How safe is your drug use?

The world’s first guidelines for safer drug use

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Given the huge evidence that drug and alcohol use before the age of 18 can cause long lasting impairments in your cognitive and emotional ability, Global Drug Survey stresses that this site is strictly for those over 18 years of age.

As ever, the only way to avoid drug related harm is not to take drugs and that no level of intoxication with any substance can be considered drug free and most importantly Global Drug Survey is keen to remind readers that the following guidelines simply represent Global Drug Survey reporting on the combined opinions of tens of thousands of people who use drugs.

1. Young brains and drugs are not a good mix

There’s a huge amount of evidence that alcohol and drug use before the age of 18 can cause long-lasting impairments in your cognitive and emotional ability. Kids don’t screw up your brains. “Grow your brain before you start expanding it” Our guidelines are strictly for those over 18 years of age.

2. Guidelines don’t make drugs safe

By developing safer drug using limit guidelines for illicit drugs Global Drug Survey is not suggesting that drugs are safe. Quite the contrary in fact. Drugs can be very dangerous and Global Drug Survey is not suggesting guidelines will be a panacea to society’s drug problems. But as governments are starting to embrace population-based strategies to improve health and think more rationally about drug policy, having some common sense guidelines that allow people to reflect upon their drug use is a sensible thing.

3. We are all different

We accept there are also a few obstacles in creating catch-all safer use limits: purities vary; drugs are rarely taken in isolation of each other; the method of ingestion can affect the risk; people’s initial tolerance may vary depending on height and weight; and, finally, lots of people take drugs for lots of different reasons, so if you’re using them to cope with other issues you may be more susceptible to experiencing harm at a much lower level.

4. People with existing mental health conditions are much more vulnerable to drug/alcohol harms

If you have a underlying mental illness you are much more likely to develop drug related problems – both short-term ones, like getting anxious or paranoid, and long-term issues such as dependence. If you have a psychiatric illness and things are not getting better taking a rest from drink and drugs can help. This may allow the treatment you are on to work better and make it easier for you and your doctors to know what’s going on.

5. Other times to take care

If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant avoid cannabis. If you have heart or lung conditions you might want to think about your use as well.

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