Alcohol and other Drug use can have an impact on your work. This video explains the basics of different drug types, and what you need to keep in mind to stay …
Hello I’m Debaki and I’m going to share information from the Drug Education Network.
The Network provides information for everyone to understand drugs, how they work
and how to stay safe if using drugs.
A drug is any substance that when absorbed into the body,
alters normal body function (physical, mental or emotional).
In Australia, tobacco and alcohol are legal drugs for people over the age of 18,
but they cause the most harm to the most people.
Smoking is the leading drug related cause of death and disease including cancers such as
lung cancer, heart disease, stroke (translation: cerebrovascular accident)
and fertility problems in women, just to name a few.
Misuse of alcohol is the second leading cause of drug related death and disease due to accidents,
injuries and illness, including Liver disease, cancer, ulcers, stomach problems and brain damage.
Misuse of Alcohol can also worsen the symptoms of some chronic diseases, such as diabetes.
Medicines can be prescribed by a doctor or sold over the counter at a pharmacy.
These are legal drugs that are used to treat a wide range of illnesses.
It is important to take the right dose and in the right way as explained by the doctor
or pharmacist, to make sure the medicine works properly.
Sometimes side effects can happen and it’s important to talk with the doctor
or pharmacist if you think this might be happening.
For example, some medicines can slow people down or make you sleepy or speed up the nervous system.
Other side effects can happen if drinking alcohol at the same time, such as
dizziness, liver and stomach problems and also overdose.
And sometimes medicines are used illegally to access certain ingredients for their drug like effects,
there is also a risk of overdose when medicines are not used correctly or in the right dose.
You may have also heard that some drugs are illegal.
This means that in Australia, the use of certain drugs is not allowed according to the law, for example:
Crystal Meth, Ice, Cannabis, Heroin, LSD, Inhalants and Magic Mushrooms.
If caught, there can be fines or jail sentences for using or selling these drugs.
Drugs can also be understood by how they work in the body.
Some examples of stimulant drugs are amphetamines including:
crystal meth and speed.
Tobacco, caffeine and energy drinks are also stimulant drugs.
These drugs 'stimulate' the central nervous system.
They increase activity in the brain, heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.
This causes increased alertness and people can feel increased energy for a long period of time.
Stimulants can also improve mood and increase self-confidence.
For these reasons, stimulants are also referred to as 'uppers.'
Another group of drugs is called Hallucinogens, some examples of these drugs are:
LSD and Magic Mushrooms.
When people are affected by hallucinogens, they can see images, hear sounds and feel sensations that seem real
but do not exist.
Sometimes people can have a bad trip which can cause unpleasant hallucinations, paranoia, panic or fear.
Mushrooms containing psilocybin which causes the hallucinogenic effect can often look very similar to other
mushrooms that are actually poisonous and can be fatal.
What about depressants?
Alcohol, heroin and cannabis are examples of depressant drugs as well as some types of medicines.
Depressants slow down the central nervous system.
They produce a calming effect in the body and slow down the brain's normal functioning.
They can decrease your level of awareness, reduce inhibitions, lower your heart rate, and slow breathing.
For these reasons, depressants are also referred to as 'downers'.
This is why people can feel relaxed after a few drinks.
And why some people pass out after a night of heavy drinking.
While depressants can be used safely, they are dangerous if used incorrectly.
Some depressant drugs such as heroin are illegal,
and some depressant type medicines are available only by prescription.
Taken in larger doses there can be
complete loss of consciousness, loss of senses, slurred speech, respiratory depression, and even death.
Alcohol is a depressant drug and so it can slow your reaction time and increase the risk of being injured.
This can be a problem when driving, there is an increased risk of accidents, which is why you should not
drive a car, or use machinery at work if alcohol is still in your system.
It’s worth checking if your workplace has a Zero tolerance policy.
This means that no alcohol or drugs should be found in the bloodstream when at work.
This policy is in workplaces where employees are driving vehicles or using machinery or equipment.
It is there to reduce the risk of injury and accidents.
If this policy is in place, it’s a good idea to understand about standard drinks as this can help you keep track of
how long it will take for alcohol to be cleared from the bloodstream before arriving at work.
And what is a standard drink?
It is any drink that contains 10 gm of alcohol which is the same as
100 ml of wine, 285 ml of beer or 30 ml of spirits.
And for most people, it takes about one hour for one standard drink to be processed
in the liver of a healthy adult.
So, if a person has started drinking at 8 pm and has drunk 10 standard drinks,
their body will still be feeling the effects of alcohol around 10 hours later, that is at 6 am the next day.
Standard drink information can be found on the labels of bottles and cans.
Or check the DEN’s Rough Guide to alcohol – it helps keep track of a wide variety of different alcoholic drinks.
This free resource is available by visiting and ordering at the DEN website.
Have you heard of recommended drinking guidelines?
Drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day reduces your risk of harm from alcohol-related disease
or injury over a lifetime.
Drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury.
And if you are pregnant or breastfeeding the safest option is not to drink any alcohol.
And did you know that our bodies process alcohol and drugs at different rates?
There are different factors that can change how our bodies are affected by alcohol and drugs such as
the state of our health or if other drugs are being taken at the same time.
Older people can also find that they take longer to process drugs
and can be more affected than younger people.
And men and women process drugs at different rates due to differences in liver size.
What about other drugs and their effect on people?
Cannabis, also known as Dope or Weed,
is an illegal drug that can have a depressant and hallucinogenic effect.
Effects on the body can vary for different people.
It may cause negative effects on the developing brain in young people, especially when used frequently
and at a younger age.
Some long-term effects can be poor concentration, decreased motivation and poor memory.
It can cause slower reaction time, poor co-ordination and changes to perception – how you see things.
This can make people three times more likely to have a car crash or an accident.
Schizophrenia is a type of psychosis – a mental illness where people might see or hear things that aren’t there.
Using cannabis can trigger schizophrenia for those who are already at risk of developing it,
for example someone with a family history of schizophrenia.
Using Cannabis can also trigger cannabis induced psychosis for some people
and the risk increases with repeated use.
You may have also heard about medicinal cannabis.
Research is currently underway in Australia looking at the benefits of medicinal cannabis for a range of
conditions, including epilepsy in children, nausea control in HIV and cancer patients.
Other painful and chronic conditions are being researched
and may result in a case for medicinal cannabis treatment.
The Narcotic Drugs Amendment Bill (2016) spells out a national licensing scheme to allow a
legal and safe supply of medicinal cannabis products for regulated medical purposes.
However cannabis will remain an illegal drug in Australia for non-medical use.
In Tasmania, medicinal cannabis products which contain cannabidiol, but not the psycho-active component
Tetra-hydro cannabinol (THC), can be accessed from September 2017 via a referral from a GP to a medical
specialist, who will assess patients on a case-by-case basis to be treated with medicinal cannabis
where appropriate.
Stimulant drugs including Amphetamines such as speed or ecstasy and crystal methamphetamine, also known
as ice, speed up the nervous system. Crystal meth is the most potent from of methamphetamine.
Effects include restlessness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, confusion and chest pain.
After continued use there is an increased risk of more serious health problems including
depression, anxiety, heart problems and sleep problems.
If the effects are too hard to manage it can lead to anxiety, stress and other problems with health.
When people recognise that drug use (legal or illegal) can be having a harmful effect on their health
it can be helpful to get support.
Talking with the doctor can be a good place to start.
There is also the Alcohol and Drug service,
which provides a telephone interpreter service for counselling and treatment services around the state.
The number to call is 1300 139 641.
This is a confidential service.
Keeping safe and healthy when using drugs, is something that everyone can take responsibility for.
Understanding how drugs and medications affect us is one way we can do this.
For more information visit the Drug Education Network website:

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