Explains the mental health effects of recreational drugs, what might happen if you use recreational drugs and also have a mental health problem, and suggestions for where to find support.
Recreational drugs are substances people may take:
They include alcohol, tobacco (nicotine), substances such as cannabis, heroin, cocaine and ecstasy, and some prescribed medicines.
"All my experiences with recreational drug use started due to social influences, of wanting to 'fit in'."
Recreational drugs may be:
A number of substances previously known as ‘legal highs’ are now illegal – for example, mephedrone ('meow meow').
Most drugs come under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, which makes it illegal to possess certain drugs and to supply them to others. They are classified as class A, B or C, depending on the presumed risk of harm they may cause.
New synthetic versions of existing drugs (previously called ‘legal highs’) come under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016. These are chemicals made to mimic the effects of existing illegal drugs, for example cannabis or cocaine. The Psychoactive Substances Act, which came into effect in May 2016, makes it illegal to produce or supply these types of substances, or to possess them with the intention of supplying them.
The way street drugs are legally classified does not reflect how harmful they are to your mental health. Legal, illegal and controlled drugs can all have a negative impact on you, whichever Act of Parliament they come under and whatever class they are given.
This information was published in November 2016.
This page is currently under review. All content was accurate when published.
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