Drugs and Alcohol

Drugs and alcohol are a fact of everyday life for a lot of young people. If you have not been involved in substance misuse, there’s a real chance your friends or someone you know have been. 

You are not stupid – if you are taking drugs or drinking alcohol it will be because you enjoy them, whether for the excitement, the confidence they give you or the sense of community with your friends.

You may also be using substances for lots of other reasons, such as:

  • Curiosity – you want to experiment with different life experiences
  • Defence mechanism – to forget about problems or trauma in your life. You may also be using them to address problems with your mental health.
  • Peer pressure – if your friends are doing it, you may feel like you have to do the same to fit in.

 

The downsides to drugs and alcohol

Isaac Newton famously once said “What goes up, must come down”. While you are having fun, alcohol and drugs have downsides, which can be devastating. It is very important that you think about the following: Drugs and alcohol - be safe as a young person

  • You are probably breaking the law – if you are in possession of or sharing illegal drugs, you put yourself at risk of having a criminal record or even jail. The Government website is clear about the punishments for dealing and possession of illegal substances.
  • It could be the last thing you ever do – hard substances such as heroin, crack, cocaine are extremely addictive and can be deadly. Recreational drugs such as ecstacy can also be fatal. Even alcohol can kill if you drink too much.
  • You are damaging your health – your body and brain change as you get older, so anything you do now can affect you in later life.
  • You are hurting loved ones – your family and friends will worry about you and can suffer the repercussions if you are arrested, hurt or worse.
  • You are more vulnerable – too much can mean less control. You make it easier for other people to harm you.

 

Legal doesn’t always mean safe

From the age of 18, you are legally allowed to buy and drink alcohol. If you don’t know your limits, alcohol can be dangerous.

Legal highs, or new psychoactive substances, are drugs that mimic illegal substances such as cocaine or ecstacy. Many “legal highs”, such as Spice, are now illegal and can be very dangerous, and in some cases, fatal.

Drugs and alcohol aren’t the only legal substances that can damage your health, with poppers, glues, gasses and aerosols available over the counter. These are responsible for more deaths of 10-15 year olds than drugs and alcohol combined.

 

Don’t be afraid to get help and support

SMASH are Sefton’s experts when it comes to helping you with any issues you have with drugs, alcohol or glues, gases and aerosols. Their friendly team know everything there is to know.

They will help you break the vicious cycle of substance misuse with therapy, drug treatment and education.

If you want SMASH to help you, contact them on 0151 288 6021 or by email

 

Useful websites

FRANK is the leading national drugs charity in the UK, offering free, friendly, confidential drugs advice. Their website has information on every drug, including their effects, the risks and the law. The FRANK website has lots of useful videos, such as this one about the affects of cannabis:

Drinkaware work to reduce alcohol misuse and harm for people of all ages. Their website has lots of useful info about the risks of drinking alcohol. They also give advice to ensure you enjoy alcohol in a sensible, healthier way.