Technically, drugs are chemical sub-
stances that alter or affect the function
of the body. Therefore, medicines are
drugs, as are cigarettes, coffee and alco-
hol. However, here we are focusing on
the drugs we cannot buy in a shop, that
is, illegal drugs.
There are lots of reasons why people take illegal
drugs. Some take them to escape their problems
while others are bored, curious or just want to feel
good. People may be pressured into taking drugs to
“fit in” with a particular crowd or they may take
drugs to rebel or to get attention.
Drug users come from all kinds of backgrounds.
They are male and female, young and old, rich and
poor, working and unemployed, from the city and
the countryside—it does not matter. Drug use can
Marijuana (pot, grass, weed, ganja) is usually
smoked in a cigarette and sold in brown chunks.
Amphetamines (including meth) and ecstasy are
usually sold as pills, but can also come in a powder
that can be mixed into a drink. Users simply swal-
low the pill or the drink. Cocaine, a white or brown-
ish powder, is usually snorted through the nose,
while heroin is generally injected with a syringe.
Different drugs have different effects on the body.
While effects vary from one person to the next, in
general, marijuana gives users an initial “high”, or a
dizzy, light-headed feeling, followed by a more
relaxed sensation. Amphetamines provide an energy
boost so that users can stay awake longer and work
or dance more. Cocaine can give users a very happy,
euphoric feeling when first taken, and it can make
users forget they are hungry or tired. While these
effects might sound nice, they do not last long.
Many people get depressed and lonely afterwards
and start feeling sick. Also, it is common for people
who use drugs to seem confused, have red eyes,
sweat a lot and not to care about their physical
appearance. And, of course, there is the risk of
Drugs have other physical side effects. For example,
a marijuana cigarette contains much more tar than
a normal cigaret