It is Drug Action Week 2011 (19th â€“ 25th June).
There is no doubt that Alcohol and Other Drugs play some role in our lives, whether as a spectator or users and can range from energy drinks, Sambuca to illicit and prescription drugs.
Drugs are used for many different reasons, the list is long and can include socialising, to have a good time, feel part of the group, to escape worries.
They can be used in a multitude of settings from the footie club, nightclub, home and to the uni bar at lunch.
The affect on each person can also vary from the mate who only needs one drink to become the karaoke queen to addicted smoker.
In this blog provides a Drugs 101â€“ what are they and what do they do. Throughout we have included a range of videos which we feature on Tune In Not Out.
Illegal drugs can be particularly unpredictable, as they are not manufactured in a controlled way. Any time you take an illegal drug you cannot know whether it is stronger or weaker or the same as the last time you tried it which means you may be taking more than intended. This Ecstasy Face Facts video shows this in an interesting way.
What is a Drug
A drug is a broad label given to any substance that changes the way your brain works. Drugs can be broadly classified into three groups:
Even though Alcohol is a drug you often hear it separated from other drugs to coin the phrase â€˜Alcohol and Other Drugsâ€™ â€“ why do you think that is? It is a drug after all, in fact it is one of Australiaâ€™s most harmful drugs.
So which drug sits where?
Some drugs have a ‘depressant’ effect and slow down your reaction to things. Taken in small amounts they may make you feel more relaxed. Taken in large amounts they may cause you to pass out as they slow down your breathing and heart rate or may cause nausea, vomiting and even death. Mixing depressant drugs may be dangerous and increases the likelihood of overdose.
Also consider what happens when you mix a depressant like alcohol with a stimulant like an energy drink. One is trying to slow things down – the other speed things up â€“ not a great combo for the body. The stimulant can also hide the effects of depressant drugs like alcohol so you may feel less drunk than you are which may mean you take more risks, and put yourself in danger.
Depressant drugs include:
- opiates and opioids, including drugs like heroin, opium, morphine, codeine and methadone
- cannabis (marijuana, hashish, hash oil)
- sedatives and hypnotics (including valium and rohypnol)
- some solvents and inhalants, like petrol, glue, lighter fluids and paint thinners
Check out these related videos
How is your Sunday Morning?
How is your relationship with Sunday Morning? Is it a blurry one that normally involves a headache and greasy food? Hello Sunday Morning is a national project where people opt to take a 3 month break from alcohol. Check out their great website where a 100â€™s of people blog about their experiences and life without the hangover!
Some drugs have a ‘stimulant’ effect which make you feel more awake and alert. They increase your heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure. Stimulants may make you feel agitated, keep you awake, decrease your appetite and dilate your pupils.
If you take a large amount of a stimulant drug you can become anxious, paranoid, aggressive and get stomach cramps.
Stimulant drugs include:
- tobacco (so have a ciggie to calm your nerves doesnâ€™t really work)
- caffeine (including energy drinks)
- amphetamines (eg speed, ICE or methamphetamine)
- ephedrine (Sudafed)
- ecstasy (MDMA).
Check out these related videos about Ecstasy and Tobacco
Hallucinogens may change people’s perceptions of reality. During this time, people may experience visual or auditory hallucinations.
It is impossible to predict whether your hallucinations are likely to be positive or unpleasant. It is not uncommon to experience anxiety, panic or paranoia during an hallucination.
It is also difficult to predict the length and frequency of the hallucinations. You may still be having them for up to 24 hours or for periods after this time. Losing contact with reality and perception changes may cause people to have accidents and take risks they wouldn’t normally take.
Hallucinogenic drugs include:
- LSD (acid, trips)
- magic mushrooms
- cannabis may have hallucinogenic effects as well as depressant effects.
Explore the links throughout this blog for more information and a great range of videos. You can also share your story via our online production studio.
Thanks to our content partner Reach Out, whose factsheets were used for some of this information.
Image by Duncan