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Range of Effects From To
Developmen Prolonged t of Use of Large Tolerance Amounts
Withdrawal Symptoms After Prolonged Use
Alcohol - Beer - Wine - Hard Liquor
Depressant Relaxation, lowered inhibitions, reduced intensity of physical sensations, digestive upsets, body heat loss, reduced muscular coordination. Depressant Relaxation, lowered inhibitions, reduced intensity of physical sensations, digestive upsets, body heat loss, reduced muscular coordination.
Loss of body control, passing out (also causing physical injuries), susceptibility to pneumonia, cessation of breathing.
Liver damage, ulcers, chronic diarrhea, amnesia, vomiting, brain damage, internal bleeding, debilitation. Convulsions, shakes, hallucinations, loss of memory, uncontrolled muscular spasms, psychosis.
Sedative Hypnotics Barbiturates: - Nebutal - Phenobarbital - Seconal Tranquilizers: - Valium - Librium - Quaaludes
Passing out, loss of body control, stupor, severe depression of respiration, possible death. (Effects are exaggerated when used in combination with alcohol synergistic effect).
Amnesia, confusion, drowsiness, personality changes.
Opiates - Opium - Morphine - Heroin - Codeine - Dilaudids - Percodan - Darvon - Methadone
Depressant Clammy skin, Suppression of convulsions, pain, lowered coma, blood pressure respiratory and respiratory depression, rate, possible death. constipation, disruption of menstrual cycle, hallucinations, sleep. Stimulation of Paranoid Central reaction, Nervous temporary System psychosis, Increased irritability,
Depressed sexual drive, lethargy, general physical debilitation, infections, hepatitis
Water eyes, running nose, severe back pains, stomach cramps, sleeplessness, nausea, diarrhea, sweating, muscle spasms.
Stimulants Amphetamines - Dexedrine - Methamphetamines
Psychosis, insomnia, paranoia, nervous system
Severe depression, both physical and mental. (Not true for
Specific Drugs and Their Effects Drug Name: Drug Type: Facts for Parents: Other Names: How Consumed: Effects: Alcohol Depressant 25% of 8th graders have admitted to being intoxicated at least once. Beer, wine, liquor, cooler, malt liquor, booze Orally Addiction (alcoholism), dizziness, nausea, vomiting, hangovers, slurred speech, disturbed sleep, impaired motor skills, violent behavior, fetal alcohol syndrome, respiratory depression and death (high doses). Amphetamines Stimulant Chronic use can induce psychosis with symptoms similar to schizophrenia. Speed, uppers, ups, hearts, black beauties, pep pills, capilots, bumble bees, Benzedrine, Dexedrine, footballs, biphetamine Orally, injected, snorted, or smoked Addiction, irritability, anxiety, increased blood pressure, paranoia, psychosis, depression, aggression, convulsions, dilated pupils, dizziness, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, malnutrition. Increased risk of exposure to HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases if injected. Metamphetamines Stimulant Some users avoid sleep 3 to 15 days. Speed, meth, crank, crystal, ice, fire, croak, crypto, white cross, glass. "Ice" is the street name for the smokeable form. Orally, injected, snorted, or smoked Addiction, irritability, aggression, hypothermia, stroke, paranoia, psychosis, convulsions, heart and blood vessel toxicity, hallucinations, arrhythmia, formication (the sensation of insects creeping on or under your skin).
Drug Name: Drug Type: Facts for Parents: Other Names: How Consumed: Effects:
Drug Name: Drug Type: Facts for Parents: Other Names: How Consumed: Effects:
Drug Name: Ecstasy Drug Type: Stimulants Facts for Ecstasy is popular at all-night underground parties (called
Parents: Other Names: How Consumed: Effects:
raves) and is the most common designer drug. XTC, Adam, MDMA Orally Psychiatric disturbances, including panic, anxiety, depression, and paranoia. Muscle tension, nausea, blurred vision, sweating, increased heart rate, tremors, hallucinations, fainting, chills, sleep problems, and reduced appetite Ritalin Stimulant Some children buy or steal from their classmates Speed, west coast Tablet is crushed, and the powder is snorted or injected. Loss of appetite, fevers, convulsions, and severe headaches. Increased risk of exposure to HIV, hepatitis, and other infections. Paranoia, hallucinations, excessive repetition of movements and meaningless tasks, tremors, muscle twitching. Herbal Ecstasy/Ephedrine Herbal Ecstasy, Cloud 9, Rave Energy, Ultimate, Xphoria, and X The active ingredients in Herbal Ecstasy are caffeine and ephedrine. Orally Increased heart rate and blood pressure. Seizures, heart attacks, stroke, and death. Designer Drugs Stimulants Changing the molecular structure of an existing drug or drugs to create a new substance creates Designer drugs. Synthetic heroin, goodfella Injected, sniffed, or smoked. Instant respiratory paralysis. Potency creates strong possibility for overdose, many of the same effects as heroin.
Drug Name: Drug Type: Facts for Parents: Other Names: How Consumed: Effects:
Drug Name: Drug Type: Facts for Parents: How Consumed: Effects:
Drug Name: Drug Type: Facts for Parents: Other Names: How Consumed: Effects:
Drug Name: Cocaine
Drug Type: Facts for Parents: Other Names: How Consumed: Effects:
Stimulant Cocaine is a powerfully addictive drug. Heavy use may produce paranoia, hallucinations, aggression, insomnia, and depression. Coke, snow, nose candy, flake, blow, big C, lady, white, snowbirds. Snorted or dissolved in water and injected. Addiction, pupil dilation, elevated blood pressure and heart rate. Increased respiratory rate, seizures, heart attack, insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, irritability, increased body temperature, death from overdose. Crack Stimulant A cheaper form of cocaine that may be more addicting. Rock, freebase Same as cocaine Heroin Opiates Heroin users quickly develop a tolerance to the drug and need more and more of it to get the same effects, or even to feel well. Smack, horse, mud, brown, sugar, junk, black tar, big H, dope. Addiction. Slurred speech, slow gait, constricted pupils, droopy eyelids, impaired night vision, nodding off, respiratory depression or failure, dry itching skin, and skin infections. Increased risk of exposure to HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases if injected. PCP Hallucinogens Marijuana joints can be dipped into PCP without the smoker's knowledge. Angel dust, ozone, rocket fuel, peace pill, elephant tranquilizer, dust. Snorted, smoked, orally, or injected. Hallucinations. Out-of-body experiences, impaired motor coordination, inability to feel physical pain, respiratory attack, disorientation, fear, panic, aggressive behavior. Increased risk of exposure to HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases if
Drug Name: Drug Type: Facts for Parents: Other Names: Effects: Drug Name: Drug Type: Facts for Parents: Other Names: Effects:
Drug Name: Drug Type: Facts for Parents: Other Names: How Consumed: Effects:
injected. Death. Drug Name: Drug Type: Facts for Parents: Other Names: How Consumed: Effects: LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethyl amide) Hallucinogen LSD is the most common hallucinogen. LSD tabs are often decorated with colorful designs or cartoon characters. Acid, microdot, tabs, doses, trips, hits, sugar cubes. Tabs taken orally or gelatin/liquid put in eyes. Elevated body temperature and blood pressure, suppressed appetite, sleeplessness, tremors, chronic recurring hallucinations. Mushrooms Hallucinogens Many mushroom users purchase hallucinogenic mushroom spores via mail order. Shrooms, caps, magic mushrooms. Eaten or brewed and drunk in tea. Increased blood pressure, sweating, nausea, hallucinations.
Drug Name: Drug Type: Facts for Parents: Other Names: How Consumed: Effects:
Drug Name: Inhalants Facts for Hundreds of legal household products can be sniffed or huffed Parents: to get high. All inhalants can be toxic. Other Names: Laughing gas, whippets, aerosol sprays, cleaning fluids, solvents. How Vapors are inhaled Consumed: Effects: Headache, muscle weakness, abdominal pain, severe mood swings and violent behavior, nausea, nose bleeds; liver, lung, and kidney damage; dangerous chemical imbalances in the body, lack of coordination, fatigue, loss of appetite, decreases in heart and respiratory rates, hepatitis, or peripheral neuropathy from long-term use. Drug Name: Marijuana Facts for The average age of first use is 14. Can be smoked using Parents: homemade pipes and bongs made from soda cans or plastic beverage containers. Other Weed, pot, reefer, grass, dope, ganja, Mary Jane, sinsemilla, Names: herb, Aunt Mary, skunk, boom, kif, gangster, chronic, 420. How Smoked or eaten.
Bloodshot eyes, dry mouth, impaired or reduced comprehension, altered sense of time, reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination --such as driving a car, paranoia, intense anxiety attacks, altered cognition, making acquisition of new information difficult; impairments in learning, memory, perception, and judgment; difficulty speaking, listening effectively, thinking, retaining knowledge, problem solving. Steroids Steroid users subject themselves to more than 70 % potentially harmful side effects. Rhoids, juice Orally or injected into muscle Liver cancer Sterility, masculine traits in women and feminine traits in men, aggression, depression, acne, mood swings.
Drug Name: Facts for Parents: Other Names: How Consumed: Effects:
Drug Name: Tobacco Facts for 1 in 5 12th graders is a daily smoker. How Consumed: Parents: Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco (chew, dip, and snuff). Effects: Addiction, heart disease, cancer of the lung, larynx, esophagus, bladder, pancreas, kidney, and mouth. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis, spontaneous abortion, low birth weight.
Here are summaries of the effect of select street drugs on the brain. Some of the introductory information is derived from About.com. Select authoritative references for information about effects of drugs on the brain include: Drug Abuse in the Decade of the Brain, Gabriel G. Nahas and T. F. Burks, Eds., IOS Press, 1997. Drug Use and Abuse, Jean-Pierre Changeux, in The Brain by G. M. Edelman and J. Changeux, editors, Transaction Publishers, 2001. Heroin Heroin is a highly addictive opiate (like morphine). Brain cells can become dependent (highly addictive) on this drug to the extent that users need it in order to function in their daily routine. While heroin use starts out with a rush of pleasure, it leaves the use in a fog for many hours afterwards. Users soon find that their sole purpose in life is to have more of the drug that their body has become dependant on. From Dakota State University, a great resource on the effects of various drugs on the body and brain. See also, National Institute on Drug Abuse facts about heroin. Marijuana The parts of the brain that control emotions, memory, and judgment are affected by marijuana. Smoking it can not only weaken short-term memory, but can block information from making it into long term memory. It has also been shown to weaken problem solving ability. Cannabis and Cognitive Functioning, Nadia Solowi, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1998. Alcohol Alcohol is no safer than drugs. Alcohol impairs judgment and leads to memory lapses. It can lead to blackouts. It distorts vision, shortens coordination, and in addition to the brain can damage every other organ in the body. Cocaine Cocaine, both in powder form and as crack, is an extremely addictive stimulant. An addict usually loses interest in many areas of life, including school, sports, family, and friends. Use of cocaine can lead to feelings of paranoia and anxiety. Although often used to enhance sex drive, physical effect of cocaine on the receptors in the brain reduce the ability to feel pleasure (which in turn causes the dependency on
Amphetamines Wednesday 1 March, 2006 What are amphetamines?
Effects of amphetamines Tolerance and dependence Withdrawal Treatment options Pregnancy and breastfeeding Hepatitis and HIV Reducing the risks Amphetamines Australian Drug Foundation © 2005
This information has been adapted from the pamphlet How Drugs Affect You: Amphetamines, produced by the Australian Drug Foundation. For single copies of this pamphlet contact the DrugInfo Clearinghouse on telelphone 1300 85 85 84 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (Victoria only). Multiple copies are available through the ADF Bookshop. What are amphetamines? Amphetamines belong to a group of drugs called "psychostimulants". Amphetamines stimulate the central nervous system and speed up the messages going to and from the brain to the body. Most amphetamines are produced in backyard laboratories and sold illegally. People who buy amphetamines illegally are often buying these drugs mixed with other substances that can have unpleasant or harmful effects. What do they look like? Amphetamines are a whole family of related drugs—each with its own recipe —and are taken in different ways. They can be in the form of powder, tablets, capsules, crystals or red liquid. Amphetamines can come as a white through to a brown powder, sometimes even orange and dark purple. They have a strong smell and bitter taste. Amphetamine capsules vary considerably in colour and are sometimes sold in commercial brand shells. They are packaged in "foils" (aluminium foil), plastic bags or small balloons when sold on the street. Amphetamine tablets vary in colour, and can be a cocktail of drugs, binding agents, caffeine and sugar.
Crystal methamphetamine, or "ice", generally comes in large "sheet-like" crystals, or as a crystalline powder. The reddish-brown liquid is sold in capsules. MDMA, or "ecstasy" as it is more commonly known, is another illicit drug related to amphetamines. It is usually available in small tablets. Pictures of amphetamines Why are they used? People use amphetamines for different reasons. Some use the drugs to get "high" and dance all night. Others use the drugs to help stay awake for long periods of time, to improve performance in sport or at work, or to boost their self-confidence. Amphetamines can reduce tiredness and increase endurance. For medical purposes, amphetamines are prescribed to treat narcolepsy (where a person has an uncontrollable urge to sleep) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). How are they taken? Amphetamines are most commonly swallowed, injected or smoked. They are also "snorted", or sniffed, through the nose. Some people insert them anally ("shafting"). Street names Common names for amphetamines are "speed", "up", "fast", "louee", "goey", "whiz", "pep pills", "uppers". Crystal methamphetamine is also known as "ice", "shabu", "crystal meth", or "glass". Effects of amphetamines The effects of any drug (including amphetamines) vary from person to person, depending on the individual’s size, weight and health, how much and how the drug is taken, whether the person is used to taking it and whether other drugs are taken. It also depends on the environment in which the drug is used; for example, whether the person is alone, with others or at a party. Immediate effects Soon after taking amphetamines, the following effects may be experienced:
Speeding up of bodily functions Amphetamines speed up the body’s activity. Heart rate, breathing and blood pressure increase. A dry mouth, increased sweating, enlargement of the eye’s pupils and headaches may occur.
More energy and alertness Users may feel energetic and full of confidence, with a heightened sense of well being. Other effects include feeling wide awake and alert, becoming talkative, restless and excited, and having difficulty sleeping. Panic attacks may also be experienced. Reduced appetite Irritability Some users become anxious, irritable, hostile and aggressive. Sometimes people feel a sense of power and superiority over others.
Impure amphetamines Most amphetamines sold illegally contain a mixture of pure amphetamines and other substances such as sugar, glucose, bicarbonate of soda and ephedrine. These additives can be highly poisonous. They can cause collapsed veins, tetanus, abscesses and damage to the heart, lungs, liver and brain. And because the person doesn’t know whether they are using 5 per cent or 50 per cent pure amphetamines, it is easy to overdose by accident. In greater quantities Very high quantities of amphetamines can cause paleness, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, tremors, irregular heartbeat, stomach cramps, sweating, restlessness, irregular breathing and loss of coordination. Some users have collapsed after taking amphetamines. High quantities can also create an "amphetamine psychosis", characterised by paranoid delusions, hallucinations and aggressive or violent behaviour. Effects of overdosing Due to the unknown strength and mix of street amphetamines, some users have overdosed and experienced strokes, heart failure, seizures and high body temperature. Some have died as a result. Injecting runs a greater risk of overdosing due to large amounts of the drug entering the blood stream and quickly travelling to the brain. Coming down As the effects of amphetamines begin to wear off, a person may experience a range of symptoms including uncontrolled violence, tension, radical mood swings, depression and total exhaustion. Long-term effects Regular use of amphetamines may result in chronic sleeping problems, anxiety and tension, high blood pressure and a rapid and irregular heartbeat. In order to combat these drug-related effects, people who use
amphetamines may also use alcohol, benzodiazepines, other sedatives/hypnotics, cannabis and opiates. Other possible long-term effects include:
Malnutrition Amphetamines reduce appetite, resulting in people being less likely to eat properly. Psychosis Frequent heavy use can cause "amphetamine psychosis". Symptoms may include paranoia as well as delusions, hallucinations and bizarre behaviour. These symptoms usually disappear a few days after the person stops using amphetamines. Reduced resistance to infections Regular amphetamine users often don’t eat or sleep properly and are generally run down, so their resistance to infections is reduced. Violence People who use amphetamines regularly or in high quantities may suddenly become violent for no apparent reason. Brain damage There is some evidence that amphetamine use may damage brain cells. This damage can result in reduced memory function and possibly other impairments in thinking.
Tolerance and dependence People who are physically dependent on amphetamines usually develop tolerance to the drug, making it necessary to take more and more to get the same effect. The quantity taken can reach a stage at which no further increase in the amount taken will produce the desired effect. Dependence on amphetamines can be psychological or physical, or both. People who are psychologically dependent on amphetamines find that using them becomes far more important than other activities in their life. They crave the drug and will find it very difficult to stop using it. People who are physically dependent on amphetamines find that their body has become used to functioning with the amphetamines present. Withdrawal If a person who is dependent on amphetamines suddenly stops taking it, they will experience withdrawal symptoms, because their body has to readjust to functioning without the drug. Amphetamine withdrawal symptoms may include hunger, extreme fatigue, anxiety, irritability and depression. People may also have a long but restless
sleep, often interrupted by nightmares. Some experience severe distress or feelings of panic. Treatment options There are a number of drug treatment options available in Australia. While abstinence may be a suitable treatment aim for some people, many programs recognise that for others this may not be possible or realistic. Most programs adopt strategies that have an overall aim of reducing the harms and risks related to the person’s drug use. Some treatment options include counselling, group therapy, withdrawal (detoxification) and medication (pharmacotherapy). Residential and "outpatient" programs are available. Treatment is more effective if tailored to suit a person's circumstances, and usually involves a combination of methods. For referral to a treatment service, contact the alcohol and drug information service in your state or territory. More on treatment Pregnancy and breastfeeding Amphetamine use during pregnancy can affect foetal development. Amphetamine use has been linked with bleeding, early labour and miscarriage. Amphetamine use during pregnancy has also been linked to an increased risk of foetal abnormalities, including smaller head size, eye problems, cleft palate, delayed motor development, limb defects and changes to the brain. Amphetamines also cause the heart rate of mother and baby to increase. If amphetamines are used close to birth the baby may be unsettled and may be over-active and agitated. Babies of mothers who regularly use amphetamines may also experience withdrawal symptoms in the first few weeks after birth. Not much is known about the effects of amphetamines on the mother during breastfeeding. There is evidence that babies feed poorly and may be irritable. See your doctor or other health professional if you are taking or planning to take any substances while pregnant or breastfeeding, including prescribed and over-the-counter medications. More on alcohol, other drugs and pregnancy Hepatitis and HIV
Sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment can greatly increase the risk of contracting blood-borne viruses such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus—the virus that causes AIDS). To find out where to obtain clean needles and syringes, search the Better Health Channel service directory or contact the alcohol and drug information service in your State or Territory. Reducing the risks Australian drug policy is based on harm minimisation. The aim is to reduce drug-related harm to both the community and the individuals who use drugs. Harm-minimisation strategies range from encouraging "non-use" through to providing the means for people who use drugs to use them with reduced risks. For tips on how to reduce the risks of using amphetamines, contact the alcohol and drug information service in your State or Territory. Remember: there is no safe level of drug use. What to do in a crisis
If someone overdoses or has an adverse reaction while using amphetamines it is very important that they receive professional help as soon as possible. A quick response can save their life. Call an ambulance. Dial 000. Don’t delay because you think you or your friend might get into trouble. Ambulance officers are not obliged to involve the police. Stay with the person until the ambulance arrives. Find out if anyone at the scene knows mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Ensure that the person has adequate air by keeping crowds back and opening windows. Loosen tight clothing. If the person is unconscious, don’t leave them on their back—they could choke. Turn them on their side and put them in the recovery position. Gently tilt their head back so their tongue does not block the airway. If breathing has stopped, give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. If there is no pulse, apply CPR. Provide the ambulance officers with as much information as you can— what drugs were taken, how much was taken, how long ago and any pre-existing medical conditions.
Before using amphetamines, make sure you and your friends know what to do in a crisis.
Cannabis Wednesday 20 September, 2006 What is cannabis?
Effects of cannabis Cannabis and psychosis Medicinal use of cannabis Tolerance and dependence Withdrawal Treatment options Pregnancy and breastfeeding Reducing the risks Cannabis sativa plant Australian Drug Foundation © 2005
This information has been adapted from the pamphlet How Drugs Affect You: Cannabis, produced by the Australian Drug Foundation. For single copies of this pamphlet phone 1300 85 85 84 or email email@example.com (Victoria only). Multiple copies are available from the ADF Bookshop. What is cannabis? Cannabis is a drug that comes from Indian hemp plants such as Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. The active chemical in cannabis is THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol). Cannabis is a depressant drug. Depressants do not necessarily make the person feel depressed. Rather, they affect the central nervous system by slowing down the messages going between the brain and the body. What does it look like? There are three main forms of cannabis:
Marijuana is the most common and least powerful form of cannabis. It is the dried leaves and flowers of the plant. Marijuana looks like chopped grass, and ranges in colour from grey-green to greenishbrown. Marijuana is smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints) or in a pipe (a bong).
Hashish (hash) is dried cannabis resin which comes in small blocks. The blocks range in colour from light brown to nearly black. The concentration of THC in hashish is higher than in marijuana, producing stronger effects. Hash is added to tobacco and smoked, or baked and eaten in foods such as "hash cookies". Hash oil is a thick, oily liquid, golden-brown to black, that can be extracted from hashish. It is usually spread on the tip or paper of cigarettes and then smoked. Hash oil is more powerful than the other forms of cannabis. This form is rarely found in Australia.
A non-potent form of cannabis (Indian hemp) is used to produce fibres for use in paper, textiles and clothing. More pictures of cannabis THC THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) is the chemical in cannabis that makes you feel "high". This means you experience a change in mood and may see or feel things in a different way. Some parts of the plant contain a higher level of THC. For example, the flowers, or "heads", have more THC than the stems and leaves. THC is absorbed into the bloodstream through the walls of the lungs (if cannabis is smoked), or through the walls of the stomach and intestines (if eaten). The bloodstream carries the THC to the brain, producing the "high" effects. Drugs that are inhaled get into the bloodstream quicker than those eaten. Street names "Grass", "pot", "hash", "weed", "reefer", "dope", "herb", "mull", "buddha", "ganja", "joint", "stick", "buckets", "cones", "skunk", "hydro", "yarndi", "smoke", "hooch" Effects of cannabis The effects of any drug (including cannabis) vary from person to person. It depends on many factors, including an individual’s size, weight and health, how the drug is taken, how much is taken, whether the person is used to taking it and whether other drugs are taken. Immediate effects Small doses of cannabis can have effects that last 2–4 hours after smoking. These effects include:
relaxation and loss of inhibition
increased appetite affected perception of colour, sound and other sensations impaired coordination affected thinking and memory.
Other common immediate effects include increased heart rate, low blood pressure and reddened eyes. In greater quantities Larger quantities of marijuana make the above effects stronger, and also tend to distort a person’s perceptions. Very large quantities of marijuana can produce:
confusion restlessness feelings of excitement hallucinations anxiety or panic, or detachment from reality decreased reaction time paranoia.
Long-term effects Research shows evidence of some long-term effects in some regular cannabis users.
Respiratory illness Marijuana cigarettes have more tar than tobacco, placing cannabis users at an increased risk of respiratory illness such as lung cancer and chronic bronchitis. Cigarette smokers who also smoke cannabis have an even greater risk of respiratory disease. Reduced motivation Many regular users have reported that they have less energy and motivation, so that performance at work or school suffers. Brain function Concentration, memory and the ability to learn can all be reduced by regular cannabis use. These effects can last for several months after ceasing cannabis use.
Hormones Cannabis can affect hormone production. Research shows that some cannabis users have a lower sex drive. Irregular menstrual cycles and lowered sperm counts have also been reported. Immune system There is some concern that cannabis smoking may impair the functioning of the immune system.
Cannabis and psychosis It is believed that cannabis use—especially if heavy and regular—may be linked to a condition known as a drug-induced psychosis, or "cannabis psychosis". This can last up to a few days. The episodes are often characterised by hallucinations, delusions, memory loss and confusion. There is some evidence that regular cannabis use increases the likelihood of psychotic symptoms occurring in an individual who is vulnerable due to a personal or family history of mental illness. Cannabis also appears to make psychotic symptoms worse for those with schizophrenia and lowers the chances of recovery from a psychotic episode. Medicinal use of cannabis Cannabis has been used medicinally for many centuries. There is evidence to suggest it is useful in providing relief from nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, wasting and severe weight loss, pain, glaucoma, epilepsy and asthma. Tolerance and dependence With regular use, people can develop a mild tolerance to cannabis. This means they need to take more and more to get the same effect. Heavy and frequent use of cannabis can cause physical dependence. Physical dependence occurs when a person’s body has adapted to a drug and is used to functioning with the drug present. It is possible to become psychologically dependent on cannabis. This means that using cannabis becomes far more important than other activities in their life. Some people crave the drug and find it very difficult to stop using it. Withdrawal Abrupt termination of cannabis use can produce withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms include sleep disturbance, irritability, loss of appetite, nervousness, anxiety, sweating and upset stomach. Sometimes chills, increased body temperature and tremors occur. The withdrawal symptoms
usually last for less than a week, although the sleep disturbances may persist for longer. Treatment options There are a number of drug treatment options available in Australia. Some treatment options include counselling, withdrawal (detoxification) and medication. Most programs adopt strategies that have an overall aim of reducing the harms and risks related to the person's drug use. Information on cutting down or quitting More on treatment Pregnancy and breastfeeding If cannabis is used during pregnancy the baby may be born smaller and lighter than other babies. Low birth weight can be associated with infections and breathing problems. There is also some evidence that cannabis use during pregnancy may affect the baby's behaviour. Little is known about the effects of cannabis use on breastfeeding. It is believed that some of the drug will pass through the breast milk to the baby, and the baby may become unsettled and demand frequent feeding. See your doctor or other health professional if you are taking or planning to take any substances while pregnant or breastfeeding, including prescribed and over-the-counter medications. More on alcohol, other drugs and pregnancy Reducing the risks Australian drug policy is based on harm minimisation. This is about reducing drug-related harm to both the community and individual drug users. Harm-minimisation strategies range from encouraging "non-use" through to providing the means for people who use drugs to use them with reduced risks. Cocaine
What is cocaine? Cocaine use in Australia Effects of cocaine Dangers in method of use
Cocaine and other drugs Tolerance and dependence Withdrawal Treatment options Pregnancy and breastfeeding Cocaine and the law Cocaine and driving Cocaine and social problems Reducing the risks What to do in a crisis
More pictures of cocaine This information has been adapted from the How Drugs Affect You: Cocaine pamphlet produced by the Australian Drug Foundation. For single copies of this pamphlet phone 1300 85 85 84 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (Victoria only). For multiple copies telephone 1800 069 700 see the ADF catalogue (review copies are available). What is cocaine? Cocaine belongs to a group of drugs known as ‘stimulants’. Stimulants speed up the activity of the central nervous system-the messages going to and from the brain. Amphetamines (or ‘speed’) and nicotine are also stimulants. Cocaine most commonly comes in the form of a white, odourless powder called ‘cocaine hydrochloride’. It has a bitter, numbing taste. The powder is extracted from the leaves of the coca bush, found mainly in Peru and Bolivia . The extract is then processed with various chemicals. How is it used? Cocaine is inhaled (snorted) through the nose, or injected. It is also smoked through a process known as ‘freebasing’-where the cocaine is converted to an alkaloid form. Cocaine hydrochloride cannot be smoked, since the drug is destroyed at high temperatures. ‘Crack’ is a very pure form of freebase cocaine sold in the form of small crystals or rocks. Crakc is smoked in pipes or in cigarettes, mixed with tobacco or marijuana. Crack has rarely been seen in Australia . Like other illegally manufactured drugs, such as ‘speed’, there are no controls on factors such as the strength and hygiene of cocaine. Cocaine may be
mixed, or ‘cut’, with other substances such as sugar, baking soda and talcum powder to increase profits. This increases the risk of experiencing harmful or unpleasant effects. Cocaine was used as a local anaesthetic for eye, ear and throat surgery. Recently cocaine has been replaced with synthetic anaesthetics (e.g. lidocaine), but it continues to have limited use in certain surgical procedures. Street names C, coke, flake, nose candy, snow, dust, white, white lady, toot, crack, rock, freebase Cocaine use in Australia According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s 2001 National Drug Household Survey 1 of Australians aged 14 and over:
4.4 per cent of Australians reported having used cocaine at some stage in their life. Of those who had ever used cocaine, the average initiation age was 22.6.
1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2002 2001 National Drug Household Survey First Results, AIHW, Canberra More drug statistics Effects of cocaine The effects of any drug (including cocaine) vary from person to person. It depends on many factors, including an individual’s size, weight and health, how much and how the drug is taken, whether the person is used to taking it and whether other drugs are taken. It also depends on the environment in which the drug is used-for example, whether the person is alone, with others or at a party. Immediate effects Many people have experienced the following effects shortly after taking cocaine:
physiological arousal, including increased body temperature and heart rate exhilaration anxiety
feelings of well-being decreased hunger panic poor concentration and judgement indifference to pain and fatigue feelings of great physical strength and mental capacity enlarged pupils sexual arousal unpredictable and/or violent behaviour.
When inhaled, the effects of cocaine peak after 15 to 30 minutes, and then diminish. In greater quantities Using large quantities of cocaine repeatedly over a period of hours can lead to:
extreme agitation anxiety paranoia hallucinations dizziness nausea and vomiting tremors unpredictable violent/aggressive behaviour loss of concentration loss of coordination loss of interest in sex loss of ambition and motivation heart pain heart attack paranoid psychosis increased body temperature
rapid, irregular and shallow breathing.
Overdose The dosage and method of use that can cause cocaine overdose varies from person to person. The effects of overdose are very intense and, generally, short in nature. Although uncommon, deaths have been recorded from cocaine overdose due to:
seizures heart attack brain haemorrhage kidney failure stroke repeated convulsions.
Long-term effects People who have used cocaine over longer periods tend to take cocaine in high quantities-‘binges’ interrupted by ‘crashes’. A ‘binge’ is where the drug is taken repeatedly over several hours or days. The person may attempt to end the binge by taking a depressant drug such as alcohol, benzodiazepines or heroin. The binge is followed by the ‘crash’-a period characterised by intense depression, lethargy and hunger. The unpleasant effects of cocaine increase with more frequent, long-term use. This often results in the person discontinuing their use for a period of time. Most of the following symptoms will dissipate once cocaine use ceases:
restlessness nausea hyper-excitability insomnia weight loss psychosis paranoia exhaustion hallucinations depression/inability to experience pleasure (anhedonia).
Dangers in method of use There are a number of dangers relating to the method of using cocaine:
Repeated snorting damages the lining of the nose and nasal passages, and can also damage the structure separating the nostrils. Cocaine is often mixed with substances that are poisonous when injected. This may cause collapsed veins, abscesses and damage to the heart, liver and brain. In addition, because people who use cocaine often don’t know the exact purity and strength of the drug they are taking, chances of overdose and death are also increased. If injected into the skin, either by intent or accident, cocaine causes severe vasoconstriction, which may prevent blood flowing to the tissue, potentially resulting in severe tissue damage. This can occur after just one injection of cocaine. There is increased risk of transmission of blood-borne viruses and infections such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Smoking cocaine can cause breathing difficulties, chronic cough, chest pain and lung damage.
Long-term injection can result in:
blood vessels becoming blocked by substances mixed with cocaine, which can lead to major damage to bodily organs inflamed blood vessels and abscesses. HIV and hepatitis: sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment can greatly increase the risk of contracting blood-borne viruses such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus - the virus that causes AIDS).
Call the alcohol and drug information service in your State or Territory to find out where to obtain clean needles and syringes. Cocaine and other drugs Cocaine is often mixed with other drugs to enhance its desirable effects or to help the person cope with the undesirable effects of cocaine. These substances may include alcohol, cannabis, heroin or benzodiazepines. The consequences of mixing cocaine with other substances are often unpredictable. Mixing cocaine with alcohol produces a substance in the blood called ‘cocaethylene’, which can be more toxic to the body than the cocaine itself. Injecting cocaine and heroin at the same time can affect the area of the brain that controls breathing, increasing the chances of coma and death.
Generally, health risks increase when mixing cocaine with other drugs, especially when large quantities are taken. Tolerance and dependence Tolerance Initial tolerance to cocaine develops rapidly with continual heavy use. After this initial level is reached, people who use cocaine don’t appear to develop tolerance for increasing amounts. Regular users may in fact develop a ‘reverse tolerance’, whereby they experience the effects of the drug more intensely. Tolerance to cocaine may not be obvious due to the tendency to mix cocaine with other drugs such as heroin and alcohol. Dependence Physical dependence upon a drug occurs when a person’s body is used to functioning with the drug present in the system. Physical dependence on cocaine has not yet been established. Psychological dependence occurs when using a drug becomes more important than other activities in a person’s life. Because of its powerful euphoric effects, cocaine users may develop a strong psychological dependence upon it. Even after long periods of abstinence, strong cravings can persist. A person who has become dependent upon cocaine may find it difficult to stop using it. Those who have stopped using cocaine may be prone to relapse. Withdrawal Withdrawal symptoms occur when a person dependent on a drug stops using it or significantly cuts down the amount they are using. Cocaine withdrawal generally occurs in three phases: 1. ‘Crash’, which describes symptoms experienced immediately after the person stops using cocaine-usually in the first two to four days. Symptoms include:
agitation depression intense craving for the drug extreme fatigue.
2. Withdrawal, which can last up to ten weeks and is characterised by:
depression lack of energy anxiety intense craving angry outbursts.
3. Extinction, which can last indefinitely, and includes symptoms of episodic cravings for cocaine, usually in response to conditioned cues. These cravings may surface months or years after the person has stopped using cocaine. Other withdrawal symptoms that may be experienced include:
lack of motivation inability to feel any pleasure nausea/vomiting shaking irritability/agitation muscle pain long, but disturbed sleep.
Treatment options There are a number of drug treatment options available in Australia . While abstinence may be a suitable treatment aim for some people, many programs recognise that for others this may not be possible or realistic. Most programs adopt strategies that have an overall aim of reducing the harms and risks related to the person’s drug use. Some treatment options include counselling, withdrawal (detoxification) and pharmacotherapy. Residential and ‘out-patient’ programs are available. More on treatment Pregnancy and breastfeeding Pregnancy Research indicates that effects of cocaine use during pregnancy may cause bleeding, miscarriage, premature labour and stillbirth. Cocaine increases the heart rate in both the mother and baby, and the supply of blood and oxygen to the baby is reduced. This means the baby is more
likely to be small and grow slowly both before and after birth. If cocaine is used close to birth, the baby may be born intoxicated, showing symptoms of hyperactivity and agitation. Withdrawal symptoms can occur in the babies of mothers who use cocaine regularly. These include sleepiness and lack of responsiveness. To date, research is inconclusive as to whether children of mothers who use cocaine experience any long-term mental or physical effects. Some studies suggest that malformations of the genito-urinary tract, heart, limbs and/or face occur in the babies of women who use cocaine. More on alcohol, other drugs and pregnancy Breastfeeding It is likely that cocaine will reach the baby through breast milk. The effect this has on the baby will depend on factors such as the amount and strength of cocaine used, and the time between using cocaine and feeding the baby. Symptoms may include the baby being irritable, unsettled and difficult to feed. See your doctor or other health professional if you are taking or planning to take any substances while pregnant or breastfeeding, including prescribed and over-the-counter medications. Cocaine and the law Cocaine is illegal in Australia . Federal, State and Territory laws include penalties for possessing, using, making or selling cocaine. Drug laws in Australia distinguish between those who use drugs and those who supply or traffic drugs. At present in Victoria, penalties range from a $2000 fine and/or one year’s imprisonment for cultivation (if the court is satisfied that the offence is not related to trafficking), $3000 and/or one year’s imprisonment for possession/use (not relating to trafficking) to fines of up to $250 000 and/or 25 years’ imprisonment for commercial trafficking. In Victoria , the police and courts have introduced a number of programs in relation to drug offences. Some of these aim to divert people from the criminal justice system; others involve referring people with a drug problem into treatment programs. More on drug laws Cocaine and driving It is illegal for anyone to drive under the influence of any drug (including cocaine). Breaking this law carries penalties including disqualification from
driving, heavy fines and/or imprisonment. Due to the nature of its psychological and physical effects, it is dangerous to drive a vehicle after taking cocaine. If cocaine is combined with other drugs, such as alcohol, the risk of accident is further increased. More on drugs and driving Cocaine and social problems Cocaine users can become preoccupied with purchasing, preparing, using and recovering from the effects of use of cocaine, neglecting other areas of their life. All areas of a person’s life, including family, work, and personal relationships, can be affected by drug use. For example, arguments over drug use can cause family and relationship problems that may lead to break-up. Some effects of cocaine, such as anxiety, paranoia and irrational behaviour, may further exacerbate these problems. Reducing the risks Australian drug policy is based on harm minimisation. This is about reducing drug-related harm to both the community and individual drug users. Harm-minimisation strategies range from encouraging ‘non-use’ through to providing the means for people to use drugs with fewer risks. For further ‘tips’ on how to reduce the risks of using cocaine, call the alcohol and drug information service in your State or Territory. Remember there is no safe level of drug use. What to do in a crisis If someone overdoses or has an adverse reaction while using cocaine it is very important that they receive professional help as soon as possible. A quick response can save their life.
Call an ambulance. Dial 000. Don't delay because you think you or the person might get into trouble. Ambulance officers are not obliged to involve the police. Stay with the person until the ambulance arrives. Find out if anyone at the scene knows mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Ensure the person has adequate air by keeping crowds back and opening windows. Loosen tight clothing. If the person is unconscious, don’t leave them on their back—they could choke. Turn them on their side and into the recovery position. Gently tilt their head back so their tongue does not block the airway.
If the person has stopped breathing, give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. If there is no pulse, apply CPR. Provide the ambulance officers with as much information as you can-how much cocaine was taken, how long ago, and any pre-existing medical conditions. Arrange with friends before cocaine is taken about what to do in a crisis
Heroin Wednesday 20 September, 2006 What is heroin?
Effects of heroin Tolerance and dependence Withdrawal Treatment options Pregnancy and breastfeeding Heroin, hepatitis and HIV Reducing the risks Heroin Australian Drug Foundation © 2005
This information has been adapted from the pamphlet How Drugs Affect You: Heroin, produced by the Australian Drug Foundation. For single copies of this pamphlet phone 1300 85 85 84 or email email@example.com (Victoria only). Multiple copies are available from the ADF Bookshop. What is heroin? Heroin is one of a group of drugs known as "opioids". Other opioids include opium, morphine, codeine, pethidine, oxycodone, buprenorphine and methadone. Heroin and other opioids are depressants. Depressants do not necessarily make you feel depressed. Rather, they slow down the activity of the central nervous system and messages going to and from the brain and the body. What does it look like? Heroin can range from a fine white powder to off-white granules or pieces of brown "rock". It has a bitter taste but no smell and is generally packaged in "foils" (aluminium foil) or small, coloured balloons.
More pictures of heroin How is it made? When the seedpod of the opium poppy is cut, a sticky resin (opium) oozes out. This resin is refined to produce opium. Opium takes its name from the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, which grows in many parts of the world— commonly in Asia and the Middle East, but also in the United States and Australia. For centuries, opium has been used by many cultures as a medicine and as a recreational drug. Morphine, codeine and pethidine are still widely used for medical purposes. Heroin is made from morphine or codeine by a chemical process, but has a stronger painkilling effect than either of these drugs. The potency and purity of heroin used can vary substantially, depending on a number of factors, including:
how it is manufactured the ingredients used (for example, morphine and codeine) what the final products is diluted ("cut") with.
How is it used? Heroin is most commonly injected into a vein. It is also smoked ("chasing the dragon"), added to marijuana or tobacco cigarettes, or snorted. Street names smack, skag, dope, H, junk, hammer, slow, gear, harry, horse, black tar, china white, Chinese H, white dynamite, dragon, elephant, homebake, poison. Effects of heroin The effects of heroin may last 3 to 5 hours. Immediate effects
Intense pleasure and a strong feeling of wellbeing Confusion Pain relief Slowed breathing Decreased blood pressure and heart rate
Constricted pupils Dry mouth Suppressed cough reflex Reduced sexual urges Drowsiness Slurred and slow speech Reduced coordination Nausea and vomiting
In greater quantities The immediate effects intensify and last longer with higher quantities of heroin. The following effects are also likely to occur:
The ability to concentrate is impaired. The user is likely to fall asleep ("on the nod"). Breathing becomes shallower and slower. Nausea and vomiting are more likely to occur. Sweating, itching and increased urinary output are also likely.
Overdose Using a large quantity of heroin can cause death. Breathing becomes very slow, the body temperature drops and the heartbeat becomes irregular. Overdose may occur if:
too much heroin is injected the strength or purity is high heroin is used with alcohol or sedatives (alcohol or benzodiazepines).
To reverse the effects of a heroin overdose, the attending ambulance officer will inject the drug naloxone (such as Narcan) to restart breathing. The Narcan may not last as long as the heroin, so the person will feel "stoned" again and may even become unconscious again. It is important that another quantity of heroin is not taken again on that day, as it may combine with the original quantity of heroin taken and could cause an overdose. After an overdose, it is strongly advisable to seek advice at a hospital.
Short-term effects Apart from overdosing, the major problem with short-term use of any opiate is the way it is used. For example, injecting heroin can result in skin, heart and lung infections, and diseases like hepatitis and HIV. Long-term effects In its pure form, heroin is relatively non-toxic to the body, causing little damage to body tissue and other organs. However, there are some long-term effects, including dependence, constipation, menstrual irregularity and infertility in women, loss of sex drive in men, intense sadness and cognitive impairment. Many of the other long-term problems may be the result of other factors, such as the person's poor general care of the self, drug impurities and contaminants and blood-borne viruses. Heroin is usually a mixture of pure heroin and other substances, such as caffeine and sugar. Additives can be highly poisonous. They can cause collapsed veins, tetanus, abscesses and damage to the heart, lungs, liver and brain. Tolerance and dependence People who are physically dependent on heroin usually develop tolerance to the drug, making it necessary to take more and more to get the desired effects. Eventually, a dose plateau is reached, at which no amount of the drug is sufficient. When this level is achieved, the person may continue to use heroin, but largely for the purpose of delaying withdrawal symptoms. Dependence on heroin can be psychological, physical or both. People who are psychologically dependent on heroin find that using it becomes far more important than other activities in their lives. They crave the drug and will find it very difficult to stop using it, or even to cut down on the amount they use. People who are physically dependent on heroin find that their body has become used to functioning with the drug present. Withdrawal If a dependent person suddenly stops taking heroin, or severely cuts down the amount they use, they will experience withdrawal symptoms because their body has to readjust to functioning without the drug. This usually occurs within a few hours after last use. Withdrawal symptoms can include:
a craving for the drug restlessness yawning low blood pressure elevated heart rate stomach and leg cramps, muscle spasms loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea goose bumps tears and a runny nose increased irritability insomnia depression.
These withdrawal symptoms get stronger and usually peak around 2 to 4 days after last use. They usually subside after 6 to 7 days, but some symptoms, such as chronic depression, anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite, periods of agitation and a continued craving for the drug, may last for periods of months and even years. Sudden withdrawal from heroin rarely causes direct death, unless the user is also using other drugs and is in poor health. Withdrawal from heroin or opioids is much less dangerous than withdrawal from some other drugs like alcohol or benzodiazepines. Treatment options A number of drug treatment options are available in Australia. Some aim solely for the user to achieve a drug-free lifestyle, while others recognise abstinence as one option among a number of strategies that have an overall aim of reducing the harms related to the person's drug use. Treatment is more effective if tailored to suit a person’s specific situation, and usually involves a combination of methods. The different options include counselling, group therapy, medication (pharmacotherapy) and supervised home withdrawal. Pharmacotherapy based treatments Methadone A synthetic opioid that can be used as a substitute for heroin. The intention is to reduce the impact that heroin has on the lives of people who are dependent on heroin by reducing the harms associated with injecting an expensive illicit drug of unknown strength and purity.
More on methadone Buprenorphine Can help treat heroin dependence by preventing withdrawal symptoms and by blocking the effects of heroin, so using heroin will not provide the "high" that would normally be expected. More on buprenorphine Naltrexone Naltrexone works by blocking the analgesic and euphoric effects of heroin and other opioids. It can assist in maintaining abstinence from heroin because the person is aware that they cannot achieve a "high" from using heroin. More on naltrexone Ultra Rapid Opiate Detox (UROD) UROD is a quick method of withdrawing or detoxifying from opioids. It involves high doses of naltrexone given over a 48-hour period or less along with heavy sedation. By the end of the process, the patient should be physically withdrawn from opiates. UROD is currently under trial in Australia. More on treatment Pregnancy and breastfeeding Using heroin while pregnant can affect foetal development. Heroin use has been associated with an increased risk of miscarriage and premature birth, and babies may be born smaller than average and may be prone to illness. The substances that are cut with heroin may also cause problems during the pregnancy and affect the developing foetus. Injecting heroin can increase the risk of both the mother and baby becoming infected with blood-borne viruses, such as hepatitis and HIV. Heroin can pass through the placenta to the foetus, and after birth the baby can experience heroin withdrawal, known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Most babies can be comforted with supported care, but some babies with severe NAS may need to be treated with medication to help with the withdrawal. Pregnant women who want to stop taking heroin need to be very careful. Sudden withdrawal from heroin may harm the baby and increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth. If a mother continues to use heroin while breastfeeding, it is possible that the drug will be present in her milk and may have adverse effects on the baby.
It is recommended that you check with your doctor or other health professional if you are taking or planning to take any substances during pregnancy, including prescribed and over-the-counter medications. More on alcohol, other drugs and pregnancy Heroin, hepatitis and HIV Sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment can greatly increase the risk of contracting blood-borne viruses such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus—the virus that causes AIDS). The alcohol and drug information service in your state or territory can provide information on where to obtain clean needles and syringes. Reducing the risks Australian drug policy is based on harm minimisation. The aim is to reduce drug-related harm to both the community and individuals who use drugs. Harm-minimisation strategies range from encouraging "non- use" through to providing the means for people who use drugs to do so with fewer risks. For tips on how to reduce the risks of using heroin, call the alcohol and drug information service in your state or territory. What to do in a drug crisis If someone is suspected of having overdosed while using heroin, it is very important that they receive professional help as soon as possible. A quick response can save their life.
Call an ambulance. Dial 000. Don’t delay because you think you or your friend might get into trouble. Ambulance officers are not obliged to involve the police. Stay with the person until the ambulance arrives. Find out if anyone at the scene knows mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Ensure adequate air by keeping crowds back and opening windows. Loosen tight clothing. If the person is unconscious, don’t leave them on their back — they could choke. Turn them on their side and into the recovery position. Gently tilt their head back so their tongue does not block the airway. If breathing has stopped, give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. If there is no pulse, apply CPR.
Provide the ambulance officers with as much information as you can— how much heroin was taken, how long ago, and any pre-existing medical conditions. Plan what to do in a crisis.
Remember, there is no safe level of drug use Alcohol Alcohol comes in many forms, including liquor (bourbon, gin, scotch), beer, wine, and wine coolers. In general, one ounce of liquor, one beer, and one glass of wine (5 ounces) contain equal amounts of alcohol. Effects Alcohol acts on the brain and can produce addiction. Short-term effects: The more a person drinks in one sitting, the more pronounced short-term effects become. Small amounts (1-2 drinks) generally produce pleasant feelings. Larger amounts produce depressant effects on the brain. Judgment, reaction time, speech and motor control are increasingly impaired with increasing amounts of alcohol. Drunk drivers kill about 23,000 Americans a year. Very large amounts of alcohol can cause death from overdose by reducing the number of messages the brain sends to the chest muscles that regulate breathing. The drinker stops breathing and dies. Long-term effects: Over time, alcohol can produce tolerance, physical dependence and addiction. Alcohol can cause many kinds of cancer and can permanently damage the brain. In severe cases, alcohol destroys the part of the brain where short-term memory occurs, making it impossible to learn anything new. Women should not drink during pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome is the leading, preventable cause of mental retardation in the United States. Common Street Names Juice, cold ones, brewskies, poison, booze, hooch, sauce. Legal Status In the United States, it is legal to produce and sell alcohol to adults and legal for adults to buy it. It is illegal to sell alcohol to those under age 21, and illegal for them to buy it. Cocaine and crack come from the leaves of the coca plant, which grows primarily in South America. Cocaine is processed into a white powder which people snort or melt and inject. Crack is further processed into a substance that can be smoked Effects Cocaine acts on the brain and is a highly addictive drug. Because crack is smoked, and allows high doses to reach the brain rapidly, crack is even more addictive. Both forms of the drug trap a chemical called dopamine in the spaces between the brain's nerve
cells in a part of the brain called the reward system. Dopamine stimulates and restimulates these nerve cells, making the user feel intense pleasure. The brain responds to the overabundance of dopamine by destroying some of it, making less of it, and shutting down the cells' receptors so they can no longer receive dopamine's messages. The person consumes more cocaine more often in an effort to re-experience the pleasure felt at first use, gradually losing control over his or her cocaine-taking behavior and becoming addicted. Addicts are preoccupied with getting their drug, and most of their thoughts and behaviors are directed to that end. Cocaine interferes with judgment and produces exaggerated feelings of well-being and confidence. High doses can produce paranoia, and users can become aggressive and violent. In rare cases, cocaine can produce death, after first use or after prolonged use. Death occurs from cardiac arrest (the person's heart stops beating), or seizures followed by respiratory arrest (the person stops breathing). Pregnant mothers should never use any drug during pregnancy. Scientists are trying to understand the precise effect of cocaine on the developing fetus. They know that a mother who is addicted to drugs does not take care of herself properly, that her fetus does not receive adequate nutrition needed to develop properly, and that addicted mothers rarely care for their newborns properly. Common Street Names Coke, blow, powder, sugar, nose candy, rock, crack, base. Legal Status Cocaine is a Schedule II drug in the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. It is illegal to grow, process, sell or use cocaine or crack. However, because cocaine has limited use in medicine as an anesthetic, doctors may use it in surgery. Heroin is one of several highly addictive drugs derived from the opium poppy plant, along with morphine, opium, Dilaudid, and others. People inject opiates, snort them or take them by mouth. Effects Scientists first began to understand how drugs act on the brain with the discovery of the opiate receptor. Why would the human nervous system have a receptor for an illegal drug? This question led scientists to the discovery of two natural substances in the brain, which they named endorphins and enkephalins, that bind to this receptor and relieve pain. Opiate drugs such as heroin fit into this receptor, change the way the brain works, and produce addiction. Heroin may depress the body's ability to withstand infection. It produces euphoria, drowsiness, respiratory depression, constricted
pupils and nausea. It is the drug most often associated with the transmission of HIV/AIDS because most users inject the drug, often with used, contaminated needles. As heroin leaves the brain and body, users experience withdrawal symptoms (often described as feeling like a severe case of flu.) They include watery eyes, runny nose, yawning, loss of appetite, tremors, panic, chills, sweating, nausea, muscle cramps, and insomnia. Blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and temperature all elevate. People can overdose on heroin, which reduces the number of messages the brain sends to the chest muscles. The person's breathing slows, and, if the dose is high enough, stops. Heroin use during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight, stillbirths, placental abruptions, and sudden death syndrome. Babies of addicts are born dependent on the drug and must go through withdrawal as their first task in life. Common Street Names Lady, white girl, horse, black tar, brown sugar, smack, goods, H, junk. Legal Status Heroin is a Schedule I drug in the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. It is illegal to grow, process, sell or use heroin. Morphine and other opiate derivatives are in lower schedules because they have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective for use in medicine. They are potent pain relievers. Ice is methamphetamine that has been crystallized so it can be smoked. Ice is a stimulant. It stimulates the central nervous system, resulting in increased activity and alertness. Effects Physical effects of ice include: heart palpitations, blurred vision, extended wakefulness, and damage to the brain, lungs and liver. Methamphetamine can interfere with vision, judgment, coordination, and reflexes, which may lead to automobile and other machinery accidents. Effects of the drug may last from 2 hours to 20 hours depending on how much is smoked. Behavioral effects include violence, hallucinations, depression and psychosis. Common Street Names Crystals, crystal-meth, batu, glass. Legal Status Ice is made from methamphetamine which is a schedule II drug in the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. It is illegal to produce, sell, or use methamphetamine for nonmedical purposes.
Inhalants are legal products abused by those who sniff or inhale them for the purpose of getting high. Inhalants fall into three
categories: volatile solvents such as glue, gasoline, aerosols; anesthetics such as nitrous oxide; and nitrites such as amyl and butyl nitrite. Effects Inhalants act on the brain and destroy the outer lining of nerve cells, making it impossible for those cells to communicate. Symptoms of use include dilated pupils, blisters or rash around the nose or mouth, chronic cough, nausea and headaches, disorientation, and a chemical odor on breath. After only six months of use, the brain, lungs, nerves, liver, kidneys and bones may be permanently damaged. More than 60 young people died from sniffing inhalants in 1993 in the United States. Common Street Names Glue, whipped cream, poppers, rush. Legal Status Legislation varies from state to state. In some states it is illegal to inhale fumes intentionally for the purpose of intoxication LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is one of the major hallucinogenic drugs and one of the most potent mood-changing chemicals. LSD is sold on the street in tablets, capsules, or occasionally in liquid form. It is odorless, colorless and tasteless and is usually taken by mouth. Often it is added to absorbent paper, such as blotter paper, and divided into small squares with each square representing a dose. Effects Effects are unpredictable and depend on the amount taken, the user's personality, mood and expectations, and the surroundings in which the drug is used. Physical effects include higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure. Sensations and feelings change much more dramatically than the physical signs. The user may experience delusions and visual hallucinations which can cause panic. Users refer to acute negative reactions to LSD as "a bad trip." Many users experience flashbacks, a recurrence of certain aspects of a person's drug experience without the user having taken the drug again. Common Street Names Acid, beast, blue cheer, blue heaven, dot, Lucy in the sky with diamonds, cid (or sid). Legal Status LSD is a Schedule I drug in the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I includes drugs with a high potential for abuse and no accepted use in medicine. Marijuana Research Reports
Marijuana is derived from the cannabis plant, which grows in many countries, including the United States. People put it in rolling papers to make marijuana cigarettes, smoke it in bongs or pipes, or mix it in baked goods or tea and eat or drink it. The cannabis plant also yields hashish, a stronger form of marijuana, and hash oil, the strongest form that has very high levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Effects Marijuana contains chemicals that act on the marijuana receptor in the brain. Scientists have recently identified the natural chemical, anandamide, designed to fit the marijuana receptor. While scientists do not know all of the drug's effects, several studies have established that marijuana interferes with memory and learning. A new study confirms that heavy (daily) marijuana use impairs critical skills related to attention, memory and learning. In this study, "Heavy users could not pay attention to the material well enough to register the information in the first place so that it could be recalled and repeated later," say the researchers in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2/21/96). These deficits persisted up to 24 hours after users stopped feeling high. Marijuana also impairs judgment and reaction time. Road tests for marijuana intoxication are not routinely done, but a special study in Memphis, Tennessee, showed that one-third of drivers stopped for reckless driving were high on marijuana. Another study revealed that of drivers involved in accidents who were treated at a trauma center, 15 percent had been smoking marijuana. Daily use of from 1 to 3 marijuana cigarettes appears to produce the same lung damage and cancer risk as smoking 5 times as many cigarettes. Finally, researchers have found for the first time that marijuana can cause withdrawal symptoms in laboratory animals, and that marijuana acts on the brain and nervous system as do other addictive drugs. Common Street Names Pot, weed, herb, green, Mary Jane, MJ, joints, bong toke, reefer, blunt (cigar filled with marijuana). Legal Status Marijuana is a Schedule I drug in the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. It is illegal to grow, sell, buy or use marijuana, hashish or hashish oil. Synthetic THC capsules have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective to treat the nausea that cancer patients sometimes suffer with some forms of chemotherapy, and to treat wasting in AIDS patients. Therefore, THC is in Schedule II because it has accepted use in medicine. No form of the smoked drug has been approved as safe or effective for any medical use.
PCP (phencyclidine) was originally developed as an anesthetic for humans and large animals. Legal (prescription) use of PCP in humans was discontinued in 1965. It is illegally manufactured in clandestine laboratories and is sold as tablets, capsules and colored powders. PCP is usually snorted, smoked or eaten. "PCP is most commonly sold as a powder (left), or a liquid (center) and applied to a leafy material such as oregano (right) which is then smoked." Drugs of Abuse, 1996 Edition, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Effects PCP produces feelings of invulnerability and a numbing effect on the mind that can often result in anger and rage. At high doses, there is a drop in blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiration. PCP can cause effects that mimic certain primary symptoms of schizophrenia. Common Street Names Angel dust, crystal supergrass, killer joints, ozone, wack, rocket fuel. Legal Status PCP is a Schedule II drug in the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. Tobacco Tobacco is a plant grown in the United States that is harvested and processed into cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco and snuff. Effects Tobacco contains nicotine, a drug that acts on the brain and rapidly produces addiction. Scientists estimate that 90 percent to 95 percent of tobacco users are addicted. Nicotine itself is toxic--high doses can kill, but do so rarely. Its most destructive property is its ability to addict users rapidly. Once addicted, smokers repeatedly expose their brains and bodies to hundreds of toxic chemicals contained in tobacco and tobacco smoke. The list of cancers that tobacco causes is impressive, from cancers of the mouth, head and neck to cancers involving most of the vital organs. Smoking also causes heart disease, emphysema, and other lung diseases. Moreover, cigarette smoke can also harm nonsmokers. Children whose parents smoke suffer higher rates of bronchitis and other lung infections, and nonsmoking spouses of smokers have higher rates of lung cancer than those whose spouses do not smoke. Every year, tobacco kills more than 400,000 Americans. This is more deaths than all Americans killed in World War I, World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam wars combined. Every year the tobacco industry loses 2 million smokers; 80 percent quit, the rest die. The industry recruits teenagers to replace those losses. Common Street Name
Smokes, cancer sticks, chew, snuff. Legal Status In the United States, it is legal to produce tobacco in all forms and sell it to adults, and it is legal for adults to buy and use tobacco. It is illegal to sell tobacco to those under age 18 and illegal for them to buy it. There's a good reason for this law. Research shows the longer we can delay the onset of tobacco use among adolescents, the less likely they are to become addicted to any drug. (The same is true for alcohol.) Rohypnol is Hoffman-LaRoche's registered trade name for flunitrazepam, a benzodiazepine agonist which is illegal in the U.S. In other countries Rohypnol is used to treat severe sleep disorders and serious psychiatric disorders. Rohypnol is known as the "date-rape drug" because of its disinhibiting effect, especially when combined with even a moderate amount of alcohol. It is often added to young people's drinks without their knowledge at dance clubs, bars or parties. Effects Slowing of psychomotor performance, sedation, amnesia, muscle relaxation, restlessness, agitation and aggressiveness. Use may also lead to physical and psychic dependence. Common Street Names Rophies, R2's, Mexican Valium, Rib, Rope, Roach. Legal Status Rohypnol is currently listed as a Schedule IV drug. The DEA is considering placing it in Schedule I because of increased availability in the U.S. and increasing abuse.
Other Drugs: Rohypnol
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