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Science

Drugs and you

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Drugs are chemicals that can alter the way the body works. There are different types of drugs, and these have different effects on the body. Tobacco and alcohol are legal recreational drugs which have potentially serious effects on the body. Illegal drugs are classified on a scale from Class A - the most dangerous - to Class C - the least dangerous.

Types of drug

Drugs are chemicals that can alter the way the body works. Some are beneficial, while some are harmful.

The main types of drugs and their effects

type of drugeffect on the bodyexample
depressantslows down brain activityalcohol, solvents, temazepam
hallucinogenalters what we hear and seecannabis, LSD
painkillerblocks nerve impulsesaspirin, heroin
performance enhancerimproves muscle developmentanabolic steroids
stimulantincreases brain activitynicotine, caffeine, ecstasy

Classification of drugs

Some drugs are legal, such as tobacco and alcohol. Others are illegal, or must only be prescribed by a doctor. Some prescription drugs are mistreated and taken for recreational use, rather than for medical reasons. They become illegal under these circumstances.

Illegal drugs are classified from Class A to Class C. Class A drugs are the most dangerous, with the most serious penalties for possession or dealing. Class C are the least dangerous, with the lightest penalties, but this does not mean they are safe to use. The table shows some of the drugs in each class. For interest, it also shows the 2007 penalties for having them or dealing in them:

Classification of drugs

Class of drugExamplesPenalty for possessionpenalty for dealing
Class Aecstasy, LSD, heroin, cocaine, crack, magic mushrooms, injected amphetaminesUp to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine, or bothUp to life in prison or an unlimited fine, or both
Class Bamphetamines, cannabisUp to five years in prison or an unlimited fine, or bothUp to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine or both
Class C tranquilisers, painkillersUp to two years in prison or an unlimited fine or bothUp to 14 years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both

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