How drug or alcohol use can affect me

Be aware of the risks

Drug and alcohol use affect you physically and mentally.  Different drugs have different effects on you.  It’s important to understand what you are taking and the potential risks. For example:

New Psychoactive Substances, formally known as ‘Legal Highs’

New Psychoactive Substances contain substances that produce similar effects to illegal drugs.  They are NOT legal! You could be taking a cocktail of all kinds of substances that might mimic the effects of other illegal drugs: but you wont know for sure what that is or how it will affect you.


It may be legal to buy alcohol when you are 18, but that doesn’t mean that alcohol isn’t just as risky to your health as other drugs, especially if you are under 15 as your body and brain are still developing.

Visit FRANK to find out the risks and laws of all drugs, including tobacco and alcohol. 

 Making safer choices

When you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol you are vulnerable.  The safest thing to do is:

  • Don’t drink or use drugs
  • Hang around with people who don’t want to
  • Find another way to stop the boredom

If you still decide you are going to take a drug or drink alcohol, think about how to make safer choices:

  • Make sure that you are with friends you trust
  • Look out for each other
  • Know what/how much you are drinking/taking
  • Don’t mix drinks and/or drugs
  • Pace yourself
  • Drink water/soft drinks
  • Don’t accept drinks/drugs from strangers
  • Know how you are getting home
  • Take a small amount
  • Be aware of your mood as it can effect how you react

Where to get help

For honest information about drugs talk to Frank

Videos and experiences shared by young people

Find out how you can reduce the impact of drugs on your health

In-depth information about drugs

Information and support to help cope with difficult feelings, bullying, relationships and school/college

Support for young minds whatever challenges you are facing

Text service offering crisis mental health support for any age 

Details of NHS Mental health charities and organisations

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