Using drugs carries a range of physical and mental health risks, and the
only certain way to eliminate these is not to use any drugs at all. However,
this may not be realistic when the decision to use or not to use a
particular drug is a matter of personal choice, but it must be acknowledged
that when choosing to use a drug, a person must accept the associated health
All drugs will affect the user's judgement and probably reduce
their inhibitions, increasing the likelihood that they may find
themselves in situations they would normally avoid and which may
be unsafe. Sexual situations may be more likely to occur when
drugs are involved and it may be harder to remember the importance
of practising safer sex when using drugs, thus increasing the
risks of unplanned pregnancy and sexually- transmitted infections
Safer sex is about preventing body fluids such as semen, vaginal and
cervical secretions and blood from entering the bloodstream. The most
risky activities are penetrative anal and vaginal intercourse so it is
important to use condoms (with a water-based lubricant for anal sex) every
time. Oral sex is considered safer but there may still be a risk involved
if there are cuts in the mouth. A condom for fellatio and a dental dam for
cunnilingus or anilingus will help to reduce the risks of transmission.
Always remembering to carry and use condoms will help to reduce these risks.
Injecting drugs directly into the bloodstream carries some very
serious health risks. Firstly there is a risk involved where the
injection is not carried out correctly; puncturing an artery or
allowing air into the bloodstream. Secondly, if the equipment
used to inject (needles, syringes, spoons, filters etc.) is not
clean, or is shared with other users, there are risks of Tetanus,
Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and other blood-borne infections.
Our advice is: do not inject drugs.
If you are a regular intravenous drug user always use clean works
and equipment. These can be available free from your local needle
exchange facility. Contact the National Drugs Helpline for participating
pharmacies in Northern Ireland, Tel:- 0800 77 66 00. Thirdly,
the impurities that are without doubt mixed with any street drug
(ranging from rat poison to talcum powder), may cause allergic
or toxic reactions with unpleasant short-term symptoms, and can
also block veins and infect injection sites causing septicaemia
Best to Avoid Drugs
Generally it's best to avoid drugs especially if you're feeling anxious or
depressed. You should be particularly careful if you're taking prescribed
drugs, as there could be unpredictable side effects. The effects of drugs
vary depending on how you're feeling emotionally, how fit you are, who
you're with etc. You should also note that the less you weigh, the more
powerful the effect of any drug will be. If you're going to take drugs,
try to make sure that you are with friends. It's usually not a good idea
to be on your own. Friends can help when you're coming down or having a bad
each other what you are taking in case you run into difficulties.
Finally under no circumstances should you drive under the influence
of any drug. Drugs can alter your perception and reaction times,
increasing the chances of having an accident behind the wheel.
The police are increasingly looking out for drivers using drugs
and you could lose your licence.
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