Young people in the UK are ignoring the threat of addiction and other health risks as they try illicit drugs. A new study has found that more than nine out of ten students who have tried drugs believe they are not addicted at all and that there is no danger of them becoming addicted.
This is despite more than one third of students who have tried drugs having a negative experience.
In total, only 5% of students in the study believed that they might become addicted in the future.
Aside from addictions, UK students are also ignoring the long term health risks that are associated with drug use. 39% of those in the study claimed to have had a bad trip, 28% said they had experienced paranoia while on drugs and 26% said their drug use had lowered their motivation. Other respondents reported anxiety and depression as a side effect of their drug use.
Many commonly used drugs can have substantial negative side effects if they are used habitually. Cannabis has been linked to memory problems, teen brain development problems, lung cancer, schizophrenia and communication errors in the brain. Heroin can lead to hepatitis, Aids and a host of other health problems and prescription drug abuse has been linked to a variety of health concerns.
These health problems become more likely the longer a person uses drugs but there can be problems the first time a person tries drugs.
Chris Hudson, a spokesperson for drugs charity FRANK said, you don't have to be using drugs regularly for your health to be affected. Just using ecstasy once can raise the body's temperature, cause convulsions and heart problems. It's better not to take the risk."
More importantly, when teens use drugs, they are risking more than their older colleagues. Young people’s brains are still forming in their teen years and drugs can interfere with this process. This makes young people’s cavalier attitude to drugs especially worrying as they have the most to lose.