Alcohol and Drugs when Traveling or Volunteering Abroad

Alcohol and Drugs when Traveling or Volunteering Abroad

 “The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers.”  ~Terri Guillemets. 

Every year there are thousands of travelers who get arrested because of using and trafficking drugs and alcohol. Most of them are told of the promise of riches after trafficking drugs from one country to another or one region to the other. The travelers are lied to that there is little risk involved and the plan is full proof but in reality more than half of them get arrested.

Apart from trafficking, using drugs could also land the traveler/volunteers in prison. Every country has strict laws against consumption of drugs and alcohol, and when found with the drugs, the traveler/volunteer will be severely punished. The traveler/volunteers will be taken to prison and their chances of getting out are very slim.

When the travelers are presented in court they are hugely disadvantaged because the trial is in the local language, the judges are already prejudiced against them and getting a good defense is very hard. Many convicted travelers describe their experience as horrific and strongly advice against travelers who want to use or traffic drugs.


Here are some drugs to avoid:


Cocaine powder, freebase and crack are all forms of cocaine. They are stimulants with powerful, but short-lived, effects.  The stimulants temporarily speed up the processes of your mind and body. ‘Freebase’ cocaine and ‘crack’ cocaine, can be smoked, and so can reach the brain very rapidly in high dosage. Cocaine increases breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. It may produce eating and sleeping disorders and violent and erratic behavior. It can also cause respiratory problems, convulsions and cardiac or respiratory arrest. Cocaine is illegal in every country. Cocaine is not easy to come by but it is common in Latin America. In the USA, crack cocaine is the only drug for which there is a federal mandatory minimum, if found guilty one could spend 5 years in prison. The penalties include; life imprisonment, death sentences and a couple of years in jail depending on the amount of cocaine that they are found with.



Heroin is an opiate drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin. Heroin can be injected, snorted/sniffed, or smoked—routes of administration that rapidly deliver the drug to the brain. All three methods of administering heroin can lead to addiction and other severe health problems. Users feel a surge of euphoria and then alternate between wakeful and drowsy states for several hours. Heroin also makes physical pain disappear. The negative effects of heroine are Nausea, vomiting and severe itching are common reactions. Users can’t think clearly and experience mood swings. Large doses can reduce breathing so much that users slip into a coma and may die. Heroine is illegal in most countries and when caught in possession it could lead to life imprisonment or a death sentence.



It is also called marijuana, hashish, hash, pot, herb, weed, grass. Cannabis is a drug that comes from Indian hemp plants such as Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. The active chemical in cannabis is THC. Users feel relaxed, free and open; they may become talkative or withdrawn and experience food cravings. Users experience problems with memory, thinking and problem solving, loss of coordination and increased heart rate. Some users feel severe anxiety. People smoke marijuana around the world. In some countries, like Switzerland and the Netherlands, it is legal to buy. In other places it has all but been decriminalized. In Texas possession of even a small amount of marijuana can get you up to 6 months in jail. In Malaysia getting caught with 200 grams of marijuana merits a mandatory death sentence.



It is a socially acceptable drug. Alcohol is a depressant which slows down the body’s responses. Effects of alcohol depend on a number of factors, including a person’s size, weight, age, and sex, as well as the amount of food and alcohol consumed. Alcohol will often exaggerate whatever mood you're in when you start drinking. Alcohol is a relaxant so, in moderation, it can reduce feelings of anxiety and inhibitions, making you feel more sociable. Long-term effects of consuming large quantities of alcohol, especially when combined with poor nutrition, can lead to permanent damage to vital organs such as the brain and liver. In addition, mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may give birth to infants with fetal alcohol syndrome. Alcohol consumption is legal in most countries except from Middle East countries. In America it is illegal for people under the age of 21 while in other countries it is 18 and younger.