Our understanding and knowledge grows every day and with each generation we pay an expensive price for this information.

How long will a drug stay in my system?

This depends on which drug you are talking about and what method is being used to test for the drug. The list below shows the drug detection times (using a urine test) for the most common drugs:

    • Alcohol 12 - 24 hours
    • Amphetamine 2 - 3 days
    • Cannabis 2 – 7 days – 1 month (for regular users)
    • Cocaine 12 hours – 3 days
    • Crystal Meth 2 - 3 days
    • Diazepam 1 - 2 days
    • Ecstasy 2 - 4 days
    • GHB up to 24 hours
    • Heroin 1 - 2 days
    • Ketamine 5 - 7 days
    • LSD 2 - 3 days
    • Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybin) up to 8 hours
    • Methadone 2 days
    • Steroids 14 days (oral) - 1 month (injected)

What long-term damage does cannabis cause?

   The regular use of cannabis is known to be associated with an increase in the risk of later developing psychotic illnesses including schizophrenia. If you have a family background of mental illness, you may have an increased risk of developing a psychotic illness using cannabis.

   Regular users may find they lack motivation in their day-to-day lives, lose interest in things and lose touch with their friends. Also it is reported that frequent use of cannabis may affect the fertility of men and women.

   Like tobacco, cannabis has lots of chemical 'nasties'. These can cause lung disease and possibly cancer with long-term or heavy use. Cannabis can also make asthma worse, and cause wheezing in non-asthma sufferers.

   Cannabis is often mixed with tobacco and smoked without a filter so the health risks of tobacco have to be taken in to account too.

Does ‘tough love’ work?

   Many drug users are able to overcome their drug use with the proper help and support, before their drug use has done them, or their family and friends, any serious harm. Some drug users aren’t able to achieve this, or sustain improvements for any length of time. It may be necessary to make difficult decisions but there are a range of supports available to carers. Groups such as Adfam, Addiction and Families Anonymous provide information and support for drug users and their families and friends.

My child has been on heroin for years, what can I do?

  Dealing with a child that has a serious drug problem can be an emotional rollercoaster.

   The withdrawal symptoms from heroin can be very severe and it may take several attempts before your child successfully break their addiction even with medical support. Remember, your child must WANT to stop using drugs first. There are however, many different methods of treatment and support groups which your child can use to encourage them.

   You may also want to look into support groups for family members. This is a good opportunity for you to voice your feelings and see how others are coping.

What can I do if I feel under pressure to do drugs?

  You’re not alone! It’s easy to think you’re the only one who has not experimented with drugs. The reality is that most people your age  don’t take drugs and you’re in the majority.

   Talk to someone: FRANK, a parent or sibling, or a close friend who isn’t offering you drugs.  If someone is offering you drugs, try to understand their reasons for doing so. That should help you find the right way to tell them you don’t want to do drugs. 

   Drugs can have a bad effect on your mental and physical health and your education. Think carefully about your own reasons for not wanting to do them.  Find an explanation that you’re comfortable with and are happy to share with others.  Stick to your guns. If you keep saying ’No’ – people will stop asking.  Try to avoid people and places where you are likely to be offered drugs.

My friend took drugs once - will they become an addict?

  The chance of getting hooked after taking drugs only once is extremely low.People who are addicted/dependent usually:

    • Have taken the drug regularly
    • Continue to need a regular supply of it
    • Have not been able successfully to cut down or stop
    • Will do things they normally wouldn't do to get the drug (such as committing crimes like stealing, running up debts or buying medicines from multiple chemists)

Sometimes people who are addicted or dependent don’t believe they are or won’t admit it. So, if you think your friend has a problem and you want to help them, think about how you're going to approach the topic and what you’re going to say. It could be a sensitive subject for them and you don’t what to put them off. They may not listen to you at first – but don’t let this put you off.

What other substances is cocaine cut with?

  Most of the time cocaine is cut to add extra bulk so that the dealer can make more money. Cocaine can be cut with many different substances, some of which can be harmful:

    • Food colourings or flavoured powder milk, which gives the cocaine a unique colour.
    • Other cheaper stimulants, which provide a cocaine like buzz, e.g. speed, and caffeine.
    • Other pain killers and anaesthetics, to simulate the ‘numbing’ effect of cocaine, e.g. lidocaine or phenacetin, which can cause cancers.
    • Inert whitish powders, which are inactive, e.g. baking soda.
    • Any other whitish powder, which may have unexpected side effects, e.g. laxatives and veterinary worming tablets. 
    • Paint off the walls.
    • Any white powdery substance you can think of has been used to cut coke.

What are legal highs?

  Legal Highs’ are substances which produce the same, or similar effects, to drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy, but are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act. They are considered illegal to sell, supply or advertise for “human consumption” under current medicines legislation. To get round this sellers will refer to them as research chemicals, plant food, bath crystals or pond cleaner. There are a large number of legal highs, but here are a  few key facts:

  • Just because a drug is legal to possess, it doesn’t mean it’s safe.

•    It is becoming increasingly clear that ‘legal highs’ are far from harmless and can have similar health risks to drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and speed.

•    Risks of ‘legal highs’ can include reduced inhibitions, drowsiness, excited or paranoid states, coma, seizures, and death.

•    These risks are increased if used with alcohol or other drugs.

•    It is likely that drugs sold as a ‘legal high’ may actually contain one or more substances that are actually illegal to posses. What you may think is a legal high that you can’t get in trouble for having, could be something completely different, and in fact a class B drug.

Will smoking cannabis mean that I will use other drugs?

  Maybe. Some people believe that cannabis is a ‘gateway’ drug and that using cannabis will lead to using other drugs like cocaine and heroin. But there is no universal agreement on this and many people who have used cannabis do not go on to use other drugs.  If you have used cannabis from a young age or tended to use more heavily than others, you might also be at greater risk with other drugs.

   Cannabis is a drug that you buy from drug dealers, not all dealers just sell cannabis, if you visit your dealer when they are selling coke to another customer and they offer you a line, pier pressure might lead you to try it even if it was never your intention.


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