Drugs are chemical substances that alter the normal functioning of a person's body and/or brain. Not all drugs are illegal. For example, people can use and purchase alcohol and tobacco products legally, and medicines are prescribed for us by our doctors to help treat illness. Illicit drugs are harmful drugs that are controlled by law and cannot be purchased or sold legally in Canada.
A wide variety of illicit drugs are manufactured around the world and many have a variety of 'street' names. For example, cocaine may be referred to as 'blow' or 'coke'. Illicit drugs are especially dangerous since they can vary in purity depending on how they are manufactured and a person could easily purchase a drug from the street without realizing it is combined or 'laced' with another drug or substance.
Many people across Canada and the world use illicit drugs out of boredom, curiosity, or as a form of negative coping. While some of the impacts of drug use may seem appealing, their effects are only short-term and can have very serious consequences such as injury, addiction, over-dose, lasting change to the brain and body, or even death.
In addition, the sharing of needles and other drug use equipment increases a person's risk of contacting blood-borne infections such as HIV/AID and hepatitis B or C.
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Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 'Get the Facts about drugs'. Retrieved from: www.unodc.org.