There are many types of drugs. Some drugs can be helpful when you are unwell – such as headache medication you can buy from the supermarket (such as Paracetamol), or medications prescribed by your doctor to help you when you are unwell (such as antibiotics). Other drugs are illegal, and are harmful to your body (such as cannabis or heroin). All drugs are potentially dangerous, which is why prescription and over the counter drugs have careful instructions about how to take them. If you misuse drugs you could risk damaging your health, and possibly die if you take too much (overdose). People don’t think they will get addicted when they start taking drugs, but many drugs contain substances that can lead to addiction.
The A-Z of drugs at Talk to Frank explains more about lots of different drugs, including what the law says about each kind of drug.
Even though buying and drinking alcohol is legal once you turn 18, it is still classes as a drug and can have powerful effects. It is worth understanding about these effects, and learning about how to stay safe if you do choose to drink.
A lot of people drink alcohol, and in moderation it is not harmful. Alcohol is often present at social occasions like parties. This is because it can make people feel more sociable by lowering their inhibitions and exaggerating their mood. However, it can also make you feel out of control, be argumentative or aggressive. Too much alcohol and getting drunk can lead to unwanted and dangerous consequences, such as making you do risky things you wouldn’t do normally (like having unsafe or unwanted sex, getting into trouble with the police, or getting injured), and can even make you unconscious or kill you.
In the long term, too much alcohol can seriously damage your body leading to problems like liver damage or cancer. Like any drug, it can also be addictive which can cause problems in other areas of your life.
If you do drink, it is best to do so in moderation. This means not drinking so much that you get drunk and sticking to the recommended amount of units per day. A unit is a measure of alcohol – adult men should not have more than 3-4 units per day, and adult women should not have more than 2-3 units per day. Bear in mind that the effects of alcohol can be stronger in younger people.
To find out more about units, click here.