Facts & Figures
Alcohol & Drugs
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A tiny percentage of Scotland's population has drug dependency issues. However, the impact this has on family, friends, our health service, the law, our economy and society is disproportionate.
Drug misuse can lead to drug deaths and complications such as Hepatitis C.
New trends are emerging in how and what type of drugs are used. More and more new drugs are appearing, as well as new ways of taking older ones. Because they haven't been around for long, less is known about how new drugs, and new ways of taking older ones, affect people. Some have turned out to be more dangerous than first thought.
Polydrug use, where a number of substances are taken over a short time often involving alcohol, now more common. It is very dangerous to take several drugs at once. Many people who have died from a drugs overdose did so because they had taken a combination of drugs, often combined with alcohol.
There is growing concern in regard to the increase of “club drugs” and Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS).
Different drugs (including alcohol and tobacco) act on different areas of the brain and alter its chemical balance. It's these changes that cause the feelings and sensations people get when they take drugs.
The effect of drugs varies from substance to substance and it is not possible to say exactly how a particular drug will affect someone. Drugs can be more harmful for young people because their bodies and brains are still developing.
The same drug can also have very different effects at different times, depending on its purity (which can vary a lot) and the person's mood, health, circumstances and surroundings.
Some drugs are more addictive than others and some people get addicted more easily. Some drugs can trigger underlying mental health problems and make existing ones worse.
While some argue that those who experiment with drugs might come to no long-term harm, some drugs like heroin are highly addictive and dangerous, and can occasionally cause very serious physical reactions, including drug overdose.
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