The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

The drugs don’t work – the true cost of drug-taking

Rebecca Carr investigates the long-term effects of drugs on your mind and body, with the Priory Group’s new campaign to educate students

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The Priory Group have developed an interactive infographic to educate students on the long term effects that drugs can have on both the body and mind.

The infographic launch has been timed to coincide with the return of students to university, as well as freshers living away from home for the first time. This is a time when young people are likely to be curious about experimenting with drugs, as they enter into new friendship groups and experience new freedoms.

It is commonly thought that the main danger in taking drugs is around the purity of the drug and the short-term physical effects. There is a believed lack of awareness that drug use can lead to mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia.  The infographic developed by Priory specialists details the long-term damage caused by taking drugs.

Priory Roehampton’s Lead Addictions Consultant, Dr Niall Campbell, states: “I see an increasing number of patients, often only 18, who are not only addicted to street drugs but have developed significant depressive and anxiety disorders. Distressing panic attacks from stimulants and hallucinogens — synthetic or mushroom-based — are on the increase.

I have also noticed an alarming number of cocaine-induced, severe paranoid states requiring admission to hospital. Unfortunately, as I say to patients, this paranoia may not be controlled by antipsychotic medication and may become a permanent state. Research from the Maudsley Hospital suggests that over 25% of chronic paranoid psychoses, i.e. those which don’t go away when drug use stops, are marijuana-induced.  Marijuana is continually being redeveloped to be stronger, and hence more dangerous.  So the problem is worsening.”

Given the increased freedom and feeling of invincibility most young people experience during their time at University, and the added peer pressure, it is no surprise more young people are giving in to temptation. The Priory feels young people require further information about what it is they are putting in their bodies and the repercussions.

Armed with the hard facts about drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, ketamine and ecstasy, young people will be equipped to make an informed choice and the ability to say ‘no’.