Drugs

People take drugs for many reasons; many of you reading this have probably already experienced some form of illegal drug use. The information below is a guide on how to take drugs carefully and safely. It provides information on the risks involved and how each drug affects you. We have done this so you can make an informed choice and if you do decide to take an illegal drug that you do so as safely as possible.

It is also important to remember that if you are caught in possession of drugs you could find yourself in serious trouble with the Police and/or the University. It also important to stress that you should not be pressurised into doing something which you don't want to, it is your body and therefore your own health that is at risk.

Anabolic Steroids

Otherwise known as Sustanon 250, Deca-Durabolin, Dianabol, Anavar and Stanozolol. Often referred to as roids.

Anabolic Steroids can only be sold lawfully by a pharmacist to someone with a prescription. Whilst possession isn't illegal without a prescription, supply is against the law and Class C penalties apply. Such steroids are similar to and include the male hormone testosterone. Some steroids can be swallowed but most are injected.

Steroids can often make users feel more aggressive and able to train harder, with exercise they can build up muscle, though there is debate about if they improve power or stamina. Taking steroids carry many health risks and can stop young people from growing properly. Men may suffer from erection problems, breast growth, shrinking testicles, reduced sperm and even sterility, acne, increased chance of heart attack and liver failure. Women may suffer from growth of facial hair, deepening voice, shrinking breasts, irregular menstrual cycles, spots, and possible miscarriages and stillbirths. Some of these may be irreversible without surgery, but injecting steroids can damage your veins and of course there are the associated risks of infections such as hepatitis and HIV.

Cannabis

Also known as Marijuana, Draw, Gear, Blow, Weed, Pot, Puff, Shit, Hash, Ganja etc.

Cannabis comes from the plant cannabis sativa; it comes in a solid dark lump known as 'resin' or as leaves, stalks and seeds called grass, or as sticky oil. It can be rolled with tobacco in a spliff or joint, smoked on its own in a pipe or eaten. Skunk is the strongest type of cannabis. Cannabis is a Class C drug, but class A penalties apply to cannabis oil.

It makes users feel relaxed and talkative; it heightens the senses, especially colours, taste and music. Cooking or eating hash makes the effects more intense and harder to control. It can leave people feeling tired and without energy and craving certain food.

Cannabis can affect short-term memory and ability to concentrate, in turn affecting co-ordination. No one should attempt to drive when stoned or get in a car when somebody is stoned. Users may become paranoid or anxious, depending upon their mood and situation. Smoking cannabis may lead to tobacco addiction and increases the risks of respiratory problems, including lung cancer. Some users find cannabis hard to quit.

Cocaine

Also called Coke, Charlie, Snow, and C.


Cocaine is a white or pink powder that can be snorted up the nose or injected.
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant, its buzz creates a sense of well being, making users feel very alert and confident. The effects last roughly for 30 mins, with users usually left craving more. People often take more to delay the comedown (tiredness and depression).

Cocaine can cause heart or chest problems, with heavy use associated with convulsions. Long or frequent users often feel restless, confused or paranoid. Snorting cocaine can permanently damage your nose. The drug is extremely expensive and addictive and users face the risk of death from an overdose. It is Class A drug.

Crack

Other names include Rock, Wash, Stone, and Cane.

Crack is a smokeable form of cocaine. The effects of smoking crack are similar to that of cocaine but much more intense. The high usually last for as little as 10 mins, so users often chase the high by repeating the dose.

Heavy use can lead to fatal heart problems and convulsions; it is highly addictive due to the high being so intense and as such it’s difficult to control. Smoking can seriously damage your lungs and cause chest pains. Feeling of restlessness, nausea and sleeplessness are common. Users have died from overdoses. This too is Class A drug.

Ecstasy

This drug has many other names, such as E, XTC, Tabs, Doves, Disco Biscuits, Echoes, Hug Drug, Eccies, Burgers, Fantasy, Pills (chemical name MDMA).

Ecstasy usually comes in tablets of different shapes, sizes and colour (but often white). MDMA's effects are unpredictable, largely due to the fact that ecstasy is often mixed with other substances.

Users can feel alert and in tune with their surroundings and with other people. Sound, colour and emotions can seem much more intense; the energy buzz that it gives mean that people can dance for prolonged periods. The effect can last anything from 3 to 6 hours.

As ecstasy starts working ('coming up') users might feel a tightening of the jaw, nausea, sweating and an increase in heart rate. The comedown often leaves people feeling tired or depressed, often for days. Kidney and liver problems have been associated with use, though studies are still at a very early stage and no one truly knows the long-term effects. However, research has shown that it dramatically affects the brain chemistry of animals. There have been well over 60 ecstasy-related deaths in the UK. Users should avoid taking alcohol at the same time and instead drink sensible amounts of water.

Gases, Glues, and Aerosols

These can be found in gas refills, fuel canisters, hairsprays, deodorants, air fresheners, tubes/tins of glue and some paints, thinners and correcting fluids. They are sniffed or breathed into lungs.

Users feel thick-headed, dizzy, giggly and dreamy. They may also hallucinate. The effects often wear off after 15 to 45 mins; afterwards users may feel drowsy and suffer a headache.

Use of gases etc can cause instant death; squirting the stuff down the throat may cause the body to produce fluid which can potentially fatally flood the lungs. Nausea, vomiting, black outs and fatal heart problems are not uncommon. There is also a risk of suffocation if using plastic bags. Long term use can damage the brain, liver and kidneys. This type of drug abuse kills one person every week.

GHB

Sometimes known as GBH, short for gammahydroxybutyrate.

GHB is a colourless liquid and is sold in small bottles or capsules. The liquid is measured out and then swallowed; it has no smell but a salty taste. It was originally developed as a medicine for use during surgery and has been used as an alternative to anabolic steroids. Possession isn't illegal without a prescription, but supply is against the law.

GHB has sedative properties and can produce feelings of euphoria, its effects have been known to last for a day. For this reason it is also often used as a "date rape" drug, and put in someone's drink without their knowledge leaving them almost helpless.

Excessive use can lead to sickness, stiff muscles, fits and even collapse, and if incorrectly produced it can burn the mouth. It is very dangerous and can be fatal when mixed with alcohol or other drugs. It is illegal to supply, class C penalties apply.

Heroin

Also known as Smack, Brown, Horse, Gear, H, Junk, and Skag.

Heroin is a painkilling drug giving the user a sense of warmth and well being, higher doses can make users feel drowsy and relaxed. Excessive amounts can result in overdoes, coma and in some cases death. First time use often leads to side effects like dizziness and vomiting.

Heroin is very addictive; getting the next fix can dominate a user's life. Tolerance develops, which means that more must be taken to get the same effect, users who form a habit need to take the drug merely to feel normal and often switch to injecting the drug to maximise the high. Injecting can risk hepatitis and HIV along with damaging the veins and may lead to gangrene. Withdrawing from heroin can be very hard; mentally it may take years.

Ketamine

Special K, vitamin K, K.

Ketamine is an anaesthetic with painkilling and psychedelic properties; a very similar drug is used when operating on animals. It comes in the form of tablets, or as powder to be snorted up the nose. Ketamine is a prescription only medicine, and whilst possession isn't illegal without prescription, supply is against the law.

Ketamine makes users feel that the mind has been separated from the body. This creates 'out of body' experiences for up to 3 hours. Like LSD the user’s mood and environment influence the effects of the drug. During this time a user may be physically unable to move.

Ketamine numbs the body; if you have injured yourself you may not even know it. Excessive doses carry the risk of breathing problems and heart failure, and it is especially dangerous when mixed with alcohol and other drugs. The long-term effects of recreational use of Ketamine are still not really known.

LSD

Other names include Acid, Trips, Tabs, Blotters, Microdots, Dots (chemical name Lysergic acid diethylamide).

LSD usually comes in tiny paper squares, often with pictures on one side; the picture says nothing about the likely effect or strength of the drug.

LSD is a hallucinogenic drug. It has a powerful effect on the mind. The effects are known as a trip and can last after 8 to 12 hours. Whilst a user is tripping they experience their surroundings in very different ways. The effect depends upon the user’s mod, where they are and who they with. Sense of movement can speed up or slow down; objects colour and sound typically become distorted. Users experience different trips every time.

Once a bad trip starts there is no way to stop it, a trip can be terrifying, and you may feel threatened and even forget that the drug is responsible. You cannot predict a bad trip, but it is more likely to happen if you are nervous, anxious or uncomfortable. Users may experience flashbacks, where parts of a trip are briefly relived some time after the event. LSD can complicate mental problems such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Magic Mushrooms

Imaginatively also called 'Shrooms, Mushies.

Several types grow in the UK; there are species that look very similar to mushrooms that are in fact poisonous. Magic mushrooms can be eaten raw, dried, cooked in food or stewed into a tea. Possession of mushrooms is not illegal, but it is an offence to possess any preparation of them (e.g. when they're dried or stewed).

Magic mushrooms have a similar effect to LSD, but the trip is often milder and shorter. Mushrooms can make users feel very relaxed, but often this depends upon the user's mood and who they are with. Hallucinations are also common.

Magic mushrooms can cause stomach pains, sickness and diarrhoea, and eating the wrong type of mushroom can cause serious illness- even fatal poisoning. If users feel sick they should go straight to hospital with a sample of the mushroom. Bad trips can happen and can be very frightening. Once the trip has started there is no going back. Mushrooms can also complicate any mental health problems. They are a Class A drug when prepared.

Poppers

Poppers is a term used for a group of chemicals known as alkyl nitrates, examples of which are amyl nitrates, butyl nitrite and isobutyl nitrite. Trade names include Ram, Thrust, Rock Hard, Kix, TNT, and Liquid Gold.

Poppers come as clear or straw coloured liquid in a small bottle or tube. The vapour is breathed in through the mouth or nose. Poppers are becoming increasingly popular in dance culture. Amyl nitrate is a prescription only medicine. Possession is not illegal but supply can be an offence.
Users get a very brief 'head-rush', caused by a sudden surge of blood through the heart and brain. Blood vessels enlarge resulting in a flushed face or neck, and some users experience the impression of time slowing down. The effects fade 2 - 5 mins after use.