Drug Use and Higher Education

During your time as a student here in London, you may well be exposed to recreational drug use by your fellow students or others around you. Depending on your character and background, such experiences may strike you as being scary, exciting or perhaps even both. However, there are a lot of myths surrounding drugs, both perpetuated by those who use them and by those in authority who would rather you didn’t. Here, Scape Student Living delves deeper to take a look at four of the most common recreational drugs here in the UK, without any of the propaganda or preaching you’ll find elsewhere.

Also known as: Marijuana, Weed, Grass, Green, Dope, Bud
Effects: Light-headedness, lethargy, relaxation, amusement
Risks & side-effects: Paranoia, mental health problems, respiratory problems, habitual dependence

Cannabis is a drug which is rolled into a cigarette (joint, reefa, bifta) and smoked. The drug gives you a high, resulting in a feeling of relaxation, amusement and light-headedness. After alcohol, caffeine and nicotine, cannabis is the most common drug in the UK, particularly among young, university-age men and women. Occasional recreational cannabis use is more-or-less harmless, but too much can damage one’s health, just as too much nicotine or alcohol can. If you are going to use cannabis, do so in moderation and be fully aware of the extensive risks of doing so for both your health and from a legal perspective. Cannabis is a Class B illegal substance in the UK, and possession can result in a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison.

Also known as: Meph, M-Cat, Meow Meow
Effects: Affection, euphoria, confidence, increased energy
Risks & side-effects: Anxiety, paranoia, circulatory problems, fits and seizures

Most commonly known as M-Cat or Meow Meow, mephedrone is a powerful stimulant often used recreationally to perk people up before going to nightclubs or parties. Little is known about mephedrone other than the immediate high it has on the body, but some people are known to have been hospitalised or even killed due to the effects the drug has on the circulatory system. M-Cat is fairly common in the UK clubbing scene thanks to the feelings of confidence and affection it inspires in users, but possession of the Class B drug carries the same penalties as those for cannabis, and the health risks are considerable.

Magic Mushrooms
Also known as: Fly Agaric, Shrooms
Effects: Hallucinations, euphoria, sensitivity to light, profound amusement
Risks & side effects: Nausea, paranoia, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, ‘bad trips’

Magic mushrooms are powerful natural hallucinogens that can make it seem as though you’re dreaming while awake. When taking magic mushrooms, you run the risk of going on a ‘good trip’ or a ‘bad trip’, and it’s very difficult to determine which way you’re going to go until you’ve committed to the journey for the long haul. A good trip is reputed to take you on an incredible, profound visual and extrasensory journey, whereas a bad trip could plunge you into the worst waking nightmare you can imagine. Trips can last as little as two hours or much longer – there’s no way of knowing once you’ve taken the drug. Magic Mushrooms are a Class A illegal substance, and the maximum punishment for possession is seven years in prison. The health risks, as with other common illegal drugs, are extensive.

Also known as: Coke, Charlie
Effects: Confidence, alertness, lucidity
Risks & side effects: Aggression, risk-taking, addiction, comedowns, depression, mental health issues, high blood pressure, damage to nasal cartilage, anxiety, paranoia, crime

Cocaine is a very popular recreational drug here in the UK, but as you can see by the lengthy list of risks and side-effects, it comes at a bit of cost. Snorting cocaine gives you a short-lived high and can make you feel very confident, capable and alert, but these sensations often result in an energy-sapping comedown. Many cocaine users become aggressive and boisterous when they’re high as well, and the drug can bring latent mental health issues to the surface. Cocaine is often taken on nights out clubbing or at house parties, although the risk when the drug is combined with alcohol is far greater than that of cocaine alone. Like magic mushrooms, coke is a Class A drug and possession could result in a maximum 7 year jail sentence here in the UK.

It goes without saying that we have a zero-tolerance policy on all illegal substances here at Scape, but if you want more information on drugs use, substance law and health effects, feel free to contact our Scape Ambassadors or take a look at the thorough and helpful Frank drugs advice website.

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