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Substance Misuse

Substance misuse is a significant issue because young people experiment with illegal and legal substances such as drugs, alcohol and tobacco, without knowing the impacts and effects it can have on themselves, others and the environment.

Aims and objectives

  • Working in partnership
  • Delivering information sessions
  • Educating other young people
  • Raising awareness




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Most common substances misused in our area by young people

  • Cannabis/spice
  • MDMA
  • Xanax
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco

People dancing at a festival with their arms up while confetti rains down on them

But how does this affect me?

The Psychoactive Substances Act is mainly targeted at manufacturers and retailers of psychoactive substances and aims to disrupt the supply chain and impose significant penalties for those involved in the production and distribution.

However the individual could be affected in a number of ways:

  • The importing of a psychoactive substance includes buying them from a non-UK based website, which could lead to individuals being prosecuted.
  •  The offence to ‘supply’ refers not just to selling psychoactive substances but also covers giving them away for example sharing them with friends

Having a criminal record could impact on your future study, employment and travel plans

What are the risks of taking legal highs?

  •  You could experience nose bleeds, sickness, black outs, short-term memory loss, severe mood swings, anxiety, panic, confusion, paranoia, or seizures to name just a few side effects
  • For some the effects are more serious with their night ending in A&E or in death
  • They can cause serious problems to mental health such as hallucinations, paranoia, anxiety, mood swings
  • These substances  can reduce inhibitions, and cause changes in behaviour that can lead you to doing things totally out of character or make you take greater risks than you would normally

But I have taken them before and been fine...

The ingredients in legal highs can change and so can the quantities –  so you can never know what you are taking or the strength of the product.

Even if you were fine last time, the next time could be a different story


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Find out more or get support

General information:

Link to the Angelus foundationLink to why not find out . orgLink to Talk to FrankLink to Strange Molecules


Health advice

Link to NHS Choices


Support Services

Link to Catch 22 - support services for young people in HampshireParent Support linkLink to No Limits - support for young people and families in SouthamptonLink to Pushing Change - peer led support in Portsmouth

Resources we created

Youth Commission member Lina created this presentation about substance misuse.   If you want an editable version of this presentation, please Contact Us, select Youth Commission from the drop-down list, and ask for access to the Substance Misuse presentation.

Presentation about Substance Misuse made by Youth Commission member