Drugs are chemicals that change the way a young person's body works.

Some drugs are legal i.e. medicines, nicotine and alcohol.

Some drugs are illegal e.g. cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, L. S. D., speed and
Illegal drugs can damage the brain, heart and other important organs.

Taking illegal drugs can have serious long term effects such as depression, paranoia, anxiety and addiction etc.

The long term effects of ecstasy are still not fully understood.
Reasons why young people may take drugs
Peer pressure - to fit in with a group of friends.


Feel good.

To escape from their problems in life.
Tell-tale signs
Lose interest in school.

Hang around with people who are known to use drugs.

Become moody, easy annoyed.

Wants to be left alone a lot.
Finds it hard to concentrate.

Sleeps a lot.

Gets into fights.

Has red puffy eyes.

lose or gain weight.
Useful Websites:




Alcohol is the most commonly used drug used by young people in Northern Ireland.

Alcohol is a depressant drug.

91% of A Level students in the north west claim regularly drink alcohol.
Alcohol can cause damage to many parts of the body including the liver and the brain.
Recommended Weekly Maximums
Males alcohol units1
No more than 14 units of alcohol per week.
Drink no more than 4 units in any one day.
Have at least 2 alcohol-free days a week.

alcohol units 2
No more than 14 of alcohol per week.
Drink no more than 3 units in any one day.
Have at least 2 alcohol-free days a week.
Excess use of alcohol when pregnant can cause increased risk of
Breast Cancer
Having a baby with Faetal Alcohol Syndrome
Please note the alcohol units shown are based on the UK Mainland where the measures for spirits are smaller than in Northern Ireland.
The most common effect is relaxation. Cannabis induces a state of intoxication that is similar to being drunk. It can also make a young person feel anxious and paranoid.

Can affect short term memory
Can cause damage to the lungs
Long term users can become lethargic
Risk of psychological dependence
Increases your heart rate and blood pressure.

Can make you feel sick, irritable or aggressive.

Health risks include chest pains, heart problems, lung damage and damage to the nasal passage.
Cocaine users can suffer mental problems including depression, anxiety and even servere mental illness.

Effects - kicks in after 20 to 60 minutes depending on the type and gives an energy buzz which lasts 2 to 4 hours

Ecstasy affects the body's temperature control

Dancing for long periods in a hot atmosphere increases the chances of overheating and dehydration
The drug can cause the body to release a hormone which prevents the production of urine

L.S.D. is a hallucinogenis drug originally derived from ergot, a fungus found growing wild on rye and other grasses.
The experience is known as a trip and these trips can be good or bad.

A good trip can be a lot of fun. A bad trip is your worse nightmare come to life.
If you have a history of serious mental health problems in your family it is a bad idea to take acid as it can bring underlying problems to the surface.

1 out of every 4 who die sniffing solvents are first time users
solvents2 Long - term use can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs and nervous system

Sniffing can make the heart more sensitive to adrenaline causing it to beat more irregularly and sometimes stop

The effects of using solvents are like that of alcohol although the effects wear off very quickly
There is a risk of psychological dependence
speed2 Speed puts a strain on your heart

Taking a lot of speed can give your immune system a battering

Speed can lead to anxiety, depression, irritablity and aggression as well as mental illness such as psychosis and paraniod feelings
You can get addicted to speed. Tolerance builds up meaning the greater the chance you will need to take more to get the same effect
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