While alcohol remains the major drug problem for people of all ages, many young people will be tempted to try other illicit drugs.
The health risks are irrefutable and yet many will still be tempted to try. Some of the more common risks include:
- Cannabis: Cannabis use remains common with many dismissing the negative consequences. However, cannabis has both psychological and physical effects on people. Research has shown cannabis is associated with social and behaviour problems, and carries a risk to mental and physical health. There is particular concern that long-term cannabis consumption increases risk for schizophrenia.
- Synthetic cannabinoids: A wide range of herbal products claim to have similar effects to cannabis. They are often sold in retail outlets or online, but the legality of many of these products is now being questioned. Cannabis is a prohibited substance and from 2012 any drug or chemical that mimics the effects of botanic cannabis have been prohibited by law. They are not safe to use, and often made using products not tested or approved for human consumption. The risks associated with use of synthetic products are similar to those from use of cannabis, including serious physical effects such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, heart attack, along with panic attacks, anxiety and depression.
- Methamphetamines/ice: Ice, or meth, makes users high by stimulating the brain’s natural chemicals but its side-effects are devastating. It leads to violent and aggressive behaviour, extreme agitation, and difficult to manage comedowns. It is very addictive and the unpleasant reactions are far worse than any perceived benefits.