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This section of the site contains a list of drugs and their effects. Remember the only way to avoid any risk from drug use is not to use at all. If this is unrealistic then at least follow the Harm Reduction messages included for each drug.

Acid
Alcohol
Amphetamines
Amyl Nitrate
BZP(Pep Pills, Party Pills)
Cannabis
Cocaine
Crystal Meth
Ecstasy
Heroin
Ketamine
Magic Mushrooms
Solvents
Tobacco
Tranquilisers

ACID LSD

WHAT IS IT?

Acid is a hallucinogenic drug which comes either in pill form, or on a piece of blotting paper. It is sometimes called a trip. Acid is sometimes known by the designs that appear on the pills or paper, for example strawberries or red devils. It originally became popular during the sixties, and is now sometimes used on the dance scene.

THE HIGHS

Depending on the strength of the drug, its effects can last anywhere from 6 to 24 hours. Because it is a hallucinogenic drug, users see and hear illusions. Feelings, sensations, and emotions are intensified.

THE LOWS

Because all feelings are heightened any fears, doubts, or anxieties will be exaggerated and this can be quite frightening for the user. The user can be left feeling extremely paranoid and anxious and there is no way of getting rid of this feeling until the effects wear off (see above). Some doctors have claimed that people bordering on mental illness can become disturbed much more easily if they take this drug.

HARM REDUCTION

Remember the only way to avoid any risk from drug use is not to use at all.

It is always a good idea to prepare for a trip. At the very least you should ensure that there is nothing on your mind which you are very worried about as this could lead to a bad trip.

Only take ACID when in the right mood and in the right place e.g. with friends.

Avoid frequent use. People who trip out every week are not giving their minds and bodies enough time to recover properly.

Try to avoid drinking alcohol when tripping as this could lead to drinking too much and at the very least an almighty hangover the next day. This combined with the come-down from the trip is not good.

Avoid mixing it with other drugs.

Use of Acid or any other halluconogenic drugs may worsen any existing mental health issues. If a person has any history of mental illness or there is a history of mental illness in their family then it isn't advisable to ever experiment with these types of drugs. Remember there may be underlying mental health issues that have not been diagnosed which can be worsened by the use of hallucinogenic drugs.

Always carry a condom.

If someone passes out and you can't wake them, put them on their side and call an ambulance. Stay with them until assistance arrives.

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ALCOHOL- Booze- Drink

WHAT IS IT?
Alcohol is one of the most commonly used drugs. It comes in many different forms e.g. wine, beer, and spirits. People who are addicted to alcohol may drink very extreme forms e.g. meths. Alcohol is a depressant.

THE HIGHS

Alcohol helps people to relax in social situations. People can get very hyper and alcohol may seem to block any worries. It has been known to increase sexual desire.

THE LOWS

Small amounts of alcohol are not dangerous but drinking too much can lead to vomiting, dehydration, and hangovers. Alcohol has proven to be related to violence more than any other drug. There is a far greater chance for accidents when a person is drunk. Alcohol is physically & mentally addictive. Drinking too much alcohol over a long period of time can cause serious liver damage.

HARM REDUCTION

Remember the only way to avoid any risk from drug use is not to use at all.

Alcohol should only be used in moderation. Many people become dependent on this drug just to feel normal.

Always carry a condom so that you are less likely to participate in unsafe sex.

Regular use of alcohol without regualar exercise can lead to substantial weight gain.

The term 'dutch courage' is often used in relation to alcohol. It means that somebody uses alcohol to build up their courage to do something that they may find difiicult when sober e.g. chat up that person they have been spotting for weeks. Remember that this dutch courage can also lead someone to put themselves in very risky situations.

It is very unwise to participate in any risky activities while under the influence of alchohol as this can lead to accidents.

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AMPHETAMINES Speed

WHAT ARE THEY?
Amphetamines are more commonly known as speed or the poor man's cocaine. Speed generally comes in powder form and is snorted up the nose. It can also be taken in pill form, injected, or drunk in water, a fizzy drink, or with alcohol (whizzy water).

THE HIGHS
Speed is a powerful stimulant which speeds up the entire nervous system. Energy increases rapidly and users may be very animated. Users may talk very quickly and find it difficult to keep up with their thoughts.

THE LOWS

Speed increases blood pressure and makes your heart beat faster.

Users often experience feelings of tiredness and depression afterwards, and in the long run can feel physically and emotionally exhausted.

Paranoia, heart palpitations, and a feeling of general discomfort are also possible especially if too much of the drug is taken.

Users will find it very difficult to sleep until the effects wear off. You may begin to think that everybody is talking about you.

The drug is psychologically addictive, and regular users can find it difficult to give up.

HARM REDUCTION

Remember the only way to avoid any risk from drug use is not to use at all.

Only use occasionally. Avoid using more than once a week, avoid using two or more days in a row to allow your body time to recover.

Use a moderate dose. The more you take the more physical side effects you will get; larger amounts make you jittery, so limit the amount you take.

Swallowing speed wrapped in cigarette paper or dissolved in water is the least risky way of taking it although there is no risk free way of taking speed. Sniffing speed is the next least risky way of using it. Smoking or injecting speed could lead to an overdose if you inhale or inject too much. Remember that you risk contracting a blood borne virus if you inject it.

Avoid losing too much sleep by taking speed at least 8-12 hours before bed time. Don't take any other drugs to help you get to sleep such as sleeping pills, heroin, etc.

Avoid overheating (see ecstasy section).

Avoid mixing speed with other drugs.

Speed can make you very thirsty so users can sometimes end up drinking a lot of alcohol. It is best to avoid this.

Always carry condoms just in case.

Chew some gum to avoid grinding your teeth.

If someone you are with gets into problems with speed, reassure them by taking them somewhere quiet. If they are overheating cool them down by removing some clothing, taking them to a cooler area and getting them to sip water. A damp cloth can also be used to cool someone down. If they are unconscious always phone an ambulance and stay with the person until assistance arrives.

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AMYL NITRITE Poppers

WHAT IS IT?

This comes in liquid form in small bottles. The vapour from the bottle is inhaled through the nose.

THE HIGHS

It reduces blood pressure and makes the heart pump faster, causing a "rush", dizziness, and sometimes a blackout. Some users claim it heightens sexual arousal.

THE LOWS

These include dizziness, blackouts, headaches and vomiting. Amyl can be dangerous to those who have low blood pressure or a heart condition and swallowing the drug is also dangerous.

HARM REDUCTION
Remember the only way to avoid any risk from drug use is not to use at all.

Do not participate in any risky activities while under the influence of Amyl as this can lead to accidents.

Never take this drug with other stimulants as this can put enormous strain on your heart.

Always carry a condom so that you are less likely to participate in unsafe sex.

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BZP
WHAT IS IT?

BZP (benzylpiperazine) is the active ingredient in recreational 'party' or 'p.e.p.' pills. It is currently being sold legally in Ireland although it is has been banned in a number of other countries including the United States.

THE HIGHS
BZP produces similar effects to ecstasy. Users report feeling of euphoria and increased energy. Some users experience hallucinations. Hallucinations are more common when the drug is mixed with TFMPP.

THE LOWS
Side effects include dry mouth, restlessness, restlessness and an alcohol-like hangover the following day. Users may also experience flu like symptoms for up to four days afterwards. Heat stroke and dehydration are further risks associated with this drug.
 
HARM REDUCTION

Remember the only way to avoid any risk from drug use is not to use at all.

Don't take more than one tablet.

Remember that there are many types of party pills available and they can have different effects. Ask at the shop what kind of experience you can expect from any pills you intend to buy.

Don't mix alcohol or other drugs with BZP as this will increase the risks involved with using.

Avoid heatstroke. If you use BZP and are dancing in a hot club or party sip water or soft drinks. Do not drink more than one pint of water per hour. Drinking too much water is just as harmful as taking too little water.

Know your club. Find out where the toilets or chillout area (if any) are. There is nothing worse than running around in a drug induced panic in a strange club.

Bring some gum to avoid grinding your teeth.

CANNABIS Spliff- Blow- Hash-Draw

WHAT IS IT?

This comes in the form of dried cannabis leaves or as cannabis resin, which is usually smoked in a cigarette called a joint or a spliff. Cannabis can also be put in cakes, tea, coffee, or yoghurt. Cannabis is one of the most commonly used of all illegal drugs.

THE HIGHS

People who use cannabis experience feelings of relaxation and become more sociable towards those around them. Cannabis tends to increase the appetite of users.

THE LOWS


Some users have experienced anxiety, confusion, and fear. Long term use has been linked to memory loss, paranoia, panic attacks, and lethargy. Smoking cannabis carries greater risks for a number of cancers than cigarette smoking.
HARM REDUCTION

Remember the only way to avoid any risk from drug use is not to use at all.

Avoid regular heavy consumption. Have days when you don't use or restrict smoking to an evening or weekends.

Avoid using potent brands like Skunk all of the time.

If you have mental health issues be aware that these can be exacerbated when using cannabis.

Avoid paranoia by not getting stoned with people you are likely to feel anxious around or by going to places where you are uncomfortable while stoned.

Be discreet when buying, carrying, and using Cannabis.

Avoid friendship networks based entiely around cannabis use so that you are not always with or around Cannabis users.

Be honest with yourself; if your Cannabis use is getting to be a problem try and cut down or stop for a while. If you have a problem doing this try and phone a drug service or helpline for advice.

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COCAINE-Charlie- Coke

WHAT IS IT?

This drug comes in the form of a white powder and is snorted up the nose with a straw or a rolled up piece of paper (tooter). It is often diluted with some other substance such as baking powder, glucose, or teething granules.·Cocaine may also be injected.

Crack Cocaine is smoked in a pipe and gives off a popping or crackling sound which is where it gets its name from.

THE HIGHS

Users experience feelings of confidence, well being, and increased energy when under the influence of the drug. Cocaine reduces the desire for sleep or food. It is also known to increase sexual desire if not performance.

THE LOWS

The drug can be mentally and physically addictive.

Frequent use can result in exhaustion, severe paranoia, convulsions, nervousness, weight loss, and damage to the nasal passage.

Users can become very withdrawn and cut theselves off from all social connections.

Regular users can often get mentally exhausted(wired). With Crack Cocaine, the craving for more is very strong and, in some cases, excessive doses can cause death from heart or respiratory failure.

HARM REDUCTION


Remember the only way to avoid any risk from drug use is not to use at all.


If you are going to use Cocaine stick to using it on special occasions. Don't use it daily.

If you are going to use Cocaine stick to snorting it.

If snorting it do not share a tooter. Sharing tooters can pass on infections. Use your own rolled up bank note/post it, or whatever you usually use.

Do not start smoking crack as you won't be able to stop. It is higly addictive. It is very difficult to stay in control of your life once you start smoking crack.

Injecting any drug is not a good idea as it leaves you open to contracting a blood borne virus. If you do inject never share needles.

Be discreet when buying, carrying, and using Cocaine.

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CRYSTAL METH - TINA - CRYSTAL

WHAT IS IT?
Crystal usually comes in the form of white crystals. It can be smoked in a pipe, crushed into a powder and snorted, or dissolved in liquid. Crystal has been prevalent in the US for many years particularly on the gay scene. It is now starting to go mainstream.

THE HIGHS
Users of Crystal experience an immediate rush followed by feelings of euphoria which can last anything from
2 - 16 hours. Users also lose all inhibitions.

THE LOWS

Crystal can lead to intense paranoia, violent or psychotic behaviour, mood swings and can cause severe damage to the immune system. It also causes severe irreversible damage to the brain.

Crystal ages the body very rapidly. You can see before and after pictures of Crystal Meth users by clicking on this link: faces of meth

In the US crystal has been a factor in almost half of all new HIV cases. This is due to the liberating factor of the drug. Safe sex is often the very last thing that users are thinking about.

A very strong psychological addiction can develop quickly.

People have died after taking very small doses.

HARM REDUCTION

Remember the only way to avoid any risk from drug use is not to use at all.

Crystal dries the body. This increases the chances of catching or transmitting STIs. It is very important to keep your body hydrated when using.

Never inject Crystal. If you do you are also putting yourself at risk of cardiac arrest.

If you do inject Crystal never share needles as you are leaving yourself open to blood borne infections.

Always carry a condom.

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ECSTASY E- Disco Biscuits- Love Doves

WHAT IS IT?

Ecstasy usually comes in tablet or capsule form. The main ingredient in "E" is a chemical substance called MDMA, but this is often mixed with other ingredients, such as amphetamines, tranquillisers, or even rat poison.

THE HIGHS


Ecstacy can result in the user experiencing euphoric feelings and increased energy levels. It has been known to enhance sexual experiences. Ecstacy gives users the ability to dance for hours on end.

THE LOWS
Soon after taking it, ecstasy can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, and sweating. Some users experience muscle pain, depression, and tiredness days after taking the drug. Other effects include anxiety or agression, insomnia, and psychosis. Dehydration is a huge problem with ecstacy use. There have been several recorded deaths from ecstasy use, mainly caused by respiratory collapse.

HARM REDUCTION

Remember the only way to avoid any risk from drug use is not to use at all.

Be aware of strange tablets that you have never seen before. Be especially aware of capsules that can be pulled apart as they could contain anything.

Don't take too much at once. Start with half a tablet, then wait for an hour. If you want to take more take them gradually not all at once.

Don't mix alcohol or other drugs with E as this will increase the risks involved with using.

Avoid heatstroke. If you use ecstacy and are dancing in a hot club or party sip water or soft drinks. Do not drink more than one pint of water per hour. Drinking too much water is just as harmful as taking too little water.

Know your club. Find out where the toilets or chillout area (if any) are. There is nothing worse than running around in a drug induced panic in a strange club.

Bring some gum to avoid grinding your teeth.

Be prepared for the come-down. There is no such thing as a free buzz. Put up with the come-down. Don't use other drugs to deal with the come-down.

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HEROIN- Smack- Horse-H

WHAT IS IT?

Heroin usually comes in the form of a powder, pill, or liquid. It can be snorted, injected, or heated on tinfoil and inhaled ('chasing the dragon').

THE HIGHS

Users become sleepy and euphoric and experience total relief from stress and anxiety.

THE LOWS

If heroin is injected it can lead to blood borne viruses e.g. HIV, Hep C.

Heroin is physically addictive and regular users become dependent on Heroin to feel normal.

Overdosing can lead to death.

Many users turn to crime in order to feed their Heroin habit.

HARM REDUCTION

Remember the only way to avoid any risk from drug use is not to use at all.


If you are using Heroin smoke it, do not start injecting Heroin. This will leave you open to contracting blood borne viruses. If you do inject never share needles.

If you are smoking Heroin - Just remember that sooner or later you will probably start injecting it. If you are smoking you would be well advised to stop as soon as possible. If you need help contact a drug service or helpline.

Avoid using it with other drugs as this heightens the risk of overdose.

If you are with someone who becomes unconscious when using - phone an ambulance and stay with the person until assistance arrives.

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KETAMINE - K - Special K

WHAT IS IT?

Ketamine is an anaesthetic which is used on people and animals. It is now also being used as a club drug. It can be injected into the muscles in it's liquid form, snorted or smoked as a powder, and is also available in the form of a pill. In it's pill form it is sometimes sold as ecstasy.

The Highs

Ketamine can make the user feel that they are outside of their body. It can also make the user feel invincible. Colours and sounds are intensified and it is reported to be a sexual stimulant.

The Lows

Users may find that they are unable to move after they take the drug. This effect can last for up to 6 hours.


Large doses of K can produce vomiting and convulsions and may lead to oxygen starvation to the brain. One gram can cause death.

Users can become physically and psychologically dependant on the drug.

Harm Reduction


Remember the only way to avoid any risk from drug use is not to use at all.

Ketamine is an anaesthetic and because of this users may harm themselves and not realise until the next day.
Be careful not to put yourself in any potentially harmful situations.

If you are using be sure you are with people you know and trust. If you find yourself unable to move at a party you will want to be sure that there are people looking after you.

Ketamine is a sexual stimulant so be sure to carry a condom just in case.

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MAGIC MUSHROOMS

WHAT ARE THEY?

These are hallucinogenic mushrooms that grow in the wild. Users dry them and either eat them or make them into tea.


THE HIGHS


In small amounts, users feel relaxed and happy. In larger amounts they experience hallucinations.

THE LOWS

Hallucinations can sometimes be unpleasant and frightening. People may eat poisonous mushrooms by mistake which can result in serious illness or possible death. Use of magic mushrooms can exacerbate any underlying mental issues.

HARM REDUCTION


Remember the only way to avoid any risk from drug use is not to use at all.


Make sure you know that what you are picking or using are magic mushrooms and not the poisonous variety. To check go on the internet or use a mushroom guide.

Store mushrooms safely - freezing them or storing them in a dry, cool airtight container prevents them from rotting.

Prepare yourself before a trip. Don't go on a trip if you have worries or are in a bad mood as tripping can make these feelings worse.

Have your trip in a safe place at a suitable time. Avoid tripping alone, don't trip with strangers as this can increase paranoia, so do it with friends.

Take the right dose of mushrooms. New users should take a small amount just to see how strong they are. All users should stick within the recommended amount for the different types of mushrooms. Remember it is easier to take the correct dosage of dried mushrooms as opposed to fresh mushrooms.

Avoid frequent use. Once a month would be within the normal range of use.

Avoid mixing mushrooms with other drugs.

Don't do anything dangerous when using mushrooms like swimming or driving.

Help out friends who are having a bad trip - reassure them, keep them away from loud noise and try to reduce their anxieties.


If someone shows signs of poisoning, even days after the trip, get them to hospital asap.


Use of mushrooms or other hallucinogenic drugs may worsen any existing mental health issues. If a person has any history of mental illness or there is a history of mental illness in their family then it isn't advisable to ever experiment with these types of drugs.


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VOLATILE SUBSTANCES Solvents

WHAT ARE THEY?

Solvents are substances which are inhaled. Solvents include glue, nail polish, nail polish remover, lighter fuel, petrol, aerosols, cleaning agents, and correction fluids.

THE HIGHS

These include feelings of dizziness, euphoria, laughter and sometimes hallucinations. Effects last for about ten minutes with each dose, but the effects build up as more is taken.

THE LOWS


Sniffing can make the user feel sick and drowsy. Solvent abuse can kill. Heart failure is possible. Users may choke on their own vomit or suffocate with their head inside a glue bag. Sniffing gas especially lighter fluid can cause your wind pipe to swell and stop you breathing. There have been several tragic deaths through solvent abuse.
HARM REDUCTION

Remember the only way to avoid any risk from drug use is not to use at all.


If you are going to sniff solvents do not toot gas as the freezing cold gas can freeze your wind-pipe causing it to swell and stop you breathing.

Don't toot gas in an enclosed space such as a shed and then light up a cigarette as this could cause an explosion.

Sniffing on your own is more dangerous than doing it in a group as there is nobody to look after you.

Don't try anything risky while under the influence as you could end up injuring yourself.

If someone passes out and you can't wake them, put them on their side and call an ambulance. Stay with them until assistance arrives.

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TOBACCO-Cigarettes- Smokes- Fags

WHAT IS IT?

The most widely misused stimulant is nicotine the drug contained in cigarettes. Tobacco is derived from the leaves of a plant - nicotiana tabacum. Its leaves contain a chemical called nicotine, which affects the heart, blood vessels, stomach, kidneys and central nervous system.

THE HIGHS

It gives a feeling of relaxation and may help the smoker face stressful situations more easily. Heart rate and blood pressure are increased and appetite is affected.

THE LOWS

People who smoke are more likely to suffer from various health problems including heart disease, blood clots, heart attacks, bad circulation, ulcers, lung infections, and bronchitis. 90% of lung cancers are believed to be caused by the chemicals in cigarette tar. Tolerance rapidly develops to the effect of nicotine and those who begin to smoke tend to become regular smokers. If they stop they experience withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, irritability, and depression.

HARM REDUCTION

Remember the only way to avoid any risk from drug use is not to use at all.


Smoking is highly addictive and is responsible for more deaths in this country than any other drug. The only way to prevent harm from smoking is to quit.

You can get help by phoning a Stop Smoking Helpline.

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TRANQUILISERS Tranks. Downers. Bennys

WHAT IS IT?

There are many different prescription tablets/capsules on the market. Many are benzodiazepines (e.g sleeping tablets), the most common of which are Flunitrazepam, Diazepam, Lorazepam, and Temazepam. They are sometimes circulated on the black market among users.

THE HIGHS

They reduce stress and anxiety and aid restful sleep.


THE LOWS


You should only use under medical supervision. If used unsupervised, tranquilisers can cause tiredness, drowsiness, and mood swings. They can be addictive. If tranquilisers are combined with alcohol the results can be fatal.

HARM REDUCTION

The use of most drugs can lower your inhibitions so be sure not to put yourself in any risky situations.

Always carry a condom so that you are less likely to participate in unsafe sex.

Never inject Tranquilisers. The gel from the capsules can solidify after injection.

If you are coming off Tranquilisers you should be under medical supervision.

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The Sexual Health Centre
16 Peters St,
Cork, Ireland.
Email: info@sexualhealthcentre.com
Tel: 021 4275837