Using illicit drugs

You might be using illicit drugs for lots of reasons: to numb physical or emotional pain, to relax, to celebrate or just to experiment. However, some people become so dependent on them that the drugs end up controlling their lives.  You’ll know you have a problem with drugs if:

  • You feel really bad (physically and mentally) if you don’t have them
  • You need them to feel normal
  • You feel alienated from your friends and family
  • You’re having financial problems because of your drug use

People with a drug problem nearly always have an underlying psychological issue such as anxiety, depression or another mental illness. They think that the drugs are making them feel better, but the truth is the drugs are making the illness worse.

I want this to stop

If you want to cut down or stop using illicit drugs you’ll need a lot of support because once you take away the drugs, all the emotional pain you were trying to avoid starts coming up.

  • Get personal support: tell someone close to you or your doctor that you want to get clean.
  • Get professional support: ask your doctor for a referral to a clinic or counsellor, or contact one of the services here:

Counselling Online (1800 888 236) offers 24/7 drug and alcohol counselling and advice via telephone and web chat.

Cannabis Information and Helpline (1800 30 40 50) offers telephone advice and support 11am–7pm weekdays including public holidays.

Smart Recovery Australia runs group meetings Australia-wide to help people addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Somazone has a directory of drug and alcohol services for every state and territory in Australia. It’s a youth health site run by the Australian Drug Foundation.

  • Go easy on yourself. It takes a lot of guts to ditch drugs. Tell yourself you’re doing a good job every day.
  • In the meantime, try to be safe. Don’t use drugs alone (so you can get help if something goes wrong) and use clean and hygienic tools to minimise the risk of infections and disease.