There has been a significant shift in trends, patterns and availability of substances globally that have penetrated to both national and local levels.

The most notable of these changes was the advent of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and the increased use of prescription drugs such as Pregabalin. The Drug Scene is more complex and diverse than ever before and we can only provide an overview of the types of drugs and attempt to shine some light on the range of individual substances available on the market.

There are three main categories of drugs that each individual drug belongs to, depending on its primary action on the Central Nervous System (CNS).

Stimulants – these drug types speed up the CNS, speeding up heart rate and breathing. Users attempt to feel more awake/alert and often experience false sense of confidence.

Depressants – these drug types slow down the CNS, slowing down heart and breathing rates. Users often experience slowed reaction times, difficulty remembering and reduced ability to undertake complex tasks.

Hallucinogens – these drugs change the way an individual can see and hear. They change how we perceive the world around us – whether it good or bad. Sometimes this can be in a very vivid and scary way.

FOR COMPREHENSIVE UP-TO-DATE DRUG INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

Talk to Frank - Drugs-A-Z

Drugwise - drugsearch-encyclopedia/

Drugs.ie - drug types

Knowthescore.info

Talktofrank.com

Wedinos.org

Although many drugs fall neatly within one category, there are many substances that have more than one action upon the CNS. For example, Ecstasy is primarily a stimulant that also has hallucinogenic properties and Cannabis depending on the preparation and the chemistry of any sample can fall across all three categories. Below you will find an ever-expanding list of substances, chemical names, slang names and in the case of NPS brand names of various substances available in NI. This alphabetical list is very much Work in Progress as we strive to keep abreast of the ever emerging NPS group of substances that are now all illegal under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

Alcohol Amphetamines Amyl Nitrite Anabolic Steroids
Cannabis Cocaine Ecstasy Gamma hydroxybutyrate
Heroin Ketamine Khat LSD
Magic Mushrooms Mephedrone Methadone Methamphetamine
Naphyrone Nicotine PMA Piperazines
Solvents Synthetic Cannabinoids Tranquillisers Legal Highs

The Facts

The law divides drugs into three classes - A, B and C.

Class A drugs carry the heaviest penalties.

The Consequences

Class

Drug

Possession

Production or Dealing

A

Ecstasy, heroin and methadone, LSD, cocaine and crack, magic mushrooms, methamphetamine, PMA, 2CB, amphetamines (if prepared for injection).

Up to 7 years in prison, or a fine, or both.

Up to life in prison, or a fine, or both.

B

Amphetamines (speed), cannabis, synthetic cannabinoids (such as ‘Spice') pholcodine, methylphenidate (ritalin), cathinones (including mephedrone).

Up to 5 years in prison, or a fine, or both.

Up to 14 years in prison, or a fine, or both.

C

Tranquilisers, some painkillers, GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate), GBL (gamma Butyrolactone) BZP, Ketamine.

Up to 2 years in prison, or a fine, or both.

Up to 14 years in prison, or a fine, or both.

A – Z Drugs

Alcohol

What it looks like and how it's taken

Drunk as 'alcopops', spirits, beers and wines.

Immediate effects

Reduces inhibitions and increases sense of relaxation. Each unit of alcohol takes approximately one hour for the liver to process.

Risks

Short term: Hangover including dehydration, headache, nausea, sensitivity to noise and bright lights, and depression. Intoxication can lead to aggressive/irrational behaviour and accidents.

Long term: Regular heavy drinking can cause stomach disorders, cancer of mouth, and throat, increased risk of stroke, liver cirrhosis, brain damage (including memory problems), high blood pressure, problems with the nervous system, changes in physical appearance (e.g. weight gain, thread veins and purple, bulbous 'drinkers nose'), sexual and mental health problems, and family and work problems.

Legal status

It's illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under 18-years-old. Also if you drive or attempt to drive while unfit due to alcohol consumption (being unfit means having a Blood Alcohol Concentration of over 80mg per 100ml), you face an automatic disqualification ('driving ban'), a large fine and the possibility of a prison sentence.

Category

Depressant.

5 Stages of Drunkenness

Stages of Drunkenness

Logo Image courtesy of Lifeline Publications

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Amphetamines

Also known as: Speed, Whizz, Sulph, Base

What it looks like and how it's taken

Grey or white powder that is snorted, swallowed, smoked, injected or dissolved in drink. Tablets are swallowed.

Immediate effects

For 3 to 4 hours users feel animated, over-confident, and full of energy. Appetite and ability to sleep are adversely affected.

Risks

Short term: Some users may feel tense and anxious while using and afterwards many feel very tired and depressed. The drug can cause sudden death from heart attack or stroke.

Long term: Frequent high doses can cause panic, hallucination and weight loss. Heavy long-term use places strain on the heart and can cause mental illness. Amphetamines are addictive.

Legal status

Class B or Class A if prepared for injection.

Category

Stimulant.

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Amyl Nitrite

Also known as: Poppers, TNT, Liquid Gold, Alkyl Nitrite, Butyl Nitrite

What it looks like and how it's taken

Clear yellow liquid, smells sweet when it's fresh and 'sweaty' when it's not. Vapour is breathed in through nose or mouth from a small bottle or tube.

Immediate effects

Almost instant 'head rush' with flushed face and neck. Lasts 2 –5 minutes.

Risks

Short term: Pounding headaches, nausea, fainting, and bulging eyes. If spilled it can burn the skin and may be fatal if swallowed. People with anaemia, glaucoma and breathing or heart problems are most at risk.

Long term: Regular use can lead to tolerance (greater amount needed to produce same effect) and an increase in risks listed above.

Legal status

Amyl nitrite is a prescription-only medicine. Possession is not illegal but supply through sex shops and clubs can be an offence under the Medicines Act.

Category

Stimulant.

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Anabolic Steroids

Also known as: Roids. Trade names: Sustanon 250, Deca-Durabolin, Dianabol, Anavar, Stanozolol

What it looks like and how it's taken

Steroids come in liquid or tablet form. The tablets are swallowed and the liquid is usually injected.

Immediate effects

Sports enthusiasts claim steroids make them able to train harder and can help build muscle mass. The drug can also make users feel more aggressive.

Risks

Short term: Taking steroids can mean normally calm people can become aggressive or even violent. If you're young, anabolic steroids can affect the natural development of the body. If you're male, you can get erection problems, grow breasts, become sterile and develop acne. It can also make your testicles shrink. If you're female, you can get extra facial hair, a deep voice, shrinking breasts and an increased risk of menstrual problems. Injecting any drug can cause vein damage, ulcers and gangrene. Dirty or shared needles and other injecting works can also help the spread of HIV and hepatitis.

Long term: Long term usage can lead to paranoia, confusion and sleep problems. You could also experience dramatic mood swings and suffer long-term depression. Steroid use can lead to increased blood pressure and increases the likelihood of liver failure, stroke or a heart attack.

Legal status

If possessed without a prescription or supplied illegally, classified as Class C.

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Cannabis

Also known as: Hash, grass, weed, reefer, ganjha, skunk, smoke, resin (solid, soapbar and council)

What it looks like and how it's taken

Comes as solid lump 'resin'; leaves, stalks and seeds called 'grass'; or sticky dark oil. Can be smoked or cooked and eaten with food.

Immediate effects

Users feel relaxed and may have sharper sense of colours and sounds. Some feel urge to eat.

If taken in food, effects can be stronger and harder to control.

Associated paraphernalia

Rolling papers such as Rizla, pipes, bongs.

Risks

Short-term: Impairs ability to concentrate and conduct complex tasks. Can lead to tiredness and lack of motivation.

Long term: Regular heavy use can lead to development or worsening of mental health problems including paranoia. Smoked with tobacco, it increases health risks associated with tobacco use and can lead to nicotine addiction. Very heavy use can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Can lead to heart and breathing problems.

Legal status

All Cannabis, including Oil, Resin and Grass are Class B.

Category

Depressant, Analgesic, Stimulant and Hallucinogen.

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Cocaine

Also known as: Cocaine: coke, charlie, cheech, chico, chong snow, white stuff, fairy dust, snifter. Crack: rock, freebase.

What it looks like and how it's taken

Cocaine is a white powder that is snorted or dissolved and injected.
Crack, a stronger version, comes as rocks or stones and is smoked or injected.

Immediate effects

Cocaine acts fast and lasts about 30 minutes. Users feel confident, strong and alert, and may be left craving more. Crack acts faster. More intense effects last about 10 minutes.

Associated paraphernalia

Razors, mirrors, something to snort through, glass pipe, needles and syringes.

Risks

Short term: Some users may feel tense and anxious while using and afterwards many feel very tired and depressed. It can also cause convulsions, chest pain and sudden death from heart attack or stroke. Sniffing can damage the inside of the nose. Smoking crack can cause breathing problems and lung damage.

Long term: Frequent use can lead to paranoia, hallucinations, aggression and weight loss. Cocaine and especially crack cocaine are highly addictive. Chronic use also causes severe damage to heart and circulation, brain damage and severe mental health problems.

Legal status

Class A.

Category

Stimulant.

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Ecstasy

Also known as: 'E' pills, Sweeties, MDMA (chemical name), Eckies, X, Jabs

What it looks like and how it's taken

Tablets of different shapes, sizes and colours - often with a designer logo. Taken by swallowing the tablet.

Immediate effects

Within 20 minutes to one hour, increases energy and sense of well-being. Sounds, colours and emotions more intense. Lasts up to 6 hours.

Risks

Short term: Use can lead to overheating and dehydration if users dance without taking breaks or sipping non-alcoholic fluids. This can be fatal. Drinking a pint of liquid every hour and eating a salty snack from time to time are advised. Users can feel tired and depressed for a few days after use.

Long term: Ecstasy use has been linked to mental health problems, and liver, kidney and brain damage.

Legal status

Class A.

Category

Stimulant / Hallucinogen.

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Gamma hydroxybutyrate

Also known as: GHB, GBH, Gabba, Liquid Ecstasy, 'G'

Similar substances: Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL)

What it looks like and how it's taken

GBL (gamma-butyrolactone) is closely related to gamma-hydroxybutrate (GHB); both are dangerous drugs with sedative and anaesthetic effects. GBL converts to GHB shortly after entering the body. Comes in small bottles. Colourless, odourless liquid. Sometimes it also comes in capsule form. Liquid and capsules can be swallowed. It is a common solvent used in products like paint strippers and stain removers.

Immediate effects

GHB and GBL produce essentially the same effects and vary greatly in strength. They both produce a feeling of euphoria and can reduce your inhibitions and make you feel sleepy.

Risks

Short term: Larger doses can cause drowsiness, sickness, disorientation, convulsions, coma and breathing difficulties. Can cause nausea, reduced heart rate, drowsiness, coma, hypothermia, seizures, unconsciousness, coma and death. Due to their effect GHB and GBL have been linked to drug-assisted sexual assault.

Long term: Long term effects are not well understood. Using both GHB and GBL can cause unconsciousness, coma and death. Even experienced users are at risk from death by intoxication. Taking these drugs with alcohol or other sedative drugs adds to the risk of harm. But it is also clear that they can cause death when taken on their own.

Legal status

Class C.

Category

Depressant.

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Heroin

Also known as: Smack, Skag, H, Junk, Gear, Kit

What it looks like and how it's taken

Brownish-white powder. Some heroin comes in a brown/black form that looks like hard toffee. Smoked, dissolved or injected.

Immediate effects

Slows the brain, heart rate and breathing. Effects can make the user relaxed, drowsy and numb, detached from worry, and oblivious to pain.

Associated paraphernalia

Needles, syringes, spoon, lighter or candle.

Risks

Short term: There is a real risk of drug overdose, possibly leading to coma or death. Heroin is often mixed with domestic household substances and other additives which can be harmful.

Long term: Heroin is highly addictive and larger and more frequent doses may be needed to feel 'normal'. Injecting can damage veins; sharing needles can spread hepatitis and HIV.

Legal status

Class A

Category

Depressant

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Ketamine

Also known as: K, Special K, Vitamin K, Ket, Horsey

What it looks like and how it's taken

Usually comes in the form of a white powder (sometimes in tablet form, sold as ecstasy) or a liquid. Can be swallowed, inhaled or injected.

Immediate effects

A powerful anaesthetic used on humans and animals, it can produce 'out of body' experiences, numbness and hallucinations.

Risks

Short term: Can cause problems with vision, loss of coordination, and frightening hallucinations that require assistance and reassurance from others. it's particularly dangerous if used in combination with depressants such as alcohol or heroin. It can make some mental health problems worse.

Long term: Prolonged use can cause disorientation and detachment from reality but the long-term effects are not well understood.

Legal status

Class C.

Category

Hallucinogen

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Khat

Also known as: Quat, Qat, Qaadka, Chat

What it looks like and how it's taken

Khat is a leaf which is chewed over a number of hours.

Immediate effects

Acts as a stimulant and can increase feelings of alertness and make users feel more talkative. It also acts as an appetite suppressant.

Risks

Short term: It can increase feelings of anxiety and aggression. Some users find it makes them very irritable, in some cases extremely angry and even violent. Anyone suffering from pre-existing mental health problems should avoid using Khat.

Long term: Frequent users may develop insomnia, heart problems and sexual problems like impotence.

Legal status

On Tuesday 24th June 2014 khat became a controlled class C drug.

Category

Stimulant.

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LSD

Also known as: Acid, Trips, Tabs

What it looks like and how it's taken

Comes in small squares of paper, often printed with designs, or as tiny tablets called microdots and dots. Tablets are swallowed. It is a myth that LSD can be absorbed through the skin from transfers.

Immediate effects

Hallucination—the 'trip'. Starts within an hour and can last 8 - 12 hours or longer. Surroundings seem altered, colours brighter, sounds different, movement and time may seem distorted.

Risks

Short term: Trips cannot be controlled or stopped. A bad trip can be terrifying, which requires help and reassurance from others. Mental health problems can be triggered and existing conditions made worse.

Long term: Users may have 'flashbacks' where they relive a trip without taking the drug again.

Legal status

Class A.

Category

Hallucinogen.

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Magic Mushrooms

Also known as: Shrooms, Mushies

What it looks like and how it's taken

Grow wild throughout Ireland in the autumn and are eaten raw, dried, cooked in food, or stewed into a tea.

Immediate effects

Similar to LSD but the trip is usually milder and shorter, often lasting about 4 hours. However, this dependant on the dose, whether they are fresh or dry and how they have been taken.

Risks

Short term: Stomach pains, sickness and diarrhoea. Poisoning by eating wrong kind of mushroom by mistake. Can complicate mental illnesses.

Legal status

Class A

Category

Hallucinogen.

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Mephedrone

Also known as: 4MMC, Meph, M-cat, Magic, Plant Food

Similar substances: Methylone, Methedrone, Bubbles

What it looks like and how it's taken

These substances are part of the 'cathinone' group of drugs. Cathinone is a naturally occurring stimulant found in the khat plant and cathinones are a group of drugs related to amphetamine compounds like ecstasy. Cathinone derivatives such as mephedrone and MCAT come in capsules and powders and are sometimes mixed with other cathinones and caffeine. They are usually snorted or swallowed.

Immediate effects

Effects are those of a stimulant somewhat like MDMA. It may produce euphoria, alertness, talkativeness and feelings of empathy. But also anxiety and paranoid states in some.

Risks

Short term: Severe nosebleeds have been reported after snorting as well as anxiety and paranoia. There is also the risk of over-stimulating the heart and the nervous system, which would increase the chances of having a fit.

Long term: Some reports say it can be compulsive to use and create a state of psychological dependence. It has recently been made illegal in a number of countries due to growing evidence of harms, including a reported possible cause of death in Sweden in 2008.

Legal status

mephedrone and related cathinones became Class B substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 on 16 April 2010.

Category

Stimulant

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Methadone

Also known as: Meth, Linctus

What it looks like and how it's taken

Comes as a green, amber or blue mixture liquid, or as white tablets. Usually swallowed.

Immediate effects

Effects similar to heroin, although less intense but longer acting.

Risks

Short term: Drug overdose, possibly leading to coma or death, if taken by someone not used to the drug. Methadone should only be taken as part of a prescribed and supervised programme to treat addiction to opiate drugs, especially heroin.

Long term: Methadone can be addictive, and it should never be given or sold to someone else.

Legal status

If possessed without a prescription or supplied illegally, classified as Class A.

Category

Depressant.

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Methamphetamine

Also known as: Crystal Meth, Crazy Medicine, Ice, Zip, Yaba, Go-Fast, Cristy, Tina, Chalk, Crank, Shabu, Glass

What it looks like and how it's taken

Methamphetamine usually takes the form of a white odourless and bitter-tasting crystalline powder, readily soluble in water or alcohol. It can be smoked, injected intravenously, snorted or digested orally. It is known as Ice when in a crystal-like rock form and Yaba when in tablet form, usually red, orange but sometimes green. Methamphetamine is still relatively rare in Ireland.

Immediate effects

Immediately after smoking or injecting, users experience a rush that lasts only a few minutes. Small amounts of methamphetamine can produce euphoria, wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased appetite and increased respiration. The user may also experience powerful hallucinations.

Risks

Short term: The drug can cause disturbing hallucinations and make the user extremely paranoid. One of the nastier and most common hallucinations is 'speed bugs' or 'crank bugs' where users think bugs are crawling under their skin and go frantic trying to get them out.

Long term: Regular use is linked to lung and kidney disorders. Coming off the drug can lead to severe depression and suicidal urges.

Legal status

Methamphetamine is a form of amphetamine and currently sits within Class A.

Category

Stimulant.

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Naphyrone

Also known as: NRG-1, NRG1, Energy-1, Energy1, Rave

Similar substances: Methylone, Methedrone, Amphetamine, Speed, MDMA

What it looks like and how it's taken

Naphyrone is a fine white or off-white/yellow powder – usually snorted like cocaine or swallowed ‘bombed’ in wraps of paper.
Naphyrone is a stimulant drug closely related to ‘cathinone derivatives’ including mephedrone, a group of drugs that are ‘cousins’ of the family of amphetamine compounds which include amphetamine itself (speed), methamphetamine and ecstasy (MDMA), among many others.
When sold over the internet, it was often described as a plant food, research chemicals or bath salts, and not for human consumption.

Immediate effects

Effects are those of a stimulant somewhat like MDMA. It may produce euphoria, alertness, talkativeness and feelings of empathy. But also anxiety and paranoid states in some.

Risks

Naphyrone does not have a long history of use, so there is little evidence of its long term effects or on the risks from using it. However, due to its similarity to other ‘cathinone derivatives’, naphyrone is likely to share the same risks such as anxiety, paranoia, overstimulation of the heart and circulatory system and overexcitation of the nervous system (with the risk of fits).
The high potency of naphyrone by comparison with other cathinones like mephedrone suggests that it is likely to be associated with a higher risk of accidental overdose.

Legal status

Naphyrone was controlled as a Class B drug on the 23rd July 2010 meaning it is illegal to have, give away or sell. Possession can get you up to five years in jail. Supplying someone else, including your friends, can get you up to fourteen years in jail and an unlimited fine.

Category

Stimulant.

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Nicotine

What it looks like and how it's taken

Cigarettes, pipes, cigars, loose tobacco, chewing tobacco. Is smoked or chewed.

Immediate effects

Acts fast, first increasing alertness then producing a sense of relaxation.

Associated paraphernalia

Rolling papers, filters.

Risks

Short term: Nicotine addiction can develop quite rapidly and regular smokers often feel anxious and irritable if unable to smoke. Smoking can restrict growth in young people.

Long term: Other chemicals in tobacco cause lung cancer and stomach diseases, heart disease, circulation problems, wrinkled skin and premature ageing.

Legal status

It is illegal for retailers to sell tobacco to anyone under 18.

Category

Stimulant

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PMA

Also known as: Chicken Yellow, Chicken Fever, Double Stacked, Killer

What it looks like and how it's taken

Usually a white tablet which is unusually thick compared to ecstasy, hence the name 'Double-Stacked'. PMA is swallowed.

Immediate effects

Users report experiencing similar effects to ecstasy although effects last substantially stronger.

Risks

Short term: PMA affects the body's temperature control and as it is stronger than Ecstasy the risk of overheating is much greater. Users require immediate help if they feel their temperature soaring on the dance floor and anyone with a heart condition, blood pressure problems, epilepsy or asthma can have a very dangerous reaction to the drug. Frequent use can also bring on paranoia and depression.

Long term: As PMA is a drug is quite a new drug, long term risks have not yet been established, but it is thought that they are likely to be similar to the risks associated with Ecstasy.

Legal status

Class A.

Category

Stimulant.

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Piperazines

Also known as: BZP, Party Pills, Fast Lane, Silver Bullet, Smiley's, Happy Pills, Pep

What it looks like and how it's taken

Piperazines are a broad class of chemical compounds used widely in human and veterinary medicines. The best-known recreational stimulants are BZP (Benzylpiperazine), TFMPP, DBZP and mCPP, which mimic the effects of ecstasy. They are also used in industry to make plastics, resins, pesticides, brake fluid and a variety of materials and products. Some piperazine compounds act as effective worming agents for pets and farm animals. BZP can come in different coloured pill form and is also sold as an off-white powder, in capsules and as a liquid.

Immediate effects

The stimulant effects of BZP are similar to ecstasy but dose for dose BZP is not as potent. Effects can last for 6 – 8 hours. With decreased appetite and sleeplessness. Users often suffer a severe hangover-like reaction that can last for up to 24 hours.

Risks

Short term: Agitation, vomiting, stomach pain, fits, irregular heart rhythms, diarrhoea, allergic reactions and fever have all been reported.

Long term: BZP is a stimulant drug, which makes it particularly risky if taken by anyone suffering from high blood pressure or a heart condition. Perfectly healthy young people can have a fit or heart attack after taking stimulant drugs. And you may not know that you have a pre-existing heart condition. ??Mixing BZP with amphetamines (like ecstasy and speed) and alcohol can be very dangerous. In rare cases users may suffer from serotonin syndrome, which can cause high blood pressure and may be fatal.

Legal Status

Benzylpiperazine (BZP) became a class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 in December 2009.

Category

Stimulant.

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Solvents

Also known as: Glue, Gas, Aerosols

What it looks like and how it's taken

Butane gas cigarette lighter refills, disposable cigarette lighters, aerosol sprays (hairsprays, air fresheners), whipped cream cans and glue tins or tubes. Sniffed or breathed in through a cloth or sleeve. It has been known for Gas to be squirted straight into the back of the throat.

Immediate effects

Similar to being very drunk. Users feel dizzy, giggly and light-headed. Some hallucinate. Effects last from a few minutes to 30 minutes.

Associated paraphernalia

Plastic bag.

Risks

Short term: Hangover for a day or two. Nausea, vomiting, blackouts, bad cough, spots/sores around mouth, persistent cold and heart problems. Inhaling with a plastic bag can cause suffocation. It is extremely dangerous to squirt gas into the mouth as this can cause sudden death. Sometimes people's hearts stop beating if they have been sniffing solvents.

Long term: Damage to brain, liver, kidneys, nervous system, lungs and reproductive organs.

Legal status

It is illegal for retailers to sell butane gas refills to anyone under 18. Also illegal for solvents to be supplied to people of any age in the knowledge that they are to be abused.

Category

Depressant.

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Synthetic Cannabinoids

Also known as: Spice

What it looks like and how it is taken

Products like 'Spice' are likely to contain synthetic cannabinoids which is a chemical produced to mimic the psychoactive effects of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active compound in cannabis. Herbal smoking mixtures tend to be a mix of inert plant ingredients that are sprayed with synthetic cannabinoid compounds. There is nothing natural or herbal about these compounds, they are man-made.

Immediate effects

Synthetic cannabinoids mimic the psychoactive effects of THC and so the effects - good and bad - are likely to be very similar to cannabis.

Risks

Short term: The chemical composition and ingredients of herbal products like ‘Spice' are changing all the time, and there are a wide range of possible synthetic cannabinoids that could be used, which is why you can never be sure what you're getting or how it will affect you.

Long term: Regular use of products containing stronger synthetic cannabinoids may increase the risk of later developing psychotic illnesses including schizophrenia.

Experts are concerned that 'Spice' products containing synthetic cannabinoids have the potential to be more harmful than cannabis due to the way they are made and because the compounds present and there potency will be unknown to the user.

Legal status

Synthetic Cannabinoids ('Spice') became a class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 in December 2009.

Category

Hallucinogen.

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Tranquillisers

Also known as: Jellies, Tranx, Benzos. Trade names:Valium, Librium, Mogadon, Diazepam, Nitrazepam, Temazepam

What it looks like and how it's taken

Tablets or capsules. Can be swallowed or injected.

Immediate effects

Relieves anxiety and tension. Calms users and slows them down. High doses can make users drowsy and forgetful.

Risks

Short term: Dangerous mixed with alcohol or other drugs.

Long term: Regular use can damage short term memory and reduce energy. Almost all tranquillisers are addictive. Withdrawal symptoms include depression, insomnia and panic attacks.

Legal status

If possessed without a prescription or supplied illegally, classified as Class C.

Category

Depressant.

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Legal Highs

Also known as: Plant Food, NPS, New Psychoactive Substances, MDAT, Eric 3, Dimethocaine

What it looks like and how it's taken

Comes in various forms. For example, Plant Food packaging with the detail 'Not fit for human consumption'. Again can be taken in various ways, usually in a method that is similar to the type of drug it is mimicking.

Immediate effects

Has tangible effect of other drugs depending on which category the substance falls into.

Risks

There has been little or no useful research into the short and long-term risks from human consumption. Drugs including legal highs will have widely different strengths and effects on different people.

Legal Status

Technically legal but there are many substances that claim to be legal and still contain illegal substances. Some substances that were formally 'legal highs' are now banned drugs in the UK. Public consumption of legal highs has been made illegal in Lincoln town centre as of 2015. More councils are expected to follow suit.

Category

Depressant, Stimulant, or Hallucinogen.