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Garda Confidential No.: 1 800 666 111


Recognising drug taking and further help

Know the signs of drug taking 

It is often difficult to tell if someone is using drugs because different substances can affect people in different ways. However, the following signs apply in a great many cases:

  • Sudden changes in mood and behaviour e.g. from happy and energetic to moody and irritable
  • Abnormal sleep patterns
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lying and stealing money or goods
  • Secrecy about activities and whereabouts
  • Keeping late hours and new or strange friends

How to recognise drugs 

There is no certain way to identify illegal substances except by analysis. However signs to look out for include:

  • Small plastic or elaborately folded wraps
  • Burnt foil and spoons, syringes and small bottles
  • Herbal substance or a solid, crumbly brown resin
  • Shredded cigarettes
  • Unusual pills, powders or liquids in small quantities
  • Strong sweet smoky smell

 Drugs misused in Ireland

  • Cannabis (Herbal and resin)
  • Heroin (Diamorphine)
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Amphetamines   
          * Ketamine
          * Crack Cocaine
          * Synthetic Cannabnoids (e.g. JWH 018)
          * Psilocybin (Magic mushrooms)
          * Benzylpiperazine
          * Methadone
          * Mephedrone
          * Methedrone
          * Butylone
          * Flephedrone
          * Methylenedioxypyrovalerone
          * Naphyrone
          * Dimethocaine
          * Flourotropacocaine
          * GHB (Gammahydroxybutyrate)
          * LSD (Lysergic acid)

 The Law  

Passing drugs among friends constitutes a supplying offence. Allowing your house or premises to be used for drug misuse is also illegal. A conviction under the Misuse of Drugs Act can affect future employment prospects and many countries refuse visas to people with drug convictions. Misuse will often invalidate insurance policies, including holiday, vehicle and health cover.  

Where can I get help?

A comprehensive directory of alcohol, drugs and related services is available at health promotion offices at the various regional health boards.   

Useful Phone Numbers 

Drugs/HIV Helpline Freephone 1800 459 459
Baggot Street Drug Treatment Centre 01 6602189
Aisling Clinic, Cherryorchard Hospital 01 620 6010
City Clinic  01 8555310
Dolphin House 01 4540021
Domville House 01 8620298
Merchants Quay Project 01 6790044
Trinity Court  01 6488600
National Counselling Service Freephone  1800 235 234
Emergency Accommodation Freephone  1800 724 724

Useful Websites
Comprehensive drug abuse information website
Health research board website
Citywide drugs crisis campaign
Drug treatment Centre Board
National Advisory Committee on Drugs
European monitoring centre for drugs and drug addiction
Health Service Executive