There's no denying that street drugs such as cannabis are popular with some. But anyone using these drugs risks seriously damaging their health.
The three main groups of drugs
There are many different drugs around, but the three main groups of drugs are:
Downers - also know as depressants
These include drugs such as alcohol, heroin, tranquillisers and painkillers that slow the body down. They affect thought processes, heart rate and breathing.
Uppers - also know as stimulants
Drugs such as speed, ecstasy ('E') and cocaine that speed the body up, affecting speech, reaction times and heart rate. Cigarettes contain the stimulant nicotine.
These are drugs such as cannabis, acid and magic mushrooms that alter the way people see, hear and feel things.
How they affect people
Drugs can affect people in different ways depending on the type, amount and purity of the drug.
The effects of hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD (or acid) can last for up to 12 hours, so once it's taken, there's no going back. If you have diabetes you may forget to take your dose of insulin. If you're with someone who's taken acid, don't scare them - try to calm them down.
Cannabis is very common. Most people who smoke it do so to make them feel relaxed, happy and sociable.
However, a lot depends on the occasion and your personality.
People can feel anxious and uneasy after using cannabis. It can also give you serious 'munchies', especially for junk food that can affect blood glucose levels.
Cannabis can make people feel 'out of it', and there's a risk of forgetting to take your insulin while you're in that state. Smoking cannabis can also mean you run the risk of becoming addicted to tobacco.
Some people use uppers, such as E or speed, when they're out clubbing to give them more energy. These people run a serious risk of dehydration where the body loses fluid through strenuous activity like continuous dancing. Not mixing uppers with other drugs or alcohol, and drinking non-alcoholic drinks and water, helps prevent this.
Uppers can also suppress your appetite, and combined with dancing can run the risk of causing a severe hypo.
Don't do it
Drugs - legal or not - can lead to problems with your health, the police, family and friends. The best way to avoid this is to avoid drugs, particularly the more addictive ones (which include nicotine).
For addional advice, visit the following websites.