A few months ago we looked at the growing popularity of legal highs. The main reason that they’re so dangerous is because you never know what’s in them. However this isn’t just the case with so called ‘legal highs’. It’s a fact that with any drug you take there is the risk of not knowing what’s actually in it.
When taking any illegal drugs you are taking the risk of not knowing what is actually in it. Users of ‘legal highs’ can be lulled into a false sense of security by the name ‘legal’ while users of illegal and mainstream drugs might think that they’re safe to use beacause they've used them before. Drugs are often 'cut' with other chemicals to bulk up the product and to make them cheaper to produce. This means that on the whole you can never be sure exactly what is in any street drug - there is no way to tell by just looking.
The story had a great deal of news coverage and warnings were issued about the drug ahead of festival season. This stopped any more deaths relating to it. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen each time there’s a new dangerous drug. While our view at DW is that you shouldn’t do drugs in the first place, every time you buy anything that isn’t authorised – just like a bootleg video – you can’t rely on the quality.
The reason for this may be that they didn’t want to promote or glorify drugs in any way. There is always the danger that people watching could become curious about the drugs and then be more likely to try them. We don’t think that this is right though – I mean we’re not saying that if drugs are shown as bad on telly everyone will stop taking them. But if people are really aware of the dangers they’ll be more likely to be more careful.
Knowing about and understanding addiction could help you notice warning signs about yourself or your friends. The more we understand about drugs and addiction the more awareness there will be of the risks that come with taking them. The more ignorant people are, the more likely they are to get hurt.
If you’re worried that you or someone you know may be addicted to drugs you should address your concerns as soon as possible. It’s best for addiction to be treated early before someone hits rock bottom, but for some people this is what it takes before they can address their drug use. Offering help to someone you think has a drug addiction can be difficult – you don’t want to come across as having a go at them.
If you are helping someone who has a drug addiction problem they may not listen to you at first, being supportive and encouraging them to change is the best thing to do.
Keeping yourself out of situations that you feel pressured to take drugs and keeping busy is a good way to avoid temptation. If you are concerned about your drug use or the drug use of a friend you can call FRANK for confidential drug advice on 0800 77 66 00. Their website also has loads of information and true stories about drugs and addiction.
You probably saw the news that a fake ecstasy tablet in circulation was linked to the deaths of seven young people in west Scotland and put many more in hospital. The green pills with a Rolex Crown stamp contain the dangerous stimulant PMA (paramethoxyamphetamine). PMA is similar to MDMA (ecstasy) but is much stronger and can cause your body temperature to rise to a dangerous and fatal level, which is what happened in Scotland. The effects of the drug take longer than MDMA to be felt which means there is a greater chance of overdosing – some people take more pills when they think nothing is happening.
Here at DW we usually promote safe experimentation and anything in moderation. Cases like this show that the same can’t be said for illegal drugs. If you don’t know what you’re putting in your body you just shouldn’t do it. There’s way too much risk that it just isn’t what you think it is. Even if you think something is safe because you’ve done it before you can never know how your body will react to it this time – especially if you are mixing drugs or mixing drugs and alcohol.
If you keep up to date with DW you’ll know we’re big Glee fans. The reason we love Glee so much is that it addresses so many issues that affect all of us in an honest and non-judgemental way. LGBT issues of gender and sexuality, teenage single-parent pregnancy and adoption, disability and disability sex, Downs Syndrome, OCD, and relationships in general. It has been hugely open and massively redefined the ‘new normal’ for a whol generation.
One of the things it doesn’t address though is drugs. Which is why we were doubly distressed to hear about the death of Cory Monteith who plays one of the real hero characters Finn Hudson.
Monteith was found dead in a Toronto Hotel bedroom. The cause of his death was a fatal mix of heroin and alcohol. Although he had a history of substance abuse his death came as a shock as no one knew he was using drugs again. His death really goes to show that heroin and drugs in general are killers.
The death of Cory shows that with taking any drugs there is a risk. This risk is greatly increased when different drugs are mixed together or mixed with alcohol. Like the fake ecstasy pills you can never know that what you’re taking is even the drug you think you bought.
There was an episode that covered binge drinking but there has been very little mention of drugs and addiction has definitely not been covered. Brushing issues with drugs and addiction under the carpet gives the sense that it’s something we shouldn’t be talking about. But of course, it is! The more that we know about drugs and their effects the more equipped we’ll be to make informed decisions about drugs.
There is a stigma surrounding drug use. It’s sometimes assumed that people who are successful and apparently happy wouldn’t have a drug addiction. Life proves that to be false. There can be misconceptions about addiction - people have a certain image of drug addicts as criminals. Addiction can be life threatening and the idea of a profile can be dangerous and mean that people who are suffering from addiction are get overlooked.
It can be easy to ignore signs of addiction and brush them off as not being serious – addiction can happen to anyone and can be harmful to their family and friends as well as themselves.
Physical signs of addiction include:
Behavioural changes include:
Psychological signs include: