Find support for drink and drugs

We’re not your parents so we won’t tell you not to drink or do drugs (even the illegal ones), but we can help you to get informed on what you’re putting into your body.

Any alcohol or drug that’s going into your system is going to affect it. This page will give you the good, the bad and the ugly – no holding back. From health problems and withdrawal symptoms to the positives of a really good trip, this is your one-stop shop for all things substance related.

Breaking the stigma around seeking support

Young people have told The Mix that the stigma around drink and drugs would prevent them from asking for support. We want to break down that stigma and make issues such as drug use and addiction ok to talk about. Our support services are always there to listen and to talk about any challenge and we’ll never judge the things you tell us.

If you need support for drugs or alcohol, get in touch with our team today.

My life as a drug user

We talked to a young person who has lived experience of drug use. Watch her anonymous interview in which she discusses misconceptions about drug users and her views on drugs and the education system. More episodes coming soon!

FAQs

What's addiction?

Addiction is a compulsion to use a substance, or persist with certain behaviour to ensure you feel good – or to avoid feeling crappy. An addiction falls into two categories: physical and psychological. It doesn’t even have to be a serious problem to be classed as an addiction. It can be any severity of addiction meaning anywhere from ‘mild addiction’ to ‘serious addiction’.

Physical addiction

This occurs after you take a substance so much it actually alters your body’s chemistry. This means your body develops a hunger for this drug that you have to keep feeding. If you don’t, your body goes into withdrawal and you get all kinds of nasty symptoms until you feed it again.

Psychological addiction

This is when your brain gets hooked to a particular substance or behaviour that ‘rewards’ it, i.e., makes you feel good. An addicted brain can actually produce physical manifestations of withdrawal, including cravings, irritability, insomnia, and depression. The mind is truly a powerful thing.

When it comes to alcohol, nicotine and illegal drugs, it’s possible to develop either a physical addiction, psychological addiction, or a mixture of both. Find out more here.

What's a drug relapse?

If you’re an addict, getting sober is a journey and a half. There’s bound to be temptation along the way and you may have a drugs relapse. But this isn’t a reason to freak out and brand yourself a failure. Relapsing is very common and something you can learn from.

It’s important to distinguish between a ‘lapse’ and a ‘relapse’, and not give up hope of recovery just because you’ve lapsed once. A lapse is a one-off occasion where you indulge in drink/drugs whereas a relapse is where it becomes a regular thing. Find out more here.

What are the different classes of drugs? 

Class A drugs

  • These are the most harmful drugs; the lower down the alphabet you go, the less harmful the drugs get
  • Cocainecrackcrystal methecstasyheroinLSD (acid)magic mushroomsmephadone, and any class B drug prepared for injection;
  • Maximum penalties: seven years in prison and/or a fine for possession. For possession or intent to distribute, it’s life imprisonment and/or a fine.

Class B drugs

  • Amphetamines (speed), cannabiscodeine.
  • Maximum penalties: five years in prison and/or a fine for possession, 14 years in prison and/or a fine for possession with intent to supply.

Class C drugs

  • Ketamine, some tranquillisers like Temazepam, the supply of anabolic steroids;
  • Maximum penalties: two years in prison and/or a fine for possession, 14 years prison and/or a fine for possession with intent to supply.

Find out more here.

How can I drink safely?

Drink plenty of water, especially in between drinks. Pacing yourself is a good way to practice safe drinking. A pint of water before you crash on the couch can also see off any headaches.

Eat well before you drink and your body will be prepped to soak the alcohol up. Go for food that takes a long time to digest, such as bread, cheese, potato and pasta (you’re welcome). These will line your stomach and lessen the pain the next morning.

Find out more here.

Our partners

The Mix would like to thank the CHK Foundation, who funded this project, and the Amy Winehouse Foundation for their support and guidance.

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