Drugs – a brief explanation

Cannabis –  the drug most likely to be used in England and Wales.  About 6.6% of 16 to 59 year olds reported using cannabis in 2010

Cannabis can cause anxiety, paranoia and loss of motivation. There’s evidence that cannabis use increases the risk of developing a psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia, and can cause a relapse in those with a pre-existing condition. Cannabis, like tobacco, can cause lung disease. Long-term or heavy use may cause cancer.

Powder cocaine –  the second most commonly used drug, with 2.4% of 16 to 59 year olds saying they had taken powder cocaine.

Cocaine, or coke, is highly addictive. Even healthy people Can suffer fits or heart attacks  after taking too much coke. It’s also known to cause panic attacks.

Ecstasy – 1.6% of 16 to 59 year olds have taken ecstasy. It can cause panic attacks or psychotic states.  The drug is linked to liver, kidney and heart problems.

Amyl nitrite and amphetamine –  There is no evidence that Poppers are addictive, but they can make you feel sick, light headed or cause extreme headache.  It can also cause loss of erection.

Amphetamines are very addictive, and the comedown can make you feel depressed and there serious risks to heart function.

Hallucinogens and Ketamine – 0.5% of 16 to 59 year olds have used hallucinogens – LSD and magic mushrooms. Use of Ketamine was also estimated at 0.5%.  Side effects are; random, very frightening and can include flashbacks.

Ketamine can cause panic attacks and depression. It can affect breathing and heart function and it can cause loss of consciousness.