Drugs & Alcohol

Psychoactive Substances

New psychoactive substances

Often incorrectly called legal highs – contain one or more chemical substances which produce similar effects to illegal drugs (like cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy).

Clockwork Orange, Bliss, Mary Jane black mamba, Pandora’s Box , Cherry Bomb, Clockwork Orange, China White, Bliss and Mary Jane, spice, Mephadrone, magic crystals, poke, rush, salvia, train wreck,

The names will change form area to area and the drugs will give side affects of drugs commonly known, ie cocain, cannabis, MDAMA etc The effects are normally a lot worse, as they are man made drugs so some bits of the NPS will be strong and other bits of the same batch will be weak depending on how much chemical has been sprayed onto the drug.


What is a Psychoactive Substance?

Psychoactive substances, often incorrectly called legal highs, contain one or more chemical substances which produce similar effects to illegal drugs like cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy.

Although some of these so-called ‘legal highs’ have been legal in the past, many are currently illegal. And it’s important to realise that when the Psychoactive Substances Act came into effect in spring 2016, none of these drugs are legal to produce, supply, or import (even for personal use) for human consumption.

Psychoactive substances might sound like an awkward term, but it’s more accurate than legal highs. You’ll still hear people talking about legal highs, and since it’s a widely understood term, you might still find it used on this site. But they’re all illegal when the new law comes into effect.


Effects of “Legal Highs”

There are usually four main categories that psychoactive substances fall under, these are:

Stimulants (like mephedrone, naphyrone) act like amphetamines, cocaine, or ecstasy, in that they can make you feel energised, physically active, fast-thinking, very chatty and euphoric.

Downers or sedatives (like GBH/GBL, methoxamine) act similarly to benzodiazepines (drugs like diazepam or Valium), or GHB/GBL, in that they can make you feel euphoric, relaxed or sleepy.

Hallucinogens or psychedelics (like LSD, magic mushrooms, ketamine and methoxamine). They create altered perceptions and can make you hallucinate (seeing and/or hearing things that aren’t there). They can induce feelings of euphoria, warmth, ‘enlightenment’ and being detached from the world around.

Synthetic cannabinoids (like Spice or Black Mamba) act similarly to cannabis. The effects of these are similar to cannabis intoxication: relaxation, altered consciousness, disinhibition, a state of being energised and euphoria.


What Are the Risks?

You can’t really be sure of what’s in a ‘legal high’ that you’ve bought, or been given, or what effect it’s likely to have on you or your friends. There is hardly any research conducted into these substances and they are constantly changing. One of these substances that had been investigated contained pond cleaner.

Many of these risks are increased if the drug is combined with alcohol or with another psychoactive drug. There have been cases of death too. Each category contains its own risks and these risks are significantly increased when taken together.

Stimulant can make you feel overconfident and disinhibited, induce feelings of anxiety, panic, confusion, paranoia, and even cause psychosis, which can lead you to put your own safety at risk. This type of drugs can put a strain on your heart and nervous system. They may give your immune system a battering so you might get more colds, flu and sore throats. You may feel quite low for a while after you’ve stopped using them.

Downers or sedative can reduce inhibitions and concentration, slow down your reactions and make you feel lethargic, forgetful or physically unsteady, placing you at risk of accidents. These type of drugs can also cause unconsciousness, comas and death, particularly when mixed with alcohol and/or with other downer drugs. Some people feel very anxious soon after they stop taking downers, and if a severe withdrawal syndrome develops in heavy drug users, it can be particularly dangerous and may need medical treatment.

Psychedelic or hallucinogenic which act like LSD, magic mushrooms, ketamine and methoxamine can cause confusion, panics and strong hallucinatory reactions (‘bad trips’), and their effects can make you behave erratically and put your own safety at serious risk – including from self-harm. This can interfere with your judgement, which could put you at risk of acting carelessly or dangerously, and of hurting yourself, particularly in an unsafe environment.

Synthetic cannabinoids could lead to severe or even life-threatening intoxication when taken in sufficiently larger doses. They can also affect your central nervous system, and lead to seizures, fast heart rates, high blood pressure, sweating, increased body temperature, being agitated and being combative (ready to fight).


What is Cannabis

Cannabis (also known as marijuana, weed, pot, dope or grass) is the most widely used illegal drug in the UK. The main active chemical in it is tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC for short).

THC is the ingredient in cannabis that can make you feel very chilled out, happy and relaxed.

THC can also make you hallucinate, meaning that it can alter your senses, so that you might see, hear or feel things in a different way to normal.

There are many myths about cannabis. These include that it’s safe because it’s natural, that using cannabis will completely ruin your life, your health and your future or that using cannabis will lead you into using other, more dangerous drugs. What is true is that cannabis can have some very real, harmful effects on your mind and body, as well as creating longer-term problems.


What are the Effects?

Cannabis has a number of different effects. It is classed as a sedating and hallucinogenic drug. Its effects can turn out to be pleasant or unpleasant.

Cannabis may cause:

  • Sickness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Poor concentration
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Poor coordination

Taking cannabis can make people feel chilled out, relaxed and happy, and they may get the giggles or become very talkative. It can make you more aware of your senses, and the hallucinogenic effects can even give you a feeling of time slowing down. It can also make you feel very hungry; this is sometimes called ‘getting the munchies’.

Some people have one or two drags on a joint and feel light-headed, faint and sick. This is sometimes called a ‘whitey’.

What are the Risks?

Cannabis can mess with your mind and with your mood. It can disturb your sleep and can make you depressed.

Cannabis can freak you out, it can cause feelings of anxiety, suspicion, panic and paranoia.

The main active chemical in it is tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC for short). THC is the ingredient in cannabis that can make you feel very chilled out, happy and relaxed. THC can also make you hallucinate, meaning that it can alter your senses, so that you might see, hear or feel things in a different way to normal.

Regular cannabis use is known to be associated with an increase in the risk of later developing psychotic illnesses including schizophrenia. There is also a chance of developing drug induced psychosis.

A recent review of cannabis research published in the British Medical Journal found those driving under the influence of cannabis had nearly double the risk of a crash.

Tobacco and cannabis share some of the same chemical ‘nasties’, so, like smoking tobacco, smoking cannabis can make asthma worse, can cause wheezing in people without asthma and can even lead to lung cancer.

Alcohol know the facts!

Whilst Alcohol consumption in the 11 – 17 year age group in the UK has decreased over the last 5 years, The Humber and East Riding Yorkshire it is on the rise. This is mainly to do with peer pressure, social media, adverse childhood experiences, parental substance misuse and poverty has also been known to contribute to some teens turning to alcohol.

What is Alcohol?

Alcohol is a Depressant drug (also known as downers) affects the central nervous system, which effects the brain, spinal cord and the nerves that flow through your body. Which can make you think and speak slower. Produce false confidence, encourage reckless behaviours, and even cause you to go into a coma or death.


Physical Short Tem effects of Drinking Alcohol!              

 Know your Limits!

  • 1 – 2 drinks – you will become warm, sociable and talkative and happier.
  • 3 – 6 drinks the alcohol start to affect  the part of your brain associated with judgement and decision making causing you to be more Reckless and uninhibited.  Which can lead to unprotected sex. It also affects your nervous system and can make you light headed and affect you co-ordination.
  • 8 – 9 drinks your reaction time will be much slower, you may slur your speech and lose focus.
  • 12 drinks if you drink more than 12 units of alcohol, you’re at considerable risk of developing alcohol poisoning, particularly if you’re drinking many units over a short period of time.

It usually takes the liver about an hour to remove one unit of alcohol from the body.

Alcohol poisoning occurs when excessive amounts of alcohol start to interfere with the body’s automatic functions, such as: Breathing, heart rate, gag reflex, which prevents you choking. Alcohol poisoning can cause a person to fall into a coma and could lead to their death.

Physical and Mental Long term effects of drinking alcohol?

Long-term alcohol misuse can weaken tour immune system, making you more vulnerable to serious infections. It can also weaken your bones, placing you at greater risk of fracturing or breaking them. Some other longer term risk of drinking alcohol may include the following:


  •       High Blood Pressure
  •       Stoke
  •       Liver Disease / Cancer
  •       Mouth Cancer
  •       Breast Cancer (in both men and women)
  •       Chronic Fatigue
  •       Depression

Alcohol, Drugs and the Law

Alcohol and the law:

It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to be caught buying, drinking or supplying alcohol.

If you are caught drinking Alcohol without an adult present, then it will be confiscated and disposed of.  

If you are at home without a person over the age of 18, or on the streets. The Alcohol will be confiscated and disposed of. 

If you are with someone over the age of 18

In most towns and cities it is illegal to drink Alcohol in the street, parks or open fields unless permitted by licence i.e. festivals, beer garden’s.


What powers do police have to stop and seize alcohol and tobacco?

Section 28 of The Police Reform Act 2002:

  • The power to search for and seize alcohol and tobacco.
  • Designated PCSO’s have the power to seize alcohol in a public place from a person under the age of 18 years and seize any tobacco / cigarette papers from a person under 16 years who is found smoking in a public place.
  • There is also the power to seize anything they reasonably believe to be alcohol, or a container for alcohol if they reasonably believe they are drinking it, or intend to drink it in a public place.


Do I need to consent to this search? Yes, you do need to consent to the search and they cannot search without your consent under this power, however, they can require that you provide your accurate name and address. Failure to do this can mean a PCSO can detain you for up to 30 minutes for a police officer to attend.

The attending police officer has an option to arrest for withholding this consent without a reasonable excuse and searching post arrest, or exercising a wider stop search power if there are reasonable grounds to do so.


Section 1 of the Confiscation of Alcohol (Young Persons) Act 1997 covers the offences in connection with the surrender of alcohol from individuals under the age of 18.

Under section 1, a Police Officer can require surrender of sealed and unsealed containers of alcohol from a person in a public place from;

A person if they reasonably suspect of being under 18 years of age, without the need to prove that they were consuming or intended to consume the alcohol in a public place.

A person over 18 years of age if they reasonably suspect that the person intends to supply the alcohol to a minor.

A person who is over 18 years of age, if a person under 18 years of age is, or has recently been with them and consumed alcohol.

It is not necessary to prove it is alcohol under this legislation.

Do I need to surrender this to police if asked?

A person who fails to comply with the request to surrender alcohol or state their name and address, commits an offence and can be arrested.

Section 30 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 establishes an offence of persistently possessing alcohol in a public space. It makes it illegal for a person who is under 18 years of age to be in possession of alcohol on 3 or more occasions within a period of 12 consecutive months. A person guilty of this offence is liable on conviction to a fine of up to £500.


Drugs and the Law:

Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 has classified drugs into the following classifications:







Ecstasy, LSD, Heroin, Cocaine, Crack, Magic Mushrooms, Amphetamines (if prepared for injection).

Up to 7 years in prison, or a unlimited fine or both

Up to life in prison, or an unlimited fine or both


NPS that replicate any of the above

None -unless you’re in prison

Supply and production you can receive up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both


Cannabis, Amphetamines, Barbiturates, M-Cat, Synthetic cannabinoids, Ketamine.

Up to 5 years in prison, or a unlimited fine or both

Up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both


NPS that replicate any of the above

None -unless you’re in prison

Supply and production you can receive up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both


Tranquilisers, Some pain killers, GHB, benzodiazepines, Anabolic Steroids,.Khat

Up to 2 years in prison, or a unlimited fine or both

Up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both


NPS that replicate any of the above

None -unless you’re in prison

Supply and production you can receive up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both


   Offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act can include:

  • Possession of a controlled drug.
  • Possession with intent to supply another person.
  • Production, cultivation or manufacture of controlled drugs.
  • Supplying another person with a controlled drug.
  • Offering to supply another person with a controlled drug. 
  •  Import or export of controlled drugs.
  • Allowing premises you occupy or manage to be used for the consumption of certain controlled drugs (smoking of cannabis or opium but not use of other controlled drugs) or supply or production of any controlled drug.

Please remember if you and your friends all chip in and buy some drugs and split it…. Whoever buy’s the drugs can be charged with intent to supply.

Useful Contacts

NHS Resources:

Drink Aware: (drinkline) 0300 123 1110

Or Visit: drinkaware.co.uk

YFS Drugs and Alcohol Advice for young people eastriding.gov.uk/drugs-and-alcohol-advice

East Riding young people’s support service humber.nhs.uk

Young People’s Service Open Access for 16+ ads-uk.org