Many people enjoy a drink because it helps them to feel more relaxed, less shy and more confident. Some people use it to block out upsetting thoughts or feelings, or sometimes just so that they feel like they can ‘fit in’.

In small doses, you will become relaxed and more confident and sociable. In high doses, you will become drunk and uninhibited. Consuming a lot of alcohol over a period of time can cause a range of health issues.

Current government guidelines recommend that people drink no more than 3 to 4 units daily and 14 units a week. If you want to know more about your alcohol intake check out our online AUDIT here.


Stimulants are also known as 'uppers', they make you feel alert, energetic and more talkative.


E, pills, brownies, Mitsubishi's, Rolex's, Dolphins, XTC

Makes the user feel alert and alive, sounds and colours are more intense.

It can make the user suffer with anxiety, panic attacks and confusion. The physical effects can be dilated pupils, raised body temperature, tightening of the jaw muscle and tingling sensations.


coke, Charlie, C, white, Percy, snow, toot

The effects are very similar to amphetamines except that cocaine is stronger and does not last as long.

After effects can cause users to feel like they have flu. It also raises the body temperature causing convulsions and respiratory or heart failure. Mixing it with alcohol or other drugs increases the risk of overdosing.


rocks, wash, stones, pebbles, base, freebase

The same as for Cocaine. After effects can cause users to feel like they have flu. It also raises the body temperature causing convulsions and respiratory or heart failure. Mixing it with alcohol or other drugs increases the risk of overdosing.


phet, Billy, Whizz, Sulph, Base, Paste, Dexies

Makes you feel wide awake, chatty and excited.

It can be difficult to sleep or relax after taking. Also you can feel depressed for a day or two after taking it.

Anabolic Steroids

roids; product names include Sustanon 250, Deca-Durabolin, Dianabol, Anavar, Stanozolol

Help to increase muscle mass and also help you recover from exercise faster.

It can cause mood swings. In men it can also cause erection problems, breast development, impotence and acne. In women it can cause the voice to deepen, breasts to shrink, enlargement of the clitoris, risk of menstrual problems and changes in libido.


Depressants, or 'downers', are drugs that make you feel relaxed or 'floaty'.


weed, hash, spliff

Cannabis can make you feel chilled out, relaxed and happy, and they may get the giggles or become very talkative. It can also make you more aware of your senses, and the hallucinogenic effects can even give you a feeling of time slowing down.

If you have too much too quickly, or are not used to it, feel light-headed, faint and sick. This is sometimes called a ‘whitey’. Cannabis may cause feelings of anxiety, suspicion, panic and paranoia.


G, GBH, Liquid Ecstasy, GBL, Gina, Geebee

The effects of GHB can take between 10 minutes and an hour to kick in and can last for up to 24 hours. It can make you feel elated, reduce your inhibitions and also make you feel sleepy.

Using GHB can cause unconsciousness, coma and even death. It has also been linked to date rape.

For more information click here


jellies, benzos, eggs, norries, rugby balls, vallies, moggies, mazzies, roofies, downers

Tranquilisers have a sedative effect and make the user feel calm and relaxed. Larger doses can make you forgetful and send you to sleep.

Benzodiazepines are highly addictive and are only available on prescription. If you take tranquilisers with alcohol it can lead to an overdose. Some tranquilisers such as rohypnol have been used to spike drinks which can result is a paralysed stupor, which means they are unaware or unable to stop a sexual assault.


thinners, volatile substances

When used they can make you feel drunk, dizzy and giggly. It can also be difficult to think straight. The effects can last for up to 45 mins depending on what has been inhaled. Afterwards you can have what feels like a ‘hangover’. Some solvents can also cause a red rash round your mouth.

The effects can vary from vomiting and black outs, swelling of the throat, coma and even death.


ram, Thrust, Rock Hard, Kix, TNT, Liquid Gold

Poppers are probably one of the most commonly used drugs by gay and bisexual men. Amongst other things, it can help to relax the anal sphincter muscles.

The effects do not last long can you can feel sick, faint and weak. It can also cause extreme headaches, rashes round the mouth and burns to the skin. If you take Viagra® or any other medication to lower blood pressure is can cause it to drop to dangerous levels. Lastly it should never be swallowed as it’s toxic and can kill.

New Psychoactive Substances

New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) are a range of new drugs created synthetically (i.e. not from plants). Some of them are former 'legal highs' (e.g. Mephedrone or M-Cat), some of them are newer drugs but all these substances are now illegal under the Psychoactive Substances Act (2016).

NPS can be sold under a range of names, this includes synthetic cannaboid strains (e.g. Spice) and a range of powders and pills

the Downsides

  • You don't know what you're taking - NPS can often be mispackaged and sold in the wrong amounts.
  • Healthcare providers don't know what you're taking: in the event of an overdose, medical staff may not know what the substance is and therefore will not know how to treat you.
  • We don't know the long term effects of these drugs: because these substances are new we have no data on the long term effects of these drugs.
  • You don't know how much to take: as NPS are now illegal, the quantity and quality of the drugs can vary, this makes knowing what amount to take very difficult and increases the risk of overdose.

Chemsex drugs

Chemsex is the use of drugs (specifically Crystal Methamphetamine, GHB/GBL and Mephedrone) before during or after sexual activity. People who take part in chemsex are almost exclusively gay, bi and men who have sex with men.

For information more information on chemsex, we really recommend the 'Friday Monday' website by Terrence Higgins Trust.

1. Crystal Meth

aka Ice, Glass, Tina, Crank, Christine and yaba

Crystal Meth is an amphetamine which can be smoked or injected, in much the same way as crack cocaine. It can make you feel exhilarated and also produces increased arousal and activity and also it suppresses your appetite and makes you feel more alert. You also experience a rush similar to that when crack cocaine is smoked but it can last for up to 12 hours. The association between sex and crystal becomes so strong, that users find it hard to break their cycle of use.

The downsides:

  • 'Come downs' that can make your emotions run wild and cause you to become irritable.
  • Erectile problems (aka 'Crystal Dick')
  • Damage to sexual organs such as rips or cysts: because meth as an anaesthetising effect, users may be unaware of the damage they are doing.
  • Reduction of inhibitions: users may engage in activities they would not want to when sober
  • Long term mental health issues
  • Erectile dysfunction and loss of sex drive aka crystal dick
  • Methylamphetamine-induced psychosis
  • Increased risk of HIV and hepatitis due to sharing drug paraphernalia

Further information

2. Mephedrone (M-CAT)

aka MCAT, drone, meph, meow meow

Mephedrone was made illegal in 2010 and is currently a class B drug.

It has a similar effect to MDMA and Speed, it makes users feel alert, energetic and talkative. As with any drug the exact effects vary from person to person and depend upon:

  • How much you take
  • How often you take it
  • How you take it (snorting or swallowing)
  • Purity
  • What other drugs you take with it
  • Your mood when you take it
  • The strength of the drug depends very much on where you buy it and what type of MCAT you buy, but it is more likely to be cut with other substances if you get it from a dealer.

    The downsides:

    • Unable to sleep
    • Feeling thirsty
    • Hard to get drunk when taking it
    • Narrows arteries, causing numbess in the arms and legs
    • In some cases, heart attacks and fits
    • Depression
    • Bad 'come downs'

    It is also not known how Mephedrone interacts with medication you may be taking.

    3. GHB/GBL aka 'G'

    aka GHB, GBH, Liquid Ecstasy, GBL

    G is a see-through liquid that is mixed with drinks and consumed. GBL turns into GHB in your body. This process is hard on your liver. GBL is stronger than GHB, it is easy to overdose on 'G' if you do not know they strength of it.

    The effects of GHB can take between 10 minutes and an hour to kick in and can last for up to 24 hours. It can make you feel elated, reduce your inhibitions and also make you feel sleepy.

    The downsides:

    • Unconsciousness
    • Coma
    • Sudden death.
    • Addiction
    • Insomnia
    • Psychosis
    • Mental Health issues

    G has also been linked to 'date rape' incidents as it is a powerful sedative, rendering the person unconcious.

    For more information click here

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