Festival season

Festival season

The drug culture in the UK has risen immensely over the years, and the use of drugs seems to increase even more so during festival season.

The NHS suggest that almost 50% of 16-24 year olds have taken drugs at some point. Whilst Marijuana (Cannabis) is most commonly used amongst young people nowadays, Cocaine, Ecstasy and Ketamine have also become increasingly popular. The impact in which festival season has on drug consumption is quite incredible, and it’s interesting to see why.


With festival season rapidly approaching, it is vital for everybody to be aware of the risks of drug-taking. The effects can vary quite considerably, but all of them can lead to long-term physical and psychological problems.


So, why is it that so many people take drugs at festivals?


There are several reasons why young people might feel inclined to take drugs. Festival season tends to take place just after exams finish, so for many it is a chance to let loose, a way to escape normality for a few days. The temptation to experiment with certain substances is much more appealing away from normal life. Most people who take drugs at a festival wouldn’t dream of doing it away from that scenario, but sadly that is not always the case.


Also, for many, it is their first time away without parents nearby. The feeling of independence and freedom leaves them open to new experiences.


The few days at a festival merges into one, and it ends up being one big party. There is huge temptation for people to experiment and push themselves to certain extents in hope of the best experience and memories, without realising how dangerous this can be. Certain drugs like Ecstasy will only make this situation worse, as they make people feel more confident.


The dangers of taking drugs.


There are various factors at a festival which can contribute to dehydration. With the obvious ones being exposure to the sun and alcohol consumption, lack of sleep in that environment can also have a negative impact on the body. Certain drugs like Ecstasy and Cocaine further increase the risk of dehydration, as one of the side effects of them is raised body temperature.


Although taking drugs in general is bad enough, kids at festivals want to find the best deal they can and are happy to buy them as cheaply as possible. The problem with this is that the cheaper drugs are often mixed with harmful, sometimes even toxic substances, and half the time the individual has no clue what they are taking. Drugs might even contain higher doses than expected, making it much easier to overdose, or just merely lose control (and not in the way intended). There has been a growing report of addiction, and sadly also a growing report of tragic drug-related deaths.


Younger people tend to ignore the thought of addiction, as they don’t think it will happen to them. That is not the case however, and sadly, it can take just that one high for them to get hooked.


Drugs to watch out for.


MDMA and Ecstasy pills have always been top choice for British ravers, however it seems that with the rise in other drugs during recent years, kids are taking whatever they can get their hands on. Here is a list of drugs, and the short-term and long-term effects they can have on the brain and body:




Cannabis (also known as marijuana) has always been seen as the least harmful drug, with people using it to feel more relaxed and content. However, for others it can cause feelings of anxiety, paranoia, panic, and in some cases memory problems. Studies have also shown that long-term use of this drug can increase the risk of psychosis, with symptoms such as hallucinations. It can also be the cause of long-term schizophrenia.




Cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs. The effects vary depending on how you take it, but the drug tends to be quite rapidly acting. Cocaine increases the dopamine release in the brain, releasing happy and positive feelings. However, the drug can also lead to overconfidence and sometimes aggressive behaviour. Long-term effects of the drug can result in kidney damage, blood vessel damage, and nasal perforation. When the happy and positive feelings start to wear off, the ‘comedown’ will leave the individual feeling depressed, anxious and paranoid for days after.




People take LSD with the intention to hallucinate. The world around them will start moving faster or slower, and their surroundings will appear distorted. Large doses of LSD can leave the individual in a life-threatening scenario, leading to hyperthermia or overheating, heart attacks, heart failure, injuries due to impaired judgement, or worst case scenario, death. Long-term effect on the brain can include psychosis or regular hallucinations, which can lead to anxiety and depression.




Methamphetamine is an extremely toxic drug. Users will feel alert after taking this drug, however they can also experience agitation, anxiety, confusion, aggression and insomnia, and in some cases paranoia, hallucinations and delusions, which could end up being long-term. The drug causes the heart rate and blood pressure to increase, which can result in a heart attack. Long-term use of this drug can cause cognitive damage, including memory loss, lack of judgement and motor coordination similar to those suffering from Parkinson’s disease. It can also cause problems physically, with open sores on the face, bad skin and black, rotting teeth. In some cases, Methamphetamine can cause brain damage.




Ketamine causes a reduction of sensation in the body, leaving the individual with a ‘floating’ feeling. Depending on the amount consumed, the feeling can last up to 90 minutes, however other effects can last for 24 hours after one single dose. This includes impairment of coordination, judgement and physical senses. Long-term users can experience very serious bladder problems, which could result in removal of the bladder. Long-term use of the drug can also affect the urinary tract.


Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas)


The sensation of relaxation, happiness and euphoria seem great at the time, but the reality is that the risk of death is high with laughing gas. This is because it restricts the flow of oxygen to the brain. Consuming this drug regularly can also result in nerve damage, creating difficulty for even the most simple tasks such as walking.




Ecstasy is one of the most popular party drugs, and has been for over 3 decades. The drug makes people feel more lively, bursting with confidence and wanting to talk. Lights and music often look and feel more intense. However, the ‘comedown’ the next day often leaves the individual feeling depressed. It will leave the body feeling achy and cause headaches, dizziness and feelings of nausea. Depression can become a long-term effect, and excessive use of the drug and cause nerve problems, and even brain damage.


Legal highs


The newest drug on the market, new psychoactive substances, also known as legal highs, are supposed to mimic the effects of the other drugs. We are currently unsure of the exact effects on the brain and body, but what we do know is that they are far from harmless, and can lead to hallucinations, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, confusion, aggression and seizures, all similar health risks to the other drugs.




Heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs out there, and is highly addictive. The initial feelings after taking heroin include relaxation and content, however long-term use of the drug can cause collapsed veins and loss of body tissue, especially in fingers, toes and limbs. The sharing of needles can also lead to infection.


Sign and symptoms parents can look out for


There are many signs and symptoms that parents can look out for to determine whether their child is taking drugs.

Some of the physical signs of drug abuse are:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Change in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Nosebleeds
  • Change in weight
  • Lack of personal hygiene and appearance
  • Impaired coordination or slurred speech


Some of the behavioural signs of drug abuse are:

  • Problems at school – not going to class, grades getting worse
  • Drop in work performance
  • Borrowing, or even worse, stealing money
  • Loss of interest in most things
  • Spending more time alone
  • Relationship problems – arguing with people close to them
  • Secret or suspicious behaviour
  • Drop in attendance and performance at work
  • Loss of interest in extracurricular activities


Some of the psychological warning signs of drug abuse are:

  • Change in personality
  • Attitude towards life, and the people around them
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of motivation
  • Seem more agitated by things
  • Moments of hyperactivity
  • Can appear scared, anxious, nervous or paranoid, for no particular reason

If you can relate to any of the above, please do give us a call today, whether it is regarding yourself or a loved one, we are here to help – 0203 955 7700.



Nick Conn / 16th March 2018/ Posted in: Latest News

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    Detoxification (detox) is the medical intervention required for someone who is physically dependent to drugs or alcohol. If required, medical detoxification would be the first step taken in residential rehab. Detox is used to prevent uncomfortable and dangerous (even fatal) withdrawals symptoms resulting in suddenly becoming abstinent from alcohol/certain drugs.

    The goal of a medical detox is to aid in the physical healing required following long term addiction and rid the body of all together of substance whilst providing a cushion for unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals. Detox is not considered the whole treatment for drug/alcohol addiction and it is always recommended that a comprehensive rehabilitation program is used along side to help maintain long term abstinence.

    Medication is often required for alcohol detox. If you are dependent on alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms it is vitally important to seek medical advice prior to stopping. There is a long list of medications used when treating alcohol addiction and the exact medication given to an individual will depend on their needs/medical history. Some of these include;

    • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
    • Lorazepam (Ativan)
    • Diazapam (vailium)

    Librium and Valium are the most commonly used detox medication in the UK. All medication used to help with alcohol detox have been proven to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

    There are also a number of drugs recombined by the NHS to help treat alcohol misuse. Some of these include:

    • Naltrexone
    • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
    • Nalmefene
    • Acamprosate (campral)

    Medication is always required for heroin detox. For someone suffering from heroin addiction, the thought of detoxification (detox) can be exceptionally daunting. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates, such as heroin, can be severe and include pain, vomiting, nausea and shaking.

    There are different ways that heroin detox can be carried out, most usually either ‘maintenance therapy’ or ‘full medical detox’.

    Attempting to switch from heroin to a heroin substitute, usually on a controlled prescription, is known as Maintenance therapy. Subsites used are most often methadone or buprenorphine.

    A full medical detox from heroin will always be carried out in a residential rehab setting and will allow the individual to switch form heroin to a substitute and slowly withdraw completing treatment free of all substances. Someone using a heroin substitute can choose to have a full medical detox at any time, however detoxing substances such a methadone can often add to the length of detox required. Drugs most commonly used to fully detox from heroin are, Subutex, Suboxone and Methadone. Much like alcohol, the exact drugs used will be dependent on the individuals needs/medical history.

    Once detoxed from heroin the risk of overdose is much higher following relapse due to tolerance following withdrawal.

    The length of treatment in a residential rehab depends on a number of elements. Some substances require longer periods of detox than others.

    Private paying patients will also often choose a length of stay that suites their therapeutic and financial needs. As a rule, a full treatment program in a rehab is considered to be 28 days (often referred to as a month), however, treatment is offered in several different ways and lengths starting at 7 days.

    Treating alcohol addiction will always require a minimum of 7-10 days, this would be considered the detoxification (detox) faze. The length required for treating drug addiction can vary drastically depending on the substance being used. Detox for Heroin addiction is generally around 14 days minimum, with more time required if substances such a methadone are being used. Treating prescription drug addiction can often take the longest. The time required for treating gambling addiction, eating disorders and sex addiction will be based on the individuals needs.

    Rehab programs can be as long as an individual requires but primary treatment is normally caped at 12 weeks, with the offering for further secondary and tertiary treatment thereafter.

    *based on average rehab stays, everyone will vary dependant on needs and medical requirement/history.

    There is no need for your employer to know that you are seeking help for trauma and addiction unless you choose to involve them with the process. All employers should have a policy that explains what you do if you cannot come to work due to illness – illness to include treating alcohol addiction/treating drug addiction.

    If your work absence extends over 7 days your employer is likely to require an official statement of fitness to work which would be obtained from your GP. This would need to supply evidence of your illness as well as any adjustments required for returning to work, fazed return or reduced hours, but does not need to specify in detail the reason why you have been absent.

    If you are absent from work for 7 days of less, for example entering rehab for a detoxification (detox) on a Saturday for 7-10 days taking a full week away from work, you can self-certify your illness by letting your employer work you will not be attending work for that period of time. Exactly how an individual would do this would be dependent on a specific companies’ policies on taking sick leave.

    Any time longer than 7 days it is likely an employer will require a note from the individuals GP certifying their sickness and a fit note on return. Most companies have a clearly outlined policy on sickness and receiving sick pay so the exact requirement can vary. A rehab will always be willing to advise on time off work.

    How much does rehab cost is a very frequently asked question. The cost of treatment can range from £1,000 per week upwards depending on the place, with luxury rehab being the most expensive.

    There are free options available on the NHS but the waitlist of those looking for free treatment is longer than that for privately paying patients. Some private health insurance policies will cover treatment in some rehabs around the country.

    Choosing the right rehab centre will often be based on priced but it is important to follow guidance on the most suitable treatment centre for an individual’s needs which our expert team of advisers are on hand to offer.

    There are certainly pro’s for both treatment near by and traveling for treatment with one of the most asked question being should I get rehab near me? There are rehabs all over the UK and around the world that all offer expert programs, let’s look at how to choose a rehab.

    Local treatment

    Being close to home gives certainly has benefits. Visitors are normally permitted in rehab following the first 7 days stay, therefore if an individual is in treatment for a length of time longer than that being local will make it easier for loved ones to visit.

    Most rehab centres will also provide a full aftercare plan for someone following treatment, this will include ongoing aftercare in the specific treatment centre. Living close by can make it easy to take full advantage of ongoing aftercare. There can also often be the option for ongoing care with an individual therapist, again being close by will allow that treatment to be carried out face to face.

    Some individuals wish to be local but are willing to look broader, for instance the greater city of residence (London, Manchester, Liverpool, etc)

    Treatment Away

    Getting treatment away from home can be very appealing to some. Being out of the local area makes it a lot harder to just walk out of treatment as resources locally are unknown. Some also take comfort in knowing that they are not near home and focus more on treatment.

    As the price for treatment can vary so much from one residential treatment centre to another, private paying patients often would rather travel to keep the cost down. Those using private health insurance may also have to travel to find a treatment centre covered in their policy.

    When opting for treatment away from home this can be anywhere in the UK and also abroad. Aftercare can still be carried out and very successful using tools such as The Online Rehab.

    There is no right or wrong when choosing where to go to residential rehab, but our expert advisors are always on hand to help provide information on all possible options.

    Whilst millions of people in the UK have taken recreational drugs (amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, GHB, heron, ketamine, methadone, and prescription drugs) and drank alcohol not all become ‘addicted’. Most recent reports show that 279,793 individuals were in contact with drug and alcohol misuse services in the last year with over half of that being from opiate addiction and a quarter for alcohol.

    There are several risk factors invoiced in addiction and those using drugs and alcohol socially, simply take the risk. These risks are as follows;

    Tolerance – basically, if a substance is used repeatedly an individual’s tolerance to it will build. This will result in more of the same substance being required to get the same effect. In the long run this can easily lead to addiction and physical dependencies.

    Environmental risks – these can include influences such a peer pressure and stress as well as physical or mental abuse of an individual (particularly as a child). Overall, those who live with frequent pressures and stress are more likely to reach for a substance to cope and are therefore at higher risk of becoming addicted.

    Drug type – it is very well known that certain drugs are simply more addictive than others. Using substances such as heroin increases the risk of becoming addicted for need to ‘chase’ a high as well as physical dependency.

    Drug administration – how a drug is administered can affect its addictive qualities. A drug injected rather than smoked or snorted will release a quicker and more intense high thus making it psychologically (and in many cases physically) more addictive.

    Biological factors – it is now widely reported that being an addict is not only psychological but also biological. This includes your genetic makeup, mental health, sex and age. It is also reported to be 8 times more likely for the child of an addict to become an addict themselves.

    Its believed that addiction is approximately half genetics and therefore some are 50% more likely to become addicted than others.

    How do you help a loved one trapped in addiction?

    The first step is to help and encourage the individual to become willing to accept help. They do not need to be shouting this off the rooftops, but they do need to be willing to go into treatment. There are ways to help someone become willing to get treatment for alcohol or treatment for drugs.

    Set boundaries – set boundaries and stick to them. Once you have laid them out follow through with whatever consequences you have set however hard it is.

    Stop finances – if you are financially supporting someone stopping these finances can be the quickest way for the addict needing to ask for help. With no money to acquire a substance an addict’s options become very limited.

    Intervention – getting together with other family members/friends/colleagues and staging an intervention is often very successful in the fist stage of acceptance and gaining an admission to residential rehab.

    You can’t make them quit, this can lead to dangerous withdrawal. Boundaries are very important in helping someone become willing to get help. Unfortunately you cannot do someone’s recovery for them and without self-motivation it is very hard to make it work.

    The next step is to call our highly trained advisers 0203 955 7700.

    There is a huge range of rehab options available and where to start can be completely over whelming so let us help.