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Leaving Care Support Team - Drugs

Drugs


What would you like to know about?

Hopefully this page will tell you everything you ever needed to know about drugs. Remember: all drugs are dangerous and just because your mates are taking them does not mean you have to, just say No.

Cannabis Bullet LSD Bullet Heroin Bullet Magic Mushrooms Bullet Ecstasy Bullet Speed Bullet Alcohol Bullet Tobacco
 Gasses, Glues, Aerosols Bullet Tranquillisers Bullet Cocaine Bullet Crack Bullet Anabolic Steroids Bullet Poppers (alkyl nitrates)

Cannabis


What does it look like? How it is taken? Why some people take this drug What are the risks?

Cannabis resin looks like small brown lumps. The leaves, stalks and seeds of the cannabis plant look like greeny - brown tobacco

Slang Name

Grass, Blow, Weed, Spliff, Ganja, Dope, Hash

It's made into a joint, which looks like a long roll - up. It can be smoked on its own, in a special or even cooked or eaten. It makes people feel relaxed and friendlier. People giggle, talk a lot and eat more "munchies" People can imagine that everyone around them is talking about them and making fun of them. Cannabis can make people feel very panicky and anxious.

People get confused and are more likely to have accidents - riding a bike or crossing the road for example. People taking cannabis often have bloodshot eyes, a dry mouth and feel very tired and hungry. They can feel dizzy and sick, especially if cannabis has been mixed with alcohol, like tobacco, cannabis can cause bronchitis and lung cancer.


LSD


What does it look like? How it is taken? Why some people take this drug What are the risks?

Very small paper squares with pictures on them

Slang Name

Trips, acid, tabs, microdots

Sucked and swallowed

People may see unusual shapes. Colours may seem really bright. Sometimes people hear strange noises. Objects may appear to change and everything may seem to speed up or slow down. The effects of LSD are known as a 'trip'

Once a trip has started it can't be stopped. Sometimes people feel hot, sick or dizzy. A bad 'trip' can last for hours and can make people feel really panicky and afraid. After using LSD people can have flashbacks - when they suddenly hear or see things from previous 'trips'. People using LSD a lot can become mentally ill.


Gasses, Glues, Aerosols


What does it look like? How it is taken? Why some people take this drug What are the risks?

Aerosol can, lighter gas, tins or tubes of glue

Fumes are sniffed, breathed or sprayed into the mouth or nose. People often feel as if they are drunk and "on a high", laughing and talking a lot. They sometimes do things they would be too scared to do normally. Some see things that aren't actually there. People can feel dizzy, sick or drowsy. People can lose control of their balance and stagger and fall about. This can be dangerous, especially if someone is alone or in an unsafe place. Sniffing by putting a plastic bag over your head can make it hard to breath and lead to suffocation. There is also a chance of passing out and choking on your own vomit.

It is very dangerous mixing gasses with alcohol. Sniffing or spraying gas into the mouth can cause almost instant death. One person a week dies from sniffing.


Ecstasy


What does it look like? How it is taken? Why some people take this drug What are the risks?

Tablets of different colours and shapes

Slang Name

E, Mitsubishis, Rolexes

Swallowed People can feel full of energy and think that everyone is their friend. There are sometimes slight changes in the way people see and hear things. A feeling of calm often follows the energy buzz. Some people feel panicky and frightened. There is a danger of having an accident because people have a "spaced out" and dizzy feeling. When the effects of the drug start wearing off people can feel tired but find it hard to sleep. Taking ecstasy and dancing for a long time in a hot place can make the body overheat. This can be very dangerous and can kill. People have died from ecstasy for the first time, and evidence supports the possibility that depression and mental illness may occur in later life as a result of heavy use.


Magic Mushrooms


What does it look like? How it is taken? Why some people take this drug What are the risks?

Brown dried-up mushrooms

Slang Name

Mushies, Happies, Sillies, Shrooms

Usually eaten but can be made into a tea-type drink It makes people have a trip, a bit like using LSD. People taking magic mushrooms often laugh a lot. People often feel sick and get stomach ache. Accidents happen because people get confused and clumsy. Another real danger is eating the wrong type of mushroom, many mushrooms which look like magic mushrooms are poisonous.


Speed (amph-etamines)


What does it look like? How it is taken? Why some people take this drug What are the risks?

Dry white or orangey, yellow powder or tablets

Slang Name

Speed, Uppers, Whizz, Amph, Sulphate

Swallowed, smoked or sniffed up the nose, injected, or can be mixed with a liquid or a drink. It makes people feel they have more energy, want to walk a lot and be "raring to go". Some people feel tense and anxious. Speed can make people have very bad moods and lose their appetite. When the drug wares off people feel very tired but find it difficult to sleep. Using the drug for a long time can make people feel confused, sad and unhealthy. If people take a lot of speed, it puts a strain on the heart, and can even kill.


Alcohol


What does it look like? How it is taken? Why some people take this drug What are the risks?

Liquid

Slang Name

Beer, Spirits

Alcohol is a drink such as beer, wine and spirits (whisky, rum, gin). Alcopops also have alcohol in them. It is illegal to sell alcohol to under 18's It can make people feel more relaxed and confident. People who drink a lot of alcohol regularly, can become addicted and find it difficult to stop. It can make people feel very sick, become clumsy and do things they regret later on. Because it's difficult to judge speed and distance, it's dangerous to drink then ride a bike or drive a car. Drinking will probably cause a hangover the next morning and that means a headache and feeling sick.

Mixing Alcohol with any other drug is dangerous.


Tobacco


What does it look like? How it is taken? Why some people take this drug What are the risks?

Dried brownish leaves

Slang Name

Fags, Cigs

Tobacco is in cigarettes and cigars. Tobacco contains nicotine, which is illegal to sell to anyone under 16. Nicotine is a very addictive drug, which means once you start smoking it can be very difficult to stop. Usually people who start smoking wish they had never started. It can make people feel sick and dizzy. Smoking regularly makes breath smell and fingers and teeth turn yellow. It damages health giving people chest problems and lung cancer. Smoking can kill.


Heroin


What does it look like? How it is taken? Why some people take this drug? What are the risks?

Off white, browny powder, usually wrapped in small packets of paper

Slang Name

H, Smack, Slag, Horse, Junk, Brown

Injected, smoked or sniffed through the nose. It slows people down and makes them feel drowsy and separate from the world. People can become addicted and need more of the drug to feel good. Its very difficult for people to stop taking heroin once they are addicted. People who take too much can die. Those who inject heroin or other drugs are at risk of infection.


Anabolic Steroids


What does it look like? How it is taken? Why some people take this drug What are the risks?

Tablets or oily liquids

Slang Name

Deca-Durabolin, Dianabol, Stanozolol

Tablets are swallowed and liquids are injected into muscle. If taken over a long period of time and combined with exercise, anabolic steroids may make people more muscular. Taking anabolic steroids can really damage health and stop young people growing properly. They can make boys grow breasts and girls more body hair.


Cocaine


What does it look like? How it is taken? Why some people take this drug What are the risks?

White powder usually wrapped in small packets of paper or cling film

Slang Name

Coke, Snow, Charlie, C

Sniffed up the nose or injected It makes people feel more energetic and confident. It can make people feel uptight and panicky. It can also make them feel sick and stop them sleeping properly. After effects have worn off, they can feel very tired and depressed. People can become addicted and want more and more of the drug.


Crack


What does it look like? How it is taken? Why some people take this drug What are the risks?

Small crystals of cocaine - the size of raisins

Slang Name

Rock, Wash, Stone

Smoked Like cocaine it makes people feel more energetic and confident. The initial effects can seem more powerful than cocaine, but only last for a few minutes. People can get out of breath and feel pains in their chest. It can make them feel sick and stop them from sleeping properly. People can become addicted and want more and more of the drug.


Tranquillisers


What does it look like? How it is taken? Why some people take this drug What are the risks?

Different coloured and shaped capsules or tablets.

Slang Name

Vallium, Ativan, Mogadon (moggies), Tamazepam (mazzies), Tranx

Swallowed or injected In small doses makes people feel sleepy and relaxed. Once they are used to taking tranquillisers, people can find it difficult to stop. People using tranquillisers often get headaches, feel sick and become confused when they stop taking them.

Taking too many can make people feel that they don't care about anything, making them unconscious and even kill them. Injecting tranquillisers tablets or capsules is very dangerous.


Poppers (alkyl nitrates)


What does it look like? How it is taken? Why some people take this drug What are the risks?

Gold coloured liquid in small bottles

Slang Name

Rush, Ram, Liquid gold, Amyl

Breathing in the vapours from an open bottle It can make people feel a rush of energy. The effects don't last very long. If it's taken when dancing or doing something energetic, it can make people faint. People get headaches, feel sick and cough a lot. Swallowing the stuff can kill. If you have a heart problem it can kill.


National Drugs Helpline: 0800 77 66 00

Page last updated: 8 October 2010