What Are Drugs?
Many different drugs, including painkillers such as
paracetemol, can be bought over the
counter in chemists, supermarkets and other stores.
It is important to stick to the recommended dose and heed
warnings given on the packaging. Some can be dangerous or even
fatal if used incorrectly or mixed with other drugs such as
Prescribed drugs should be safe to use if taken according to
your doctor's advice. It is dangerous to take drugs that have not
been prescribed for you. Some prescribed durgs are misused and can
be bought illegally.
If you possess or supply any of these drugs without a
prescription, you could face criminal charges.
Some drugs such as alcohol, caffeine &
nicotine are not medicines at all, but they are legal and socially
acceptable to use.
This does not mean that they are also safe to
Regular or excessive use of any drug can prove hazardous to
health and well-being!
Some drugs are thought to be so harmful to health they have been
outlawed and their possession is a criminal offence.
Some people still take them anyway, because for them the
benefits outweigh the costs. These drugs include heroin, cannabis,
ecstasy and magic mushrooms.
Unlike medicines, there is no quality control with these drugs
and users can never be entirely sure what they are taking.
Volatile Substances (solvents)
Some household products such as glues, aerosols and lighter fuel
contain volatile substances that can have drug-like effects when
Product names include: Sustanon 250, Deca-Durabolin, Dianabol,
Anavar, Stanozolol and are sometimes called "roids" or "stegs" by
They come in tablets which are swallowed or liquids which are
injected into the muscle (never the vein).
Effects: Steroids are used by some bodybuilders
and athletes to increase muscle mass and performance as well as
recovery after intense exercise or training. They can also increase
Risks: Anabolic steroids can stop young people
from growing properly.
Women can face the following risks: deepening
voice, growth of facial hair, shrinking breasts, irregular periods,
miscarriage and still-birth.
Men can face the following risks: breast
growth, erection problems, shrinking testicles, sterility,
increased chance of a heart attack or liver failure, and acne.
The Law: Steroids are a class C controlled drug
and possession or supply without a prescription is an offence.
Speed, whizz, uppers, amph, billy and sulphate are all common
names for amphetamines.
Amphetamine is usually sold as a white powder or grey paste that
can be snorted, swallowed, smoked, dissolved in a drink or
It is also available in tablet form for swallowing. Amphetamine
is one of the most adulterated drugs on the market and street
'speed' can be as little as 5% pure.
Effects: Amphetamine is a stimulant that
increases heart rate and brain activity. It can make the user feel
confident, energetic and talkative. Larger doses suppress the
appetite and reduce the need for sleep.
Risks: using amphetamine can make you feel
tense and anxious, and afterwards will leave you tired and feeling
down for a day or two and sometimes even longer.
Amphetamines can make the symptoms of mental illness worse, or
bring them back even when you have been well for some time.
Havey use can cause people with no mental illness to experience
'amphetamine psychosis', a sudden and persistent attack of paranoia
and hallucinations. This usually disappears if the user steers
clear of the drug for a while, but it can come back if the drug is
The Law: Amphetamine is a class B drug, unless
prepared for injection when it becomes class A.
Cannabis is also known by many other names such as weed, blow,
draw, marijuana, hash, dope, ganja, skunk or
grass. it comes from a variety of the hemp
plant whose buds and leaves can be dried out and smoked as 'grass'
or processed further by extracting their resin to make solid brown
'hashish' or oil. Cannabis is often smoked in a pipe, bong or
cigarette along with tobacco, known as a joint or spliff.
It can also be eaten, either on its own or mixed into cake
mixtures known as 'space cakes'.
Effects: Cannabis has a variety of effects
which mostly affect the mind rather than the body. Some people feel
relaxed, others become talkative & some become paranoid or
These effects begin after about ten minutes and can last up to 2
hours. Cannabis stimulates the appetite and it is common for users
to become hungry, known as the "munchies".
It also slows reaction times and impairs short-term memory. The
general sedative effects of cannabis use are referred to by
users as being 'stoned'.
Some users report hightened senses or profound insights which
seem significant at the time but are swiftly forgotten. Users can
be left feeling tired with little motivation.
Risks: Cannabis impairs short-term memory
and affects concentration and motivation.
Smoking cannabis with tabacco can lead to a nicotine addiction,
and heavy use over a long period of time can lead to respiratory
illnesses and even lung cancer.
Cannabis can make users paranoid and anxious. it has been
suggested that it can worsen existing or latent mental health
problems such as schizophrenia, but there is no convincing evidence
to suggest that cannabis actually causes the problem.
Being stoned can affect co-ordination making the user
susceptible to accidents.
The Law: Cannabis has been reclassifed from a B
to a Class C drug in the UK.
In Jersey, however, it remians a Class B and possession is an
arrestable offence that could lead to a criminal record. The more
potent cannabis oil is a Class A drug.
Cocaine and Crack Cocaine
Cocaine is sometimes called coke, charlie, snow, or C, and it is
a white powder that is snorted up the nose. Sometimes it is
dissolved and injected.
Crack is another form of cocaine, also called rock, wash
or stone. It comes as small raisin-sized white crystals which can
Effects: Taking cocaine makes users
feel on top of the world. It's effect is like the stimulant
'amphetamines' (speed) but is stronger and doesn't last as long.
people taking it feel wide-awake, confident and on top of their
Cocaine is a stimulant, so it can raise the body's temperature,
make the heart beat faster and stave off feelings of hunger.
The effects of crack smoking are virtually immediate, peaking
for about 2 minutes and lasting for only about 10 minutes. For
snorted coke there is a slower time to peak but the effects still
don't last that long (around 20 - 30 minutes).
Risks: Both crack and cocaine can be habit
forming, expensive and hard to control, with crack being even more
The drug leaves heavy users feeling tired and and depressed for
a day or two afterwards, and chest pain, heart problems and
convulsions can result.
Cocaine and crack cocaine use can prove fatal.
The Law: Cocaine and crack are both Class A
Common names for ecstasy include adam, E, echo, hug drug and
fantasy. Its proper chemical name is methyldioxymethamphetamine
Ecstasy pills are often white, although a variety of different
shapes, sizes and colours have been found.
Some users take to using the more expensive, better quality MDMA
Effects: Ecstasy is a stimulant that gives you
energy and a sense of well-being. You may feel alert with sounds
and colours feeling intense and you are likely to feel more in
touch woth your surroundings and with other people.
These effects can last from 3-6 hours and are followed by a less
pleasant 'comedown' as the effects of the drug wear off. it takes
several days for your body and mind to recover completely.
Risks: After taking ecstasy there is an
increased risk of overheating and dehydration when dancing
energetically. users should drink about 500ml of water, fruti
juice or other non-alcoholic drinks per hour in regular sips to
replace lost body fluids.
Long term use has been linked to liver and kidney problems. It
has also been suggested that regular use causes a permanent
flattening of mood due to changes in the brain.
Many different substances are sold as 'ecstasy' and there is no
way to predict precisely what a pill contains or what its exact
effect will be.
The Law: Ecstasy is illegal and a Class A
GHB and GBL
Gammahydroxybutrate (GHB) or 'Liquid Ecstasy'
and GBL (gammabutyrolactone) are closely related, dangerous drugs
with sedative and anaesthetic effects. GBL converts to GHB shortly
after entering the body. GBL and GHB have much the same effects.
Both can kill you and are particularly dangerous when used with
alcohol and other deressant or sedative substances including
Effects: Effects can take between ten minutes
and an hour to develop. With small doses you are likely to feel
lower inhibitions and an increase in your socialbility and sex
Larger doses produce feelings of euphoria, can reduce your
inhibitions and make you feel sleepy.
Risks: These include nausea, drowsiness,
vomiting, loss of muscle control, breathing problems and
occasionally loss of consciousness.
Some people have experienced seizures and coma. There have been
reports that GHB has been used as a 'date rape' drug.
The stength of GHB can vary greatly from bottle to bottle,
making it very difficult to get the dose right and increasing
the risk of overdose.
It is very dangerous to take alcohol and GHB together.
The Law: GHB is a Class C drug. Check out the
Talk to Frank website for more detailed information about this.
Heroin is commonly known as smack, scag, gear, junk, brown,
horse, H and jack. It comes as a brownish-white powder, which is
smoked or dissolved and injected.
Effects: Small doses can give you a sense of
well-being, but larger doses can make you drowsy.
It is common for first time users to vomit on taking the
drug. Heroin is a powerful depressant that slows the body down
(including breathing) and combats both physical and emotional
Risks: Heroin is physically addictive, even
Long term users end up taking heroin just to feel normal
and avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Using excessive amounts may result in overdose, coma or
This becomes more likely when heroin is injected or combined
with other depressant drugs such as alcohol, tranquillisers or
Injecting is undoubtedly the most dangerous way to take drugs
for two reasons. Firstly, there is an increased risk of overdose.
Secondly, sharing needles or other injecting equipment puts users
at risk of a number of infections including hepatitis and HIV.
For more information on HIV and AIDS see the Health section or
call Health Promotion on 443900.
The Law: Heroin is a class A drug. This means
possessing it can lead to a prison sentence of up to 7 years and an
unlimited fine. Supplying (which includes giving it to a friend)
can lead to a life sentence and another unlimited fine.
Also known as K or 'special K',
Ketamine comes in tablet, liquid or powder form and is an
anaesthetic with hallucinogenic and painkilling properties.
Effects: Ketamine creates feelings of energy
and euphoria. It can also cause numbness, loss of control and a
separation of mind and body.
It can make you hallucinate, have out-of-body experiences and
may bring on a state of temporary paralysis. These effects begin
after a few minutes and las for up to three hours.
Risks: Because of the numbness caused when
using ketamine, users can hurt themselves without realising until
A range of mental health problems are associated with the drug
including anxiety disorders and depression.
It is dangerous to mix ketamine with alcohol or other sedative
The Law: 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/or and unlimited fine.
Supplying to someone else, even your friends, can get you 14 years
in jail and /or an unlimited fine.
LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) is also known as acid, trips,
tabs, blotters, microdots or dots.
Tabs are small paper squares impregnated with the drug. They
often have a logo or cartoon on one side and are swallowed.
Mocrodots are tiny tablets.
Effects: Using LSD can distort your senses,
speeding up or slowing down movement and time and making your
surroundings seem very different, even strange.
Some users experience visual or auditory hallucinations.
These effects are often referred to as a 'trip' and can last up
to twelve hours.
Risks: Once a 'trip' has started, it can't be
The experience you will have is very dependent on your mood and
Some users become paranoid or anxious and have a 'bad trip', a
kind of waking nightmare, which can be terrifying.
Another major risk is having an accident whilst tripping. A
minority of users later experience 'flashbacks', where they are
briefly transported back into an earlier 'trip'.
LSD can also complicate existing mental health problems.
The Law: LSD is a Class A drug - illegal to
have, give away or sell!
Magic mushrooms are also known as mushies or 'shrooms, and are
sometimes eaten raw, dried, cooked in food or brewed in tea.
Effects: The effects
of maic mushrooms can be similar to those of LSD, although the trip
is often milder and lasts up to 6 hours.
Risks: Eating the wrong type of mushroom can
cause serious illness or even death through poisoning.
Magic mushrooms can cause stomach pains, sickness and diarrhoea
and like LSD can make existing mental health problems worse.
The Law: Magic mushrooms in their natural, raw
state are legal to possess but as soon as they are processed in any
way they become a Class A drug.
Possession of a Class A drug can get you up to 7 years in jail
and/or an unlimited fine. Supplying someone else, including your
friends, can get you life imprisonment and/or an unlimited
Mephedrone is known by lots of other names, including
meow meow, m-cat, magic, drone and bubbles. It is a stimulant drug
similar to ecstasy or speed. It's a white, off-white or yellowish
powder that's usually snorted but can also be swallowed in capsules
It is sold as plant food, and is usually clearly marked
'not for human consumption'.
Effects: Users report a definite feeling of
'coming up' or of 'rushes' as the drug starts to take effect.
The main effects include:
- feeling alert
- a sense of calm or well-being
- an elevated mood
- being more talkative
Risks: People who snort mephedrone can damage
skin exposed in the nose, leading to inflammation, pain and
The comedown is miserable - users feel tired and drained but are
not able to sleep. These feelings can last well into the next
The Law: Importation into the UK has been
banned. Mephedrone is not legal. It is currently a Class B drug
under the Misuse of Drugs Law which means it is illegal to have,
give away or sell.
Methadone is sometimes prescribed to people who are addicted to
heroin or other opiates.
It comes as a liquid, tablets or injectable ampoules, and is
sometimes called linctus, meth or methadone mixture.
Effects: When methadone is prescribed, it
is not meant to give the user a buzz or get them high. It can the
user a feeling of well-being.
Risks: Methadone can be addictive; some
users claim it is more addictive than heroin.
It is a long-acting drug that stays in the body for several
days. it can cause drowsiness, constipation, sweating and itchy
skin. it can also affect a woman's periods.
The Law: it is only legal to possess methadone
if it has been prescribed for you. It is a Class A drug.
Naphyrone is known by lots of other names icluding: NRG-1,
energy-1 or rave.
It is a stimulant drug closely related to 'cathinone
derivatives' including mephedrone. It is similar speed
(amphetamine) and ecstasy. it is a white crystalline powder that is usually
snorted or swallowed in wraps of paper.
It is sold as plant food, bath crystals or pond cleaner.
Effects: Can give the feeling of euphoria.
Other effects are talkativeness, alertness & feelings of
Risks: Cathiones can cause anxiety, paranoia,
risk of fits, reduced inhibitions, drowsiness, coma, seizures and
These risks can be increased if used with other substances
Chemical names for poppers are amyl nitrite, butyl nitrite and
Common product names include Ram, Liquid Gold, Thrust, RockHard,
Kix, TNT and many others.
Poppers come as clear or straw coloured liquid in a small bottle
or tube, and the vapour is inhaled through the nose or mouth.
Effects: The effects can be a brief but intense
'head rush' which is sometimes described as light-headedness or
giddiness, and a flushed face and neck which lasts between 2 and 5
Risks: Poppers can leave people with headaches,
feeling sick and faint.
Using poppers regularly can cause skin problems around the mouth
and nose, and if spilled can burn the skin.
If swallowed, poppers cause considerable damage and could even
The Law: Amyl nitritecan only be issued by
pharmacies (under the Medicine Act). Possession is not illegal but
supplying can be an offence.
Some everyday products found in the home contain volatile
substances that give off vapours which can be sniffed to provide a
Effects: The effectsof these volatile
substances are short lived and lead to feelings similar to being
drunk, with loss of co-ordination and sometimes visual
The likely after-effects are tiredness and a hangove, but there
are also other risks.
Risks: The use of solvents is very dangerous,
and in some circumstances can kill. Inexperienced of first-time
users are at greatest risk of harm.
Some volatile substances are highly toxic and can cause sudden
Others can freeze the airway, leaving the user unable to breath
and causing suffocation.
Accidental death or injury can occur when the user is out of
control or unaware.
Many volatile substances are flammable and some users have
accidentally set themselves on fire.
Long-term use can cause forgetfulness, weight loss and
depression or damage the kidneys and liver.
The Law: It is not illegal to buy or use
solvents, although users could be charged with public order
offences if they behave in an unruly, offensive, alarming or
intoxicated manner while under their influence.
Common names for tranquillisers are moggies, mazzies and
There are many different product names for tranquillisers
including; Valium, Mogadon, Librium and Normison.
The chemical names include Diazepam, Temazepam, Lorazepam and
often prescribed by doctors for sleep problems, anxiety and
depression, they usually come in tablet or capsule form,
suppositories or injections.
Effects: Tranquillisers can calm, relieve
tension and anxiety and slow you down mentally. Higher doses can
make you drowsy and forgetful.
Risks: A tolerance to tranquillisers can
quickly develop and a user will need more to get the same
Some people can become dependent. The user may lose their
short-term memory temporarily.
Withdrawal can be dificult and symptoms include irritability,
panic attacks and insomnia.
It is very dangerous to mix tranquillisers and alcohol together
because it multiplies the risk of overdose.
The Law: All minor tranquillisers are
prescription only under the medicines Act.
A police officer can arrest an individual if they are in
possession of any minor tranquilliser without legitimate
prescription for them. Supply is illegal and Class C penalties
How to tell if someone has
a drug problem!
Whether or not someone has
a problem with drugs is not always clear. people take drugs
for many different reasons, but mainly because they like the
A drug user's family and friends may
only see the negative impact of theri drug use, but for the user
there are still benefits, or they would not continue to use
A drug user does nto need to be
dependent on drugs to have a problem. If someone you care about is
spending money they can't afford on alcohol or drugs, or it is
causing friction between you, then there is a problem.
The question is whose problem is it,
and what do you want to do about it?
If someone says they are happy using
drugs there is little point in trying to get them to cut down or
quit. You would do better to focus on their behaviour
instead and how it impacts on your relationship.
Talk to them about it and try to
understand the problem from their point of view. Stay calm and
talk through the issues rather than threatening or blaming.
It could be that talking about the
problem leads to some kind of compromise. If not, you will
ultimately have to decide whether you still want to be friends with
someone whose behaviour is unacceptable to you.
If it is a relative who has the
problem and does not want to change, then consider your own needs
and make sure you have the help and support you need.
Where to go for
The following agenices offer free and
confidential information and advice about drugs for drug users and
Jersey Alcohol and Drug
Service ~ Tel: 01534 445000
Jersey Health Promotion
Unit ~ Tel: 01534 443900
Help2Quit ~ Tel:
(freephone) 0800 735 1155
Talk to Frank
~ Tel: (freephone) 0800 77 66 00
Release ~ Tel: 020 7729
9904 or www.release.org.uk
ILLEGAL DRUGS AND THE
The Misuse of Drugs (Jersey) Act
divides illegal drugs into three 'classes'; A, B and C. Each class
carries a different maximum penalty and they also vary according to
the type of offence committed.
Penalties under the Misuse of Drugs
(Jersey) Act 1978
Possession with intent to supply
Life, a fine, or both
Life, a fine, or both
7 years, a fine, or both
14 years, a fine, or both
14 years, a fine, or both
5 years, a fine, or both
5 years, a fine, or both
5 years, a fine, or both
2 years, a fine, or both
Class A drugs are considered the most harmful and carry the
highest penalties for possession or supply.
People supplying or importing drugs also face harsher penalties
than those who possess them for personal use.
If you give drugs away to anybody, even to a friend for
absolutely nothing, you could be charged with supplying them as if
you were a dealer.
Even if you are carrying drugs 'for a mate' you can be charged
with intent to supply.
If you are arrested for a drugs offence you should give your
name and address, but it is wise to speak to a solicitor before
answering any questions, or telephone Release who can give you
advice about drugs and the law.
Release Legal Helpline ~ Tel: 0845 4500
Click on the photo of the drug you want
more information on and you will be taken to the 'Talk to Frank' website! There is also
plenty of information about other drugs on the