Almost half of 16 to 24-year-olds in England and Wales have tried drugs at least once, most commonly cannabis. Experimenting with drugs can sometimes be presented as part of the youth experience.
But drugs are illegal for a reason. Aside from the risks to your mental and physical health, using drugs can make you more likely to have unprotected sex, which in turn can increase your risk of being infected with an STI.
A small but significant proportion of regular drug-users can come to rely on cannabis or become addicted to drugs such as heroin or cocaine. Any such addiction can have a disastrous effect on your studies and your health.
The legal penalties for drug possession can be severe for some drugs, up to seven years in prison for the possession of a Class A drug like cocaine. Also, your school, 6th Form college, university or work will not look kindly on you if you're arrested for drug possession. Many educational establishments would ban you from campus, and the subsequest criminal record may have an impact on your future career choice.
The best way to minimise the risk from drugs is not to use them. Failing that, find out as much information as you can about any drugs you're using, including the risks, the potential for addiction and what happens when you mix one drug with another or with alcohol.
For more information on drugs and their effects, call the confidential FRANK helpline on 0800 776600 or visit www.talktofrank.com (links to external site).
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