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Drugs and Alcohol

There’s always a risk involved in taking drugs and alcohol. It’s important to learn what they are, how you can minimise them and what support is available.

Illustration of beer bottle, RTD, smoking cigarette, cannabis leaf, pills

What are drugs?

A drug is a substance that alters how your body and mind function.

The most common types of drugs are:

  • Everyday substances – coffee, prescription medication

  • Legal recreational – cigarettes, alcohol

  • Illegal – ice, speed, cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis (marijuana)

Some drugs are illegal or controlled as they’re very dangerous and harmful to your health and wellbeing.

Why do people use drugs?

There are lots of reasons why someone might use drugs and alcohol. Some people use drugs to:


Feel good


Feel confident

Join in with friends

Cope with emotions



What are the risks?

Some consequences include:

  • Addiction
  • Overdose
  • Death
  • Side effects
  • Illness or injury
  • Impact on relationships
  • Impact on work or study
  • Poor judgements
  • Legal issues
  • Financial problems

Who can help?

If you’re considering using a drug, or have concerns about your or someone else’s drug use, here’s who can help:

Kids Helpline
GP / Doctor
Counsellor or Social Worker
Specialised drug and alcohol services

Minimising the risks

Here’s some things you can do to help minimise some of the risks if you decide to keep using drugs:

  • Educate yourself about the effects and risks
  • Understand what might trigger you to use a substance
  • Consider the environment you use the substance in and make it safe
  • Take precautions to limit your use to avoid an accidental overdose
  • Avoid combining more than one substance
  • Learn how it might interact with medication you’re already talking
  • Access clean injecting equipment if you’re using needles
  • Consider who is around to support you if anything goes wrong
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help – call 000 if you need medical assistance
  • Never drive under the influence of a substance
  • Seek regular health checks

Vaping myths & facts

Have you ever been curious about trying vaping? Or maybe you’re trying to give it up?

Here are the facts you need to know!

Vaping is the inhaling of a vapour created by electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), or 'vapes'. Vapes come in lots of different flavours, which can sound appealing to use/try - and they are often marketed in a way that makes them seem like a safe alternative to smoking. Most e-cigarettes actually contain nicotine and other harmful substances, which can be addictive and be harmful for your health.

How can counselling help?

Counselling can be a way to help you:

Clarify your concerns

Explore the impact of substance use in your life

Understand your motivations

Assist you to access information and resources

Minimise the risks

Help you weigh up the consequences and benefits

Reduce your substance use

Use and/or find healthy alternatives

Counselling is a safe place where you can talk about your concerns around drugs and alcohol without any judgement.

Remember, you’re not alone

Kids Helpline is always open.

Give us a call, start a WebChat or email us today.

If you are looking for more digital services and resources, check out Head to Health.

This content was last reviewed 28/04/2023

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