Street drugs are substances people take to give themselves a pleasurable experience, or to help them feel better if they are having a bad time, or simply because their friends are using them. They include heroin, cocaine, cannabis, alcohol and some prescribed medicines.

All street drugs have effects on mental health: that is why people use them. They are all likely to affect the way you see things, your mood and your behaviour. Unfortunately, while they may give a short-lived burst of pleasure, or an exciting experience, many of them have longer-lasting harmful effects and, for some people, they may cause long-term mental health problems.

The effects that drugs may have on you depend on:

  • the type of drug
  • the amount you take
  • how often you take it
  • your previous experience of it
  • what you want and expect to happen
  • the environment or social situation in which you take it
  • your mental state.

You may react differently to the same drug at different times or in different situations. If you are used to taking a drug in the same place and in the same way, a dose which is safe in that situation may become extremely dangerous if you take it somewhere else, unexpectedly, with no preparation.

Drugs may cause symptoms that are similar to those that lead to a psychiatric diagnosis. In the worst cases, drug use may trigger serious conditions such as schizophrenia or long-term depression.

You may become tolerant of some drugs, which means your body gets used to having them, so that you need higher doses to get the same effect.

Withdrawal effects are the body’s reaction when it doesn’t get a drug it has adapted to. They can be stopped, either by taking more of the drug, or by stopping using it completely; this may make you very unwell in the short term, and it may take a week or so – or sometimes much longer – to recover.

Click Here to View a Chart on Effects of Drugs

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