Common Drugs


Amphetamine – Class B (Class A if prepared for injection)

Common Drugs

Amphetamine can come in a tablet or capsule form, but usually as a coarse, off white or pinkish powder wrapped in squares of glossy paper or self-sealed plastic bags. It may be mixed with other substances. Amphetamine ‘base’ is a pinkish –grey putty-like substance.


Nicknames - Speed, whizz, billy, uppers, sulphate and base.
Usage: can be sniffed, dropped in drinks or swallowed (bombing) by wrapping it in a piece of paper such as cigarette paper. It is sometimes injected.


Effects - Can make people feel more alert and confident. Some may feel very anxious and restless as the effects wear off. Can cause disruption of sleep and diet. Heavy use can cause mental health problems from depression to paranoia.


Cannabis - Class B

Common Drugs

Cannabis resin is made by compressing the sticky coating from the flowering tops of the cannabis plant. Herbal cannabis comes from the dried or leafy parts of the plant. Cannabis can also come as oil.

Nicknames -  Dope, grass, hash, blow, weed, skunk, puff, draw, pot, ganga, solids and green.

Usage -  Generally smoked in a cigarette (joint). The resin or oil can be mixed with tobacco, but herbal cannabis may be smoked on its own. Can also be smoked in a pipe, brewed into a drink, or put into food. Smoking produces a distinctive sweet, herbal smell.

Effects - May make the user feel relaxed, talkative or giggly. May lower inhibitions, can cause disorientation, anxiousness, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, hunger, and psychological depence can occur. Reflexes slow and accidents are more likely. Can make users paranoid and anxious, depending on their mood and situation.


Cocaine - Class A

Common DrugsCocaine is a white crystalline powder.

Nicknames - coke, charlie, snow, 'c' and toot.
Usage - Most commonly snorted or sniffed using a rolled up bank note or tube from a smooth hard surface such as a mirror, cistern or toilet lid, or from the back of the hand. It can also be dissolved and injected.

Effects - A strong stimulant drug with short lived effects of up to 30 minutes. Users often feel more alert, physically strong and confident. High doses may make people feel very anxious or depressed. Lack of energy may follow.


Crack cocaine - Class A

Crack is a form of cocaine which has been processed to allow it to be more easily smoked. It appears as yellow, pinkish or waxy white ‘rocks’ or granules similar to dried milk.


Nicknames - Rock, wash, stone, freebase.


Usage - Generally smoked by means of a water pipe. Home-made pipes are more likely to be found at street level made from soft drinks cans, plastic and glass bottles, and aluminium foil.


Effects - A strong stimulant drug with short lived effects of up to ten minutes. The effects are similar to cocaine but more intense and do not last as long.


Ecstasy Class A

Common Drugs

Ecstasy is usually found in the form of a tablet or pill but can also come as a capsule. These are produced in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes. Most pills have a small motif embossed on one side. It is often mixed with other substances. Very rarely it is found in powder form.


Nicknames - 'E', disco biscuits, doves, pills, jacks, xtc, echoes, hug drug, fantasy.


Usage -Usually taken orally.


Effects - Can make people feel energetic for a number of hours. The initial rush is often followed by feelings of calmness and closeness to others. High doses may lead to panic and anxiety. Danger of overheating and dehydration if partaking in strenuous physical activity, such as dancing.



Heroin - Class A

Heroin is a powder which varies in colour from white to brown. Generally contains other adulterants.


Nicknames - 'H', horse, skag, smack, brown, gear, heaven, junk.


Usage - Can be smoked by placing the powder onto metal foil and heating it to produce a smoke which is then inhaled through a rolled up bank note or tube. Can also be prepared for injection by mixing with other substances and heating in a spoon.


Effects -Can slow mental and physical functioning. Euphoria and feelings or warmth and detachment are common. Tends to block out physical and emotional pain. The effects can last several hours.



HallucinogenicsClass A

 Common Drugs

Magic mushrooms – Most common is liberty cap (psilocybe) – small, tan and bruise blue.

LSD – Squares of blotting type paper (approx., 8mm square) impregnated with solution.


Nicknames - Magic mushrooms – mushies, magics, shrooms, LSD - acid, trips, and tabs.


Usage - Magic mushrooms – eaten raw, dried for use in cooking, or infused for drinking.


Effects - Distortion of the senses. Effects are known as a ‘trip’ and can last up to 12 hours depending on dosage and user’s psychological state. A ‘trip’ cannot be stopped. A bad experience can be frightening. Panic and paranoia may follow.


Solvents and volatile substances - Not classified

Aerosols and other products which give off vapours or are gases at normal temperatures e.g., hairspray, deodorants and air fresheners, butane gas, glues, thinners and correction fluids, some paints, cleaners, surgical spirit and petrol.


Nicknames - Sniffing, doing gas, biffing, huffing.


Usage - May be directly inhaled through the mouth or nose, or inhaled from a plastic or paper bag. Liquids such as petrol may be put on a rag and the fumes inhaled. Aerosols can also be squirted directly into the mouth and throat area.


Effects - Similar to alcohol – dizziness, slurring of speech, giggling, and inability to think straight. Users may hallucinate. Effects are short lived, usually less than 45 minutes. Long term abuse may cause weight loss, depression, fatigue, forgetfulness, inability to concentrate and permanent damage to liver, heart and kidneys.


THE LAW it is an offence under the Cigarette Lighter Refill (Safety) Regulations 1999 to sell butane gas lighter refills to under 18s. It is an offence under the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985 to supply under 18s with a substance if there is reasonable cause to believe the substance or its fumes may be abused.