Substance misuse is one of the four project criteria for Opportunity Nottingham.

We offer help and advice to support recovery through working with other services in Nottingham City.

Substance misuse involves the use of substances for non-medicinal purposes, to the extent that they cause harm and/or dependency. This can relate to prescription or non-prescription drugs and all forms of alcohol, meaning that legal and illegal substances can be misused. Substance misuse can lead to physical and psychological dependency. Physical dependency means that the body becomes so used to a substance that ceasing to take it will cause withdrawal symptoms. Psychological dependency occurs when a substance forms such a significant part of everyday life that a person cannot stop taking it, and may even need to take larger amounts.

Alcoholism is a common form of substance misuse. A person misusing alcohol may drink alone or in secret and be unable to limit the amount of alcohol they consume. They are also likely to back away from social situations including employment, and experience relationship problems due to their behaviour. Drinking too much can also cause a variety of health problems including liver diseases, memory loss, type two diabetes, alcohol-related heart disease and nervous system problems.

As with alcoholism, continued drug misuse involves compulsive behaviour that is difficult to control despite the potentially harmful consequences. Some of the most common substances misused in relation to drugs are cannabinoids (marijuana), opioids (heroin), stimulants (cocaine, amphetamine) and synthetic cannabinoids (Black Mamba, Clockwork Orange).  Prescription and over the counter drugs can also be misused including painkillers, sleeping tablets and cold remedies. A dependency to drugs can have a significant impact on physical and mental health including weight loss, tremors, mood swings, high blood pressure, insomnia, cardiac problems, kidney problems, paranoia and depression.