Taking drugs

Taking illegal drugs is always illegal and always risky and you can't always tell exactly what you are taking.

Like alcohol you can get yourself into a state where you don't know what you are doing or leave yourself vulnerable to others.

There are lots of different types of drugs and they get called all sorts of different things. We've listed some of them, the names people use for them and their possible side effects here for you as well as an idea of the risk you might be taking if you use drugs.

For more information about drugs and their effects Talk to Frank


L, LSD, blotter, cheer, dots, drops, flash, hawk, lightning, flash, Lucy, Micro, dots, rainbow, tabs & trips.

LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide) is a hallucinogenic drug, which means it can make you hallucinate or see things in a different, blurred or distorted way (often faster or slower). It is often known as just 'Acid' and is usually known as a taking a 'trip'. Once you have 'dropped' acid, or taken it, you can't stop it's effects. A trip will normally last anywhere up to 12 hours, but sometimes the effects can last much longer.

The experience can be good or bad often depending on your mood and how strong the acid is. Unfortunately there is no way of telling how strong the tab of acid is. Bad trips can be really unpleasant, so always make sure you are with people you trust if you do decide to take acid.

LSD is a Class A drug which means it's illegal to sell or give to your friends. Possession of LSD can result in a jail sentence of up to seven years and supplying it can result in a life sentence or unlimited fine.


Aerosols including hairspray, deodorant and air freshener, glue, paint thinners, petrol, surgical spirits, lighter gas or fluid.

Inhaling solvents can give a drunk like feeling or give you hallucinations. The effects tend to wear off pretty quickly so users often repeat the process several times. As well as the drunk-like highs you also get the hangover-type lows afterwards. Certain solvents can leave rashes or scabs around your mouth and inhaling aerosols can kill, even the first time you do it.

Solvents aren't illegal but it's illegal for shopkeepers to sell them to someone who they suspect will inhale them. In the UK it is illegal to sell gas lighter refills to anyone under the age of 18.


Speed, base, billy, billy whiz, dexamphetamine, dexies, speed, sulph, uppers & whiz.

Originally used as diet pills, amphetamines are a stimulant that keeps you awake. They are popular with clubbers as it can give them the energy to dance for hours.

It can be taken by mouth (normally by rubbing on your top gums), snorted, 'bombed' (putting in a Rizla or cigarette paper and swallowed) or injected. The effects can last for up to six hours and is usually followed by a long comedown afterwards.

Speed is a Class B drug. It's illegal to possess, give away to friends or sell on. If it is prepared for injection speed becomes a Class A drug and there are tougher penalties if you are caught.

The penalty for possession is up to five years in jail and an unlimited fine. The penalty for supplying amphetamines is up to 14 years in jail and an unlimited fine.

Amyl Nitrate

Poppers, Butyl Nitrate, Isobutyl Nitrate, Kix, liquid gold & ram

Amyl Nitrate is a liquid chemical that comes in small bottles or, sometimes, in capsules. Users sniff Amyl Nitrate straight from the bottle for an almost immediate high or buzz. It is usually sold in sex shops and is popular with gay men as it loosens the muscles in the anus.

Amyl nitrite is controlled under the Medicines Act. Possession is not illegal but supply can be an offence in certain circumstances.


Marijuana, skunk, blow, weed, black, puff, bang, blast, blunts, buds, bush, dope, draw, ganja, hash, hemp, herb, sensimilla, northern lights, pot, resin, spliff, soap, tops & zero

Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug in Britain. It is usually smoked with Tobacco but sometimes on its own and it can be eaten (usually baked in cakes or brownies). It makes users feel relaxed, lazy, tired and hungry. Some users get really chatty, some will feel laid back and others will just feel sick.

Some people think that cannabis is safer than other drugs but this is not necessarily true. Cannabis can make users feel worried or paranoid, and can cause serious mental health problems, in the short and long term.

Cannabis is a Class B drug, so its illegal to have it yourself, sell it or supply it to others. The penalty for possession can include a warning, formal caution, fixed penalty or a conviction. Supplying cannabis can lead to 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine.


Coke, crack, charlie, dust, naughty salt, percy, snow, toot & white

Like amphetamines, Cocaine is a stimulant. 'Freebase' cocaine and 'crack' cocaine can be smoked or injected. It acts really quickly but the effects wear off very quickly too, so users tend to repeat the process taking several hits in a day. Snorted cocaine powder is generally less strong and is absorbed into your system more slowly.

Cocaine is very addictive. The effects of Cocaine are stronger than amphetamines, it makes users feel more confident but regular users often become very cocky and full of themselves.

Cocaine and Crack are Class A drugs. It is illegal to possess them or supply them to others. The penalty for possession can be up to seven years in prison. The penalties for supplying Cocaine or Crack can be as high as life in prison and an unlimited fine.


K, special K, green, vitamin K

Ketamine is a horse tranquiliser, a powerful general anaesthetic (painkiller) used in operations. It causes a loss of body sensation and hallucinations, like LSD.

Ketamine is a Class C drug and it's illegal to possess it or supply it to others. The penalty for possession is up to two years in jail or an unlimited fine or both. The penalty for supplying someone else can be up to 14 years in jail or an unlimited fine or both.


Brown, H, horse, lady, skag & smack

Heroin is very strong painkiller which can be smoked, sniffed or injected. It is highly addictive. Heroin works by slowing your body down, reducing physical and psychological pain. It can give a feeling of warmth and comfort but lots of people feel sick and vomit the first time they take it.

Heroin is a class A drug and being caught in possession can result in a jail sentence of up to seven years and an unlimited fine. The penalty for supplying heroin can land you in jail for life imprisonment with an unlimited fine.


Eckies, brownies, burgers, Edwards, elephants, essence, fantasy, M&Ms, MDA, MDMA, New Yorkers, rhubarb & custard, sweeties, tulips, white doves, X & XTC

First associated with raves and clubbers in the early 1990s, Ecstasy users can stay awake for long periods of time and often feel 'loved-up'. It can make sounds and colours more intense.

The long term effects of ecstasy use are still being explored but it is widely used in the UK earning itself a reputation as a harmless weekend or recreational drug. However, as with any pills there is always a risk as you don't know what you are taking and once it's in your body it's there to stay. Some people have allergic reactions and in extreme cases people have died.

Ecstasy is a Class A drug. The penalties for possession can be up to seven years in jail. Supplying someone else can land you with a life sentence and an unlimited fine.

Magic mushrooms

Liberties, magics, mushies & shrooms

Magic mushrooms grow in the wild and produce similar effects to LSD. There are two main types and they're quite different. The most common form is a species called psilocybe semilanceata or 'liberty cap' and the more powerful variety is amanita muscaria or 'fly agaric'. Some species of amanitas can kill you so, unless you are 100 per cent sure, you should avoid them.

Magic mushrooms are a class A drug and if you are caught in possession you can go to jail for up to seven years and/or an unlimited fine. Supplying Magic mushrooms can get you a life sentence and/or an unlimited fine.

Crystal Meth

Christina, crazy medicine, glass, ice, Tina, Yaba

Crystal Meth is an amphetamine and like speed and cocaine it is a stimulant but it has longer lasting effects. In it's crystalline form or 'Ice' it can be smoked.

Crystal Meth is not known as 'crazy medicine' for nothing; it can bring on feelings of exhilaration and often increases sexual arousal. Crystal Meth adddicts are less likely to look after their sexual health or use protection.

Smoking 'Ice' gives a high similar to crack cocaine but it can last for up to 12 hours.

Crystal Meth is a Class A drug and possession can land you in jail for up to seven years. Supplying Crystal Meth can get you a life sentence and/or an unlimited fine.


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