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Recreational drugs and type 1 diabetes

There isn’t much research into how recreational drugs affect people type 1 diabetes. However, what we do know is that drugs can impact how you manage your type 1 and stay safe, so we’d advise that you don’t do recreational drugs.
Content last reviewed and updated: 18.10.2023

A young woman having a conversation about drugs with an adult

How do recreational drugs affect people with type 1 diabetes?

We don’t yet know how insulin interacts with recreational drugs. However, using any drug outside of medical supervision carries risk for anyone, but if you have type 1 diabetes it may affect your ability to check blood glucose levels, take your insulin or spot a hypo.

Different drugs also affect your glucose tolerance and how you move and eat, which in turn affect your blood glucose levels.

Drug misuse can also affect your mental health, making it harder to manage your type 1.

What effects do different drugs have?

Different drugs have different effects on the body and, even if you take the same drug as someone else, it might affect you differently.

Find out more about the effect of different drugs on the Talk to Frank website.

The after-effects of drugs

Some drugs also have ‘come-downs’, a period of time after you take drugs when you experience a low mood. This can impact your motivation to look after your type 1, so it’s best avoided.

If you are taking drugs

If you are taking recreational drugs, you can speak to your Diabetes Healthcare Team for confidential and non-judgemental support and advice.

If you’re struggling with your relationship with drugs, visit Talk to Frank for information and support.

For more information visit our university toolkit pages.

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