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Illicit Drug Use, Know What You Are Getting Into

Drugs alter a person’s mood, thinking and behaviour. People take them for a range of reasons and the effects vary from person to person.

What is a drug?

A drug is any substance (with the exception of food and water) which, when taken into the body, alters the body’s function either physically and/or psychologically. Drugs may be legal (e.g. alcohol, caffeine and tobacco) or illegal (e.g. cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin).

What is a psychoactive drug?

Psychoactive drugs affect the central nervous system and alter a person’s mood, thinking and behaviour.

Effects of drugs

The experience that a person has when using other drugs will be affected by their individual characteristics, the drug and the environment or place.

Effects of drugs

People use drugs for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons people use drugs include:

  • To have fun, relax, forget problems or as a form of escapism
  • To gain confidence and socialise
  • Out of curiosity
  • To lessen inhibitions
  • To remove personal responsibility for decisions
  • To celebrate or commiserate
  • To relieve boredom and stress
  • Self-medication to cope with problems
  • To fit in or feel part of a group.


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