Dear Deidre Replies to Me!
Topic: Drugs FAQ
Hi, thanks for your email and for telling me about your efforts with your blog.
I am sorry to hear that you are addicted to heroin and I hope you are getting the right kind of help to come off it. I am attaching my leaflet about drug worries, which where you can get advice and information on stopping. It also explains my perspective on this.
I do hope, though, that things work out all right for you.
All the best
sun newspaper personal advice service deidre sanders
If you are worried about drugs, whether it's your own use of them or someone else's, I'm glad you've got in touch.
Some drugs are much more dangerous than others but the ones I’m talking about here all have one danger in common. They are all illegal, unless taken on a doctor's prescription, so using them brings the risk of getting in trouble. If you’re caught with just a tiny amount of some of these drugs on your person – simple “possession” – you may get away as far as the police are concerned with just a verbal warning or official caution. But most schools and many colleges and companies have a zero-tolerance policy, so you could be thrown out for possession of just a small quantity of a drug not in itself very dangerous health-wise, and that could have a seriously bad, lasting effect on your education and prospects. This is a good argument for steering clear of all such drugs.
If you are caught in possession of any larger quantity of a drug than a single dose, then you could be suspected of possession with intent to supply. Passing drugs to your friends, even free of charge, is regarded as supplying, and can get you into far more serious trouble. And there are some serious reasons for such drugs being against the law.
Even drugs which aren't reckoned medically to cause serious side-effects can be more disturbing the younger you are when you start using them, because your brain chemistry and personality are less settled, more easily knocked off balance. Since you have so much else going on in your life during your teenage years and are going through so many personality developments and relationship changes anyway, it makes sense to leave drugs out of the picture at least until you are clearer where your life is heading, what you really want and how you’re going to get there.
For every high, there has to be a low, no up without a down. Regular use of any mood-altering drug - including alcohol, of course - eats into your energy levels, makes you feel you can't be bothered, tends to be destructive of relationships. This is dangerous at any age and is certainly a good reason to make sure you get help if you feel drawn towards regularly blotting out the world. There has to be a reason for this, probably to do with unhappy times in the past, perhaps even when you were a small child. The sooner you sort out what bad feelings lurk around inside you, the sooner you will find that you don't actually need drugs to have a good time. Just as with alcohol, it is always dangerous to take any drugs and drive.
Having said all that, however, it is important to realise that some drugs are more dangerous than others, though all illegally obtained drugs may - without your knowing - have been mixed with something far more dangerous or be at a lethal strength.
What drugs are commonly available on the street?.
Solvents are found in products like glue and lighter fuel. The effects are similar to being drunk (including the hangover). Risks include suffocation and choking to death, and long-term misuse can result in lasting brain damage.
Amphetamines (also called Speed or Uppers) give a sense of energy and confidence, but anxiety and irritability soon take over. High doses can give you panic attacks. Regular users tend to take increasing doses which undermine health.
Cannabis or marijuana (also called Dope, Blow, Grass, and so on), makes people feel more relaxed and talkative. It's not normally addictive, but users can come to rely on it as a way of feeling more relaxed socially. Modern extra-strong forms of cannabis are more habit-forming and damaging. It can trigger serious mental health problems such as schizophrenia in teenagers and is linked with depression, anxiety and risk of suicide. Cannabis is usually smoked with tobacco too, with all its associated health risks.
Ecstasy is mainly known as E though it has many other nicknames. If it's taken in a hot atmosphere without enough water or soft drinks being available, at a rave for example, it can cause heatstroke. It is particularly dangerous for anyone who suffers from epileptic fits or any kind of heart condition. Ecstasy can make people very friendly towards each other or give them a feeling of extra energy. Once the effect wears off, though, it can leave them feeling low, and regular use can have serious long-term effects. I have heard from many who found it leads to serious lasting depression.
Cocaine or coke as it's often known, is a powerful stimulant but effects tend to peak quickly and lessen rapidly. The drug then has to be taken more often to maintain the high and this leads to dependence. Over the longer term, it can cause sickness, sleeplessness, and weight loss. Sniffing cocaine can also damage the membranes inside the nose.
Crack is cocaine which has been treated with chemicals so that it can be smoked, and it’s more dangerous. The initial high is followed by unpleasant after-effects, which not only encourage compulsive use but can also lead to dependence.
LSD, also known as acid, is very powerful. You need take only a minute quantity - by mouth - for a trip lasting several hours. Hallucinations are usually vivid. It’s not addictive but trips can lead to depression, dizziness and panic. These are more likely if the user is anxious or in unfamiliar surroundings, and are more likely to cause long-term disturbance in the young or vulnerable.
Heroin (or Smack, Junk, or H) is sometimes sniffed like cocaine, sometimes smoked, sometimes injected. It creates a feeling of total relaxation and comfort but, once physical dependence has established itself, this pleasure is replaced simply by the relief of getting hold of the drug because withdrawal is so distressing. Mis-users need more and more just to get the same effect. Abuse is linked with crime, risk of HIV, self-neglect – in fact a thoroughly miserable way of life.
You can get more information and advice about all these drugs in confidence from FRANK (the national drugs helpline) on 0800 77 66 00, www.talktofrank.com. The Parents Drug Test on their website (www.taktofrank.com) is a useful quiz guide to most commonly used drugs, their appearance, popular street names and how to identify signs of drug-taking.
I hope you’ve found this useful. If I can be of further help, or you’d like my booklist on related subjects, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or write, enclosing a stamped self-addressed envelope if possible to: Deidre Sanders, FREEPOST, THE SUN, London E98 lAX.
© Deidre Sanders
While I make every effort to ensure the advice and information I provide is accurate and up to date, my service cannot be a substitute for consulting your own doctor, solicitor or a face-to-
face counsellor when needed. I cannot be held responsible or liable for claims arising out of our correspondence, nor if I have been misled about the facts and circumstances.
5 January 2007
Posted by gledwood
at 12:53 AM GMT
Updated: Friday, 5 January 2007 1:01 AM GMT