For most people, most of the time, moderate drinking or drug use does not cause a problem. However, it is easy for problems to begin when your use becomes more regular and you use drink or drugs to improve your mood or as a way of coping with life.
You may find you gradually need more and more to get the same effect. This can lead to switching to stronger drugs, using them differently or drinking more alcohol.
Some people end up taking a combination of drugs and alcohol to manage withdrawal symptoms, which can be very dangerous and increase the risk of overdose. And because a large majority of street drugs are cut with other substances, such as chalk, talc or caffeine, you never know exactly what you’re taking or how pure and strong it is.
Health problems caused by substance abuse:
- High or low blood pressure
- Heart, lung or liver disease
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Psychosis or paranoia
- Trouble sleeping
When drink or drugs become a problem people may do things that are out of character, such as putting themselves in risky situations where they may be taken advantage of or hurt, or criminal behaviour such as drinking and driving or stealing to pay for drink or drugs.