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Sex & Drugs

People sometimes take drugs to ‘improve their sexual experience’ or they take them for some other reason but it has an effect on their general health (and therefore their sexual health) in a number of ways.

Unless drugs are prescribed by a GP they should never be used. Most of the time people don’t know what is in them! For information on drugs please visit: www.talktofrank.com

Find out about alcohol and drugs services in St Helens
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Amphetamine

Speed is the street name for a range of drugs called amphetamines – including amphetamine sulphate, dexedrine and dexamphetamine. Like cocaine, amphetamines are stimulants that people take to keep them awake and alert.

Amphetamines have been used in wars to help keep soldiers alert and they were once the main ingredient in diet pills, because they stop people feeling hungry. Some amphetamines are used in medicine, for example, Ritalin is used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Here are the key effects and risks of taking ‘speed’:

  • Speed makes people feel wide awake, excited and chatty.
  • People take it because it gives them the energy to do things for hours without getting tired, things like dancing, talking, and going out.
  • It can though make people overactive, agitated or even acutely psychotic.
  • The high is generally followed by a long slow comedown, making you feel really irritable and depressed.
  • Speed puts a strain on your heart – some users have died from overdoses.

Cocaine

Cocaine’s been in the news again this week, but what’s the big deal about coke? Taking cocaine is associated with good times – feeling confident, talking funny nonsense with your mates and making your nights out last longer.

But what about the bad times? Like when you are feeling paranoid, the next day comedown or the nights when all you can think about is your next line?

Cocaine can make you feel good, but it’s very addictive and it can easily become a habit that controls your life. And it’s not as safe as you may think it is – repeated use can cause agitated behaviour, mood swings, and heart attacks.

It’s also a Class A drug, which means it’s illegal to have, give away or sell. If the police catch you with cocaine, they’ll always take some action. This could include a formal caution, arrest, and prosecution.

Ecstasy

Ecstasy (also known by its chemical name, MDMA) is often seen as the original designer drug because of its high profile links to dance music culture in the late 80s and early 90s. Clubbers took ecstasy to feel energised, happy, to stay awake and to dance for hours. The effects take about half an hour to kick in and tend to last between 3 to 6 hours, followed by a gradual comedown.

The main effects and risks of ecstasy include:

  • An energy buzz that makes people feel alert, alive, in tune with their surroundings, and with sounds and colours often experienced as more intense.
  • Users often develop temporary feelings of love and affection for the people they’re with and for the strangers around them.
  • Short-term risks of ecstasy can include feeling anxious or getting panic attacks, and developing confused episodes, paranoia or even psychosis.
  • Some people have been known to take another ‘E’ when they haven’t yet felt the expected ‘high’ of their first ‘E’. The danger then is that both Es kick in at once and you’ve got a double dose of effects to deal with.
  • A big problem with ecstasy is that it’s rarely pure. You can’t be sure what’s in it and you can’t predict how you’ll react. Sometimes, there is no MDMA at all.

GHB and GBL

GHB (gammahydroxybutrate) and GBL (gammabutyrolactone), are closely related, dangerous drugs with similar sedative and anaesthetic effects. GBL is converted to GHB shortly after entering the body. Both produce a feeling of euphoria and can reduce inhibitions and cause sleepiness. But both can kill and are particularly dangerous when used with alcohol and other depressant or sedative substances.

Viagra

Viagra is often taken on top of other drugs to alleviate their side effects, so when mixed with strong stimulant or depressant drugs it increases the risks from the Viagra itself: The most common side effects of Viagra are headache, flushing, dizziness, indigestion, temporary changes in vision, stuffy nose, diarrhoea, urinary tract infection or rash.

Viagra opens the blood vessels in the penis, allowing blood to flow into the penis. It is commonly prescribed for people experiencing some form of erectile dysfunction.

Many believe it increases sexual performance and experience but there is no clinical evidence to support this.

Useful links

www.addaction.org.uk
Addaction is a UK-wide treatment agency, helping individuals, families and communities to manage the effects of drug and alcohol misuse.

www.adfam.org.uk
ADFAM offers information and advice for families of alcohol and drug users. The website has a list of local family support services. Telephone: 020 7553 7640

www.talktofrank.com
National drugs awareness site for young people and parents/carers.
Confidential helpline: 0800 77 66 00.

Source: www.talktofrank.com

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