Using illicit drugs

You might find yourself using drugs for lots of reasons

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.  

How do I know I have a drug problem?

While taking drugs may seem cool or fun, they have the potential to take over your life and negatively affect your health and relationships. 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

Drug use can hide other underlying issues

People with a drug problem nearly always have an underlying psychological issue. Many users have low self-confidence or find it hard to be assertive.

Many are anxious or uptight a lot, especially in social situations. They may even have depression or another emotional illness. They may take drugs because it makes them feel better in the short term.

The truth is, drugs are making the illness worse.

I want to stop doing drugs

If you want to cut down or stop using illicit drugs you’ll need a lot of support. Once you take away the drugs, all the emotional pain you were trying to avoid starts coming up. There are a number of ways you can reach out and start the process of quitting drugs.

  • Start by getting personal support

If you want to stop using drugs, a good place to start is by telling someone close to you. This may be a teacher, friend, family member, or doctor.

  • Get professional support

There are trained professionals who will be able to help you stop taking drugs. Ask your doctor for a referral to a clinic or counselor, or contact one of the services here:

Counselling online offers 24/7 drug and alcohol counselling and advice via telephone and web chat.

  • Cannabis Information and Helpline (1800 30 40 50) 

This hotline 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.

Samazone 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.

Look after yourself

Try to go easy on yourself. It takes a lot of guts to ditch drugs. When trying to quit, 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.

If you are going to do drugs, always use clean and hygienic tools to minimise the risk of infections and disease.

Life changes all the time, hold on!