In last week’s post we looked at the effects of alcohol on your health and the risks you may be taking if you drink to excess. This week, we’ll take a look at drugs and the dangers that both illicit and licit drugs can pose on your health.
Drugs and health
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation has a very simple message that it states for all the drugs (illegal and legal) that it focuses on. Put simply: “There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk. It’s important to be careful when taking any type of drug.”
What this means is that it doesn’t matter whether you’re taking a legal drug (think alcohol, aspirin, tobacco, oxycodone or even caffeine) or an illegal drug (think ICE, heroin, cannabis or ecstasy) there is always some risk involved. For some of the legal drugs in particular, you can manage these risks by, for example, not drinking alcohol too excess, not consuming too many high caffeine drinks and taking medications only as prescribed by a doctor. For other drugs, particularly illegal drugs, there is simply is no safe use. People can and have been killed by taking one ecstasy tablet or injecting heroin for the first time.
So, what are you risking when you take drugs, particularly illegal drugs or non-medically supervised prescription drugs?
- As mentioned above, taking a single ecstasy tablet or injecting a single dose of heroin can potentially kill you. Period. In 2016, there were 1808 Australians who died from a drug induced death. That’s the highest on record and, when looked at on a per capita basis, is the highest since 1999.
- Taking drugs can also increase the chances of you having a fatal or major accident, at work, on the road or even in your home. With drugs affecting concentration, reflexes, vision and general bodily functions, it should come as no surprise. On Australian roads, for example, in most states and territories drugs are contributing to more fatalities and serious injuries than alcohol.
- Drug use can also slowly kill you or make you sick. According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, the long term effects of drug use can differ depending on the drug, but can include:
- Regular colds and flu.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Difficulty breathing
- Anxiety, paranoia and psychosis
- Difficulty sleeping
- Poor memory and brain damage
- Heart and kidney issues
- Exacerbating this, taking drugs can lead to financial, work and social issues.