Drugs, which include alcohol and cannabis, are ‘psychoactive’ substances. Once absorbed, these substances alter one or more functions of the body and central nervous system. They can affect:
Drugs can be:
Synthetic (composed of chemical molecules produced in a lab)
It is important to know that street drugs can be mixed with products that are hazardous to health or other drugs. There is no way of knowing what these drugs contain regardless of their shape, colour or origin.
There is so much information circulating about drugs. This information is sometimes accurate, but it can also be far from the truth.
Effects of drugs
Law of effect
Everyone is different. Each person’s body and mental state, the product he or she uses and the context in which it is used influence the overall experience. These elements combine to form the ‘law of effect’.
The law of effect is the result of a combination of 3 factors:
The context in which he or she consumes
The product or substance being consumed
Each of these 3 factors is linked to different characteristics.
Each time a characteristic associated with one of the factors is modified, the effect of the drug on that person also changes.
Characteristics of the factors of the law of effect
Here are some examples of characteristics associated with the factors of the law of effect:
Quantity E.g., 1 glass of champagne, 1 case of 12 beers
Frequency of consumption E.g., every day, on special occasions
Quality or purity of product E.g., ecstasy cut with methamphetamine
Speed of consumption E.g., 1 glass of wine with a meal, 5 shooters in an hour
Method of consumption E.g., smoked, injected
Combination of products E.g., cannabis and alcohol, medication and MDMA
Age You are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol and drugs if you use them before you reach adulthood
Gender The effects of some drugs, alcohol for example, are stronger in women than in men
Height and weight The less you weigh the more you will be affected by a given amount of drugs
Physical condition You are more sensitive to drugs if you have an illness such as diabetes or are tired, sick with a cold or suffering from gastroenteritis, etc.
State of mind, mood Drugs generally intensify any emotions (sadness, depression, etc.) you may feel prior to taking them
Place E.g., restaurant, bedroom
Atmosphere E.g., dance party, crying after a breakup
Time of day E.g., in the morning before going to school or at work
Relationships with others E.g., with friends you want to impress
Conflicts E.g., when you are mad at someone
List of drugs and their effects
Drugs are classified according to their effect on the central nervous system. They are divided into 3 categories:
These drugs typically cause disorientation (distorted sense of space and time). They also affect the senses (sight and touch, for example), which alters perception.