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Different types of drugs affect your body in different ways, and the effects associated with drugs can vary from person to person. How a drug effects an individual is dependent on a variety of factors including body size, general health, the amount and strength of the drug, and whether any other drugs are in the system at the same time. It is important to remember that illegal drugs are not controlled substances, and therefore the quality and strength may differ from one batch to another. Drugs can have short-term and long-term effects. These effects can be physical and psychological, and can include dependency. You may act differently, feel differently and think differently if you have taken drugs.
For many people, what might have started as experimentation can quickly become a devastating addiction. There are risks associated with taking any substance. With illegal drugs it is due to the fact that these are often mass-produced and shipped across the world.
For example, only a small proportion of a drug like cocaine might actually contain that substance, with the rest made up of fillers such as laundry powder, laxatives, paracetamol, amphetamines, etc. As a result there is a risk of overdose, as it is possible to buy a particularly strong variant without realising and end up taking the same amount as you usually would of a weaker version. This is the most risky method, as there are risks of contracting hepatitis or HIV, as well as long term damage, such as collapsed veins. There is also a high risk of overdose associated with injecting.
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This carries the same risks as for those who smoke cigarettes - for example, with cancer of the lungs, mouth, or throat; heart disease, stroke and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease COPD. This damages the cartilage the hard part in the noseand the septum the cartilage that separates the nose into two nostrils can begin to rot away due to long-term use, causing severe pain.
A less well known risk of snorting substances is the risk of contracting hepatitis; in the same way as individuals who share needles to inject are at risk of this, so too can those who share straws or other implements to snort a substance be vulnerable to contracting a blood-borne virus.
This also carries certain risks.
For example, alcohol, as well as causing harm to the liver, increases the risk of cancer in the mouth, throat and larynx the voicebox. The overall type of substance being used also has an impact on users.
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For this reason, people might decide to take more of the substance, and quickly develop an addiction as they try to boost their mood and fight the comedown. Alternatively, substances taken with the intention of slowing down and relaxing, such as heroin, Diazepam and alcohol, can be just as harmful. Users may also keep using the substance to try and feel an artificial sense of calmness.
It can also become a way of escaping from emotional or physical pain, and so a dependency can develop if it is used to help with sleeping or relaxing. Because these drugs work by slowing down the heart and breathing, there is a risk of accidental overdose which can lead to coma or, in some cases, can even be fatal.
For anyone affected by an addiction to drugs or alcohol it is important to seek help; some substances, such as alcohol, can be dangerous to stop using suddenly, as the body has become dependent and the impact of ceasing usage can be fatal. Our alcohol self-assessment can help you identify if the amount you drink could be putting your health at serious risk. You can locate details of the Extern's Drug and Alcohol services which may be near you here. Why do people use drugs and alcohol Where can I get help?
The harmful effects of drugs and alcohol
Are you drinking too much? Why do people use drugs and alcohol? How the substance is taken as well as what the drug is itself matters Injecting This is the most risky method, as there are risks of contracting hepatitis or HIV, as well as long term damage, such as collapsed veins. Smoking This carries the same risks as for those who smoke cigarettes - for example, with cancer of the lungs, mouth, or throat; heart disease, stroke and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease COPD.
Effects of drug addiction on the brain
Snorting This damages the cartilage the hard part in the noseand the septum the cartilage that separates the nose into two nostrils can begin to rot away due to long-term use, causing severe pain. Ingesting or swallowing This also carries certain risks. Where can I get help?
Download factsheet Useful Links Finding an addiction service for you You can locate details of the Extern's Drug and Alcohol services which may be near you here. Help bring hope to people who are vulnerable and isolated.