products by visiting our shop page or contact us directly if you wish to discuss a more customised order.

 

 

If you are under 25 & live in the Lanarkshire area you can access a copy of our Drug information booklet “Oot Yer Face” FREE OF CHARGE. Simply get in touch through the Contact page or call 01698 269872 to claim your copy 

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