This week Ulster University Students’ Union is running its Drug and Alcohol awareness campaign. This campaign aims to reduce the harm of drugs and alcohol for students by educating them on the steps to take to keep themselves safe if they are taking drugs and Alcohol. This part of the campaign will focus on “Drugs and Sport”
Sport makes physical and mental demands on your body. Recreational drugs are also demanding on you whether you want them to or not they affect your mind and body. When you are very active - during sport for example, your body adapts to provide you with the support you need, such as increasing the rate your heart pumps blood and supplies oxygen to your muscles.
Your body is designed to co-ordinate itself to allow you to perform at your best. Mixing drugs and sport can disrupt your game in many ways
BREATHING: Depressant drugs such as cannabis, alcohol and opiates, slow down your breathing. Cannabis reduces your lung capacity, so it’s harder to get the oxygen your muscles need during sport. Opiates, such heroin and codeine, slow down your breathing and narrow your airways. This makes it harder to breathe and reduces your breathing at a time when your body needs extra oxygen.
HEART RATE: Stimulant drugs, such as cocaine, ecstasy and speed, increase your heart rate and put undue stress on your heart. Cocaine can cause heart attack and abnormal heart rhythm. When you use speed, the lack of blood to your heart can cause angina (severe chest pain). Depressants such as alcohol slow down your heart rate, meaning less oxygen-rich blood reaches your muscles.
MUSCLES: The last thing you want during sport is to disrupt your co-ordination and relax your muscles. Depressants such as cannabis reduce your motor activity so it’s hard to co-ordinate your movements during sport. Alcohol is high in calories so you may start piling on the weight. Stimulants increase your movements so you are more likely to injure yourself during sport. Cocaine at higher doses can act as an anaesthetic so you can’t feel pain and may play on after an injury, causing even more damage.
PAIN: Some depressants, such as alcohol, cause mild anaesthesia or loss of feeling, so you may not notice when you’re injured. This can lead to delays in getting rapid treatment and in recovery.
The Students’ Union in no way condones the use of illegal drugs
VP Campaigns and Communications