The risks of taking non-prescribed drugs
The Public Health Agency (PHA) is raising awareness of the risks of drug misuse in light of recent reports and local concerns regarding incidents which may be related to drugs. Taking any substance that hasn’t been prescribed for you potentially puts you at risk.
Never mix alcohol and other drugs
You can never be sure exactly what’s in non-prescribed drugs. They could be cut with other cheaper drugs such as tranquilizers, or even toxic substances.
Combining these drugs with alcohol or other drugs further increases the risks. Never mix alcohol and other drugs. The same advice also applies to taking alcohol with prescribed medication.
- Drug problems (young people section)
- Drugs and your child (parents section)
- Drugs: what are the risks? (parents section)
So-called ‘legal highs’ promoted and sold over the internet, through ‘head shops’, and by friends or drug dealers also present a real risk to a person’s health. Their production is not regulated and, since they are new and constantly changing, it is very difficult to know what their effects are.
Light-hearted street names can mislead people into believing that they are indulging in low-risk fun, when in fact these new psychoactive substances can be more dangerous than traditional drugs. These drugs could also include banned substances, leaving people open to prosecution.
It is particularly dangerous to take drugs if you:
- are on your own
- are ill, very tired or depressed
- are on medication
- have taken alcohol
- have a medical condition such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure, mental illness or heart disease
You can get more information and advice about legal highs at the following link:
Advice if you do take drugs
The following advice is given below to those people who choose to take drugs despite the risks associated with taking these substances:
- reduce the risk to your health and safety by finding out as much as you can about the effects of different drugs and then decide if it’s really worth it
- it’s not a good idea to take other drugs to help you come down as this increases the risk of overdose. Downers are particularly dangerous when combined with alcohol
- mixing alcohol and drugs, or different types of drugs, can be dangerous and should be avoided
- if you are using drugs during the week to avoid a come down after the weekend, you may be losing control
- be careful if buying or accepting drugs from someone you don’t know. Are you sure you know exactly what drug you are getting and whether there is anything else mixed in with it?
- giving drugs to a friend can constitute supplying drugs, which could get you a prison sentence and an unlimited fine
- even if you only get a caution, you will have a criminal record. You risk damaging your future job prospects and losing your driving licence
For further information and confidential advice call ‘Talk to Frank’ free on
- phone: 0800 77 66 00
You can also visit its website: