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L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Drugs and their effects

​​Amphetamines (speed or whiz)

Amphetamine is a synthetic stimulant. It comes in powder form and is usually white, yellowish, grey or a pinky colour. It is snorted or ingested and it takes effect after about half an hour. It has varied effects including:

  • feelings of wakefulness
  • alertness
  • increased confidence
  • sociability
  • physical or mental activity

But as the body’s energy levels reduce the user is prone to feelings of anxiety, irritability, restlessness and dizziness.

Users can develop tolerance to amphetamines with increased use, withdrawal is primarily emotional, but users may experience a mild physical withdrawal including feelings of depression, lethargy and extreme hunger.

Amphetamine is illegal and is currently a class B drug in Jersey.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are prescription only medicines under the Medicines Act. They can be abused and bought illegally on the black market.

They are usually prescribed for short term treatment of anxiety and sleep problems. When taken at low doses tolerance does not develop to a great extent, but when people use large amounts their tolerance can develop rapidly and there is a danger of dosage increase.

Withdrawal symptoms can last from several days to several weeks, and in some extreme cases, months.

These withdrawal symptoms include:

  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • panic
  • hallucinations
  • depersonalisation
  • heightened sensory awareness
  • depression
  • a risk of seizures with abrupt withdrawal

Benzodiazepines are illegal unless they are prescribed by a GP and they are currently a class C drug in Jersey.

Cannabis (marijuana, grass, dope, pot, puff, weed)

Cannabis is usually smoked with tobacco. It is available in the form of resin, dried and chopped leaves and - less commonly - oil. The main active compound in cannabis is THC.

The effects of the drug are varied and include:

  • euphoria
  • laughter
  • vivid sensations
  • imagery and hallucinations
  • persistent ideas
  • paranoia

These effects will vary depending on the person, the environment and the potency and amount of the drug used.

Cannabis is illegal and is currently a class B drug in Jersey.

Cocaine (Charlie, coke, snow)

Cocaine is most commonly found as a white crystalline powder, and is usually snorted but is occasionally made into a solution and injected.

The effects of cocaine are similar to amphetamines and crack in that they create physical and mental arousal. When cocaine is snorted the effect is almost immediate and then peaks and fades within 15 - 30 minutes. This often results in users repeating their use almost every 20 minutes or so in order to maintain the desired effect.

The snorting of cocaine can lead to mucosal constriction and eventually perforation of the nasal septum.

Cocaine is illegal and is currently a class A drug in Jersey.

Crack (base, rocks, crystal)

Crack is similar to cocaine although the effects are even more extreme. They take effect immediately and last for about 10 minutes.

Crack is usually smoked and this can produce particularly aggressive and paranoid behaviours. Crack is highly addictive, although reports that crack is instantly addictive are false.

People experience feelings of:

  • wellbeing
  • exhilaration
  • increased confidence
  • loss of appetite
  • indifference to pain and fatigue
  • hallucinations
  • paranoia
In rare cases users have died from overdose. Heavy and regular use can cause feelings of nausea, restlessness, insomnia, over-excitability and weight loss.

Crack is illegal and is currently a class A drug in Jersey.

Ecstasy (xtc, Adam & Eve, doves, pills)

Ecstasy mainly comes in tablet form but can come in capsules or powder. The tablets can come in a number of different colours and often display a logo. It is usually swallowed but is sometimes snorted; its effects are experienced after 20 - 60 minutes and can last for 3 - 6 hours. The chemical name for pure ecstasy is MDMA.

Ecstasy acts on the central nervous system and increases brain activity. The pupils become dilated, the jaw tightens and there is often brief nausea, sweating, dry mouth and throat. The blood pressure and heart rate increases and sweating is common.

Users report a mild euphoric and hallucinogenic effect, loss of anger, empathy with other people and an enhanced sense of communication.

Ecstasy affects the body's temperature regulation, with excessive dancing this can lead to overheating and dehydration - and in some cases death. It is recommended that users take small, regular sips of water but no more than a pint of water an hour as deaths have also been related to users taking in too much water, which is very dangerous to the body.

Ecstasy is illegal and is currently a class A drug in Jersey.

Heroin (scag, smack, gear)

Heroin is one of a group of drugs called opiates that are derived from the opium poppy. It usually comes as an off white or brown powder. A number of synthetic opiates are also manufactured for medical use and are open to abuse due to their similar effects to heroin, these include:

  • dihydrocodeine (Df118)
  • codeine
  • tramadol
  • pethedine
  • diconal

Methadone and Subutex are prescribed as substitute drugs in the treatment of heroin addiction.

Heroin is usually smoked ('chasing the dragon'), snorted or prepared for injection. Heroin is a powerful pain killer and has euphoric qualities. The combined effects make heroin a very effective escapist drug.

Effects include:

  • sense of wellbeing
  • feeling warm and content
  • drowsy and untroubled
  • sense of calm
  • feeling of pleasure
  • absence of worry, anxiety or pain

At higher doses, the user may become heavily sedated, be sleepy, unable to talk, and appear to fall asleep for a few minutes at a time. This is referred to as 'gauching' or 'nodding.'

There is an unpleasant period of withdrawal (often called “cold turkey”). These symptoms may begin within 6 to 24 hours of discontinuation and last for weeks, or even months after.

Symptoms include:

  • sweating
  • malaise
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • general feeling of heaviness
  • excessive yawning or sneezing
  • insomnia
  • cold sweats
  • chills
  • severe muscle and bone aches
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • cramps
  • fever

Heroin remains one of the most problematic illicit substances in the UK.

All opiates unless prescribed are illegal and are currently Class A drugs in Jersey.

Solvents

Solvents are rapidly absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream and quickly distributed to the brain and other organs. Within minutes users experience intoxication, with symptoms similar to those produced by drinking alcohol. Intoxication lasts only a few minutes, so some users prolong the “high” by continuing to inhale repeatedly.

The users initially feel slightly stimulated and after successive inhalations feel less inhibited and less in control. Hallucinations may occur and loss of consciousness. Sudden death syndrome is a risk, although rare it more commonly occurs amongst young people when using air conditioning coolants, butane, propane and some aerosols. These cause the heart to beat rapidly and erratically resulting in cardiac arrest.

Long term users can suffer from:

  • weight loss
  • muscle weakness
  • disorientation
  • in-attentiveness
  • lack of coordination
  • irritability
  • depression

Regular abuse of them can result in serious harm to vital organs. Serious, but potentially reversible effects include liver and kidney damage. Harmful irreversible effects include: hearing loss, limb spasms, bone marrow and central nervous system (including brain) damage.

Mephedrone (meow, M-CAT, magic, plant food)

Mephedrone is a stimulant drug similar to ecstasy or speed. It comes in capsules, tablets or more commonly in powder form. The capsules or tablets are swallowed whilst the powder is usually snorted.

Users report a feeling of 'coming up' or of rushes as the drug takes effect. The main effects include:

  • feeling alert
  • a sense of calm wellbeing
  • excitement
  • stimulation
  • elevated mood
  • chattiness
  • dry mouth
  • loss of appetite
  • poor concentration
  • increased heart rate
  • raised body temperature
  • racing heart
  • panic
  • sweating
  • distinct fishy smell coming from sweat

The effects occurs within 10 to 20 minutes and on average last for 40 to 60 minutes. According to users there is a highly addictive quality to the substance.

Mephedrone is illegal and is currently a class B drug in Jersey.

NRG-1

Naphyrone (NRG-1; Energy1) is a stimulant drug that is closely related to mephedrone with similar effects to amphetamines, cocaine and ecstasy. It is considered 5-10 times more potent than mephedrone or ecstasy.

Naphyrone usually comes in the form of a white crystalline powder and is normally snorted or swallowed in wraps of paper. It is sold on the internet as plant food or pond cleaner for £12 - £15 per gram.

Users report feelings of euphoria, empathy, talkativeness and alertness.

As with other stimulant drugs, harmful effects include:

  • adverse effects on the heart and blood vessels
  • hyperthermia (overheating of body temperature)
  • increased body temperature
  • likelihood to become dependent
  • psychiatric effects including psychosis and anxiety

In extreme cases, amphetamine-like drugs like NRG1 can cause death due to cardiovascular collapse or heart shock.

Naphyrone is illegal and is currently a class B drug in Jersey.

Thinking of getting help?

Each year numerous people seek help to stop using drugs and although many people may find it easy to stop some people will have greater difficulty. This will be especially true if they are physically and even psychologically addicted.

Withdrawal from a substance will generally have the opposite effect of the substance that was used so if the drugs made you feel relaxed and laid back or more sociable and euphoric then with the withdrawal effects you may experience anxiety, moodiness, perspiration, nausea, irritability, sleep disturbance, tremors and a sense of loss of varying degrees.

If you are having problems with the use of any drugs including over the counter or prescribed medications and wish to stop or get some advice then please contact our service and speak to someone. Any information will be treated in confidence and you will be offered an appointment to come in and see someone if you wish.​​​

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