In the year 2012 alone, it was estimated that between 162 million and 324 million people (aged 15-64) had used an illicit drug, mainly a substance belonging to the cannabis, opioid, cocaine or amphetamine-type stimulants group. (i) With a rise in population and also new drug formulations, it may be assumed that this number would currently be higher.
Education is Key
Here at Safe Spot, we know that education is key in Fostering a Safer, Smarter Next Generation and in making a positive difference in our community. This page has been put together to provide background knowledge to help you make educated decisions about alcohol and drugs; which can potentially affect the health, well-being and safety of you and your loved ones. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, we're sharing some of the best resources and information already published by Aussie's most trusted organisations.
Please note, this information is intended as an educational reference only. If you require help or support we recommend you connect with professional services and organisations and seek assistance. Refer to copyright references for original sources and see below for further support and direct links.
Resources, Information and Support Services
Government of Western Australia Drug and Alcohol © Office has an extensive range of free Booklets, Fact Sheets, Information Cards and Pamphlets - available for free download.
Click the Buttons Below to View WA Drug and Alcohol Office Information.
You can access information and professional services from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation© by Clicking the Button Below for direct link.
Help And Support
If you are concerned about your own interactions with drugs, or that of someone you know, please seek help from one a professional and/or an appropriate support authority. You may be able to find the support and assistance you need via one of the organisations listed on our Support Page.
What Is A Drug?
A drug is a substance, other than food, which is taken to change the way the body and/or mind functions. Drugs can have different effects on how a person thinks, feels, moves and acts.
Types Of Drug Use
Taking a drug once or twice to appease curiosity.
Choosing to use a drug purely for enjoyment, or to enhance a social situation or mood change.
A drug is used to help a person feel like they are able to cope with a particular situation, lifestyle choice, event or environmental factor.
Intensive use or 'bingeing':
A large amount of drug/s is consumed during a short period of time or on a regular basis for a few consecutive days or weeks.
A person becomes either physically or psychologically dependent on a drug. They feel a need to take the drug consistently in order to feel normal or to avoid uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
A person tries a drug once or twice out of curiosity.
A person chooses to use a drug for enjoyment, particularly to enhance a mood or social occasion.
A drug is used to cope with the demands of particular situations.
Intensive use or 'bingeing':
A person consumes a heavy amount of drugs over a short period of time, and/or uses continuously over a number of days or weeks. A person does necessarily have to maintain use for an extended time to be considered a binge user.
A person becomes dependent on a drug after prolonged or heavy use over time. Dependent users will generally feel a physical or psychological need to take the drug consistently in order to maintain a sense of normality.
Alcohol And Drugs - Driving Or Operating Machinery
It is dangerous to drive, operate machinery or power tools while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The effects of alcohol or drugs can affect your ability to react in an emergency - impair your response time, and can effect all senses as well as distort your sense of reality. The consumption of alcohol and drugs will also greatly increase your chance of accident or injury.
Common Illicit Drugs - The Specifics
With new drugs being introduced illegally every day, it can be difficult to stay in touch with what's out there, the dangers and keeping ourselves and loved ones informed. © Alcohol and Drug Foundation 2016. Used with permission.
Drug types commonly referred to as depressants affect the central nervous system in your body, slowing down the messages between the brain and the body and can have an effect on coordination and concentration and can result in drowsiness, vomiting, unconsciousness among other side effects, and in larger amounts, death.
These include caffeine, ephedrine, nicotine, amphetamines, cocaine and ecstasy (MDMA).
Stimulants are drugs which speed up the messages between the brain and the body, causing hyperactivity and an overworking of the senses. In greater doses, stimulants can have side effects including over stimulation
Stimulant use over a period of time and/or in large doses can result in over-stimulation, anxiety, panic, seizures, headaches, stomach cramps, aggression and paranoia.
These include ketamine, LSD, datura, magic mushrooms (psilobycin) and mescaline (peyote cactus). Cannabis and ecstasy can also have hallucinogenic qualities.
Hallucinogens distort a person's perception of reality. People who have taken them may imagine they see or hear things, or what they see may be distorted.
Drugs and Youth
It's so important to give teenagers and young people access to information regarding drugs and the associated dangers. If possible parents and guardians should seek someone who can facilitate conversation with your teenagers, about which drugs to avoid and why. Let them know how individual substances can effect them, and the potential harm (physical, psychological and emotional) caused from drug taking.
Information and education is key in helping people to understand danger and to assist them in making rational and appropriate decisions regarding health and safety. This is particularly important when it comes to teenagers, since they are still developing cognitively (brain) and they are exposed to hormonal spikes and increased social and peer pressure, all of which can affect their decision making processes.
If you're not sure how to approach a conversation regarding drugs with your kids, teens and other loved ones, find a reliable online source, where they can access trusted information for themselves. For further information and guidance for parents and guardians on talking openly about alcohol and other drugs visit www.theothertalk.org.au.
(i) UNODC World Drug Report 2014
Safe Spot Foundation Limited will not be held liable for any loss, injury or damage caused to any person in connection with the use of information on this website. The information contained within does not serve as medical advice and is intended as an educational reference and the opinion of the author and its referees only. We advise individuals to seek professional help immediately if they have concerns for their health, safety or well-being.