Drug is any substance (with the exception of food and water) which, when taken into the body, alters the body’s function either physically and/or psychologically. Drugs may be legal (e.g. alcohol, caffeine and tobacco) or illegal (e.g. cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin).

Psychoactive drugs affect the central nervous system and alter a person’s mood, thinking and behaviour. Psychoactive drugs may be divided into four categories: depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens and ‘other’.

People use drugs for a variety of reasons. Some of these include:

– To have fun, relax, forget problems or as a form of escapism

– To gain confidence and socialise

– Out of curiosity

– To lessen inhibitions

– To remove personal responsibility for decisions

– To celebrate or commiserate

– To relieve boredom and stress.

– Self-medication to cope with problems.

There are a variety of treatment pathways available. The drug(s) used and the availability of services, the user’s health, desired outcome, support network and unique circumstances need to be considered. Deciding on the best treatment pathway/s is best done in consultation with a drug and alcohol counsellor.