Are you a sensible drinker?
How much drink is too much?
Men risk harm if they drink more than 4 units a day
The recommended daily intake for women is 3 units .
(The Drug and Alcohol Booklet is available from the H.E.A.R.T. Project)
So what is a unit?
Type of drink
How many units
| 1 pint lager
|| 2 units
| 1 pint stout
|| 2 units
| 1 bottle lager
|| 1½ units
| 1 glass wine
|| 1½ units
| 1 alcopop
|| 1½ units
Too much drink can lead to health and other risks . Problems can arise at home, at work, you can have money difficulties and your personal safety can be compromised.
The warning signs…
these 4 questions are commonly used to test whether someone has a problem with alcohol.
If you answer yes to 2 or more questions, you may have an addiction and should seek help.
1. Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
2. Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
3. Have you ever felt bad or guilty about drinking?
4. Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?
Checkout the following links www.drugsalcohol.info and / or www.knowyourlimits.info
For further advice, information or help :
call into The Maureen Sheehan Centre and speak to somebody at The H.E.A.R.T. Project.
Alternatively, pick up a leaflet from the Health Information Point in the Maureen Sheehan Centre.
Other help and advice can be obtained from:
Alcoholics Anonymous 028 90434848 or
Drinkline 0800 917 8282
Drugs pose a serious risk. Drugs are unpredictable. Drugs are dangerous.
They can impact on your health, family and social life.
They can bring you trouble at school, at work, financially and with the law.
People use drugs for different reasons in different situations.
Some people take drugs out of curiosity, some for recreation, and others because they can’t function without them. They need a drug just to feel able to cope with normal life.
Different substances have different effects, much depends on;
- The drug and how much is taken
- The mental and physical health of the user
- Their mood and expectations
- Where they are and who they’re with at the time
It can be difficult to tell when a person first tries drugs or only takes them occasionally. Many of the ‘signs’ can be attributed to other reasons so it is important not to jump to the wrong conclusions. However, some indicators of drug taking might include:
- Sudden and regular changes of mood; loss of appetite; loss of interest in school/work/ hobbies; increased evidence of lying or other secretive behaviour; unusually tired; unable to sleep at night; bouts of talkative, excitable and overactive behaviour.
There are four basic types of drugs:
1. DEPRESSANTS slow down the brain and body systems. Examples are alcohol, cannabis, tranquillisers and solvents.
2. HALLUCINOGENS can alter the way a person sees things such as light and colour and can cause hallucinations. Examples are LSD and magic mushrooms.
3. STIMULANTS speed up or stimulate the brain or body systems. Examples are amphetamine sulphate (speed), cocaine, caffeine and poppers.
4. OPIATES reduce pain. Examples are heroin and morphine.
Common street drugs include:
Ecstasy – also known as E, adam, XTC
Sometimes a powder, usually a small pill in a range of shapes, colours and sizes.
There is no way of knowing the strength of the effect by the look of the ecstasy.
Effects can last from 3 to 6 hours. As the drug kicks in, the initial feelings can be unpleasant – sweating, nervousness and nausea. There is some debate about long term effects of ecstasy use including brain damage. Ecstasy is especially dangerous for people with heart conditions, high blood pressure, epilepsy or any kind of mental illness. It has also been responsible for the deaths of many young people, possibly due to becoming overheated and dehydrated and stimulating the effects of heat stroke.
Being a Class A drug, it is illegal to have or supply, even to a mate.
Cannabis – aka blow, dope, hash, wacky-backy, pot, joint, spliff, five-deal, smoke, skunk
A natural plant used as a drug in different ways. It can be rolled with tobacco in a joint (making it addictive), smoked on its own in a special pipe, or eaten. It affects people in different ways – some people feel sick, others feel anxious, talkative and have a heightened perception of music and colour.
A Class C drug, it is illegal to have or supply and can leave users feeling intoxicated, having difficulty with concentration and they can often find it hard to quit.
Heroin – aka smack, H
Heroin is sold as a grey, pink, brown or white powder and there is an increasing use of heroin in Northern Ireland. First time users can experience unpleasant side effects such as nausea and vomiting. Excessive doses can lead to coma and death from respiratory failure. Apart from the other risks associated with injecting drug use (e.g HIV infection) death may also occur because the user cannot be sure of the mix and strength of the heroin.
Cocaine and Crack – aka coke, snow
Cocaine is a stimulant drug that is a white powder which is usually sniffed. Crack is a form of cocaine that looks like a small crystal and can be smoked. Both cocaine and crack are expensive drugs whose effects last for a relatively short time. There is a very high risk of dependence on the feeling of confidence and alertness. Unpleasant effects include exhaustion, nausea and being unable to relax or sleep.
Amphetamine Sulphate – aka speed, whiz, uppers
Is a stimulant and is mainly found as a white or off-white powder sold in capsules or wraps that is usually swallowed. Dangerously, it can be cut (mixed) with other substances that look like the drug. One dose can last several hours and makes the person feel alert and confident. It can also provoke excessive mood swings, panic and confusion. The ‘down’ experienced can lead to the user finding that they quickly need to take more of the drug to get the same effect. The powerful stimulating feeling that this drug produces leads to wanting more and thus he development of dependance.
LSD – aka acid, acid tabs, tab, trips
Is manufactured illegally in ’factories’ in Europe by impregnating minute quantities of the drug onto small squares of blotting paper which are dissolved in the mouth. It is an extremely powerful hallucinogen and a ‘trip’ can last up to 12 hours. The world can become distorted, and it can take some time to fully recover from the experience. LSD is extremely dangerous for those people with mental illness as it may trigger a psychotic response.
Magic Mushrooms – aka mussies, mushies
Are Liberty Cap mushrooms that grow wild in many parts of Northern Ireland. It is not illegal to pick and eat them raw. That said, each mushroom contains the drug psilocybin which is the drug that causes the hallucinogenic effects and it is an illegal drug like LSD. Preparing the drug might result in a criminal charge. The effects can depend on the amount taken – from excitement and euphoria to distortions of shape and colour and hallucinations. There may also be feelings of nausea, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pains.
Aerosols, Gases and Glue – aka solvents
Solvents can be found in household items such as lighter gas refills, aerosol cans, tins or tubes of glue, paints, thinners and correcting fluids. Solvent sniffing is not illegal, however selling them to young people knowing or suspecting that the product will be misused is against the law.
Vapours are sniffed or breathed into the lungs which leaves the user feeling thick headed and dizzy. Headaches and or feelings of drowsiness are common after effects, if the user manages to survive that far. Abusing aerosols gases or glue can kill. 1 out of every 4 people who die abusing solvents is a first time sniffer. Who would risk it?
Amyl and Butyl Nitrites – aka poppers
As with solvents, poppers are not illegal to buy or use in Northern Ireland. In recent years nitrites have been imported from the USA as ‘liquid incense’. They are mostly sold in small brown bottles and are usually inhaled. The instantaneous effects – face flushing, perspiring of the head and neck and increased heart rate - last for about 5 minutes. Poppers can also cause nausea, weakness and headaches.
Tranquilisers and Sedatives such as benzodiazepines (temazepam and diazepam) are prescription drugs that are easy to become dependant upon.
Anabolic Steroids are misused by some athletes and body builders in order to increase muscle size – there are problems associated with these drugs which include, reduced sex drive and sperm count (in men) masculine side effects (in women).
Never feel pressured into taking drugs
In an Emergency
- Make sure the person has fresh air
- Put them into the recovery position on their side
- Call an ambulance ( Dial 999)