The effect of drugs on the body

With thanks to James Cordall.


The Priory Group have a very easy to use guide which explains the effect that different drugs the body, focusing on the organs affected. Please visit: 


The Priory Group also have a very informative blog that covers many different issues that affect society today. Please visit:

for more information.


Stop and search app



We've set up a system to make it easier for you to complain about stop and search. If you have been treated badly by the police or think something unlawful happened, or even if you don't want to complain to the police but just want to share your experience with Y-Stop, you can now report every stop and search to us via the Y-Stop app!

The Y-Stop app lets you:

  • Report your stop and search experiences or ones you witness
  • Record video/audio of the police interactions and send it to Y-Stop
  • Connect with lawyers and experts for support
  • Make a complaint directly to police
  • Know what your rights are to keep you safe


Release provides a free confidential and non-judgemental national information and advice service in relation to drugs and drug laws. Our Drug & Legal teams who operate and respond to your queries are highly knowledgeable lawyers and drug professionals which are on-hand to help and advise you. We don’t use guides or frequently asked question menus, as each question or query will depend upon a unique set of facts and circumstances, so don’t be embarrassed to ask a question. 

Help & advice is offered upon a number of circumstances and/or concerns, and below we have presented a few examples. If you are unsure whether you have a drugs or legal inquiry don’t worry our teams work in collaboration, so you can be assured you will always receive a response to your query.


  • drug information
  • effects of drugs
  • harm reduction
  • matters involving drug dependency
  • types of treatment including maintenance prescribing and abstinence.


  • travelling with prescribed controlled drugs
  • drug testing in the workplace
  • impact of (past) criminal convictions and cautions
  • charges involving possession of drugs
  • charges involving intention to supply drugs
  • cannabis cultivation offences

There are three ways you can contact us for help & advice.

By telephone – 020 7324 2989

The telephone help & advice line is open from 11am—1pm & 2pm—4pm Monday to Friday. A message service is available 24 hours and we will return your call within one business day.


Emailed help & advice messages will be answered as soon as possible including weekends.

Web form

Please complete the help & advice form below and don’t forget to enter your contact details. Messages will be answered as soon as possible including weekends.

Remember - we are here to help NOT to judge.

Help & Advice Enquiry

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.




Paracetamol poisoning

In the UK it is the most common agent of intentional self-harm. Between 2000-2008 there were 90-155 deaths from paracetamol poisoning every year.[1] In addition, there are deaths resulting from paracetamol compounds. It is the most common cause of acute liver failure (ALF).

To reduce the incidence of paracetamol overdose, legislation was passed in the UK in 1998 to limit the number of tablets that could be bought in one purchase: 16 tablets at present (up to 32 tablets in pharmacies). Furthermore, paracetamol was supplied in blister packs making obtaining the actual tablets take longer.

I often come across patients that have ingested paracetamol tablets in an attempt to self harm. The toxic effects of paracetamol are not instantaneous and are certainly not obvious in the early stages of ingestion.

 I often get asked by family and friends if 'they are going to be OK' I have included the following information to raise awareness of the dangers of paracetamol abuse.

Risk of severe liver damage (ie a peak ALT more than 1000 IU/L)

Based on the dose of paracetamol ingested (mg/kg body weight):
  • Less than 150 mg/kg - unlikely.
  • More than 250 mg/kg - likely.
  • More than 12 g total - potentially fatal.

One paracetamol tablet is 500 mg so a standard dose would be 1 g which is 2 tablets. This means that a quantity of 12 g,  which is potentially fatal,  is the equivalent of 12 doses of 1 g so 24 tablets.  One packet usually contains 16 tablets (if bought over the counter).


Paracetamol can cause serious or fatal adverse effects at around 150 mg/kg for many adults. There is considerable interpatient variability which depends on age, health and substances taken with the paracetamol.

The level is higher for young children.

Please do not think that paracetamol does not cause harm. It does and depending on clinical findings, requires specialist treatment which can include needing a liver transplant.

  • Commonly, patients are asymptomatic for the first 24 hours or have nonspecific abdominal symptoms (such as nausea and vomiting).
  • Hepatic necrosis begins to develop after 24 hours (elevated transaminases, right upper quadrant pain and jaundice) and can progress to acute liver failure.

More information can be obtained from




Free and confidential, advice, support, counselling and information for anyone effected by drug misuse.

Helpline: 0300 123 6600  SMS: 82111

Email: Email form (use the on the FRANK website)




Information about local meetings and online meetings.

Phone: 0300 999 1212 (daily until midnight)

Website: http://



Advice on health and welfare aspects of drug use and the legal consequences.

Tel: 0207 324 2989



Turning Point

Turning Point is a social enterprise, focused on improving lives and communities. Any surplus profit is used to provide the best services in the right locations for those that need most, across mental health, learning disability, substance misuse and employment.

We've been working hard to support people to turn their lives around for 50 years, with highly experienced teams providing exceptional care that delivers excellent value for money. We offer multiple services and we are experts highly skilled in helping people with the most complex needs.

Whether you come to us with drug or alcohol issues, a mental health concern, a learning disability, or if you are looking for an employment solution, we'll give you the individual support you need. By tailoring our services we can target your personal challenges and support you to get your life back on track.

We provide high quality services that focus on each and every individual - investing in the best care, for the people that need it most.

Need a question answered? Can't find it on the website or need more information?

You can call us on 020 7481 7600 (Please note that this is not a helpline)

Or fill in our online form below and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Otherwise there are a number of national helplines available that you can access 24hrs a day. Details can be found here


Other Useful Links

A service that provides affordable, effective and attainable help, with information relating to stress management and long term use of mind altering drugs

'Alive and Kicking' - One man's battle against tranquillisers, by Peter Ritson (Book):
Benzodiazipine addiction, withdrawal, and recovery
All Party Parliamentary Group for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction

Prescription Drugs

Action on Addiction:

Action on Addiction is a registered charity, which was formed in April 2007 through the merger of three organisations: Action on Addiction, Clouds and the Chemical Dependency Centre.

We have treatment centres throughout England. We have a specialist family service, innovative research programmes and an expert training centre.

Our fundraising team, events team and press office are based in London.

Our vision is people free from addiction and its effects.

Action on Addiction works to find ever more effective ways of disarming addiction in individuals, families, communities and society as a whole


Office line-  0151 474 9626  (Monday to Thursday 10am-4pm)
Helpline -  0151 932 0102  (Monday to Friday 10am-1pm, Weekends and Bank Holidays)
Fax - 0151 284 8324
Our postal address is:
The JDI Centre
3 – 11 Mersey View
L22 6QA

NHS Choices

Please have a look at the alcohol page on this site for information on organisations that support both alcohol and drug addiction.