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Drug Types

Alcohol and other drugs misuse continues to have a devastating effect on individuals, families and communities.

The unacceptable levels of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, lack of respect for elders, high imprisonment rates, poor educational outcomes and poor health can be directly linked to this pattern of misuse and it destroys our culture and communities.  

Image © Patrick Bayly, Workspace Design

Cannabis, Marijuana, Yarndi, Weed, Mull, Pot, Cones, Hydro, Grass

marijuana gunja plant illustration

What is it?

Gunja is an illegal drug containing an ingredient called Delta-9tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which affects the way you think, feel and behave.It also affects your body.Gunja is both a depressant and hallucinogen.

Depressants slow you down. This can make you feel happy and relaxed. 

They can also make you have no shame, feel down, angry or jealous. These drugs can be dangerous and can cause vomiting and unconsciousness. Other types of depressants include: alcohol, benzos, tranquillisers, heroin and some pain killers. 

Hallucinogens can make you see and hear things that aren’t there or make things look really strange. The effects can be different each time. These drugs can be dangerous. Other types of hallucinogens include: LSD or acid, magic mushrooms, mescaline and PCP.

Gunja can be swallowed or smoked.

You can only feel the effects for a few hours but it can stay in your body for up to a month.


Impact on your life

Short-term effects

  • Gunja can change your mood and sometimes make you laugh at anything.
  • You may see things differently and get ‘the munchies’ (really hungry).
  • It makes your heart beat faster, eyes get red, mouth gets dry and breathing deeper.
  • It slows you down, you can’t concentrate very well, and you start thinking differently.
  • Some people, when they smoke can get paranoid (fearful and suspicious), worried or restless. When someone gets paranoid they may think people are after them. Some people may see or hear things that aren’t there. This can last a few hours or more.
  • If you drive when you’re ‘stoned’ you can have an accident because your reaction time is slowed down and you can’t concentrate very well.
  • Some people have unsafe sex when they are stoned. This puts them at risk of sexually transmitted infections or an unwanted pregnancy.

Long-term effects

  • Some people feel they have to be stoned all the time and can’t live without it.
  • It can cause respiratory problems like chest infections or other health problems like cancer.
  • Gunja can make you less motivated. You can stop looking after yourself.
  • You forget things.
  • You’re more likely to get in trouble with the law because gunja is illegal and sometimes you do silly things when you’re stoned.
  • Gunja puts pressure on families. It can cost a lot of money.

 marijuana gunja plants growing illustration

Looking after yourself

  • It’s best not to use gunja.
  • Mixing drugs is dangerous. If you mix gunja and grog it can make the effect of the drugs much greater. This can make you really spin out and you may vomit or pass-out.
  • The more you use the more harm it causes.
  • Have healthy food around so you don’t eat unhealthily when stoned. If you have got the munchies make sure you leave some food for your family.
  • If your friend becomes very paranoid (suspicious and fearful) or sad when stoned, tell them these feelings will pass and try to keep them calm. 
  • Never leave them alone when they are feeling like this. If necessary get some help from a family member or health worker.
  • Getting very fearful, anxious, depressed or paranoid when you are stoned shows you that gunja is not a good drug for you and your body doesn’t like it.
  • Never drive or operate machinery while stoned.
  • You shouldn’t get stoned in dangerous places.
  • You shouldn’t use getting stoned as an excuse to break the law (which includes Aboriginal Law as well).
  • Always use a condom when having sex to prevent unwanted infections or pregnancies.
  • Think about how your gunja use could be affecting your family and community.

Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, Dexamphetamine, Speed, Uppers, Dexies, Crystal Meth

stages of meth illustration

What is it?

Meth is a type of amphetamine which is a stimulant drug.

Stimulants increase the activity in parts of the brain. This can make you feel happy, brave and deadly. They can also make you feel paranoid, fearful, jealous, angry and suspicious. These drugs can be dangerous. Other illegal stimulants include: ecstasy and cocaine. 

Some amphetamines, called dexamphetamines or dexies, are prescribed by the doctor for medical problems.

All amphetamines sold on the street are illegal, even if they have been previously prescribed. Ice affects the way you think, feel and behave. It also affects your body. Ice can be swallowed, snorted, smoked or injected.

Effects can come on straight away or take longer depending on how you have taken it. The effects last from four to eight hours. If you get very bad thoughts or feelings after taking meth, these can last from a few hours to many weeks.


Impact on your life

Short-term effects

  • Feel happy and brave, and you think you are really deadly. This can lead to making poor choices and doing things you wouldn’t normally do (e.g. have unsafe sex, drive dangerously, break the law).
  • You have lots of energy and your heart beats faster and you get really big eyes because your pupils dilate.
  • You talk a lot. Some people might think you are talking too much.
  • You stop eating because you do not feel hungry and you may get stomach cramps.
  • Feel hot and sweaty or hot and cold. 
  • You may feel worried (anxious), restless, fearful, suspicious, jealous, violent and angry.
  • You may see and hear things that aren’t there and your thoughts can become muddled up.
  • Sleeping is difficult, sometimes people stay up all night and all of the next day.
  • Meth can increase your blood pressure and this could cause heart problems or stroke (a bleed in the brain).

Long-term effects

If you use speed regularly or binge heavily you may develop some or all of the following problems.

  • You may have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, mixed up, worried or become angry with no warning. Your family and friends might be worried for you and frightened of you. They may start to see you as dangerous or strange.
  • Unhealthy weight and muscle loss.
  • Get sick very easily because your body is run down.
  • You may have strange thoughts and your thinking can become tangled and unclear.
  • You may get paranoid (fearful, jealous and suspicious). When someone gets paranoid they may think people are after them. Some people become psychotic. They may see or hear things that aren’t there. 
  • Speed may cause you to have a stroke (a bleed in the brain) or a heart attack and this can cause long-term health problems or even death.
  • Speed costs lots of money and this can put pressure on families.


Looking after yourself

  • It’s best not to use meth. 
  • If you have used ice, have a trusted family member or friend around and stay in a safe place.
  • Never drive if you've been using ice.
  • Drink water to replace fluid you lose from sweating.
  • Eat lots of healthy food to help your body stay strong.
  • Always use a condom when having sex to prevent unwanted infections or pregnancies.
  • Ice use can affect your family and community, not only while you’re using, but also when you come down.
  • Injecting ice is very risky. If injecting ice, always use a clean syringe and injecting gear such as spoon, swab and water. Never share equipment.
  • Mixing drugs is dangerous. If you mix grog and ice (meth/amphetamine) the effects of the drugs can be masked meaning you could use dangerous amounts of both drugs without knowing it. This can harm your body and make you very sick.
  • Mixing drugs is dangerous. If you mix ice and ecstasy it can make the effect of the drugs much greater. This can make your heart beat faster, you can get overheated, dehydrated and this can cause a stroke or a seizure.


Looking after each other

Stay together. Look after your family and friends. 
If someone becomes very fearful or is feeling crazy, keep them calm and safe. 
Do not leave them alone.
If someone experiences any bad effects or passes out, make sure you call 000 for an ambulance straight away.
By doing this you could save their life. Sometimes we worry about getting help when we really need it. Ambulance officers are only interested in helping and Police will not be contacted unless they feel threatened or if someone has died.

  1. If someone has passed-out, put them on their left side and make sure they can breathe.
  2. Dial 000 for an ambulance , stay calm and speak slowly and clearly
  3. Stay with your friend till the ambulance arrives – never leave them alone

Looking for info about the effects of a specific drug?

Check out the Drug Types page here.

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