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A drug is any substance (with the exception of food and water) which, when taken into the body, alters the body's function either physically and/or psychologically. Drugs may be legal (for example, alcohol, caffeine and tobacco) or illegal (for example, cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin).

The experience that a person has when using drugs will be affected by the:

Individual: Mood, physical size, gender, personality, expectations of the drug experience, whether the person has food in his/her stomach and whether other drugs have been taken.

Drug: The amount used, how it is used and the strength and purity of the drug.

Environment: Whether the person is using it with friends, on their own, in a social setting or at home, at work, before or while driving.

People use drugs for a variety of reasons. Young people often use drugs for the same reasons that adults do.

Some of these include:

  • To have fun
  • To relax and forget problems
  • To gain confidence
  • To socialise
  • Out of curiosity
  • As a form of escapism
  • To lessen inhibitions
  • To remove personal responsibility for decisions
  • To celebrate or commiserate
  • To relieve boredom and stress
  • Self-medication to cope with problems. Friends, parents, older brothers and sisters and the media can also have some influence over a young person's decision to use drugs.

Getting help

If you’re concerned about a drug or substance misuse problem or someone else’s, there are services available to help.

You can visit your GP who will make an assessment, or you can directly contact the Drug and Alcohol Team (DAT) or call +44 1624 617889 .

Motiv8 is a local charity that specialises in counselling and support for addictive behaviours.

Substance Misuse (Drug services): +44 1624 627650 / Text +44 7624 496048 .

The Isle of Man Take-Home Naloxone Programme was launched in 2023 to help those at risk of an opioid overdose by making the life-saving medication, Naloxone available to anyone who uses opioids or is likely to witness an overdose. Find out more at our Isle of Man Take-Home Naloxone Programme page.

Motiv8 Addiction Support during COVID-19

Motiv8’s drug aware service

Motiv8's Recovery Hub

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