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Drugs: the highs and the lows

By Emma
Drugs: the highs and the lows

“Either up your nose or through your vein, with nothin to gain except killin’ your brain” – Grandmaster Flash

There’s a lot of confusion about drugs. Are they really all that bad for you? Are they actually even that good? Every university campus has its very own drug barons, each fragranced with the distinct scent of eau de cannabis, who will peddle their wares at the back of lectures and in hidden corners of pubs and clubs.

To protect your health, and your pocket, the SG has unearthed the truth about drugs and what they can and can’t do.

Cannabis (Class B)

What is it?

Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in Britain. It comes in three main forms: weed, resin (a brown lump), and skunk (strong herbal cannabis). Many people smoke it, although it can also be baked in hash cakes and brownies.

The Highs

Cannabis can make you feel chilled out, relaxed and happy. It can be hallucinogenic, and will probably give you the munchies. For some people, the experience can feel quite antisocial. All of your senses are heightened and it can be quite intense

The Lows

New users may experience a ‘whitey’ (feelings of sickness, clammy skin and dizziness). It can affect concentration, and cause paranoia and anxiety.

Cocaine (Class A)

What is it?

Cocaine can be taken in two forms: a white powder that you snort in lines, or crack cocaine (small white rocks) which you smoke in a pipe or a glass tube.

The Highs

Taking cocaine makes users feel on top of the world. You’ll feel wide-awake, confident and on top of your game, although the effects are short-lived.

The Lows

Cocaine is really addictive and pretty expensive. The effects are short-lived; so many users take more and more to maintain the high. Cocaine raises your body’s temperature, and makes your heart beat faster. After using it, cocaine has a tough comedown, making you feel tired, depressed and paranoid for a few days. Too much snorting can also destroy the inside of your nose, leaving users without a septum.

Ecstasy (Class A)

What is it?

Ecstasy is commonly taken in tablet form, but also comes as pure white, crystalline powder, known as MDMA. Ecstasy on the street is rarely pure – it’ll usually be cut with other chemicals, such as speed and caffeine.

The Highs

E will make you feel energetic, buzzy, and alert. Sounds, colours and emotions will feel more intense. Users of E will usually profess a great love for the people around them.

The Lows

E can be unpredictable. It raises the body’s temperature and makes your heart beat faster. Short-term effects can include anxiety, panic attacks, confused episodes and paranoid or psychotic states. It stops your body from producing urine, which can cause users to drink fatal amounts of water. An ecstasy comedown usually lasts three days, with the worst symptoms of paranoia and depression appearing on the last day.

Liquid ecstasy (Class C)

What is it?

Liquid Ecstasy, aka GHB (Gammahydroxybutrate) is a colourless, odourless and mostly flavourless liquid that comes in bottles or capsules. 

The Highs

GHB makes you feel euphoric, uninhibited and sensual.

The Lows

As a minimum, it’s likely to make you feel sick and your muscles might go numb. In more extreme causes, GHB can cause unconsciousness, coma and death. Because it is almost tasteless, it is frequently linked to date rape.

Heroin (Class A)

What is it?

Pure heroin is white. On the street however, Heroin is more likely to be yellowish or dark brown, depending upon what other substances it has been cut with. It’s usually smoked, or dissolved in water and injected (also known as shooting up).

The Highs

Heroin will slow your body down body and reduce physical and psychological pain. You’ll experience a big rush soon after taking it, making you feel warm and relaxed.

The Lows

Heroin is hugely addictive. Your body quickly becomes accustomed to it, meaning you’ll have to use more and more in order to feel ‘normal’. First-time users will normally feel sick. Injecting increases the risk of contracting hepatitis B or C and HIV/AIDS. If taken with alcohol or other drugs, the risk of overdosing is greatly increased. Users of heroin will experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

Ketamine (Class C)

What is it?

Ketamine is a short acting general anaesthetic, originally intended for use on horses in need of surgery. It comes in either a snortable grainy powder, or a clear liquid to inject.

The Highs

Ketamine numbs pains and causes hallucinations for up to three hours. Some users report having out of body experiences.

The Lows

Ketamine stops you from feeling pain, meaning you could cause yourself serious harm without knowing it. It can also leave you physically incapable of moving while under the influence. People who take large doses might have difficulty breathing, or even suffer heart failure. It is also associated with panic attacks and depression.

Speed (Class B)

What is it?

‘Speed’ aka amphetamine, is an off-white, pinky powder, sometimes with small crystals. You can rub it into your gums, sniff it, mix it with drinks, or swallow it (also known as speedbombing).

The Highs

Speed makes you feel wide awake, excited and chatty. It can give you the energy to dance for hours without getting tired or feeling hungry.

The Lows

Speed puts a strain on your heart. It's not advisable for people with high blood pressure or a heart condition. It can also wreak havoc on your immune system, and increase vulnerability to mental disorders and illnesses. A speed comedown will leave you feeling tired and paranoid for a few days.

Tranquilisers (Class C)

What is it?

Tranquilizers are prescription drugs used to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia.

The Highs

They will calm you down and allow you to chill-out.

The Lows

Take too much and you’ll fall asleep, and even experience short-term memory loss. Users can become addicted and dependent upon the drug, and if taken with other depressant drugs, it’s possible to overdose.

Poppers (Legal)

What is it?

Poppers can be bought in sex shops, gay bars, and occasionally, clubs. They come in small bottles filled with a liquid chemical called amyl nitrate. You simply sniff the bottle and feel the effects.

The Highs

Poppers cause a headrush which will last for a minute. They can be used during sex to supposedly enhance erections and make orgasms last longer. Gay men may also use them, as they relax the muscles in your sphincter.

The Lows

The effects are very temporary. They can leave you feeling sick and headachey. If you swallow them, they’re likely to burn your mouth. They are dangerous for users with heart problems, particularly if you take them with Viagra. They also smell strongly like petrol and medicine.

For more information about these drugs and more besides, head to www.talktofrank.com

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