The Public Health Agency (PHA) is using its early warning system to raise awareness of the risks of drug misuse in light of recent reports and local concerns regarding incidents which may be related to drug misuse.
Owen O’Neill, Health Improvement and Social Wellbeing Manager with the PHA said: “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. Therefore, taking any substance that hasn’t been prescribed for you potentially puts you at risk. In addition, combining these substances with alcohol, or other drugs, further increases the risks and the advice from the PHA is to never mix alcohol and other drugs. The same advice also applies to taking alcohol with prescribed medication.”
The dangers of taking drugs are now further compounded by the emergence of so called ‘legal highs’ over the past few years. Government legislation has had an impact on preventing a number of substances being sold, however, the PHA is aware that new substances continue to be promoted and sold over the internet, through ‘head shops’, and by friends or drug dealers.
“These substances present a real risk to a person’s health because their production is not regulated and, since they are new and constantly changing, it is very difficult to know what their effects are,” continued Owen.
“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.”
For more general information about legal highs go to:
The following additional 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 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.
• 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/ 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 0800 77 66 00 or go to www.talktofrank.com
For specific information about how alcohol in combination with particular drugs affects the body, go to: