Sample date: May 22, 2015

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Alcohol and Other Drugs

This page was reviewed or revised on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 11:31 AM

A drug is any substance, other than food, that changes the way our mind and/or body works. Drugs can affect the way we think, feel and act. They can be legal such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, or illegal, like marijuana, crystal meth, or LSD.

People use alcohol and other drugs for many reasons:

  • Cope with stress, boredom and problems
  • Celebrate life events
  • Physical or mental dependence
  • Experiment
  • Relax
  • Pleasure
  • Peer pressure
  • To fit in
  • Lack of confidence

Alcohol and other drugs can affect your judgment, vision, and coordination. The effects of any given drug vary from person-to-person and occasion-to-occasion, and depend on:

  • Amount taken
  • Past experience with the substance
  • Way it was taken (smoked, swallowed or injected)
  • User’s gender, height and weight

There are three (3) main categories of drugs:

  • Hallucinogens – cause the user to see, hear or feel things that do not exist, for example marijuana, ketamine, magic mushrooms and LSD
  • Stimulants – speed up the body’s central nervous system, for example cocaine, crack, meth, ecstasy and caffeine
  • Depressants – slow the body’s central nervous system, for example OxyContin heroin, ketamine, marijuana, GHB and alcohol

Anyone can have substance use problems. Misuse of drugs, legal and illegal can have serious negative effects on your physical and mental health, impact relationships with family, friends, and neighbours, public safety, and may cause legal and economic problems. The good news is, it can be treated.