Why do young people think some drugs are ‘safe’ or ‘harmless’? Put simply, we tell them ‘lies’ and we don’t teach them to ‘respect’ all drugs

The most commonly used definition of a 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 can be legal, illegal or pharmaceutical and can be taken in a variety of ways, including “via inhalation, injection, smoking, ingestion, absorption via a patch on the skin, or dissolution under the tongue.”

Over the past 18 months I have been talking (and writing) about a number of substances that appear to be becoming increasingly popular with school-based young people – nitrous oxide (‘nanging’), ‘jungle juice’ (or amyl nitrite), cannabis, and ecstasy/MDMA. With all of these, growing numbers of students are telling me that they (or at least, their friends) believe these drugs to be ‘safe’ or ‘harmless’ – two words that you don’t ever want to hear young people use in relation to drugs. Now, before you start to panic and think that we have a major drug epidemic amongst Australian school students, it is important to acknowledge that according to the latest data, illicit drug use is relatively stable amongst this group. The two exceptions are ecstasy/MDMA (which has unfortunately doubled in use in recent years) and cannabis (which has begun to increase in popularity in recent years but is still at far lower levels than it was in the 90s). My great concern is that when anyone, but particularly the very young, start to believe that a drug is ‘safe’, that’s when things begin to go horribly wrong …

Read the full article from “Doing Drugs with Paul Dillon” by clicking this link

This article has been recommended to parents by our Wellbeing Worker Annie Barrett