You might be tempted to try drugs because your friends are doing it or you are curious, but remember that most drugs are illegal and can seriously damage your health.
Classes of drugs
Illegal drugs fall into three classes, based on the risks and dangers to the user:
- Class A – includes cocaine (coke), heroin, LSD, magic mushrooms, ecstasy (MDMA).
- Class B – includes mephedrone (MCAT, bubbles), amphetamines, cannabis (weed, skunk, including synthetic cannabinoids such as Spice, Black Mamba), MDVP (Ivory Wave).
- Class C – includes anabolic steroids, ketamine.
What are the risks?
Risks are increased if more than one drug (including acohol) is used at the same time, especially when drugs of unknown content and purity are combined. This includes mixing over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs and illegal drugs.
You cannot tell what is in a drug or its strength without testing it. Many overdoses have occurred due to users not knowing the content or purity of the drugs they were using. It is safer not to use drugs at all.
Polydrug use (using two or more drugs at the same time) increases the risk of the following symptoms and effects:
- Effects on heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature can be exaggerated, which can increase the risk of serious health problems.
- Severe emotional and mental disturbances such as panic attacks and paranoia.
Drugs and the law
If you are found in possession of illegal drugs or supplying them to other people, you could find yourself in serious trouble with the law. Class A drugs carry the most serious penalties.
Find out more at FRANK
To find out more about the effects and risks of drugs, visit the FRANK website.
You can also call the FRANK helpline free on 0800 776 600.
Get help and support from the Under 19s Substance Misuse Service
If you feel that you, or someone close to you, is becoming dependent on drugs you can get help from the East Sussex Under 19s Substance Misuse Service (U19s SMS).
Find out more at Get help with drug or alcohol problems.
Illegal drugs you might hear about
Here are some drugs that you might hear about or even be offered. All these drugs are illegal and have serious side effects.
Ketamine is normally used as an anaesthetic for humans and animals. It can cause powerful hallucinations and loss of body sensation. Side effects include depression, panic attacks and bladder problems.
Ketamine is a Class C drug which means that it's illegal to possess it and to supply it.
Possession can get you up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine. Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you 14 years in jail and an unlimited fine.
LSD or ‘acid’ causes hallucinogenic ‘trips’ that usually last about 12 hours. Once a trip has started you can't stop it. You won’t be able to tell how strong the acid is or how it's going to affect you until you’ve taken it.
LSD is a Class A drug – it’s illegal to have, give away or sell. Possession can get you up to seven years in jail. Supplying it to someone else, including your friends, can get you a life sentence.
MDMA or Ecstasy
MDMA, or Ecstasy can be sold in pills or grams of off-white, brown or pinkish crystals or powder. It can be snorted, smoked or dabbed on your gums.
MDMA is a Class A drug. It is illegal to reproduce, supply, or possess it.
Mephedrone, MCAT, Meow Meow
Mephedrone is a stimulant drug with effects similar to ecstasy. It can also cause you to feel anxious and paranoid and it can over-stimulate the heart and nervous system, causing fits. Snorting it can cause serious nosebleeds and it has been linked to several deaths.
Mephedrone is a Class B drug and illegal to possess. This means that you could get a maximum of five years in jail and an unlimited fine for possession, and 14 years in jail and an unlimited fine for supplying it.
Research Chemicals (Not For Human Consumption)
Research chemicals include:
These drugs cause hallucinations and act as stimulants.
2-CB and 2CT-7 are both Class A drugs in this country. They are illegal to have, give away or sell. Possession can get you up to seven years in jail. Supplying someone else, even among your friends, can get you a life sentence and an unlimited fine.
For more information on all these drugs, visit FRANK – Drugs A-Z.
Unclassified drugs - legal highs
Some people may use drugs which haven't been classified to gain a euphoric effect or ‘high’. Although these drugs are not illegal to possess and can be sold in shops or on the internet, they could be just as risky as class A, B or C drugs – nobody knows yet.
Experimenting with drugs that we don’t know much about can be dangerous.
MDVP or ‘Ivory Wave’
Using MDPV can lead to the over-stimulation of both the cardiac system and the nervous system, causing heart problems, agitation, hallucinations and fits.
As of 15 September, compounds associated with Ivory Wave (2-DPMP) are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and are categorised as Class B substances.
Salvia is the leaves of a plant that produce hallucinations when chewed or smoked. It is sold on the internet and in 'headshops' as herbal ecstasy.
Salvia causes stronger hallucinations than other legal highs and can lead to frightening visions.
GBL, BZP and synthetic cannabinoids
GBL, BZP and synthetic cannabinoids such as ‘Spice’ have been illegal since 2009. For more information on ‘legal highs’, visit FRANK.