• Provide up to date information on current drug trends in Milton Keynes
  • Discuss signs and symptoms of substance use
  • Give details of available support


  • Parents will have greater confidence in talking to their teenagers about substance use and be able to recognise and respond to potential use at the earliest opportunity

Who are Compass?

  • National charity specialising in treatment for substance misuse
  • In Milton Keynes we provide the specialist intervention for people under the age of 18
  • Outreach service providing:
    • Early intervention for targeted at risk groups. At risk groups include young people who have family members who use substances, young people from areas known to have a high level of substance use, and young people presenting with poor assessment of risk taking behaviour
    • CBT based 1-1 for problematic users. This is based on brief solution focused therapy and encourages the young person to take responsibility for their actions in-order to facilitate behavioural change
    • Family interventions including sessions with parents of young people using substances to support them through what can be a challenging time, and one off drug awareness sessions to improve knowledge

So what drugs are we talking about?

  • Cannabis/Skunk – strength has increased dramatically over the last 10 years so is now a very powerful hallucinogen with strong links to psychological dependency. Average cost is £20 for 1/8, most young people buy in £10 bags known as a “tens”. Cannabis is a class B
  • Alcohol – again strength has increased significantly leading to increased tolerance and excessive use
  • MDMA – pure ecstasy and usually snorted however can also be taken in pill form. Gives the user a sense of euphoria, energy and ability to connect with people around them. Also known as MANDY and is usually around £40 per gram however has been sold for as little as £10 per gram to entice new users. MDMA is a class A
  • Ketamine – normally used in the UK as a veterinary drug and painkiller for people involved in very traumatic accidents. Central nervous system depressant and disassociate substance that puts users into the “k-hole” by blocking communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Can cause temporary paralysis and currently being used to fend off stimulant come-downs. Currently a class C substance that is controlled by both the medicines act and the misuse of drugs act. Usually snorted and costs range from £10 to £20 per gram
  • Methadrone – very powerful stimulant that has only been on the market for around 3 years. Costs have increased from £10 per gram to £25 for “yellow meth” that is reportedly the luxury version. Usually snorted and is a white powder tinged with yellow or orange. Can be purchased in shards and crushed by the user. Gives the user intense feelings of euphoria and energy. Currently a class B
  • Volatile substance – laughing gas. Mainly used in the summer months and comes from stolen canisters. Now a national shortage in the NHS for medical use. Users experience feelings and responses similar to being drunk

How will we know?

  • Physical signs may include:
  • Spots in certain areas i.e. mouth and nose (due to route of use i.e. inhaling or snorting. Very noticeable with Ketamine and solvent abuse)
  • Red eyes (due to increase in blood pressure)
  • Scabs in certain areas i.e. nose (due to snorting particularly methadrone as it is so toxic)
  • Poor hygiene (reduction in interest for everyday life as substance use takes over)
  • Smell (strong sweet smell for cannabis and urine type smell for methadrone)
  • Weight loss (stimulant substances increase metabolism and suppress appetite, lunch money may also be going on substances instead of food)
  • Emotional/behavioural signs may include:
    • Severe mood-swings (look for pattern i.e. Monday and Tuesday blues followed by Friday and Saturday hyper-activity. Also if normal use is interrupted as will cause a craving)
    • Paranoia (over arousal of the fight or flight system with excess adrenaline leads to in-accurate risk perception)
    • Aggression (again due to over arousal of fight or flight system)
    • Isolation (due to paranoia or rejection by non-using peer group)
    • Anxiety (nervous energy due to craving and withdrawal)
    • Poor concentration/memory (substances interrupt normal cognitive functioning)
    • Reduction in sleep (interruption in normal hormonal cycles responsible for inducing sleep)
  • Also look for…
    • Change in peer group
    • Groggy in the mornings even if they appear to have slept
    • Change after physical activity (substances still in the system can be reactivated by a raise in body temperature and heart rate
    • Monday/Tuesday blues (this is as the brain tries to re-stabilise)
    • Friday mania (brain starts to release endorphins in preparation for the high)
    • Jittery at certain times (brain follows the routine of substance use and if it is interrupted can go into fight or flight)
    • Paraphernalia (grinders, small plastic bags or “baggies”, mirrors, straws and rolled up notes
    • There is always a pattern!

Listen out for

  • Cheese (Blue) (strong skunk)
  • G13 (strong Skunk)
  • Mandy (MDMA)
  • Drone/Meth (methadrone)
  • Ket (ket)
  • Mortal Combat (mixture of methadrone and Ketamine)
  • Wake and Bake (smoking cannabis first thing after waking)
  • Blunt/Zeut (names for cannabis roll ups)
  • Hot box (closing off a room and filling it with cannabis smoke to increase amount taken in)

How to contact Compass

  • We are based at Acorn House and you can make appointments to see us there
  • Our Office number is 01908 691911

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