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Mythbusters: Common Drug Myths Exposed

Mythbusters: Common drug myths exposed

In this factsheet, we test out some common myths by examining research-based facts and statistics.

Myth: Everybody is doing it

Fact: It may be shown differently by the media, but the truth is that the majority of young people have never tried an illegal drug. 

Avoid drug


Myth: Alcohol makes it easier for people to socialise

Fact: Alcohol in small quantities can make people feel more relaxed and sociable. However, alcohol is a “downer”. Drinking too much alcohol can make people want to withdraw from others, or feel aggressive – which doesn’t help with improving social relationships or making friends. Drinking too much can also lead to feeling sick or vomiting, resulting in some very socially embarrassing moments!

To find out more, read our Alcohol: Factsheet.


Myth: It is safe to drive after using cannabis

Fact: Using cannabis can increase the likelihood of a car crash by 300%. Cannabis slows down thinking, reflexes, and reduces concentration and co-ordination. As a result, cannabis changes the way people do tasks and activities.

To find out more, read our Cannabis: Factsheet.

Cannabis can slow you down


Myth: Methamphetamine is made in a controlled lab environment

Fact: Because it is illegal, methamphetamine is commonly manufactured in unregulated underground laboratories. Methamphetamine can be mixed with various forms of amphetamines and other chemicals to cut costs and boost its potency.

See Methamphetamine: Factsheet for more information. 


Myth: No-one has ever died on LSD

Fact: Hallucinogens (such as LSD) cause disorientation, confusion and hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t really there), which can increase the risk of injury or accidental death. People who are having a ‘bad trip’ can sometimes become aggressive towards themselves or other people.

To find out more, read our Hallucinogens factsheet.

Hallucinogens can leave you trapped in a nightmare


Myth: ‘Legal Highs’ are safe as they are legal.

Fact: Simply because something is sold in a shop or online, or as a legal or alternative ‘high’, it does not mean that it is harmless or safe to use. Taking these drugs is like a roll of the dice — they haven’t been around long enough for us to know what the immediate risks are or what might happen later in life to people who use them. Many drugs sold as “legal highs” (also called “party pills”, “research chemicals” or “plant food”) are actually illegal, or will soon be made illegal, because of their health risks.

To find out more, read our "Legal Highs": Factsheet. 


Myth: The logo on a pill is a good indicator of its ingredients and how strong it will be

Fact: A logo, symbol or stamp is no guarantee of a pill’s quality or purity: two pills that look the same may have very different effects. This is because they can come from different sources and have different ingredients. Taking a pill is like a roll of the dice - you can never be sure what chemicals are in them or how you will be affected. 

To find out more, read our "Party Drugs"/MDMA/Ecstasy: Factsheet

You never know what's in a pill


Myth: Teenagers are too young to get addicted.

Fact: Dependence (addiction) can happen at any age. Even unborn children can become dependent because of their mother's drug use.



This factsheet was developed following expert review by researchers at the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Sydney and the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University. See Teacher bookletParent Booklet and Student Booklet for more information.

Image credit for infographics: 2and2