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Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant. The plant contains the mind-altering chemical THC and other similar compounds.

Short term effects: altered senses (for example, seeing brighter colours); altered sense of time; changes in mood; impaired body movement; difficulty with thinking and problem-solving; impaired memory; hallucinations (when taken in high doses); delusions (when taken in high doses); psychosis (risk is highest with regular use of high potency marijuana); reddening of the eyes; increased appetite; relaxed muscles; increased heart rate; and anxiety.

Long term effects: impaired brain function to thinking and memory; breathing problems; intense nausea and vomiting; temporary hallucinations; and temporary paranoia.

Other Common Names.

Dagga, Aunt Mary, BC Bud, Chronic, Dope, Gangster, Ganja, Grass, Hash, Herb, Joint, Mary Jane, Mota, Pot, Reefer, Sinsemilla, Skunk, Smoke, Weed, Yerba

How its used.

  • Smoked as a cigarette or in pipe or bong
  • Smoked in blunts (cigar emptied of tobacco and filled with marijuana, and sometimes mixed with additional drugs)
  • Mixed with food (edibles)
  • Brewed as tea
  • THC-rich resins (dabbing)


Bong, Pipe, Roach Clip, Rolling Papers

Tik/Crystal Meth.

Tik has become a buzzword in drug circles and has become increasingly popular amongst school children and gang culture because of the ease with which street pharmacists make the drug, which causes a high rate of addiction.

Short term effects: increased wakefulness and physical activity; decreased appetite; faster breathing; rapid and/or irregular heartbeat; increased blood pressure and body temperature.

Long term effects: extreme weight loss; addiction; severe dental problems (“meth mouth”); intense itching, leading to skin sores from scratching; anxiety; changes in brain structure and function; confusion; memory loss; sleeping problems; violent behaviour; paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others; hallucinations—sensations and images that seem real though they aren’t.

Other Common Names.

“Tuk-Tuk”, crystal, straws, globes, blue, crystal, ice, meth, and speed.

How its used.

  • smoking
  • swallowing (pill)
  • snorting
  • injecting the powder that has been dissolved in water/alcohol


Light bulbs and glass straws.


This is a powerful hallucinogen that was very popular in the ’60s. It is usually added to absorbent paper and divided into small decorated squares.

Short term effects: increased heart rate; nausea; intensified feelings and sensory experiences (such as seeing brighter colours); changes in sense of time (for example, the feeling that time is passing by slowly); increased blood pressure, breathing rate, or body temperature; loss of appetite; dry mouth; sleep problems; spiritual experiences; feelings of relaxation; uncoordinated movements; excessive sweating; panic; paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others; psychosis—disordered thinking detached from reality; bizarre behaviours

Long term effects: It can lead to severe personality disturbances; flashbacks; visual disturbances; disorganised thinking; paranoia and mood changes.

These include.

LSD, Acid, Magic Mushrooms, Mescaline, DMT, Salvia, PCP, Ketamine

How its used.

This is dependant on which hallucinogenic is being consumed, but general uses include the following:

  • Added to absorbent paper such as blotter paper divided into square dosage units

  • Tablets or capsules
  • Liquid form
  • Consuming raw or dried (magic mushrooms)
  • Brewing into tea
  • Inhaling, vapourizing or smoking,


Inhalants are various products easily bought and found in the home or workplace—such as spray paints, markers, glues, and cleaning fluids. They contain dangerous substances that have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties when inhaled. People don’t typically think of these products as drugs because they’re not intended for getting high, but some people use them for that purpose. When these substances are used for getting high, they are called inhalants. Inhalants are mostly used by young kids and teens and are the only class of substance used more by younger than by older teens.

Short term effects: due to the inhalants replacing the oxygen intake while huffing, the heart beats irregularly and rapidly; nosebleeds occur; nausea.

Long term effects: liver and kidney damage; hearing loss; bone marrow damage; loss of coordination and limb spasms (from nerve damage); delayed behavioural development (from brain problems); brain damage (from cut-off oxygen flow to the brain).

Other Common Names.

Gluey, Huff, Rush, and Whippets

How its used.

Although other abused substances can be inhaled, the term “inhalants” is used to describe a variety of substances whose main common characteristic is that they are rarely, if ever, taken by any route other than inhalation.
Inhalants are breathed in through the nose or the mouth in a variety of ways, such as:

  • “Sniffing” or “snorting”
  • “Bagging” — sniffing or inhaling fumes from substances sprayed or deposited inside a plastic or paper bag
  • “Huffing” from an inhalant-soaked rag stuffed in the mouth, or inhaling from balloons filled with nitrous oxide


Common household products such as glue, lighter fluid, cleaning fluids, and paint all produce chemical vapours that can be inhaled.


Sold as a powder that is usually mixed with dagga and smoked, it is made up of a mixture of low grade heroine and other additives like rat poison. Whoonga is highly addictive and a user can become addicted even after only using it once. The high can lasts a few hours and typically wears off in a 6–24 hour timeframe. The withdrawal symptoms of this drug are severe body pains, which include severe headaches, stomach pains and muscle spasms. This leads to users taking more of the drug because the heroin provides temporary ‘relief’ from the pain. Hence, users become trapped in a vicious cycle where the Whoonga both causes and (temporarily) ‘relieves’ the agonising pain.

Short term effects: upon use, feelings of euphoria and relaxation; anxiety; aggression; stomach cramps; slowing down of the heart rate and lungs; sweating; chills; nausea

Long term effects: high risk of overdose; scarred, collapses and infected veins; liver failure; kidney disease; psychoses.

Other Common Names.

Sugars, Nyaope, iWunga, Shonga, Pinch

How its used.

  • Smoked
  • Snorted
  • “Bluetoothing” – selling drug-laden blood from one user to another


Rolling papers, needles or syringes


Mandrax is a small tablet varying in colour that is highly addictive. Mandrax slows down the central Nervous System and has a sedative effect. Originally Mandrax pills were firm and white in colour, with Mx written on the side of the tablet. Currently Mandrax can be freckled, crumbly and may be grey, yellow or white.

Short term effects: relaxation – feeling happy (or laughing), calm and carefree; confusion; aggression – when the high wears off; nausea and vomiting; falling over and passing out; sleep; brown/yellowish marks on hands; slurred speech; and poor co-ordination.

Long term effects: risk of addiction – tolerance is built up rapidly; decreased immune system; convulsions; mental and physical deterioration; breathing becomes slower leading to respiratory failure, comas or death.

Other Common Names.

White Pipe, Buttons, MX, Gholfsticks, Doodies, Lizards, Press outs, Flowers

How its used.

Mandrax is commonly smoked. The tablet is crushed, mixed with dagga and smoked through a pipe or broken bottleneck known as a ‘white pipe’. Mandrax can also be swallowed whole or injected.


Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant. Crack is a cheaper derivative of cocaine. Crack resembles small irregular whitish stones and gets its name from the sound it makes when smoked. The high lasts for 5-20 minutes. Next to methamphetamine, crack cocaine creates the greatest psychological dependency on the drug.

Short term effects: extreme happiness and energy; mental alertness; hypersensitivity to sight, sound, and touch; irritability; paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others; constricted blood vessels; dilated pupils; nausea; raised body temperature and blood pressure; fast or irregular heartbeat; tremors and muscle twitches; and restlessness.

Long term effects:

  • snorting: loss of smell, nosebleeds, frequent runny nose, and problems with swallowing
  • smoking: cough, asthma, respiratory distress, and higher risk of infections like pneumonia
  • consuming by mouth: severe bowel decay from reduced blood flow
  • needle injection: higher risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis C, and other bloodborne diseases, skin or soft tissue infections, as well as scarring or collapsed veins

Other Common Names.

Coca, Coke, Crack, Crank, Flake, Rock, Snow, Blow

How its used.

  • Snorted
  • Dissolved in water and injected
  • Crack cocaine is smoked
  • Cocaine users usually binge on the drug until they are exhausted or run out of cocaine


Needle, Pipe, Small Spoon, Straw


An opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants. Heroin can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. Heroin enters the brain rapidly and binds to opioid receptors on cells located in many areas, especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure and in controlling heart rate, sleeping, and breathing.

Often “cut” with other drugs or substances such as sugar or powdered milk. The user is unaware how much actual heroin is being used, creating a likelihood of overdose.

Short term effects: A “rush” (a surge of pleasure, or euphoria); dry mouth; warm flushing of the skin; heavy feeling in the arms and legs; nausea and vomiting; severe itching; clouded mental functioning; going “on the nod,” a back-and-forth state of being conscious and semiconscious.

Long term effects: Insomnia; collapsed veins for people who inject the drug; damaged tissue inside the nose for people who sniff or snort it; infection of the heart lining and valves; abscesses (swollen tissue filled with pus); constipation and stomach cramping; liver and kidney disease; lung complications, including pneumonia; mental disorders such as depression and antisocial personality disorder; sexual dysfunction for men; irregular menstrual cycles for women.

Other Common Names.

Big H, Black Tar, Chiva, Hell Dust, Horse, Negra, Smack, Thunder

How its used.

People inject, sniff, snort, or smoke heroin. Some people mix heroin with crack cocaine, a practice called speedballing.


Needle, Pipe, Small Spoon, Straw


Alcohol is a liquid fermented with starches that slows down the body’s functioning. It is the most commonly used substance that affects the Central Nervous System responses, resulting in loss of co-ordination and judgement. Approximately 10% of all people who drink regularly become alcoholics. Alcoholics cannot control their drinking behaviour.

Short term effects: relaxation; impaired judgement and loss of inhibition; false confidence; drowsiness; double vision; aggression; confusion; and drunkenness.

Long term effects: Addiction – tolerance is built up quickly; high blood pressure; damage to the brain, heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas; blackouts and memory loss; stomach ulcers; risk of road accidents – “drunk driving”; alcohol poisoning; and decrease in sexual health.

How its used.

Alcohol is sold legally at liquor stores, restaurants, bars and grocery stores and is widely available. It is swallowed by the user. Alcohol varies in strength and type e.g. Spirits, Ciders, Beers and Wines, but all of these have a similar effect on the user.


One of the most harmful substances adversely affecting community health. Smoking is highly addictive. Tobacco is a plant grown for its leaves, which are dried and fermented before being put in tobacco products. Tobacco contains nicotine, an ingredient that can lead to addiction, which is why so many people who use tobacco find it difficult to quit. There are also many other potentially harmful chemicals found in tobacco or created by burning it.

Short term effects: coughing; sore throat; nausea and vomiting; mouth sores, blisters and irritation.

Long term effects: irritability; problems paying attention; trouble sleeping; increased appetite; powerful cravings for tobacco; higher risk of serious health problems such as cancer, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, strokes and heart attacks.

Forms of nicotine.

Cigarettes, tabacco pipes, e-cigarettes, hookah pipes

Effects to others around smokers.

Pregnant women who smoke cigarettes run an increased risk of miscarriage, stillborn or premature infants, or infants with low birth weight.

Secondhand smoke exposure can also lead to lung cancer and heart disease. It can cause health problems in both adults and children, such as coughing, phlegm, reduced lung function, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk of ear infections, severe asthma, lung infections, and death from sudden infant death syndrome.

All information above is sourced from, and For more information on any of these drugs, visit their websites.

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