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Like drinking and smoking, there is much evidence that suggests that gay/bisexual men/MSM take drugs more than our heterosexual counterparts - there's lots of reasons why this may be, including oppresion by society (the need for escapism), some aspects of gay lifestyle being centred around clubbing (where recreational drug use is associated), the notion that gay/bisexual men don't have dependents and therefore more disposable cash etc.

Some men also report taking bigger risks with their sexual behaviour while under the influence of drugs - and therefore being at higher risk of HIV or other STI infection.

Both illegal and legal drugs can have a big impact on your physical health, mental health, relationships, and your finances.

We've broken down the most common drugs into categories, and listed where you can get help, locally and nationally. Healthy Gay Cornwall's Face to Face service can help you make choices about your drug use.


Stimulant drugs speed up the Central Nervous System. They may make you feel more awake, alert and confident. However, with any stimulant drug - what goes must come down. There will always be a downside. This could include depression, mood swings, tiredness and disturbed sleep. Some stimulant drugs are stronger than others; they increase blood pressure and cause the heart to beat faster thus putting unnecessary strain on it. Stimulants include:

  • Caffeine
  • Nicotene
  • Cocaine
  • Crack
  • Ecstasy
  • Speed
  • Crystal Meth
  • Poppers


Depressants slow down the Central Nervous System. In small amounts they can make you feel more relaxed and sociable. In large amount they can make you feel sleepy. In extreme case taking too much of a Depressant drug can cause unconsciousness, overdose and even be potentially fatal. These include:

  • Alcohol
  • Solvents
  • Tranquillisers
  • GHB
  • Rohypnol


Hallucinogenic drugs affect the way the brain works. They can cause hallucinations and affect the senses and your behaviour. For some people they taking Hallucinogenic drugs can be an unpleasant experience. They could also have an impact on long term mental health.  These include:

  • Cannabis
  • Magic Mushrooms
  • L.S.D. (Acid)
  • Ketamine


Painkillers (Analgesics)

Painkillers, or analgesics, control pain. They kill physical pain and some people may use them to deal with emotional pain. They can be very addictive and could cause overdose, especially when mixed with other drugs such as Alcohol. These include:

  • Opium
  • Morphine
  • Heroin
  • Methadone
  • Paracetamol
  • Codeine

Drugs Advice

Families Anonymous

020 7498 4680
For families affected by drugs or alcohol

Narcotics Anonymous

08453 433366
Information and support service for people affected by drugs misuse.

National Drugs Helpline FRANK

0800 776600


0845 702 3867
Parents Against Drug Abuse


Turning Point

020 7702 2300
Drugs and Alcohol Rehabilitation Advice


Getting Help

There are plenty of agencies that work specifically with people who use drugs and feel they want to change their behaviour - see our list below.

Local support

Addaction / CADA
Liskeard (EAST): 01579 340616
Penzance (WEST): 01736 365467
Truro (MID): 01872 263001

Bosence Farm Community

Hayle 01736 850006
Supported housing for people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction using a 12 step method.

Camborne Share

Camborne 01209 711500
Information, advice and support for 13-25 year olds.

Cornwall and IOS Drugs and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT)

Truro 01872 35447

Cornwall Drug and Alcohol Team (CDAT)

Redruth 01209 881907

Cornwall Health for the Homeless

Truro 01872 273617
GP Practice for the homeless providing primary health care to the homeless in Penzance and Camborne.

Cornwall Integrated Alcohol/Drugs Team

Redruth 01209 881907
Statutory team that provides treatment for people with drug and alcohol misuse problems.

Freshfield Service, The

Truro 01872 241952
Independent service for anyone affected by drug / alcohol use, includes needle exchange.


Redruth 01209 211825
Services for people recovering from addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Haven, The

Helston 01326 572685 ex36
Counselling and support to students and staff at Helston Community College.

Know Limits Parents Project

Penzance 01736 365467
Parent support groups to lower alcohol / cannabis harm in 8 - 16 year olds

Penzance Homelessness Project

Penzance 01736 330090
Salvation Army homelessness project incorporating the Penzance and Newlyn Churches Breakfast Project


Penzance Share

Penzance 01736 361059
Young people's information and advice shop

Up Front Rural Project

Truro 01872 261989
A health sign-posting service for young people living in the Lizard area.

Youth Cornwall - Share Counselling

Newquay 01637 876079
Counselling service for young people aged 13-25.

YZUP (Wise-Up to Drugs and Alcohol)

Truro 0800 1693787
YZUP offers support, information and advice about drugs and alcohol to young people under 19yrs.


National support

0207 928 890
Drugs/Alcohol advice for families

CODA UK (Co-Dependents Anonymous)

020 7376 8191
For those directly and indirectly affected by drugs or alcohol

Drug Helpline Service

0800 776600


020 7928 1211