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Substances and what they do

Using drugs and alcohol can be very dangerous so we’ve compiled a list below of some basic advice to help you reduce any risks. You can also find a wealth of information about all kinds of drugs and alcohol on the Frank website.

Combining Substances

  • Using Alcohol and Heroin together can cause your central nervous system to slow down too much, causing your heart to stop.
  • Combining Alcohol with Cocaine can be very dangerous; the combination creates a toxin called Cocoaethylene which can be extremely damaging to your liver.
  • Using Heroin with Methadone is extremely dangerous; you should never use more than your prescribed medication. If you feel your medication is not enough please seek support from your key-worker or prescribing Doctor / Nurse. Using both Heroin and Methadone could be fatal as it could cause you to overdose.

Risks of using Heroin

  • If you use Heroin regularly you may well have build up a tolerance; however if you do stop Heroin use for a few days your tolerance will rapidly drop; this means what you used before could lead to overdose.
  • Heroin sedates you; this means if you are asleep and vomit, the sedation effect of Heroin could stop you coughing properly and result in the vomit staying within the airways stopping you from breathing or doing anything about it.


  • Snorting Cocaine can damage the cartilage in your nose that separates your nostrils; this can lead to misshapen nostrils.
  • Cocaine can massively exacerbate a pre-existing mental health condition; it can also induce psychosis which causes delusions and erratic behaviour.
  • Cocaine can cause people to feel low, depressed and run down. It can lead to very serious mental health problems including anxiety and panics attacks.
  • Using Cocaine when pregnant can cause premature labour as well as miscarriages.
  • Smoking Crack Cocaine can cause chest problems such as breathing difficulty and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder).
  • Speedballing (injecting Cocaine and Heroin) can be fatal.
  • Find out more about the risks of using cocaine and alcohol together here.

Risks of using Cannabis

  • Regular heavy smoking can impact on your concentration. It has been known to cause problems for younger people; as the brain is at a crucial. developmental stage
  • Regulary smoking Cannabis can cause people to lose motivation.
  • Cannabis use can mess with your mind; it’s been known to make people panic, have anxiety and paranoia as well as more aggressive.

Risks of using Speed

  • Speed can put strain on your heart meaning its not advisable to use them if you have high blood pressure or a heart condition – people have died from taking them.
  • Regular use can cause damage to your immune system; in other words you could get lots more colds, flu and sore throats.
  • Also similar risks to Cocaine.

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