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Drug and alcohol myths

Don't believe everything you hear about alcohol and drugs

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health

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Myth: Alcohol and smoking are legal so they must be okay

Facts: Cigarettes and alcohol are potential health hazards. Remember that it's illegal to buy cigarettes and alcohol if you are under 18. Learn more about alcohol, cigarettes and the law.

Myth: It's better to have one big night out on the piss than have a drink every night

Fact: It's more dangerous to binge drink (drinking a large amount in a short period of time) than to drink small amounts regularly. That's worrying when you think that 1 in every 6 drinking occasions for men and 3 in every 10 for women are binges.

Myth: If I'm not addicted, then no probs! 

Fact: Addiction is only one of many drug and alcohol related problems. Family life, relationships, finances, physical and mental health can all by affected by drug and alcohol use. There are also long lasting consequences if you get caught with illegal drugs.

Myth: Illegal drugs are all the same

Fact: Different drugs affect you in different ways and some are more addictive and dangerous than others. All drugs have side effects, the effects of cannabis are very different from the effects of heroin.

Myth: Drink stays in your system as long as drugs

Fact: The length of time drugs or alcohol remain in your system depends on the amounts taken and how they are consumed. The list below shows the detection times (using a urine test) for the most common drugs:

  • Alcohol 12 - 24 hours
  • Amphetamine 2 - 3 days
  • Cannabis 2 – 7 days – 1 month (for regular users)
  • Cocaine 12 hours – 3 days
  • Crystal Meth 2 - 3 days
  • Diazepam 1 - 2 days
  • Ecstasy 2 - 4 days
  • GHB up to 24 hours
  • Heroin 1 - 2 days
  • Ketamine 5 - 7 days
  • LSD 2 - 3 days
  • Magic Mushrooms (Psilocybin) up to 8 hours
  • Methadone 2 days
  • Steroids 14 days (oral) - 1 month (injected)
  • Temazepam 1 - 2 days (longer after injecting)

Myth: Cannabis is legal in Amsterdam so it must be harmless

Fact: The regular use of cannabis is known to be associated with an increase in the risk of later developing mental illnesses including schizophrenia. If you have a family background of mental illness, you may have an increased risk of developing one after using cannabis. Learn more about how drugs can effect your mental health.

Regular users may find they lack motivation in their day-to-day lives, lose interest in things and lose touch with their friends. Also it is reported that frequent use of cannabis may affect the fertility of men and women.

Like tobacco, cannabis has lots of chemical 'nasties'. These can cause lung disease and possibly cancer with long-term or heavy use. Cannabis can also make asthma worse, and cause wheezing in non-asthma sufferers.

Remember that It is against the law for a young person under 18 to buy alcohol or drink alcohol in a public place.

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Published February 25th, 2013
Last updated October 28th, 2015
Tags drugs addiction alcohol
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