When you are at a party, festival or concert, you might be offered drugs with the promise of having an even better time. While taking party or recreational drugs might seem fun, there are lots of risks and downsides to taking them. And they are usually illegal.
If you are deciding whether or not to take a party drug, it’s important to understand what you are taking and the risks related to that particular drug. Find out more about specific drugs and their risks here.
Party drugs fall into three categories:
- Depressants, including gamma hydroxylbutyrate - GHB (G) and marijuana (cannabis)
- Stimulants, including cocaine (coke, charlie), amphetamines (speed) and methylamphetamines (ICE, crystal meth)
- Hallucinogens, including LSD (acid) and MDMA (ecstasy, E).
How party drugs affect your health
Party drugs can affect your mental and physical health, your relationships and your life overall. Here are some of the reasons why party drugs can be harmful.
Unlike prescription medical drugs, there is no quality control process for making many party drugs, because most of them are illegal. This means you don’t really know how strong the drug is and what other substances have been added to each batch. For example, ecstasy can be made using drain cleaner or battery acid.
If you take illegal party drugs, you could find yourself in trouble with the law. You might be fined, lose your driver’s licence, or even go to prison. You could also find it hard to travel overseas.
You might feel ill, with shaking, nausea and headaches. You might become confused, anxious, hostile or even psychotic. Some party drugs increase your sex drive, making you more susceptible to taking risks you wouldn’t normally take.
After taking party drugs, you might have a comedown and feel tired and irritable.
Are party drugs addictive?
Some party drugs are highly addictive, and it can be hard to stop if you are using them regularly. People who become addicted can get caught up in serious crime, experience mental illness and even accidental overdoses. Find out more about the possible long-term impacts of using drugs.
There is also a strong relationship between drug use and mental health. Drug use can actually be the tipping point for mental illness. If you have a mental illness, drug use can make it worse.
You may think you can safely manage the effects of drugs, but your drug use could have an unexpected impact on your life. Dozens of Australians become seriously ill or die after using recreational drugs each year.
Drugs are especially harmful to children. Many drugs can cross the placenta and harm an unborn baby as well. You can find information about children and alcohol and other drugs on the Kids Helpline website.
Last reviewed: July 2017