For anonymous advice about drugs and lifestyle

Ask Tim a question in complete confidence
David Knight House Party Freerunning Video Life After the Night Before

Recent questions

Where can I get birth control patches from?

Where can I get birth control patches from?

  • are they available over here ? If so where from
  • are they dangerous?
  • how much are they ?
  • how do you manage them ?
  • Thanks for writing to me! I think it is great that you have given this some thought and hope you find a reliable method that is best for you at this stage of your life with the support and advice to make sure you have a good experience of using it. Whichever choice you make, please ensure you don’t delay if you need a further supply.

    One of the options available to you but not one of the most popular so there are others that may suit you better. Patches will protect you from pregnancy if used correctly but won’t protect you from sexually transmitted infection so you would need to use a condom. Look on the family planning association website or the NHS Choices website to have a look at all your options.

    This form of contraception is available on prescription and you can get this from your GP/Practice Nurse. Contraception prescriptions are usually free of charge. If you are not registered with a GP on the Island then a visit to the Family Planning Clinic would be a great idea. This method of contraception is stocked in their clinic and they would be able to give you a supply free of charge.  You would need to book an appointment for this .They can be contacted on 642186.

Would it ever be a good idea to publish non fatal accidents to show the serious dangers

I was just wondering, I’ve been in a car accident myself so I know the serious dangers of it but would it ever be a good idea to publish non fatal accidents like show the pictures and even get stories from the victims themselves because people just don’t get how serious it is, I didn’t until I had the accident. What do you think?

Thank you for writing in - that is a great question with a lot to think about. Judging by the number of road safety campaigns that make use of fear appeals, there is a firm belief in the ability to ‘scare people straight’. The idea is that when fear is aroused, people will become more motivated to accept the message and recommendations presented in a campaign. Implicitly, the way people sometimes react to these types of campaigns (shock, horror, or even tears) is taken as a sign that the message got through to people, with the firm believers in these types of campaigns saying that they know it works ‘because you can see the tears in their eyes’. It is believed that this shows this technique works because people are affected by the campaign, therefore will take on the advice. However, it is important to remember that the amount of tears shed is not the ultimate goal of these campaigns. The ultimate goal is the effect the campaign has on actual behaviour and on the number of road accidents. The fact is that although fear can motivate people, it can also have the opposite effect. It may in fact lead people to employ so-called defensive responses. Such responses may take many forms, for example with people not believing the truth of the claims in the campaign, by them saying that the campaign has no personal relevance to oneself, or even by avoiding exposure to the campaign altogether. Indeed, from a scientific point of view, fear appeals are rather controversial, in the sense that research into this approach shows a mixed bag of results.

Another factor that determines whether or not fear appeals have the desired effect is the gender of the group the campaign is aimed at.  Research into this has shown that women tend to respond more favourably to fear appeals than men. On the other hand, a newer approach is to use a nudge system to gently persuade a person to change their view and behaviours using something that is meaningful to them, usually via social media.

The above discussion on the possible pros and cons of fear appeals shows that neither one or the other is the right way. For one thing, trying to limit the possibility that people will respond defensively to a campaign is important, meaning that the fear the campaign suggests should not be so overwhelming that people feel they can do nothing to prevent it. One possible way to do this is by supplying the audience with specific actions that can be taken as preventive measures. It is also important that this action is not only something people think they will be able to do, but that they feel is both reliable and suitable to be considered a preventive measure. Furthermore, the audience should be made to feel that the problem is relevant to them.

All in all, the mantra ‘if you scare them, they will change’ is not as easy as it might at first glance appear to be. Even when all the pointers above are taken into account, people may react differently to a fear-based campaign than expected. Therefore, careful planning is in order, not just in terms of how people experienced the imagery, but rather of what most road safety campaigns are actually trying to accomplish. If you want to have a look at some of the UK campaigns you can find them on here.

Is abortion for Isle of Man Residents funded by the NHS?

The short answer is no! Currently abortion is not available in the Isle of Man. There are exceptional circumstances e.g. where there are severe medical reasons for the pregnancy to be terminated paid on medical grounds but this is a rare occurrence.

If this is about you personally then the following information might be helpful, if not about you personally - it is up to you whether you want any further info.

Firstly it is important to find out if you are definitely pregnant and seek advice. The earlier you get help and support the better. These are difficult choices, but there are people to help and support you such as your GP or the family planning clinic or a trusted friend or relative. You may feel very alone and secrets are hard to keep, but there are always options and people to talk to. However, you’ve made the first step to find out what help is available, and this information is useful to you and your friends should anyone find themselves in this situation. 

If you have found out that you are pregnant and want to consider an abortion it would be a private service in the UK. You would have to pay for travel and the costs of the procedure which would vary depending on how many weeks pregnant you are, but could be up to 600.  This is a lot of money to find so think carefully about how you might find it without causing yourself more problems.

Go online or ring Brook advisory which are based in the Liverpool area and they will let you know what options are available. You will feel much better when you have found out all the options and information available.

If you have had unprotected sex, emergency contraception (Pills) are available and need to be used within 24 hours or an intrauterine device (like a coil which is fitted into your womb) could be fitted by a GP or the family planning clinic up to 72 hours after unprotected intercourse. Long term reliable contraception can be sorted at your GP.

Only 50% of pregnancies are planned so you’re not the first person to look at the options. If you need any advice or information, please contact the Family Planning Clinic on 642186. They will be pleased to give you help and information and they also support women whichever choice they make.

If a girl has had birth control should I still use a condom?

It’s really great that you are taking contraception into consideration it’s not just a girl issue, and thinking about the risks of infection for you and your partner. Being responsible and showing respect for your partner are as important as any sexual activity you’re considering.

In answer to your question - Yes you are both still at risk from sexually transmitted infections and HIV and no contraception is 100% effective. For example, depending on the method - if it was the pill she could forget, take it at the wrong time or not absorb it if she is ill or has an upset tummy. There’s lots of advice online at Brook they have great info.  Also the local or GUM clinic can give you advice. To book an appointment, contact the clinic on 650710. You can find the clinic opening times here.

Are eCigs bad for your lungs?

That’s a great question! A recent review showed that e-cigarettes are much safer than smoked tobacco. The current best estimate is that e-cigarette use is around 95% less harmful to health than smoking. While vaping may not be 100% safe, most of the chemicals that cause smoking-related diseases are not there. The chemicals that are present have a low level of danger. Low levels of toxicants and carcinogens have been detected in e-cigarette liquid and vapour, these are much lower than those found in conventional cigarette smoke, with no identified health risks to others stood near to you. However, there are still some concerns about how e-cigarettes are currently regulated, as different products vary considerably in quality and content. We do not yet know their long-term safety. If you are looking to stop smoking, the stop smoking services can offer licensed medications like nicotine replacement therapy or Champix - they also support people trying to quit smoking tobacco by using e-cigarettes. Hope this helps!

More info can be found here and here.


Does Marijuana harm your lungs?

Marijuana (also known as cannabis) is harmful to your lungs.  This is because generally speaking any smoke entering the lungs is not going to be good for them, whether that is tobacco or cannabis.  There are further complications associated with cannabis use and the lungs. Cannabis and tobacco share a lot of the same chemicals and impurities and although we know far less about the effects of cannabis smoke than the effects of tobacco smoke, evidence shows that cannabis smoking does pose a substantial hazard to our lungs.  For instance, smoking cannabis can cause chronic coughing, wheezing, acute bronchitis, tuberculosis and other more series illnesses.  It is often the way that cannabis is smoked that causes further harm also.  Taking a deep ‘lung full’ of smoke, holding the smoke in your lungs for a long period of time or sitting in a room that is not well ventilated may all cause further damage to your lungs and contrary to belief, none of these methods will make you feel the effects of the cannabis more.

Cannabis resin burns at a higher temperature than tobacco so the smoke hitting the back of the throat and the top of the lungs is hotter than tobacco smoke.  Resin is also notorious for being cut with all sorts of additives, so you don’t know what you’re smoking.

Herbal cannabis produces quite dense smoke which can be more irritating to lungs.  Cannabis production is a business and so productivity needs to be maintained.  This means the use of chemicals to ensure plants are kept free of pests and disease, which means that they in turn are going to be inhaled in cannabis smoke.

Smoking bongs or pipes can lead to heavier smoke entering the lungs because of the larger quantities produced.  Using too many papers means more burnt paper to inhale, and use of plastic bottles, rubber hoses, foil and aluminium can lead to toxic fumes being given off, so glass, brass or steel pipes would be safer.  Using cigarette filters for a roach can also lead to inhaling more tar as the smoke flow is reduced, which is why plain card would be better.

If you have any concerns about your lungs such as difficulty breathing or chest pain then arrange to see your GP.  There is also professional help available should you feel that your cannabis use is becoming problematic. If you would like any more information or want to speak to someone in confidence about safer ways of using cannabis or indeed stopping altogether you might find Motiv8 and DASH useful.

I’ve had depression for a couple of years, is there anyone I can talk to?

I’ve had depression for a couple of years but it had gone away for a while. I think it’s back again but I really don’t want to see my Doctor about it. I don’t feel like he understands. Is there anyone else I can talk to/contact? I don’t have lots of money to spend for therapy, I just want to feel happy again

Thank you for writing to me. It may be worthwhile trying to book an appointment with another doctor at your practice. Everyone is individual and finding out who you can relate to would be worthwhile. You may want to try your practice nurse in the first instance and she/he may be able to point you in the right direction. You don’t say whether you at school or college but if you are the school nurse would be great starting point or the college student welfare officer. You would not be expected to pay for services so try not to worry about this. The important thing to find out is who can help you and getting the right support. You have made a start by recognising that you want some help so the time is right to move forward with this. There are lots of websites that you can check out that will give you advice for depression and information on different kinds of treatments.

Just remember you don’t have to be on your own and there are people out there who can help. There are all sorts of helplines that offer support and information for managing depression and anxiety - like No Panic, Depression Alliance, MIND, Rise Above and, though I don’t know what age you are, Young Minds (up to 25 years).  MIND has a really good section on ‘what I can do to help myself’ with all sorts of ideas; simple stuff that you may have known and forgotten about. I hope this is helpful and good luck

When and how would I receive my results from the GUM clinic?

GUM clinic aims to give results within 10 working days but it is sometimes quicker than this.

When patients book into clinic they are asked about which method of contact they prefer. Some people prefer “no news is good news”.  Most patients nowadays opt to be texted with their results. If the results are negative a simple text stating “results all clear” will be received. Some patients are asked to return in person for their results, it can really depend on why the person has come to clinic. 

If the clinic needs to discuss any results with a patient who does not have a follow up appointment, they will contact the patient by their preferred method.

The clinic staff understand that it may be difficult for some people to receive texts, phone calls or letters and they are always willing to discuss any options to ensure the person needing the results is not compromised in any way. Hope this helps

How do I contact the GUM clinic? can I email them to book an appointment?

How do I contact the GUM clinic? can I email them to book an appointment?

Thank you for getting in touch. Anyone, of any age who is sexually active or thinking of becoming sexually active is welcome at the clinic. Whether it is for a confidential discussion, to test for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or just for advice anyone can make an appointment to come and see the team at the GUM Clinic. You can even bring a friend along for support if it helps.

You are not able to email the clinic for an appointment but you can ring the clinic on 650710. The clinic’s opening times are below. Good luck!

  • Mon 2pm to 5pm
  • Tues 2pm to 5pm and 6pm to 8pm
  • Wed 2pm to 5pm
  • Thurs 9.30am to 12 noon
  • Friday 9.30am to 12 noon and 2pm to 5pm.

    I recently got engaged.  But I am struggling to tell my parents

    I recently got engaged.  But I am struggling to tell my parents about it and can’t find the words to tell them either.  My dad hates my partner and so I am afraid to tell them. What should I do?!

    Ohh that sounds like a tricky situation for you.

    Relationships as you grow up and become an adult in your own right can be difficult to navigate. Have you thought about talking with your mum on her own first, or asking another family member (for example a sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent etc) or a friend who your parents get along with to be with you when you tell them? It will help to plan or practice what you’re actually going to say; again you can do this in front of a friend too. Have you thought about when might be the best time to tell them, I’d suggest a time when they’re not too stressed and busy and so more likely to listen to you.

    Finally you are your own person and in control of your life, we all do things that parents don’t always like or approve of, but in my experience parents do only want what’s best for their children.

    Good luck!

    More help and advice