If you are under 18, please make sure you have your parents’ permission before providing us with any personal details.
Here is a short guide to dealing with peer pressure, understanding the side effects and advice from drugs charity Frank about staying safe.
What percentage of under 16-24 year olds do you think have never tried drugs?
The answer is 60%. That means only a third of 16-24 year olds have tried them, which is helpful to know if you’re dealing with pressure or relying on friends for the facts.
If you’re feeling under pressure to experiment with drugs, here are some things to help you deal with it:
Drugs can play havoc with how you feel and behave. Feeling low or depressed is a common feature of most come-downs but it can also be a long-term side-effect. Anxiety is common and is especially associated with the use of cannabis, ecstasy (MDMA), speed and mephedrone. LSD, ecstasy, mushrooms, cocaine and ketamine can all make you feel panicky and steroids and speed can make you aggressive, even if you’re normally a calm person.
Confusion, poor memory and concentration, irritability, paranoia…the list of common side-effects goes on. And bear in mind that drug use can also lead to long term conditions. For example, regular users of cannabis and ketamine are at an increased risk of developing schizophrenia.
For all the reasons described above, drugs will sooner or later start to impact on your relationships with others. The way you interact with friends and family is likely to change and could start to cause friction and arguments. If you’re having sex, drugs can also cause physical changes. For example, steroids can cause blokes to have erection problems and cocaine can decrease your sex drive.
Most drugs will affect your appearance to some degree and it could mean more than just a few spots. Steroids can make girls more hairy and can cause boy’s testicles to shrink. They can also cause breast shrinkage in girls and breast growth in boys.
Volatile substances such as gasses, glues and aerosols can give you a red rash around your mouth, as can poppers. Methamphetamine, cocaine and speed can have an even more devastating effect. Snorting cocaine and speed can, over time, destroy the inside of your nose and methamphetamine can cause your teeth and gums to rot away leaving you with ‘meth-mouth’. Methamphetamine can also cause skin ulcers due to fact it can cause users to pick at imaginary bugs crawling under their skin.
Ketamine as well as volatile substances such as gasses, glues and aerosols can make your throat swell and can cause breathing problems. They can also all lead to coma and heart problems and can kill you instantly. Some people have been known to die the first time they’ve ever used them.
Perhaps two of the commonest words we associate with drug use are addiction and overdose. One of the most dangerous side effects of many drugs is their addictive quality, making it hard to keep away from them. Simply put, an overdose is when you take more than your body can cope with. It can be very hard to judge how much you can take of any drug, without overdosing and even if you’ve used a drug before, you have no way of judging its strength or knowing what other substances it has been mixed or ‘cut’ with.
Here is some good advice for staying safe from drugs charity FRANK (taken from The Truth About Drugs)
Substances are not safe and can cause long-term harm. The safest option is not to use drugs. Anyone who does take drugs should:
100% FREE & CONFIDENTIAL