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There are many reasons why people take drugs. Here are some of the factors which can influence them:
Some people are more drawn to risk taking than others. They may use drugs to fit in with their social group or to help them cope, for a sense of release or individual transformation, or for the thrill.
It may be that your genetic or psychological characteristics mean you are more likely to take drugs.
Some people try drugs for the first time as an experiment, because they are curious or because friends are doing it. They want to try it to see how it affects them and talk about their experiences with their friends afterwards.
Gender and age
The age you are when you first try drugs can influence how you will go on to use them. For example, the younger you are when you start drinking alcohol, the more likely you are to try hard drugs later on. Young men are more likely to experiment with drugs than women. However, heavy drug use can cause more damage to young women.
Hedonism (the ‘buzz’)
This is a major factor, as many people take recreational drugs for the ‗buzz‘ or ‗thrill‘. They make a deliberate choice to pursue this ‗high‘.
There are two schools of thought on the influence of your friends on your drug use. One is that the group can pressure you into taking drugs. Another is that people may choose to hang out with people who are into the same things as they are.
The easier it is to get drugs, the more likely you are to use them. This will also influence the type of drugs you use.
Family, social and environmental factors
People who live in a ‗deprived‘ state, where the risk factors are high and the protective factors low, have a higher risk of using drugs. In terms of family, the important factor is how happy and stable your family life is, rather than whether you have two parents or not.
For a purpose
Some people use drugs to lose weight or to help them concentrate. Others may self-diagnose problems and use drugs to self-medicate.
Drug Abuse and Addiction
Signs, Symptoms, and Help for Drug Problems and Substance Abuse
Some people are able to use recreational or prescription drugs without ever experiencing negative consequences or addiction. For many others, substance use can cause problems at work, home, school, and in relationships, leaving you feeling isolated, helpless, or ashamed. If you’re worried about your own or a friend or family member’s drug use, it’s important to know that help is available. Learning about the nature of drug abuse and addiction—how it develops, what it looks like, and why it can have such a powerful hold—will give you a better understanding of the problem and how to best deal with it.
IN THIS ARTICLE:
Understanding drug use, abuse, addiction How drug abuse, addiction develops Signs and symptoms Warning signs in others Getting help for drug abuse and addiction When a loved one has a drug problem When a teen has a drug problem
Understanding drug use, drug abuse, and addiction
People experiment with drugs for many different reasons. Many first try drugs out of curiosity, to have a good time, because friends are doing it, or in an effort to improve athletic performance or ease another problem, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. Use doesn’t automatically lead to abuse, and there is no specific level at which drug use moves from casual to problematic. It varies by individual. Drug abuse and addiction is less about the amount of substance consumed or the frequency, and more to do with theconsequences of drug use. No matter how often or how little you’re consuming, if your drug use is causing problems in your life—at work, school, home, or in your relationships—you likely have a drug abuse or addiction problem.
Why do some drug users become addicted, while others don’t?
As with many other conditions and diseases, vulnerability to addiction differs from person to person. Your genes, mental health, family and social environment all play a role in addiction. Risk factors that increase your vulnerability include:
Family history of addiction Abuse, neglect, or other traumatic experiences in childhood Mental disorders such as depression and anxiety Early use of drugs Method of administration—smoking or injecting a drug may increase its addictive potential
Drug addiction and the brain
Addiction is a complex disorder characterized by compulsive drug use. While each drug produces different physical effects, all abused substances share one thing in common: repeated use can alter the way the brain looks and functions.
Taking a recreational drug causes a surge in levels of dopamine in your brain, which trigger feelings of pleasure. Your brain remembers these feelings and wants them repeated. If you become addicted, the substance takes on the same significance as other survival behaviors, such as eating and drinking. Changes in your brain interfere with your ability to think clearly, exercise good judgment, control your behavior, and feel normal without drugs. Whether you’re addicted to inhalants, heroin, Xanax, speed, or Vicodin, the uncontrollable craving to use grows more important than anything else, including family, friends, career, and even your own health and happiness. The urge to use is so strong that your mind finds many ways to deny or rationalize the addiction. You may drastically underestimate the quantity of drugs you’re taking, how much it impacts your life, and the level of control you have over your drug use.
How drug abuse and addiction can develop
Learn how drugs block emotions
Watch a 3 -min. video: Roadblocks to awareness People who experiment with drugs continue to use them because the substance either makes them feel good, or stops them from feeling bad. In many cases, however, there is a fine line between regular use and drug abuse and addiction. Very few addicts are able to recognize when they have crossed that line. While frequency or the amount of drugs consumed don’t in themselves constitute drug abuse or addiction, they can often be indicators of drug-related problems.
Problems can sometimes sneak up on you, as your drug use gradually increases over time. Smoking a joint with friends at the weekend, or taking ecstasy at a rave, or cocaine at an occasional party, for example, can change to using drugs a couple of days a week, then every day. Gradually, getting and using the drug becomes more and more important to you. If the drug fulfills a valuable need, you may find yourself increasingly relying on it. For example, you may take drugs to calm you if you feel anxious or stressed, energize you if you feel depressed, or make you more confident in social situations if you normally feel shy. Or you may have started using prescription drugs to cope with panic attacks or relieve chronic pain, for example. Until you find alternative, healthier methods for overcoming these problems, your drug use will likely continue. Similarly, if you use drugs to fill a void in your life, you’re more at risk of crossing the line from casual use to drug abuse and addiction. To maintain healthy balance in your life, you need to have other positive experiences, to feel good in your life aside from any drug use.
As drug abuse takes hold, you may miss or frequently be late for work or school, your job performance may progressively deteriorate, and you start to neglect social or family obligations. Your ability to stop using is eventually compromised. What began as a voluntary choice has turned into a physical and psychological need.
The good news is that with the right treatment and support, you can counteract the disruptive effects of drug use and regain control of your life. The first obstacle is to recognize and admit you have a problem, or listen to loved ones who are often better able to see the negative effects drug use is having on your life.
5 Myths about Drug Abuse and Addiction
MYTH 1: Overcoming addiction is a simply a matter of willpower. You can stop using drugs if you really want to. Prolonged exposure to drugs alters the brain in ways that result in powerful cravings and a compulsion to use. These brain changes make it extremely difficult to quit by sheer force of will. MYTH 2: Addiction is a disease; there’s nothing you can do about it. Most experts agree that addiction is a brain disease, but that doesn’t mean you’re a helpless victim. The brain changes associated with addiction can be treated and reversed through therapy, medication, exercise, and other treatments. MYTH 3: Addicts have to hit rock bottom before they can get better. Recovery can begin at any point in the addiction process—and the earlier, the better. The longer drug abuse continues, the stronger the addiction becomes and the harder it is to treat. Don’t wait to intervene until the addict has lost it all. MYTH 4: You can’t force someone into treatment; they have to want help. Treatment doesn’t have to be voluntary to be successful. People who are pressured into treatment by their family, employer, or the legal system are just as likely to benefit as those who choose to enter treatment on their own. As they sober up and their thinking clears, many formerly resistant addicts decide they want to change. MYTH 5: Treatment didn’t work before, so there’s no point trying again. Recovery from drug addiction is a long process that often involves setbacks. Relapse doesn’t mean that treatment has failed or that you’re a lost cause. Rather, it’s a signal to get back on track, either by going back to treatment or adjusting the treatment approach.
Signs and symptoms of drug abuse and drug addiction
Although different drugs have different physical effects, the symptoms of addiction are similar. See if you recognize yourself in the following signs and symptoms of substance abuse and addiction. If so, consider talking to someone about your drug use.
Common signs and symptoms of drug abuse
You’re neglecting your responsibilities at school, work, or home (e.g. flunking classes, skipping work, neglecting your children) because of your drug use. You’re using drugs under dangerous conditions or taking risks while high, such as driving while on drugs, using dirty needles, or having unprotected sex. Your drug use is getting you into legal trouble, such as arrests for disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, or stealing to support a drug habit. Your drug use is causing problems in your relationships, such as fights with your partner or family members, an unhappy boss, or the loss of old friends.
Common signs and symptoms of drug addiction
impaired vision. because of your drug use. body. slurred speech. accidents. If you go too long without drugs. headaches and nausea. anxious. May borrow or steal to get it. drunk-like. mood swings. memory and thought. Depressants (including Xanax. depression. pupils larger or smaller than usual Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. You’ve lost control over your drug use. If you’re worried that a friend or family member might be abusing drugs. restlessness. or clothing Tremors. clumsiness. inappropriate laughter followed by sleepiness. and recovering from the drug’s effects. You continue to use drugs. Your life revolves around drug use. It’s causing major problems in your life—blackouts. shaking. You’ve abandoned activities you used to enjoy. poor judgment. appears lethargic or “spaced out” Appears fearful. vapors): Watery eyes. dry mouth and nose. Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors Sudden change in friends. sweating. favorite hangouts. difficulty concentrating. personal grooming habits Unusual smells on breath. weight loss. weight gain or loss. Inhalants (glues. crystal meth): Dilated pupils. You often do drugs or use more than you planned. Warning signs that a friend or family member is abusing drugs Drug abusers often try to conceal their symptoms and downplay their problem. secretions from the nose or rashes around the nose and mouth. or giddiness Lack of motivation. despite knowing it’s hurting you. . irritability. loss of interest. agitation. you experience symptoms such as nausea. You may want to stop using. motivation. You spend a lot of time using and thinking about drugs. irritability. You take drugs to avoid or relieve withdrawal symptoms. depression. insomnia. paranoia—but you use anyway. You need to use more of the drug to experience the same effects you used to attain with smaller amounts. look for the following warning signs: Physical warning signs of drug abuse Bloodshot eyes. Stimulants (including amphetamines. or angry outbursts Periods of unusual hyperactivity. sports. sleepiness. hyperactivity. cocaine. slurred speech. figuring out how to get them. euphoria. but you feel powerless. aerosols. illegal activities) Psychological warning signs of drug abuse Unexplained change in personality or attitude Sudden mood swings. or paranoid. and hobbies Frequently getting into trouble (fights. loud talking. may go long periods of time without eating or sleeping. with no reason Warning Signs of Commonly Abused Drugs Marijuana: Glassy. infections. GHB): Contracted pupils. anxiety. and anxiety. red eyes. or impaired coordination Behavioral signs of drug abuse Drop in attendance and performance at work or school Unexplained need for money or financial problems. excessive talking followed by depression or excessive sleeping at odd times. and socializing. Sudden weight loss or weight gain Deterioration of physical appearance. even though you told yourself you wouldn’t. You’ve built up a drug tolerance. Valium. such as hobbies.
one that takes tremendous courage and strength. slurred speech. If you’re ready t o make a change and willing to seek help. See below. declining grades. drowsiness. Warning signs of teen drug abuse While experimenting with drugs doesn’t automatically lead to drug abuse. appearance of intoxication. avoiding eye contact. no response of pupils to light. confusion. moving. get therapy. Recovering from drug addiction is much easier when you have people you can lean on for encouragement. locking doors.S. hallucinations. vomiting. Whether you choose to go to rehab. These include: Having bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils. bizarre and irrational behavior including paranoia. Support can come from: family members close friends therapists or counselors other recovering addicts healthcare providers people from your faith community . sweating. anxiety. irritability. ups and downs of the teen years and the red flags of substance abuse. needle marks. poor muscle control. absorption with self or other objects. twitching. or take a self-directed treatment approach. or depressed Dropping one group of friends for another. sneaking around Getting help for drug abuse and drug addiction Finding help and support for drug addiction Visit a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in your area. Recognizing that you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery. detachment from people. but recovery is within reach. loss of appetite. being secretive about the new peer group Loss of interest in old hobbies. PCP): Dilated pupils. comfort. The challenge for parents is to distinguish between the normal. aggression. Support is essential to addiction recovery Don’t try to go it alone. rely on self-help programs. angry. Heroin: Contracted pupils. lots of cans/aerosols in the trash. support is essential. it’s all too easy to get discouraged and rationalize “just one more” hit or pill. Hallucinogens (LSD. valuables. drug-free life for yourself. lying about new interests and activities Demanding more privacy. sniffling. coughing. and guidance. often volatile. Risk of drug abuse also increases greatly during times of transition. or divorce. changes in appetite. mood swings. Facing your addiction without minimizing the problem or making excuses can feel frightening and overwhelming. early use is a risk factor for developing more serious drug abuse and addiction. or prescriptions Acting uncharacteristically isolated. to reach a free referral helpline from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. you can overcome your addiction and build a satisfying. suddenly getting into trouble at school Missing money. using eye drops to try to mask these signs Skipping class. such as changing schools. sleeping at unusual times. Call 1-800-662-HELP in the U. withdrawn.
for example. which is causing stress? Get Help. and anger in parents. It’s also important to routinely check potential hiding places for drugs—in backpacks. . Attempt to punish. between books on a shelf. or drug counselor. Don’t get so caught up in someone else’s drug problem that you neglect your own needs. Talk to your child about underlying issues. Make sure you have people you can talk to and lean on for support. they may be more inclined to listen. Teenagers often rebel against their parents but if they hear the same information from a different authority figure. Don’t put yourself in dangerous situations. confusion. You can’t control your loved one’s decisions. Try a sports coach.When a loved one has a drug problem If you suspect that a friend or family member has a drug problem. without being judgmental. or preach. It’s important to remain calm when confronting your teen. Your teen should understand that using drugs comes with specific consequences. Drug use can be the result of other problems. Cover up or make excuses for the drug abuser. Explain your concerns and make it clear that your concern comes from a place of love. Is your child having trouble fitting in? Has there been a recent major change. Take drugs with the drug abuser. And stay safe. Know where your teen goes and who he or she hangs out with. Avoid self-blame. Avoid emotional appeals that may only increase feelings of guilt and the compulsion to use drugs. threaten. Encourage other interests and social activities. family doctor. Monitor your teen’s activity. Argue with the person when they are high. Take over their responsibilities. but you can’t force an addict to change. Try to be a martyr. leaving them with no sense of importance or dignity. But don’t make hollow threats or set rules that you cannot enforce. and only do so when everyone is sober. Five steps parents can take: Lay down rules and consequences. like a move or divorce. Explain to your teen that this lack of privacy is a consequence of him or her having been caught using drugs. Expose your teen to healthy hobbies and activities. or shield them from the negative consequences of their behavior. bribe. in DVD cases or make-up cases. Let the person accept responsibility for his or her actions. Feel guilty or responsible for another's behavior. such as team sports and afterschool clubs. and offer your help and support. Make sure your spouse agrees with the rules and is prepared to enforce them. Take care of yourself. Talk to the person about your concerns. here are a few things you can do: Speak up. therapist. Don’t wait for your loved one to hit bottom! Be prepared for excuses and denial by listing specific examples of your loved one’s behavior that has you worried. the better. But Don’t Adapted from: National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Information When your teen has a drug problem Discovering your child uses drugs can generate fear. Hide or throw out drugs. The earlier addiction is treated. You can support a person with a substance abuse problem and encourage treatment. an essential step along the way to recovery for drug addiction. It’s important that your teen feels you are supportive.
aggression. nausea. loss of coordination. More meth addiction info. up at night and sleeps during the day Red or glassy eyes Sniffly or runny nose The following are effects related to frequently used drugs and also links to pages on the signs and symptoms of specific drug use: Methamphetamine Effects: "Wired"--sleeplessness for days and weeks at a time. irritability. and self destructive behavior. LSD abuse signs and symptoms and more LSD info PCP Effects: Sometimes violent or bizarre behavior (suicide has often occurred). anxious. dizziness. talkative. short tempered. sweating. both physical and behavioral. depressed. hallucinations. anxiety. restlessness. that indicate drug use. panic attacks. fearfulness. loss of control. paranoia. anxiety. Each drug has its own unique manifestations but there are some general indications that a person is using drugs: Sudden change in behavior Mood swings. vomiting. helplessness. scratching. Signs and Symptoms of Meth Use Symptoms of ice use Ecstasy: Signs and Symptoms of Ecstasy Abuse Cocaine Effects: Impaired thinking. total numbness. loss of control.Signs and Symptoms of Drug Use There are many signs. skin discoloration. and impaired perceptions. deluded sense of power. nervousness. aggressive or withdrawn. dizziness. Cocaine signs/symptoms: here More on cocaine effects: cravings and damages Help for cocaine addicts Also info on crack cocaine use on this page LSD (Acid) Effects: Dilated pupils. suspiciousness. paranoia. confused. paranoia. mental confusion. irritable and grumpy and then suddenly happy and bright Withdrawal from family members Careless about personal grooming Loss of interest in hobbies. skin flushing. anxiety. extreme weight loss. euphoria. sports. sleeplessness. paranoia. hallucinations. agitation. unusual sweating. mood changes. panic. loss of appetite. blurred vision. confusion. shaking. total loss of appetite. false sense of power. dilated pupils. decreased sexual drive. distortion of time and space. dialated pupils. depression. . violence. very talkative. hallucinations. and other favorite activities Changed sleeping pattern. excited.
If left untreated. For long-time abusers. excessive and uncontrollable laughter. hallucinations. drifting off for minutes or hours. eye flutter. occasional paranoia. Longterm Use: Short-term memory loss. slowed motor coordination. it leaves them completely powerless to do anything. relaxed muscles. hair. however. extreme lethargy. Signs and Symptoms of Tranquilizer Use Prescription drugs: Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drugs Signs and Symptoms of Pain Relievers Sedatives signs and symptoms Signs and Symptoms | | Warning Signs: The use and abuse of drugs are serious issues that should not be ignored or minimized and we should not sit back and hope they just go away. More marijuana info More on the effects of weed Signs and symptoms of marijuana use Depressants (Tranquilizers and Barbituates): Decreased inhibition. and slurred speech. here are some of the warning signs to look for: . delayed motor skills. More heroin addictioninfo Heroin effects: abuse and damages Signs and symptoms of heroin abuse Help for heroin addicts Methadone: Methadone Use Signs and Symptoms Marijuana Effects Compulsive eating. tremors. Then come the headaches and fullblown "faintings" or going unconscious. staggering gait. forgetfulness. short term memory loss. slow. sometimes the brain damage is irreversible or only partially reversible. poor judgement. Heroin Effects Chemically enforced euphoria. If you‘re worried that a friend or family member might be abusing drugs. impairment of reasoning. heroin may act like a stimulant and they can do a normal daily routine. and clothes. and strong mood changes and behaviors when the person is "high". sickly sweet smell on body. for others. and escalating stages of brain atrophy. uncertain reflexes. Sometimes these serious longterm effects are reversible with body detoxification and nutritional therapy. stupidity. bloodshot red eyes that are squinty (they may have trouble keeping them open). lethargy. As a result. silliness. laziness. dizziness. it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug abuse early. hearing loss. emotional instability. near sleep. slurred speech. lack of motivation. use and abuse can develop into drug dependence. disorientation. clumsy staggering gait. loss of sense of smell. dry mouth. giggling. "Nodding.Inhalant Effects: Short-lasting euphoria." which is a dreamlike state.
the person may experience withdrawal symptoms: anxiety or jumpiness. but all efforts to stop and stay stopped. have been unsuccessful. Psychological warning signs of drug abuse Unexplained change in personality or attitude. Unusual or unexplained need for money or financial problems. But Can’t: They have a persistent desire to cut down or stop their drug use. engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors. These symptoms can be dangerous and should be managed by a physician specifically trained and experienced in dealing with addiction. missing money or valuables. borrowing or stealing. stop the shakes in the morning? Drug use to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms is a sign of addiction. Tolerance: Tolerance means that. accidents. Signs and symptoms of Drug Dependence: Drug dependence involves all the symptoms of drug abuse. confusion. illegal activities). Shakes. or despite telling themselves that they wouldn‘t do it this time. sports or exercise. 4. insomnia. impaired or unstable coordination. with no apparent reason. tremors. Do they use drugs to steady the nerves. . seizures. fights. irritability. Injuries/accidents and person won‘t or can‘t tell you how they got hurt. you need more drugs to feel the same effects. Sudden change in relationships. Frequently getting into trouble (arguments. Withdrawal: As the effect of the drugs wear off. depression. but also involves another element: physical dependence. incoherent or slurred speech. decreased motivation. Physical and health warning signs of drug abuse Eyes that are bloodshot or pupils that are smaller or larger than normal. 2. and agitation. Unusual smells on breath. or paranoid. Lack of motivation. body.‖ Appearing fearful. shakiness or trembling. irritability. Desire to Stop. anxious. hobbies. loss of interest in extracurricular activities. for longer than they intended. 3. Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. angry outbursts or laughing at nothing. appearing lethargic or ―spaced out. Sudden mood changes. sweating. Deterioration in personal grooming or physical appearance. withdrawn. Sudden weight loss or weight gain. Do they use more drugs now than they used before? Do they use more drugs than other people without showing obvious signs of intoxication? 2. teachers or classmates. and hobbies. withdrawn. supervisors. friends. Silent. 3. Complaints from co-workers. Behavioral signs of drug abuse Drop in attendance and performance at work or school. withdrawal from drugs can be life-threatening and involve hallucinations. In severe cases. over time. Seizures without a history of epilepsy. favorite hangouts. fever. Loss of Control: Using more drugs than they wanted to. Frequent nosebleeds--could be related to snorted drugs (meth or cocaine). Periods of unusual hyperactivity or agitation. fatigue or loss of appetite and headaches. 1.1. nausea and vomiting. inability to focus. or clothing.
pursuing hobbies or other interests) because of the use of drugs. such as stealing Feeling that you need the drug to deal with your problems Driving or doing other risky activities when you're under the influence of the drug Focusing more and more time and energy on getting and using the drug Recognizing drug abuse in teenagers It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish normal teenage moodiness or angst from signs of drug use. exercising or going to the gym. social or community involvements that don‘t revolve around the use of drugs. Energy and Focus: They spend a lot of time using drugs. is damaging their marriage. As an example. Soon you may need the drug just to feel good. They have few. Stopping may cause intense cravings and make you feel physically ill (withdrawal symptoms).5. if any. you may find that it becomes increasingly difficult to go without the drug. you may need larger doses of the drug to get high. even though you can't afford it Doing things to obtain the drug that you normally wouldn't do. and its use becomes more and more frequent. For some people. but they continue to use. or causing health problems. As your drug use increases. Possible indications that your teenager is using drugs include: . or recovering from its effects. Symptoms By Mayo Clinic staff Most drug addictions start with casual or social use of a drug. 7. Drug addiction symptoms or behaviors include: Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly — this can be daily or even several times a day Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug Spending money on the drug. Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences: They continue to use drugs even though they know it‘s causing problems. person may realize that their drug use is interfering with ability to do their job. interests. As time passes. 6. using the drug becomes a habit. Neglecting Other Activities: They are spending less time on activities that used to be important to them (hanging out with family and friends. thinking about it. making problems worse. Drugs Take Up Greater Time.
Also. Physical health issues. Teenagers are generally concerned about how they look. Recognizing signs of drug use and dependence The particular signs and symptoms of drug use and dependence vary depending on the type of drug. drastic changes in behavior and in relationships with family and friends may be linked to drug use. Sudden requests for money without a reasonable explanation for its use may be a sign of drug use. Items may disappear from your home because they're being sold to support a drug habit. You might be able to tell that a family member or a friend is using or abusing a drug based on the physical and behavioral signs and symptoms associated with the drug. Frequently missing classes or missing school. A lack of interest in clothing. or a drop in grades may be indicators of drug use. but exaggerated efforts to bar family members from entering their rooms or knowing where they go with their friends might indicate drug use. Changes in behavior. Spending money. You may also discover money stolen from previously safe places at home. Neglected appearance. They don't actually have a chemical dependence on the drug but rather feel the need to regularly use the drug. Teenagers enjoy privacy. Lack of energy and motivation may indicate your child is using certain drugs. People who have a marijuana addiction generally use the drug on a daily basis. a sudden disinterest in school or school activities. Marijuana and hashish It's possible to develop a psychological addiction to cannabis compounds including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana and hashish. Problems at school. auditory and taste perception Poor memory Increased blood pressure and heart rate Red eyes Decreased coordination Difficulty concentrating Increased appetite . grooming or looks may be a warning sign of drug use. Signs of use and dependence can include: A heightened sense of visual.
clonazepam (Klonopin) and chlordiazepoxide (Librium). methamphetamine. Slowed reaction time Paranoid thinking Barbiturates and benzodiazepines Barbiturates and benzodiazepines are prescription central nervous system depressants. Signs of use and dependence can include: Drowsiness Slurred speech Lack of coordination Memory problems Confusion Slowed breathing and decreased blood pressure Dizziness Depression Methamphetamine. Benzodiazepines include tranquilizers. talk to your doctor. cocaine and other stimulants This class of drugs includes amphetamines. take them exactly as ordered. cocaine and methylphenidate (Ritalin). If you feel your need for these medications is increasing. amobarbital (Amytal) and secobarbital (Seconal) are examples of barbiturates. lorazepam (Ativan). If you're prescribed these drugs. Signs of use and dependence can include: Euphoria Decreased appetite Rapid speech Irritability Restlessness Depression as the drug wears off . such as diazepam (Valium). Phenobarbital. alprazolam (Xanax).
It's highly addictive and causes a number of short-term and long-term health consequences. these drugs are both commonly used as date-rape drugs. Rohypnol ("roofies") and ketamine. blood pressure and temperature Paranoia Methamphetamine. coma and death. concerts and parties. sound and taste Amphetamine-like effects (with ketamine and Ecstasy) Decreased coordination Poor judgment Memory problems or loss of memory Increased or decreased heart rate and blood pressure Drowsiness and loss of consciousness (with GHB and Rohypnol) GHB and Rohypnol are particularly dangerous. Examples include Ecstasy (MDMA). Because they worsen consciousness and memory and they're easy to give someone without his or her knowledge or consent. The danger increases when these drugs are taken with alcohol. These drugs are not all classified in the same category. At high doses. GHB. they can cause seizures." is a particularly dangerous drug. Signs of club drug use and dependence can include: An exaggerated feeling of great happiness or well-being (euphoria) Reduced inhibitions A heightened or altered sense of sight. Nasal congestion and damage to the mucous membrane of the nose in users who snort drugs Insomnia Weight loss Increased heart rate. Methamphetamine is relatively inexpensive and widely available. Club drugs Club drugs are drugs commonly used by teens and young adults at clubs. also known as "meth. . but they share some similar effects and dangers.
including other illegally manufactured or pharmaceutical drugs. The most common hallucinogens are LSD and phencyclidine (PCP). for example. a re-experience of the hallucinations — even years later Signs of PCP use include: Hallucinations Euphoria Delusions Panic Loss of appetite Depression Aggressive.One particular danger of club drugs is that the liquid. Signs of LSD use include: Hallucinations Greatly reduced perception of reality. Hallucinogens Use of hallucinogens produces different signs and symptoms depending on the drug. such as hearing colors Permanent mental changes in perception Rapid heart rate High blood pressure Tremors Flashbacks. Some commonly . interpreting input from one of your senses as another. pill or powder forms of these drugs available on the street often contain unknown substances that can be harmful. possibly violent behavior Inhalants The signs and symptoms of inhalant use vary depending on what substance is inhaled.
Your drug use has led to unsafe behavior. or you may see a mental health provider such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. This class of drugs includes heroin. The sooner you seek help.inhaled substances include glue. get help. Longterm use may cause seizures and damage to the brain. Signs of narcotic use and dependence can include: Reduced sense of pain Sedation Depression Confusion Constipation Slowed breathing Needle marks (if injecting drugs) When to see a doctor If you think your drug use is out of control or is causing problems. If you're prescribed these medications by a doctor. morphine. methadone and oxycodone (OxyContin). codeine. cleaning fluids and household aerosol products. paint thinners. Inhalant use can also cause death. gasoline. correction fluid. Don't increase your dose without first talking to your doctor. Make an appointment to see a doctor if: You can't stop using a drug. Narcotic painkillers Opioids are narcotic. Your family doctor may be a good place to start. these products can cause brief intoxication and a decreased feeling of inhibition. felt tip marker fluid. When inhaled. such as sharing needles or unprotected sex. . painkilling drugs produced naturally from opium or made synthetically. the greater your chances are for a long-term recovery. liver and kidneys. take them exactly as directed.
10 Heroin . If you're reluctant to approach a doctor. Seek emergency help if you or someone you know has taken a drug and: May have overdosed Loses consciousness Has trouble breathing Has seizures Has signs of a heart attack. This is a list of ten of the most abused drugs and the effects they have on people. help lines or hotlines may be a good place to learn about treatment. You can find these lines listed in the phone book or on the Internet. You think you may be having withdrawal symptoms. such as chest pain or pressure Has any other troublesome physical or psychological reaction to use of the drug Drug abuse is a very common problem in most countries so it seemed like a good topic for a list.
And each time we did it.Heroin is an opiate processed directly from the extracts of the opium poppy. But in those few seconds of uncertainty. One of the most common methods of heroin use is via intravenous injection. once we were down to our last little bit and I left the vial open on the night stand. Upon crossing the bloodbrain barrier. and again. the characteristic euphoria has been described as an ―orgasm‖ centered in the gut. I had remembered to put the cap back on. heroin is converted into morphine. which mimics the action of endorphins. my girl and I shot each other a look we had never seen before. creating a sense of well-being. how late we stay up and so on.. Lighting candles. the vial falling over. playing music. Each time we did it we got closer to each other. which occurs soon after introduction of the drug into the bloodstream. Unless you consider the nagging i-don‘t-wanna-go-a-weekend-or-have-sex-without-it feelings. my partner and I have been recreationally using heroin. We tried saying we‘d only do it once every two weeks. I was mistaken. reading tarot and finally fucking… for hours on end. We‘ve never run out. Turns out. brie and wine and grapes. We have rules about how much we do in one night. but that lasted 6 days. we wanted to do it again. although. the most intense beautiful technicolor sex. For the last 4 months. I was reaching for the lube when I heard the most sickening sound. Fear. So far the rules have kept us safe from addiction. It was originally created to help cure people of addiction to morphine. 9 Cocaine . H became our weekend ritual.
restlessness. One of the best treatment for drug addiction is to consult with cocaine rehab centers for recovery. I began to worry a bit. It is most often used recreationally for this effect. The cocaine arrived and we agreed to use it at a time that translated to three and a half hours after I arrived. increased heart rate and euphoria. which usually increases with frequent usage. The initial signs of stimulation are hyperactivity. My heartbeat became level.‘ I took the line up my left nostril. This seemed rather expensive. yet also very comfortable. the positive effects of cocaine came directly from knowing that I had reached a plateau and I was going to be fine. Side effects can include twitching. It is both a stimulant of the central nervous system and an appetite suppressant. The euphoria is sometimes followed by feelings of discomfort and depression and a craving to experience the drug again. After about ninety seconds. Its effects can last from 20 minutes to several hours.Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. I felt invigorated. For me. I finally felt as if it had reached a plateau. I did not feel either of these (and I did remember to think about these things). It cost $60 for what I was told was an eighth of a gram. purity. I felt my heartbeat increase. but I was assured that it was ‗high quality product. It was definitely kicking in. paranoia. Sexual interest and pleasure can be amplified. as I could feel my heart pounding and my pulse increasing. depending upon the dosage of cocaine taken. and method of administration. albeit still very high. and impotence. giving rise to what has been described as a euphoric sense of happiness and increased energy. increased blood pressure. 8 Methamphetamine . Cocaine is a potent central nervous system stimulant. Many people say that one feels euphoria – being invincible and/or the desire to clean the house.
I was an hour late for work everyday. then my skin became fragile and in addition to breaking out. I slept every three or four days for an hour or so and woke feeling rested. but I rarely urinated. is a psychostimulant and sympathomimetic drug. Our sweat smelled so strongly of ammonia it burned the eyes. no in between existed anymore. One day I forgot to feed my son. We first smoked meth on New Year‘s Eve because we heard it was great for sex. For three weeks we smoked meth with little consequence. Withdrawal is characterized by excessive sleeping. We were banned from the sauna at our apartment complex because no one else could use it. handwashing.Methamphetamime. I was really worried because I was constantly thirsty and drinking water. Since it stimulates the mesolimbic reward pathway. But I . started to swell. Everything was either the highest of highs or the lowest of lows. eating and depression-like symptoms. causing euphoria and excitement. My husband and I haven‘t done any drugs at all for four weeks. often accompanied by anxiety and drug-craving. My husband wrecked the truck three times. Then my kidneys started hurting. popularly shortened to meth or ice. I had to work the next day and so saved some to smoke before work in the morning. I had lost twenty pounds in two months and my husband had lost thirty. When I got home another g was waiting for me and I smoked every day but one until I finally quit three months later. and it burned our skin too. or assembling and disassembling objects. and things are slowly going back to normal. Methamphetamine enters the brain and triggers a cascading release of norepinephrine. it was caustic. and we‘d read somewhere that rapid weight loss can cause kidney failure. it is prone to abuse and addiction. Users may become obsessed or perform repetitive tasks such as cleaning. dopamine and serotonin.
however. any weak base can be used to make crack cocaine. And still I want it. to remind myself why I don’t want it. often nicknamed ―crack‖.still want it. For me. it was just a shortest instant of gratification. 7 Crack Cocaine Crack cocaine. When commonly ―cooked‖ the ratio is 1:1 to 2:3 parts cocaine/bicarbonate. The complete rush some writers have called a ‗whole-body orgasm‘ hit me shortly after and I distinctly remem ber demanding ‗more‘ as soon as the realization of heaven-on-earth came. Because of the dangers for manufacturers of using ether to produce pure freebase cocaine. Some people say that the effects of smoking crack lasts 10-15 minutes. . I thought I felt nothing except a little excitement that was neither bad nor pleasurable. Everything afterwards was just a great increase in energy and confidence geared towards obtaining more of the drug. is believed to have been created and made popular during the early 1980s . I wrote this in all honesty mostly to help myself. I can‘t sleep tonight because I want it. As I held the smoke in for a ten count and exhaled. Typically. producers began to omit the step of removing the freebase precipitate from the ammonia mixture. Baking soda is now most often used as a base rather than ammonia for reasons of lowered odor and toxicity. filtration processes are also omitted.
Arguably the most regarded of all psychedelics. It was to be the first and last time I‘d ever trip alone. LSD‘s psychological effects (colloquially called a ―trip‖) vary greatly from person to person. state of mind and environment. psychonautics. and the ―setting‖ being the physical and social environment in which the drug‘s effects are experienced. it is considered mainly as a recreational drug.6 LSD Lysergic acid diethylamide. as well as dose strength. depending on factors such as previous experiences. Outside it was a glorious sunny day but I was happy enough in my temporary sanctuary . An LSD trip can have long term psychoemotional effects. and a tool in use to supplement various types of exercises for transcendence including in meditation. an entheogen. and illegal psychedelic psychotherapy whether self administered or not. LSD. I began to come up on the acid towards the lunch time. The guy had a reputation for selling good acid so I happily gave him my cash. and even as time passes during a single trip. or acid. About ten years ago I bought my third trip from a guy in my home town Norwich (UK) It was a ‗Strawberry‘ and I was told it had been double dipped. Widely different effects emerge based on what Leary called set and setting. the ―set‖ being the general mindset of the user. is a semisynthetic psychedelic drug of the tryptamine family. some users cite the LSD experience as causing significant changes in their personality and life perspective. They also vary from one trip to another. I took the single LSD tab in the late morning in a positive state of mind with no worries or anxieties. LSD-25.
even the women and children were not exempt from this disfiguration. I remember feeling perplexed as to why both flies had two bright neon after images in red and blue. If you could imagine for a moment being surrounded by people in a busy place where their heads had been removed and replaced by Squids and Octopus you might begin to accurately picture the scene confronting me in the park. I felt a little uneasy with it but had enough mind to allow myself to just go with it and wait until the rush plateaued. Somehow I navigated myself through Norwich during the busy lunchtime shoppers and begun to head in the direction of the city‘s central park ‗Chapelfield gardens‘. it was the worst day of my entire life. Everyone had tentacles smothering their faces and dangling down their necks like fleshy snake beards. The first thing I noticed was that there were blowflies buzzing around a bowl of catfood on the kitchen floor. I was having a wonderful time. I vaguely recall deciding to go downstairs again for some reason then the next thing I recall was awakening on the floor of the dining room alone. The LSD rush started blazing up my spine and racing through my guts. 5 Ecstasy Ecstasy (MDMA) is a semisynthetic psychedelic entactogen of the phenethylamine family that is much less visual with more stimulant like effects than most all other .to even think about going outside. In retrospect. It was the closest I can imagine to having full blown psychosis. watching floral Escher type patterns breathing over my skin.
The next thing I experienced was a striking shift in my visual perception. feelings of openness. moving very easily into interesting conversations. fuzzy CCTV footage in comparison. Tactile sensations are enhanced for some users. top-quality Technicolor! I also began to move in time to the music. For a moment it was like being in one of those nostalgic TV ads where the world looks all gold and sepia. psychonautics. But then I found that my vision was becoming beautifully enhanced. but a wonderful step up in the aesthetic quality. and a tool in use to supplement various types of practices for transcendence including in meditation. Now I was seeing the world anew in sharp. such as jaw clenching and elevated pulse. we began at 8 pm. ‗Everything‘s gone amber!‘ I blurted. as an entheogen. The primary effects of MDMA include an increased awareness of the senses. feeling of mental clarity and an increased appreciation of music and movement. It is considered mainly a recreational drug that‘s often used with sex and associated with club drugs. are common. I don‘t mean a hallucination or a distortion. It had unleashed in me a rush of joy that was still accessible when I focused on it weeks later. lush. so organic! The uplifted state stayed with me and took a long time to fade — at least a couple of weeks. heightened self-awareness. the music! Wow! It sounded so good. and illicit psychedelic psychotherapy whether self administered or not. I swallowed one white tablet with water. making physical contact with others more pleasurable.common ―trip‖ producing psychedelics. This was a little unusual for me as I am normally quite shy and overly self-conscious in social situations and it takes me a while to loosen up. Over the next hour nothing much happened except that I found myself talking quite openly and confidently with the others. Other side effects.happiness. Sitting comfortably in our cosy living room. empathy. Café del Mar and similar CDs playing in the background. love. The music! Oh. euphoria. It made my normal visual experience seem like cheap. 4 Opium .
It contains up to 16% morphine. an opiate alkaloid. I held it in for about 10 or 15 seconds and let it out.Opium is a resinous narcotic formed from the latex released by lacerating (or ―scoring‖) the immature seed pods of opium poppies (Papaver somniferum). The high itself is rather hard to describe. which is most frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. It felt heavy. but I hadn‘t noticed. As I made my way towards the bathroom the drug began to kick in again. I remember that what I smoked was much easier to smoke than marijuana. It didn‘t taste like marijuana. My steps kind of faded away and it felt like I was just floating . There was no burning in my throat nor in my lungs. It was much more intense than marijuana. Opium has gradually been superseded by a variety of purified. and synthetic opioids with progressively stronger effect. when Friedrich Wilhelm Adam Sertürner reported the isolation of pure morphine from opium after at least thirteen years of research and a nearly disastrous trial on himself and three boys. Smoking it like marijuana. I took a very large. like my whole body was being impacted… but it also felt very clear and refined at the same time. and by other general anesthesia. Apparently I had fainted and fallen to the ground. smooth hit. with a crowd of people surrounding me. semi-synthetic. This process began in 1817. It actually tasted and smelled like incense. I was very surprised to suddenly find myself on the floor. I remember the taste being rather faint. in the dark.
over to the bathroom. and the nature of . Everything was profound in a very positive way. The scary thing was though. although in the 20th century there was a rise in its use for recreational. I couldn‘t stop smiling. everything felt really good. I imagine that I was coming down at this point. known as marijuana in its herbal form. It was a very abstruse experience. It is estimated that about four percent of the world‘s adult population use cannabis annually. Distinct figures melted into shadows and everything had a sparkle to it. usually by smoking or ingestion. The cool air seemed to wrap around my body. A slight breeze on the back of my neck sent chills that rapidly multiplied throughout my body. 3 Marijuana Cannabis. All of a sudden. it is the state where mental and physical facilities are noticeably altered due to the consumption of cannabis. My vision was fading. The fresh air was wonderful. I went along with the crowd and made my way outside. an hour had surely past by because the band was building a climax to end their first set. The minimum amount of THC required to have a perceptible psychoactive effect is about 10 micrograms per kilogram of body weight. The state of intoxication due to cannabis consumption is colloquially known as a ―high‖. It has psychoactive and physiological effects when consumed. especially the music since it resonated everywhere. religious or spiritual. Each user experiences a different high. is a psychoactive product of the plant Cannabis sativa. and medicinal purposes. that I was having trouble seeing. Humans have been consuming cannabis since prehistory.
and not feeling the effects within a minute (holding it in for a minute. his friend. dose. I wanted him to be quiet. This is scary!‘ I was rationalizing everything tremendously. and again held it in for longer than a minute. and then waiting a little bit after exhaling) I decided. all ridiculous and extremely annoying. I ran upstairs to my parents bed and laid down with some wistful hope that I could wait out this storm. 2 Psilocybin Mushrooms . I had no idea what to expect. It snuck up on me really bad. and they began to get loud again. well I better hit this again.it may vary upon factors such as potency. Laying down was not helping. I was a novice. I let my brother know I was really starting to feel something now and I don‘t think I liked it all. so I got back up. I became amazingly irritable and wanted them to leave me alone or not talk in my presence. method of consumption and set and setting. and I still had no idea what to expect. but it was SO intense! And it was only getting more intense faster! I didn‘t know what to expect. chemical composition. the talking of my brothers. They did not understand or appreciate my fear. I was sinking within myself. accelerating downward like into the depths of my own oblivion. harder if I can. I took just as large of a hit. I went back to the garage and tried to explain to everyone ‗I am totally fucked up. and the world had become out of synch. After taking that first hit.
I could feel a slight sensation after about 10-15 minutes. I had acquired about 8 grams of dried mushrooms and some liquid psilocybin equivalent to another 5 grams of powdered mushrooms. it is broken down to produce psilocin. I have come to think of her as my other-worldly girlfriend. There can be also a total absence of effects. The intoxicating effects of psilocybin-containing mushrooms typically last anywhere from 3 to 7 hours depending on dosage. becoming totally bewitched by her charm.Psilocybin mushrooms (also called psilocybian mushrooms) are fungi that contain the psychedelic substances psilocybin and psilocin. which is responsible for the hallucinogenic effects. preparation method and personal metabolism. her intelligence. her wit. After about 45-50 minutes I heard a ‗voice‘ calling to me. her knowledge. For about the next two hours I dialoged with her. the most common being magic mushrooms or ‗shrooms. Here I met the owner of the aforementioned voice – the Mushroom Goddess. I swallowed the liquid first. listening to the wind in the trees while I contemplated what was about to happen. with strong visual and auditory components. There are multiple colloquial terms for psilocybin mushrooms. Visions and revelations may be experienced. and the effect can range from exhilarating to distressing. 1 PCP . The experience is typically inwardly oriented. When psilocybin is ingested. It wasn‘t audible in the normal sense – it came from inside my own mind! Then I was gone – out of this world. and occasionally other psychoactive tryptamines. strapless. Then I added the powder to some water in a mug and swallowed that also. standing side-on from me. She took the form of a white. I escaped into what I perceived to be the outer boundaries of my mind or my imagination. on an empty stomach of course. even with large doses. I then sat by the camp fire. This placed presented itself as a natural forest with low light. ankle-length dress. her unconditional affection for me and her seemingly infinite perspective.
Sherm. total elimination from the body is prolonged. Hog. delusional ideas. It is commonly known as Angel Dust. It comes in both powder and liquid forms (PCP base dissolved most often in ether). The drug has been known to alter mood states in an unpredictable fashion causing some individuals to become detached and others to become animated. To be honest. Ashy Larry. When I was taking the drug. among other names. mainly in the United States. Wack. mint.PCP (Phencyclidine) is a dissociative drug formerly used as an anesthetic agent. Halk Hogan. altered temperature regulation). but typically it is sprayed onto leafy material such as marijuana. but is also known as Wet. and autonomic nervous system regulation (rapid heart rate. so much so that me and my friends all used it instead of booze for almost a year. Although the primary psychoactive effects of the drug only last hours. loss of coordination. I couldn‘t dance for shit on the stuff (I‘d get stumbly and actually fell on my ass on the dancefloor once) but the physical sensations and mental pictures were really fun. PCP is consumed in a recreational manner by drug users. I liked it more than my . Shermans Tank. exhibiting hallucinogenic and neurotoxic effects. delirium or confused thinking). oregano. Ozone. where the demand is met by illegal production. and disrupted eye movement or nystagmus). Rocket Fuel. It is quite different from any psychedelic visuals or even Ketamine visuals…more like rolling through old film footage. and smoked. typically extending over weeks. PCP has potent effects on the nervous system altering perceptual functions (hallucinations. Sherman Hemsley. parsley or Ginger Leaves. The effect was incredibly pleasant and social. motor functions (unsteady gait. I used very small amounts. Manitoba Shlimbo. HannaH. and Embalming Fluid.
Constant use of such drugs can have very negative effects on the user. Some are legal and others are not. or standing still and walking. When the effects of a stimulant wear off. Drug abuse and misuse can cause numerous health problems. etc. Written by Casa Palmera Staff Drug Categories Drugs come in various forms. Unfortunately. these immediate results can also result in sudden mental damage. Stimulants have the opposite effect of depressants.) I experienced very confusing physical reality when really high on it. and in serious cases death can occur. Treatment for drug abuse is often sought to aid in recovery. PCP can make one nearly impervious to pain at high doses. and can be taken numerous ways. 2012 at 8:14 pm. In order to prevent extreme negative side effects of these drugs and the impact they have on life. Because of this. Stimulants These drugs speed up the body’s nervous system and create a feeling of energy. like being unable to discern the difference between walking up stairs and down them. the user is typically left with feelings of sickness and a loss of energy. This could lead to very unusual behaviour. When inhalants are taken. drug treatment centers are often recommended. Top 8 Drug Categories Posted on Monday. the . PCP can make things seem like a good idea that otherwise wouldn‘t (leading to the stories of people leaping out of windows. They are also called “uppers” because of their ability to make you feel very awake. September 17th.experiences on Ketamine. Types of drugs include: Cocaine Methamphetamines Amphetamines Ritalin Cylert Inhalants Inhalants are sniffed or huffed and give the user immediate results.
lung and kidney problems. These drugs are also called “downers” because they slow the body down and seem to give feelings of relaxation. Types of drugs include: Glues Paint thinner Gasoline Laughing gas Aerosol sprays Cannabinoids These drugs result in feelings of euphoria. confusion. respiratory complications and relieve pain. as well as staggering and poor reaction time. nausea. Types of drugs: Barbiturates Benzodiazepines Flunitrazepam GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate) Methaqualone Alcohol Tranquillisers Opioids & Morphine Derivatives Opioids and morphine derivatives can cause drowsiness. Depressants are available as prescription drugs to relieve stress and anger. affected sense of smell. Types of drugs include: Hashish Marijuana Depressants Depressants slow down activity in the central nervous system of your body. anxiety. cause confusion and memory problems. Types of drugs include: Codeine Fentanyl and fentanyl analogs Heroin Morphine Opium Oxycodone HCL . feelings of euphoria. difficulty walking and confusion. to stop abuse of this drug.body becomes deprived of oxygen. a higher heart rate. drug treatment is suggested. although drowsiness is often a side effect. Other effects include liver. The “relaxation” felt from these drugs is not a healthy feeling for the body to experience. causing a rapid heart beat.
Hydrocodone bitartrate. acne. methylphenidate DRUG TYPES . switching emotions is frequent. higher blood pressure and changes in the body’s hormones. These drugs can be used as aids in surgery. Misuse and abuse of prescription drugs however can be very dangerous. Oxycodone. Negative effects of steroids include baldness. Types of drugs include: LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) Mescaline Psilocybin Cannabis Magic Mushrooms Prescription Drugs Prescription drugs can be very helpful drugs when used properly and when under the guidance of a qualified physician. Types of drugs include: Opiods: Codeine. Hallucinogens affect the body’s self-control. to treat medical conditions and while controlling various symptoms. benzodiazepines Stimulants: dextroamphetamine. Types of drugs include: Anadrol Oxandrin Durabolin Stanozol Dianabol Hallucinogens When taking hallucinogens. Morphine Central nervous system depressants: barbiturates. acetaminophen Anabolic Steroids Steroids are taken to improve physical performance as well as to enlarge muscles and increase strength. and often bring about hostility. Hostility is also a frequent side effect of anabolic steroids. stroke and change in voice. increased heart rate. oily hair and skin. such as speech and movement. These drugs change the mind and cause the appearance of things that are not really there. Other negative side effects of these drugs include heart failure. heart attack. cysts.
cocaine and crack interfere with normal levels of the neurotransmitter serotin. Inhalants such as amyl and butyl nitrates are legal at present. Pharmaceutical amphetamines are usually produced as pills or capsules. Inhalants can be prescribed or purchased in small glass vials which are crushed to release the vaporising fluid inside. coffee and many soft drinks) is also a mild stimulant drug. Cocaine is a relatively fine. Caffeine (present in tea. Nevertheless there is a huge worldwide illicit network for the manufacture and supply of this drug in its various forms. whereas street amphetamines come in the form of a fine. Doctors sometimes prescribe pharmaceutical amphetamines and their availability makes them candidates for misuse but powdered amphetamine. amphetamines cause the release of adrenalin. Because of their very short action time .they are usually only abused in certain settings. . manufactured in illicit laboratories. crack (a pure form of cocaine) and amphetamines. What do they look like? Stimulants appear in many forms. is the most common type of amphetamine to be abused in the UK. Crack is seen as cloudy white crystals that are irregular and fairly large (pea-sized).Stimulants Stimulants are drugs that stimulate the Central Nervous System. Which stimulants are abused? The most widely abused stimulants are cocaine. broadly speaking all these stimulants have a similar effect in that they cause either mental and/or physical stimulation in the user. These substances tend to increase alertness and physical activity. For example. such as parties etc. white crystalline powder. nitrate inhalants cause the blood vessels to dilate (widen). Nevertheless. Crack and some inhalants like Amyl or Butyl Nitrites. This may be felt as apparent increased physical energy and/or apparent clarity and speed of thought. Cocaine. Cocaine has limited commercial use and its sale and possession are strictly controlled. They include Amphetamines. What are the effects of stimulants? Different stimulants act on the body in different ways.the effect lasts approximately 1-2 minutes . or in small bottles. white dull powder.
Too much caffeine can cause anxiousness. Each cup of coffee can provide approximately between 65mg to 115mg of caffeine. drinking in inappropriate situations. their use as medicines has been reduced significantly since the 1970's.A note on caffeine Caffeine is a mild stimulant that has the effect of making a person feel more awake and alert. Which depressants are abused? Alcohol is by far the most commonly abused drug in the UK. Although it is often perceived as a pleasant social drug (and for some drinkers this is the case). Benzodiazepines commonly in use are Diazepam (Valium). headaches. The . a cup of tea usually has about 60mg of caffeine in it and a soft drink contains between 30mg and 60mg of caffeine. Abuse generally takes the form of under-age drinking. it can be a dangerous drug. although alcohol is a legal drug and can be purchased by any person over 18 years old. Tea. Depressants These are substances that slow down or depress the Central Nervous System. Barbiturates used to be common drugs of abuse in the 1950's and 1960's but because of their addictive properties and association with suicides and accidental deaths. It's worth remembering that. accidents and illness. although it can also be purchased in tablet form. barbiturates and tranquillisers. Its easy availablity and social acceptability may have enhanced this state of affairs. coffee and soft drinks are the three major sources of caffeine. chlordiazepoxide (Librium) Nitrazepam (Mogodon) and Temazepam. many people become either psychologically or physically dependent upon it. Caffeine is also addictive and a person who abruptly stops drinking coffee may experience withdrawal symptoms. Barbiturates and benzodiazepines are the two major categories of depressant drugs used as medicines. particularly when abused. or drinking in excess. the 'jitters' and may prevent sleep. Some well-known barbiturates are secobarbital (Seconal) and pentobarbital (Nembutal). Often these drugs are referred to as sleeping pills and tranquillisers or sometimes just as sedatives. It is also a major contributing factor in most incidents of domestic and other violence. Depressant drugs include alcohol. Alcohol abuse is directly or indirectly responsible for many deaths through drunken driving.
Vallium. to convulsions and death. These can all be produced from raw opium by fairly simple chemical processing. What are the effects of depressants? Their effects range from calming down anxious people to promoting sleep. Regular use of all depressants over a long period of time can result in tolerance. benzodiazepines . which means a person has to take larger and larger doses to get the same effects.have now become a major category of abused drugs. Synthetic analgesics are . Some are refined from an extract obtained from opium poppies (Papaver somniferum) and are classed as "opiates" and some are produced by chemical synthesis. are relatively harmless. Analgesics Analgesics are substances that provides relief from pain.illicit market in these drugs has become smaller because of their reduced availablity.which were originally developed to provide a safe alternative to barbiturates for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia . which is the resin obtained from the seed pod of the opium poppy. but some of these drugs are also available in liquid form. Librium and Temazepam are the most commonly abused tranquillisers and are often taken with alcohol as these two types of drug amplify each others effect. Alcohol. depending on how much is taken. insomnia and anxiety. Alcohol is legally available in a multitude of forms. they may develop physical withdrawal symptoms ranging from restlessness. What do they look like? Depressants are usually manufactured as tablets or capsules. Analgesic drugs of abuse are far stronger than this and are all powerful pain killers. Mild analgesics. Opiates include Opium itself. Unfortunately. such as the many brand-named preparations of aspirin or paracetemol. tranquilizers and sleeping pills can have either effect. When regular users stop using large doses of these drugs suddenly. At high doses or when they are abused. Heroin and Codeine. This includes alcohol. these type of drugs can cause unconsciousness and death. along with Morphine.
Which analgesics are abused? Analgesics . the effects are similar to that after injection but are milder and without any immediate 'rush'. Breathing slows down and death may occur. Diconal and Palfium. Most street preparations of heroin are diluted. the user feels an immediate 'rush' . Where analgesics are taken as a syrup. When they are injected. The user may go 'on the nod' . Unpleasant effects may include restlessness. come in a variety of forms including capsules. tablets. which can block veins when injected and lead to gangrene or a stroke. solutions and suppositories.that is a strong wave of pleasurable relaxation and relief from anxiety. Pethidine.prescribed as an alternative to heroin . Hallucinogens . moist and bluish in color. or 'cut' with other substances such as lactose or quinine. paregoric (which contains opium) and cough syrups that contain codeine are also abused.going back and forth from feeling alert to drowsy. the user cannot be awakened and the skin becomes cold. Physeptone. Methadone .particularly opiates . tablets or liquids. With large doses.manufactured as powders. What are the effects of analgesics? Opiate and synthetic analgesics tend to relax the user. tablets or capsules etc. Physeptone (a methadone tablet). syrups. Heroin is the most widely abused opiate analgesic but morphine. They include Methadone (usually as a syrup). What do they look like? Opium is a dark brown slightly sticky resin with the consistency of stiff putty and is usually smoked or eaten.have a high potential for abuse. Many synthetic opiates are abused. Other analgesics. Diconal. nausea. and vomiting. usually by heroin users as an alternative to that drug. These tablets contain solids such as chalk. although it can be smoked. Pethidine and palfium tablets are usually crushed up and injected by drug abusers. including all synthetics. Heroin is a white or brownish powder which is usually dissolved in water and then injected.has been much abused in recent years and is responsible for many deaths in the UK.
A few hallucinogens come from natural sources.Hallucinogens . including liquid. What are the effects of hallucinogens? The effects of hallucinogens vary a great deal according to their strength.or psychedelics . sugar cubes or gelatine sheets). Which hallucinogens are abused? Hallucinogens do not have any legal medicinal uses and are therefore all classed as drugs of abuse.and particularly Ecstasy .the better to appeal to young people. LSD . For example. capsules or liquids (dropped on blotting paper. Psilocybin for example is a relatively mild hallucinogen and its effects are usually confined to relaxation. such as drying.are drugs that affect a person's perception of sights.almost literally an out of body experience . a sense of well-being and mild visual distortion of colour and distance. distance and . The most commonly seen are LSD. such as LSD. LSD is derived from a fungus that grows on rye grains but requires very substantial chemical processing to produce. tablet or capsule.or MDMA) are either entirely synthetic or semi-synthetic. This includes all varieties of hallucinogenic fungi. such as mescaline from the peyote cactus and psilocybin.combined with distortion of time. Others. This can take the form of a cartoon character etc. Synthetic or semi-synthetic hallucinogens are produced as tablets. When produced in tablet form. touch. Ecstasy and psilocybin (magic mushrooms). . Where natural materials have been refined to a large degree. smell etc. is far more potent (about 100 times stronger) and its effects can include very vivid visual and audible hallucinations . such as in the production of mescaline.are often manufactured with a coloured or impressed logo upon them. the end product can take a variety of forms. LSD. Other hallucinogenic substances such as mescaline and DMT are not widely available in the illicit drug market of the UK. sounds. in contrast. MDA (methylenedioxyamphetamine) and Ecstasy (methylenedioxymethamphetamine . Some of the stronger hallucenogenics can exert a powerful effect on a drug users thinking and self-awareness. What do they look like? Some of the naturally occuring hallucinogenic materials are most commonly seen either in their natural state or after minimal processing. which is the hallucinogenic agent in so-called magic mushrooms.
For example. It's due to the irritation of the nervous system by alcohol drunk many hours before. Medicinal uses Alcohol is sometimes used as an external local anaesthetic and sterilising agent.personal integrity. Thus. . as the (very uncomfortable) agitation can be temporarily overcome by drinking more alcohol. Alcoholic drinks consist mainly of various strength mixtures of water and ethyl alcohol. This effect often leads heavy evening drinkers to drink again the next morning. a vicious circle is set in motion. which can play a large part in alcoholic drinking patterns. when the brain's speech centres are inhibited. vegetables or grains by yeasts which converts the carbohydrates (sugars) of these plants to ethyl alcohol. anxiety and even psychosis. Some distortion of vision and perception may occur but not in the intense and uncontrollable manner as can happen with LSD. It's a Central Nervous System depressant and is one of the most widely used (and abused) drugs in our society. The strong depressant effect of alcohol lasts for a few hours after drinking. this causes slurred speech. How does it work? Alcohol depresses parts of the central nervous system . when the co-ordination centres are depressed this results in loss of balance and limb control.it slows down some of our brain functions. Various parts of the central nervous system are depressed by alcohol. when the vision centres are affected this produces distorted vision. This is the cause of the "morning after" hangover and shakiness. Hallucinogens such as MDA or MDMA (Ecstasy) are midway between these two extremes in terms of potency. with all sorts of consequences. It's produced by the fermentation of fruits. Alcohol What is it? Alcohol is the common name for ethyl alcohol. but alcohol also produces a weaker agitation (or irritation) of the nervous system that lasts much longer. as a user will be unable to control his or her thought processes and any unpleasant aspects of the 'trip' can lead to intense fear. This can be terrifying.
5 to 1 pint of beer . Alcohol has its strongest effect on women. which produces apparent stimulation by reducing anxiety and self-consciousness. the same amount drunk will produce a higher blood alcohol concentration in a woman than in a man. . As the alcohol dose is increased.or 20-50mg/100ml) there is not much effect. One unit is is roughly equal to half a pint of normal strength beer/lager/cider. perhaps at home in an armchair. A drinker may become more talkative than normal and demonstrate increased self-confidence and loss of self-restraint. In a social setting.this can produce deep sedation and slow down the breathing rate. as this determines whether an offence is committed by driving a motor vehicle. as the female body contains less blood volume. The list below shows the effect of drinking various amounts of alcohol and also indicates blood alcohol concentration (as mg alcohol per 100ml blood). Alcohol intake is measured in units. with lots of sights. and this in turn depends on the drinking environment.What effect does it have? The impact of drinking alcohol depends on the state of the brain at the time. The current UK alcohol limit for driving is 80mg/100ml. which can result in coma or death. sounds and social interaction (lots of brain activity) low doses of alcohol may feel stimulating. After 1 to 2 units (0. This is because women's generally lower body weight means (for equal amounts drunk) they take in more alcohol per pound weight and also.these effects are a result of the inhibition of normal brain activity. It's important to remember that the concentration of alcohol in the blood and its effects depend on a number of factors including body weight. an alcohol user will experience relaxation or drowsiness at low to moderate doses. loss of limb co-ordination and loss of emotional control. High doses of alcohol can inhibit vital brain functions . beside a slight intensification of mood. In a quiet environment (little brain activity). This is caused by depression of the higher brain centres. stomach contents and sex of the drinker. drinking environment. So alcohol can feel like a stimulant . significant depression of brain activity can result in slurred speech.but it's not . a glass of wine or a pub measure of spirits. previous exposure to alcohol. type of drink.
or 80-100mg/100ml) there is usually some loss of physical and mental co-ordination. As there is no certain way to predict which alcohol drinkers will develop serious problems. People who drink on a regular basis become tolerant to many of the unpleasant effects of alcohol and are able to drink more before suffering these effects. Judgement and memory may be affected. financial problems.5 to 4 pints of beer . who may be directly or indirectly exposed to the consequences arising from compulsive alcohol consumption.5 to 2 pints of beer . Physical dependence is often related to consistently heavy drinking. Many heavy drinkers may not appear to be drunk. After 7 to 8 units (3. There may be a slight impairment of steady movement. Some will develop a dependency and be destructive to themselves and others for many years. or continue to drink casually without significant adverse effects. Alcohol Dependence Alcohol drinkers may develop a physical or psychological dependence on alcohol. employment difficulties etc. with varying degrees of physical. Some people will use alcohol regularly. in terms of physical and mental health. Many will experiment and stop.or 120-200mg/100ml) most people slur their speech and are likely to have some difficulty in standing or walking. all alcohol use must be considered as potentially dangerous.After 3 to 4 units (1. After 5 to 6 units (2.or 200-300mg/100ml) most people will have passed out.or 50-80mg/100ml) there is usually a feeling of relaxation and mild sedation. particularly the ability to concentrate. In addition. Some will die . After drinking 15 to 20 units (7 to 10 pints of beer . This can cause great harm to the drinker. Consequences of alcohol abuse Most people will have some experience with alcohol. emotional and social problems. Because they continue to work and socialize . and in fact 4 units of alcohol could put some people over the 80 mg/100ml legal blood alcohol limit.5 to 3 pints of beer .and some will cause others to die. This level of intoxication can result in irresponsible behaviour and euphoria. children or other family members. alcohol dependence is likely to cause great distress to partners. This is the legal limit for driving a vehicle.
Damage to health The UK Government-recommended alcohol limits are presently 28 units per week for men (14 pints of beer) and 21 units per week for women (10. although the drinker may not consume amounts that produce serious intoxication.or until they are unable to drink for some reason and suddenly experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms. to tremors (the "shakes"). Eventually . For psychologically dependent drinkers. It is difficult to over-emphasise just how much stress a person who abuses alcohol may cause within his or her immediate family.and in extreme cases brain damage. to financial problems caused by compulsive purchase of alcohol or otherwise related to that. heart and circulation disorders . such as relief from anxiety. If a person continues to abuse alcohol over a period of time. Sustained drinking in excess of this level increases the chance of damaging our health. Psychological dependence upon alcohol may occur with regular use of even quite small daily amounts. While family members may love the alcohol abuser. his or her behaviour is likely to cause bitterness and resentment among relatives. harm to their physical health can go unrecognised until severe damage develops . such as a glass or two of sherry. they are likely to hate his or her behaviour.000 people die in the UK each year from alcohol-related illnesses . This can take the form of liver disease. convulsions. sleeplessness. Accidents . This form of dependence results from a craving for alcohol's psychological effects.5 pints of beer). such as before and during social occasions. accident and cirrhosis of the liver are very common among heavy drinkers. stomach ulcers. These may range from drunken violence directed toward a spouse or children. It can also occur in people who drink alcohol only under certain conditions. and poor appetite.this is 50 times the annual rate of death from all illicit drugs put together! Family abuse Excessive consumption of alcohol is commonly sited as a reason for difficulties within a family or within a marriage.reasonably well. Deaths from suicide. 25. sweating.the love dies. lack of alcohol tends to make them anxious and prone to panic attacks. hallucinations and sometime death. These symptoms range from jumpiness.
e. acquired by obtaining false prescriptions forms or by conning a doctor into writing a prescription. Many of those who died in such a manner may well have caused the death or injury of other road users. Doctors have now considerably reduced their prescription. a rare disorder marked by episodes of uncontrollable sleep. amphetamine was available by prescription in tablet form. they increase activity in the brain. Their chemical properties and actions are very similar.that is. What a waste. Amphetamines What are they? Amphetamine. due to their side effects and addictive properties they fell out of favour and the majority of brands were removed from the market. During World War II. These drugs stimulate the central nervous system . and to help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Thirty percent of vehicle drivers killed in road accidents within the UK were found to have been drinking alcohol beforehand. and methamphetamine are collectively referred to as amphetamines.While a person is under the influence of alcohol he or she is far more likely to have an accident than while sober because alcohol adversely affects judgement and perception. amphetamine was widely used to keep soldiers alert and both dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) and methamphetamine (Methedrine) became readily available. legally manufactured medicines) are sometimes stolen. Medicinal uses Amphetamine was first marketed in the 1930s as Benzedrine in an over-thecounter inhaler to treat nasal congestion. Abuse of amphetamines Prescription amphetamines (i. However. dextroamphetamine. Used properly. These drugs then enter the black market in their tablet or . amphetamines increase alertness and physical ability. By 1937. Medical use of amphetamines was common in the 1950's and 1960's when they were widely used to combat mild depression and cause weight loss. They are prescribed to counter the effects of narcolepsy.
'black 'n whites'. Slang names include 'sulphate'. Amphetamine Sulphate costs between 5 and 10 pounds sterling a gram.depending on your situation!). this increases heart and respiration rates so that oxygenated blood can be rushed to the muscles. The most widespread type of amphetamine on the street is a white powder called Amphetamine Sulphate.or run like hell! What effect do they have? When injected. police officer. Swallowing or sniffing powdered amphetamines leads to onset of effects after 10-40mins. The other 90% can comprise of just about anything. from baking powder to laxatives. 'Billy Wiz' etc. The man or woman is now physically ready to fight the lion . The digestive system shuts down to leave more blood for muscle use. How do they work? Amphetamines speed up the nervous system and cause adrenalin to be released. In a sense.such as the approach of a hungry lion (or headmaster. This increases the heart and respiration rates. . Amphetamine Sulphate can be swallowed. They have a number of slang names (often related to their appearance) such as 'black beauties'. although that of pharmaceutical timerelease capsules last for longer. Amphetamines (by causing a release of adrenalin) mimic the "fight or flight response". Mental alertness is increased. The effect of a single dose of amphetamines generally lasts about 3-6hrs. increases blood pressure and decreases appetite. This is a natural survival mechanism of man/womankind that operates in a dangerous situation . amphetamines take effect immediately. 'black bombers'.capsule form. Prescription amphetamines may take effect after various lengths of time as some are designed as short-acting and some as time-release medicines. but are no longer common as a drug of abuse because of the reduced use of such medications in recent years. It's manufactured in illicit laboratories and then adulterated so the final product usually contains between 6% and 10% amphetamine. 'wizz'. tax inspector etc. At such times the body will automatically go into 'fight or flight' mode. Adrenalin floods the system. sniffed up the nose (snorted) or injected. 'speed'. 'blues' etc. .
users find relaxation difficult and sleep impossible. To maintain the desired effect. this can also lead to users taking other more powerfull .hence the slang terms "speed" and "speeding" for the drug and its use. Consequences of amphetamine abuse Consequences for health Amphetamines are psychologically addictive. Many women who use amphetamines find that their periods become irregular or even stop. When under the influence of amphetamines. hallucinations and feelings of paranoia.An amphetamine user may experience a temporary boost in self-confidence and feel far more energetic than usual. Side effects As amphetamine users tend not to eat or sleep and burn off a lot of energy by physical activity.drugs. and dizziness. the body becomes exhausted . especially among people with .both physically and mentally after a long period of amphetamine use. When they eventually stop they are likely to feel very depressed and lethargic. panic attacks. . sleeplessness. although amphetamines simply postpone the need for rest and food. Users often become dependent on the drug to avoid the depression experienced when the drug's effect wears off. High doses. Other side effects include blurred vision. anxious and restless. Regular amphetamine users who take high doses may develop delusions. As a result users often feel fatigued and depressed for a few days after using amphetamines and may also feel irritable. especially if frequently repeated. In addition. heavy amphetamine use can damage blood vessels and cause heart failure.and more often in order to maintain a "high". can produce delirium. Of course. They will have little or no appetite. This dependence can lead a user take larger doses of amphetamines . hallucinations and feelings of paranoia. regular users have to take increasing doses. walking around etc. It's common for users to talk a lot and they often display a lot of physical activity repeatedly getting up. they do not replace it.
They act in a similar manner to alcohol and slow down many areas of the brain. Abuse of barbiturates Unlike many other drugs of abuse. barbiturates are rarely produced in clandestine laboratories. . Concern about the addiction potential of barbiturates and the ever-increasing numbers of fatalities associated with them led to the development of alternative medications. Medicinal uses Through the early 1900's barbiturates were prescribed widely for anxiety and insomnia and were also used in conjunction with amphetamines to treat depression. when up to 500. or amongst those who over-exert themselves while using the drug. Their widespread availability resulted in many deaths through accidental overdose and they were a common agent for suicide.the benzodiazepines . Barbiturates What are they? Barbiturates are central nervous system depressants. Legal consequences Amphetamines are Class B drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act. It is illegal to produce. Generally.000 people in the UK were estimated to be taking them.(see Tranquillisers) the medicinal use of barbiturates for treating anxiety and insomnia has been greatly reduced since the 1970's. Drugs of this class are known as sedative/hypnotics..existing high blood pressure or heart trouble. with nearly one quarter of these patients dependent upon them. With the discovery of a 'safer' alternative . legitimate pharmaceutical products are diverted to the illicit market through forged prescriptions etc. supply or possess them. in that they can be used as sedatives to calm people and also (at higher doses) as hypnotics to assist sleep. phenobarbital is still widely used as an anti-convulsant to control Epilepsy and other barbiturates are occasionally used to treat depression. Nevertheless. Prescription of barbiturates increased markedly in the late 1950's and 1960's. although many barbiturates are also illegally imported from foreign manufacturers.
Small particles of undissolved material used as 'bulk' within the capsules can block or damage veins. As vital life processes (such as heart and breathing rates) may be inhibited. some areas of the brain are inhibited. these drugs have only a limited presence in the illicit drug market. pentobarbital (Nembutal). they have an impact on many aspects of the body including mood. Abusers will usually swallow the drug. These effects make it dangerous to drive a car or operate machinery as at these doses judgement is very seriously impaired. where they may be available as capsules and tablets or sometimes in a liquid form or suppositories. they are also sometimes injected by opening the capsules and dissolving the contents in water. inability to concentrate. However. locomotion. confusion.or called other names. loss of co-ordination. For example. often based on the colour of the capsule. Consequences of barbiturate abuse . when we go to sleep. such doses may easily cause unconsciousness and death. similar to the effects of alcohol. Moderate doses will cause drowsiness. What effect do they have? The effects of barbiturates are. in many ways.Barbiturates are generally nicknamed "barbs" or "downers" by drug abusers . such as "reds" or "yellows". Barbiturate sleeping pills are most often abused for their intoxicating effect. co-ordination and even breathing. dilated pupils and shallow breathing. How do they work? Barbiturates work by enhancing the action of a brain neurotransmitter (a chemical messenger) that is in charge of inhibiting parts of the brain sometimes. As barbiturates facilitates the activity of one of the main inhibiting neurotransmitters (Gamma ammino butyric acid . Large doses of barbiturates produce depressed pulse rate. As they are not prescribed much these days. Small amounts produce calmness and relax muscles. as they are not needed. This combination of sedation and reduced anxiety are features which made this type of drug popular as drugs of abuse. Barbiturates that used to be very commonly abused included amobarbital (Amytal). and secobarbital (Seconal). often with alcohol to increase the intoxicating effect.GABA). tremors and slurred speech.
. barbiturate withdrawal can be more serious than heroin withdrawal. It is available for use as a drug in three main forms: as the dried leaves and buds. Cannabis What is it? Cannabis is a Central Nervous System depressant obtained from the plant Cannabis sativa. Legal consequences Barbiturates are Class B drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act. becomes confused and unintentionally takes additional or larger doses. as a solid resin (hashish or hash) which is collected from the buds and flower heads. the margin of safety between an effective dose and a lethal dose becomes very narrow. So to obtain the same level of intoxication. Furthermore. Depending on the dose. such as alcohol. either deliberately or accidentally. Overdose deaths can occur when barbiturates and alcohol are used together. known as grass or marijuana. and also as a thick liquid prepared from the flowers or resin (hash oil). With barbiturates there is less difference between the amount that produces sleep and the amount that kills. multiplies their effects and greatly increases the risk of death. It is illegal to produce. which grows in many parts of the world. Dependence (or addiction) to barbiturates can occur within a very short time and long-term barbiturate users will require hospitalisation in order to safely undergo the withdrawal effects from such drugs. These include suicides and accidental drug poisonings. supply or possess them. As a user becomes tolerant to barbiturates. a drug abuser who is tolerant to barbiturates may raise his or her dose to a level that can produce coma and death. tolerance and/or physical and psychological dependence on barbiturates can develop very quickly. Barbiturate overdose is a factor in nearly one-third of all reported drug-related deaths.Consequences for health The use of barbiturates with other drugs that slow down the body. frequency and duration of use. Accidental deaths sometimes occur when a user takes one dose.
South America and the Caribbean. of the C. 'Home-grown' herbal cannabis is usually seen as finely cut leaves. mainly because it is . in recent years non-traditional forms of the drug have appeared. Cannabis resin found in the UK comes from a variety of sources. Strains of particularly strong grass are now often available. It may be imported into the UK as compressed bales or blocks of various sizes. It is imported from many countries within Africa. while traditional hashish from Morocco and Lebanon take the form of green/brown or red/brown slabs that are often dry and brittle. Slabs of hashish from India. sativa plant that are sold loose. flowering parts) that are dried and then cut or crushed.The main mind-altering (psychoactive) ingredient in cannabis is THC (delta-9tetrahydrocannabinol). stalks etc. sativa have been developed for home cultivation. Herbal cannabis has become more popular in recent years. but more than 400 other chemicals are present in the plant. The solvent is then evaporated off and the thick sticky liquid left behind is known as hash oil. which have a far higher content of THC than was present say. It is usually stronger than herbal cannabis and may contain five to ten times as much THC. This oil contains a high concentration of THC and is smoked in a similar fashion to the resin. Afghanistan and Nepal are usually dark brown or black and resinous. Asia. particularly from Morrocco. where it can now be found as a dark brown or black resin in smaller slabs than previously. sativa or from cannabis resin by using some form of solvent (such as acetone. Herbal cannabis as commonly sold in the UK includes nearly all parts of the plant (stalk. In recent years 'home-grown' grass has become more common in the UK and Europe. alcohol or petrol). Cannabis oil is extracted from the flowering parts of C. Hash oil is not very common in the UK. This is partly due to the increased sophisticated of growing equipment and illicit producers and partly because more potent strains of C. seeds. rather than in any compressed form. leaves. Hashish is often adulterated both within the producing country and also in Europe. in the 1960's or 1970's home-grown herbal cannabis market. However. Hashish is made by taking the resin from the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant and pressing it into cakes or slabs. Pakistan.
Smoking Cannabis produces fairly instant intoxication. which may relieve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.). relaxation and greater appreciation of sound and colour. hypoglycaemia. However its possession or use in the UK is nevertheless illegal at present and doctors are not able to prescribe cannabis in any form. usually by mixing it with tobacco and rolling it up with cigarette papers into a cannabis cigarette (called a 'spliff'. again depending on potency and amount ingested. 'joint'. which may then last for 2 to 6 hours. where other treatments have failed to relieve distress. is widely attested. In some cases it has found use as a medication for the terminally ill. Taking Cannabis orally means that the active ingredients are absorbed slowly into the bloodstream and take an hour or two to produce their strongest effect. it's fiddly to prepare for smoking and it's more expensive than herbal or resinous cannabis. Cannabis can also be taken orally. . the effects lasting from 1 to 3 hours depending on the potency of the drug and the amount used. its potency. The most common (and desired) effects are talkativeness. cheerfulness. However. it can also be smoked with or without tobacco in various forms of pipes or smoking devices such as 'bongs' or 'water pipes'. It is most commonly smoked. 'jay' etc. It has been used as a mild sedative or painkiller and for treatment of insomnia and gastric upsets. Cannabis users frequently report perceiving an enhanced performance for tasks involving creativity (art.). such as cakes. music etc. Cannabis use Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the UK. the circumstances and the expectations/mood of the user. either eaten direct or mixed with food preparations. In the UK it was legally prescribed up until 1928. and other disorders. with up to 3 million consumers per year. Medicinal uses Cannabis has been used as a herbal medicine in many countries of the world for a very long time. The beneficial effects of cannabis as a mild analgesic and sedative. What effect does it have? The effects of cannabis depend upon the amount used. biscuits (hence 'hash cookies') or hot drinks.difficult to weigh or to carry it.
eyesight or skin sensitivity. marijuana-emblem clothing and other products.including cannabis . A common bad reaction to marijuana is an acute anxiety attack. such as some rap and rock music videos. Today's youth are often told that using drugs . Those who use the drug when anxious or depressed may find these conditions made worse.although no scientific evidence indicates that the drug improves hearing." or that its use may even have some benefits. Many of today's parents may have experimented with cannabis earlier in their lives and could now be uncomfortable about warning their children against its use. Some immediate physical effects of cannabis use include a faster heartbeat and pulse rate. and a dry mouth and throat. Young cannabis users Over the past few years there appears to have been an increase in cannabis use among young people. Several factors appear to be involved: Public.is "cool" and they may come to believe that it's OK to "have a blow" . bloodshot eyes. cocaine and ecstasy in recent years may have led some adults and young people to assume that cannabis is of less concern. government and media attention given to heroin. These messages reach them from many sources. alter sense of time and reduce the ability to do things that require concentration. Cannabis availability is at an all-time high." which causes panic.or whatever. Some of those arguing for legalization have promoted the idea that cannabis is "no big deal. . Panic and paranoia could then result. Many users also experience a compulsion for binge eating (known as the 'munchies'). People describe this reaction as an extreme fear of "losing control. quick reactions and/or effective co-ordination. and positive references to its use in various media. High doses of cannabis can cause hallucinations and sensory distortions that can be very scary. Studies of cannabis's mental effects show that the drug can impair or reduce short-term memory. The symptoms usually disappear in a few hours.
It impairs attention and memory. It impairs development of healthy social relationships. some cannabis users do develop a psychological dependence on the drug. Smoking any substance over a long period of time is a bad idea and frequent inhalation of cannabis smoke can lead to bronchitis or other chest related disorders and may cause lung cancer. or make the damage that can result from its use any less significant than harm caused by other illicit drugs. It could also impair a young person's ability to make good decisions. Dependence Cannabis is not physically addictive but as with many other drugs. learn and retain new information. It impairs co-ordination and may contribute to such potentially fatal events as accidents in the home.Consequences of cannabis use Health There is no conclusive evidence at present that long-term use of cannabis causes lasting damage to physical or mental health. including alcohol. A long-term health risk arises from the common method of cannabis use. However. whilst cannabis smoked with tobacco during pregnancy produces the same risks to the mother and child as smoking cigarettes. at work or while driving a motor vehicle. Some women have found that heavy cannabis use can make their periods irregular. possibly alienating and isolating young people from bonding with mentors and positive role models and peers. They . Statistics show that young people who use cannabis are more likely than those who don't to use other illicit drugs or engage in other dangerous behaviour. solve problems. Cannabis is a drug that impairs. The fact that cannabis use does not represent an immediate serious risk to a persons health does not make this a harmless drug. reducing the user's ability to concentrate. some recent studies have found that prolonged heavy cannabis use does cause physical damage to the brain and short-term memory loss has been reported in several investigations.
Obtaining and using the drug can become a central aspect of their lives. .such as driving a car as well as normal.may have difficulty limiting their cannabis use or they may need more of the drug to get the same effect. it is nevertheless a criminal offence and the maximum punishment is 5 years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. Cannabis use may lead on to use of other drugs. except under special UK Home Office licence. while under the influence of cannabis. Recent evidence has shown that 20% of car drivers killed in road accidents in the UK were under the influence of illicit drugs. And those who use all three are more likely to use other illicit drugs. Physical safety Tests have clearly proved that. Legal consequences Cannabis is a Class B drug . These cannabis users may develop problems with their jobs and personal relationships that are directly attributable to their drug use. users cannot perform tasks involving concentration and manual dexterity . produce. which is sometimes considered to be a Class A drug. supply or possess cannabis. Although a first offence possession of a small amount of cannabis is sometimes only given a police caution these days. Those who smoke and drink are more likely to use cannabis.except cannabis oil. As cannabis is by far the most commonly used illicit drug. it must play a role in these deaths. Using cannabis places youth in the company and influence of those who use and deal in illicit drugs and may encourage other dangerous and illegal activities. producing. Long-term studies show that use of other illicit drugs among youth almost never occurs unless they have first used cannabis. supplying or using cannabis. both for the individual concerned and for other road users. It is also an offence to allow any premises to be used for growing. It is illegal to grow. including those that are physically addictive. those who smoke cigarettes are more likely to drink alcohol. Driving whilst under the influence of cannabis is dangerous. Some estimates suggest that more road accidents are caused by cannabis use than by alcohol. Among teenagers.
The act of supplying cannabis . It is often cut with inert substances such as talcum powder or fine sugar. "Charlie" etc. easy availability and (false) reputation as a nonaddictive drug has led to widespread use among young people.real or imagined. which grows primarily in Colombia. even though some doctors recognized that users quickly became dependent. .and this may involve nothing more than giving the drug to a friend . where 9% of those aged 20-24 who were asked in 1998 said they had taken it. street cocaine has become purer in recent years and today averages around 60% or more pure. known by slang names such as "coke". soluble in water. Peru and Bolivia. Medicinal uses Cocaine was first extracted and identified in the mid-19th century and was then used in patent medicines and tonics to treat a wide variety of symptoms . with other local anaesthetics such as procaine and benzocaine. Cocaine What is it? Cocaine is a powerful Central Nervous System stimulant. It's a chemical derived from the leaf of the Erythroxylon coca bush. Abuse of Cocaine In the 1970's and 1980's the high cost of cocaine and its rarity in the illicit marketplace meant that it was regarded as a drug of wealthy people such as rock stars or film stars. The street price of cocaine in the UK is (as of mid-1999) as low as 40 Pounds Sterling per gram and its low cost. many people in the late 19th century took cocaine.a fine. Cocaine is generally sold on the street as cocaine hydrochloride . white crystalline powder. In the 1990's it has become relatively inexpensive and easier to buy. Because of its stimulating effect. Nevertheless.is a more serious offence and the maximum punishment is 14 years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. Cocaine has no other medicinal application. It later found common usage as a local anaesthetic for minor surgery but this role today is fairly limited as synthetic anaesthetics are more widely used. "C". or other stimulants such as amphetamines.
It has become fairly common in the UK since the mid 1980's. it must be smoked in order to be taken. How does it work? Cocaine .or crack . up the nose through a rolled-up bank note or any other similar type of tube. This is called 'free basing' and is potentially dangerous because the solvents used are highly flammable.e. nausea. If any chemical . Crack cocaine Pure cocaine is a chemical 'base'. Blood pressure increases and so does body temperature. this can have all sorts of consequences. some users inject the drug directly into their veins.to form a salt. To experience cocaine's effects more rapidly and to heighten their intensity. Some neurotransmitters switch nerve cells on . one is Seretonin and the other is Dopamine. without the hydrochloride) and as it is not soluble in water.brain activity speeds up. where it dissolves into the blood system via small capillaries in the nostrils.in any form . Crack is absorbed into the body much faster than when cocaine powder is snorted and therefore it takes effect very quickly. Physical symptoms of cocaine use may include chest pain.like most drugs . after a line of the powder (about the size of a large matchstick) has been spread out on a smooth surface commonly a mirror. or "snorted".or speed them up.and takes the shape of relatively large crystals. It's called 'Crack' because it makes a crackling noise as it is smoked.or slow them down. It's a very powerful form of cocaine and is highly addictive. as does heart rate and breathing rate.acts on neurotransmitters in the body. When cocaine is taken . Cocaine interfers with the normal action of at least two neurotransmitters. These are chemical messengers that send signals between one nerve cell and an adjacent one. It's pure cocaine (i. blurred vision.in this case hydrochloric acid . The resulting form of cocaine is called 'free base' . some switch nerve cells off . or injected into a vein. The cocaine hydrochloride salt can be changed back into its base form by a fairly simple chemical process.such as a drug interferes with these neurotransmitters. fever. This powdered form of cocaine is soluble in water and so can be snorted. A base can combine with an acid . and muscle .Cocaine in powder form is usually sniffed. Cocaine hydrochloride is a salt of cocaine.
although they disappear in most cases after cocaine use is ended. These users may experience severe tremors. sound. this often encourages users to repeat the dose in order to maintain the effect.and eventually hallucinations and delusions. A user may feel energetic. and exhilaration.spasms. erratic and violent behaviour. It's common for cocaine users to take cocaine again after about half an hour or so after they last took some. and touch. but such doses can also lead to bizarre. Many repeated doses taken over a short period can lead to extreme states of agitation. The euphoric 'high' is gradually replaced by restlessness.especially to sensations of sight. As the 'high' is short lasting. When large amounts of cocaine are taken (several hundred milligrams or more) the 'high' is intensified up to a point. extreme excitability. These symptoms result from an overworked heart and high blood pressure. Longer-term effects If cocaine is taken over a period of time. At the same time cocaine inhibits appetite and the desire for sleep. These conditions are very similar to amphetamine psychosis and paranoid schizophrenia. anxiety or paranoia. muscle twitches and paranoia. peak in about 15-30 minutes and disappear completely within one half to two hours. The compulsion to repeat cocaine use is even more evident when the drug is taken as crack. What effect does it have? Generally. vertigo. and paranoia . Crack users commonly repeat the dose at short intervals in an attempt to maintain the 'high'. its euphoric effects appear soon after it is taken. talkative and mentally alert . cocaine produces feelings of mental well-being. . The effects of crack cocaine occur and peak immediately the drug is smoked and begin to fade shortly afterwards. users experience the drug's long-term effects. Short-term effects When cocaine is snorted. The after-effects of cocaine can include tiredness and depression. In some respects the effect of cocaine is grossly similar to that of amphetamines and like those drugs. insomnia. Excessive doses can sometimes cause death from heart failure. cocaine use can produce anxiety or panic attacks.
However. when some regular heavy users stop taking the drug. is common. However. weight loss and insomnia. an intense psychological dependence can occur. over-excitability and nausea. the heavy user may also suffer from mood swings.While many of the physical effects of heavy continuous use are essentially the same as those of short-term use. With regular heavy use increasingly unpleasant symptoms occur. which lifts only when they take it again. which may indicate physical dependence. Consequences of cocaine use Physical dependence At present. Users may keep taking the original amount over extended periods and still experience the same euphoric effects. Euphoria is replaced by restlessness. due to lack of sleep. Among heavy cocaine users. Tolerance Tolerance to any drug exists when it becomes necessary to take higher doses to achieve the same effects once reached with lower doses. it's unclear if physical dependence upon cocaine hydrochloride can occur. some users do increase their dosage in an attempt to intensify and prolong the effects. and activities that it becomes a craving or compulsion. they suffer severe depression when the supply of cocaine runs out. emotions. Confusion as a result of exhaustion. loss of interest in sex. At present there is no evidence to suggest tolerance to cocaine's stimulant effect occurs. . Psychological dependence Psychological dependence exists when a drug is so central to a person's thoughts. Experiments with animals have suggested that cocaine is perhaps the most powerful drug of all in producing psychological dependence. Crack cocaine does produce a strong physical dependency. excitable and paranoid. they experience a powerful negative reaction. Regular users may appear chronically nervous. With continued use this can lead to paranoid psychosis.
Cocaine is not a cheap drug and it is expensive to maintain a regular intake. or the depression of vital brain centres that control breathing. The risk to mental health of using cocaine is high. Users who inject the drug not only risk overdosing but also getting infections from unsterile needles and hepatitis or AIDS from needles shared with others.4 Methylenedioxymethylamphetamine .When not taking cocaine. Ecstasy What is it? Ecstasy is an hallucinogenic stimulant. Many regular users resort to crime of one kind or another to fund their drug use.which can sometimes produce permanent mental health problems. Chronic cocaine snorting often causes stuffiness. Severe respiratory tract irritation has been noted in some heavy users of crack cocaine. depression and anxiety. It's chemically similar to two other synthetic drugs. and commonly damages the nasal membranes and the structure separating the nostrils. regular use can lead to anxiety. such behaviour can result in a criminal record or imprisonment. The chemical name for ecstasy is 3. It is also illegal to allow premises to be used for the supply. It is illegal to produce. paranoia and psychosis . supply or possess it. As mentioned above. It is a man-made drug with both hallucinogenic and amphetamine-like properties. production or consumption of cocaine. many regular users complain of sleep and eating disorders. Medicinal uses . and the mental craving for the drug often compels them to take it again. Penalties are high. Obviously. heart failure. Consequences for health Death from a cocaine overdose can occur from convulsions. runny nose and eczema. MDA and methamphetamine.or MDMA in short form. Legal consequences Cocaine in any form is a Class A drug.
It acts through 'receptors' that are located on the outside walls of cells. According to police analysis. MDA. The peak effects are felt 60 to 90 minutes after taking the drug. half of all Ecstasy tablets seized contained no MDMA (the active ingredient). Ecstasy acts to increase the natural level of seretonin. unlike for example heroin or amphetamines. A single dose costs 10-15 Pounds Sterling. or very rarely as a powder.as the long term effects are largely unknown. The result is a change of mood. euphoric state without marked hallucinations. . Amongst other things it's involved in the regulation of mood. repression of libido and appetite. It is now very common and is taken regularly by many thousands of people. This is simply not true . sleep. Use of Ecstasy Ecstasy has only been used as a drug of abuse in the UK since the mid 1980's. and counterfeit tablets are common. 'Disco biscuits' etc. sexual behaviour. amphetamine.None. It takes effect 20-40 minutes after taking a tablet and wears off after about 3-4 hours. How does it work? Ecstasy interferes with the concentration and action of seretonin in our brains. Ecstasy is seen in tablet or capsule form. Slang jargon includes 'E'. Serotonin is a 'messenger substance' or neurotransmitter that affects the peripheral and central nervous systems. and Ketamine. temperature and appetite. It's mainly associated with the dance culture or disco scene and so is often perceived as a 'party' drug. The type of tablets available changes from week to week.. What effect does it have? Ecstasy produces a relaxed. Some tablets contained LSD. 'Eccies'. 'Love Doves'. which are usually taken more regularly. mental stimulation and increased body temperature. others had no drug content whatsoever. although tablets are sold under a variety of so-called 'brand names' and are often embossed with a logo. or a 'weekend' drug. This perception can give rise to a false understanding that ecstasy is safe to use.
paranoia. It is particularly dangerous as the user may be unaware of impending heatstroke. Consequences of ecstasy use Consequences for health Ecstasy is not physically or psychologically addictive. the drug can often take on great importance in the lives of users. Some people who have died after taking this drug died as a result of the body overheating. leading to exhaustion and heatstroke. Sensations of sight. Psychological problems such as confusion. Music . Side effects Many of the side effects users encounter with Ecstasy are similar to those found with the use of amphetamines and cocaine.A user first feels rushes of exhilaration that can be accompanied by nausea.particularly when it contains a strong repetitive rhythm . When an ecstasy user dances to music with a repetitive rhythm. Overheating is particularly likely to occur when the drug is taken at a music venue or disco. insomnia.or heatstroke. blurred vision. nausea. The stimulant effect of ecstasy can enable people to dance vigorously for long periods.a reflex reaction. However. This is a bit like Pavlov's dog . chills and sweating. and psychotic episodes can occur. depression. Users feel as though interpersonal barriers have disappeared and are likely to feel uninhibited. The effect that makes Ecstasy different from other drugs is the sensation of understanding and accepting others (it should be remembered that this is a druginduced sensation and does not correspond to reality!). sound and touch are enhanced. Even at the peak of the drug's effect.exerts a powerful influence on the user. A major risk to health from taking ecstasy is hyperthermia . people can easily bring themselves down to deal with an important matter. it seems that the person can 'lock in' to that repetition and simply go though the same movements over and over again for hours. They include increases in heart rate and blood pressure. Users report that the experience is very pleasant and highly controllable. which can cause failure of vital organs. faintness. where the user is dancing. . severe anxiety.
Ecstasy's chemical cousin. salty-tasting liquid. It is quite possible that ecstasy can also damage brain cells. damages brain cells that produce dopamine. learning or memory. GHB What is it? GHB or as it is often known 'GBH' has an anaesthetic effect.in the eyes of the law . sleep. Some users have died from drinking fluid in excess to combat the overheating caused by ecstasy and made worse by dancing. mood. These reconnections may be permanent.Although many discos provide 'chill-out' rooms for dancers to cool off in. MDA. Methamphetamine. The long-term effects of ecstasy use are not yet known. It is illegal to produce. The offence of supply .can be committed by giving a single tablet to another person. Legal consequences Ecstasy is a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. A few ecstasy users have died from brain haemorrhages. It also makes them re-grow abnormally . It's usually seen as a colourless. changes in emotion. supply or possess it. a treatment for insomnia and narcolepsy (a daytime sleeping disorder). sexual activity. resulting in damage to various brain functions. These cells help to regulate aggression. which have been caused by the increased blood pressure and heart rate associated with this drug. Its chemical name is Gamma Hydroxybutyrate. Some others have died from unknown reasons after taking ecstasy.failing to reconnect with some brain areas and connecting elsewhere with the wrong areas. odourless. an aid to childbirth (increasing strength . the availability of such facilities does not make the act of taking ecstasy safe. also similar to Ecstasy. Scientists have found that ecstasy makes the brain's nerve branches and endings degenerate. and sensitivity to pain. Medicinal uses GHB has been used in Europe as a general anesthetic. Penalties are high. destroys cells that produce serotonin in the brain.
although the jury is still out on this. The effects of GHB are . the potency varies. GHB is thought to act like GABA. In this form. perhaps indirectly affecting the same receptors. Prior to 1990 GHB was available as an over-the-counter pill or powder in the USA. but there is no evidence to support this claim. or GABA. Body builders have also been known to use the drug. as it is supposed to assist the production of muscle-building growth hormones by the body. It is usually drunk although rarely it is injected. It's sometimes available as a powder or in a capsule. although they can be indefinitely prolonged through repeated dosing. It was banned as such in 1990 by the FDA because of deaths or serious illnesses related to its use. starting with London gay venues and is now becoming more generally available in discos and raves etc. but most commonly seen as a liquid. GHB is not prescribed or made available in the UK because of its side effects. GHB is sold in small bottles (30-40ml). Some scientists believe it acts as a neurotransmitter. It is very similar to another natural chemical in our brains called Gamma Amino Butyric Acid. As such. What effect does it have? The effects of GHB can generally be felt within five to twenty minutes after ingestion. Abuse of GHB GHB is easily made from fairly common chemicals and it's often manufactured in 'kitchen-sink laboratories'. and is now illegal for any person to produce or sell GHB in the USA. since it will be home made to various strengths.of contractions. They usually last no more than one and a half to three hours. How does it work? GHB is found naturally in every cell in the human body. GABA is a neurotransmitter in our brain that slows down or inhibits certain activities. decreasing pain and increasing dilation of the cervix) and a treatment for alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal syndrome. sold mostly in health food stores. which would be enough for about two or three doses. GHB first appeared on the UK club scene in 1994. Bottles cost between 10 and fifteen pounds sterling.
Most of it is made at home by amateur chemists and may or may not be pure. At higher doses this mild sedative effect gives way to the anaesthetic action of GHB and users experience giddiness. Also. amnesia. It is the sedative effect that drug abusers are looking for. wellbeing and pleasant drowsiness. Anxieties and inhibitions tend to dissolve into a feeling of emotional warmth. The problem is. Inhibitions are lowered in a similar fashion to moderate doses of alcohol.at best . Consequences of using GHB Consequences for health The foremost risk to health with using this drug is that you never know what you are getting. This can cause nausea. Frequent effects are placidity. . as it's a homemade drug. The 'morning after' effects of GHB appear to lack the unpleasant characteristics associated with alcohol and other relaxation-oriented drugs. Although it's an anaesthetic. mild euphoria and a tendency to talk. drowsiness.very dose-dependent.and this is very close to the amount that can cause seizures or coma. It's a risky business. at low to moderate doses GHB works as a sedative rather than a painkiller. loss of co-ordination. purity will vary and a user could easily take a higher dose than he or she intended.burn mouths and throats. Physical side effects and possible damage to health occur mainly when GHB is taken in a dose sufficient for the anaesthetic properties of the drug to start to operate. Too much GHB can be deadly. vomiting. the amount of GHB you need to take to feel the sedative effect is very close to the amount needed for anaesthesia . The effect of GHB at lower doses are a cross between alcohol and the hypnotic sedative Methaqualone Hydroxide (mandrax) that was popular in the 1970's but is no longer prescribed. Small increases in the amount taken lead to significant intensification of the effect. Toxic compounds left behind by kitchen sink chemistry can . Most users find that low doses of GHB induce a pleasant state of relaxation and tranquillity. loss of emotional control and interference with mobility and verbal coherence. sensuality.
Little is known of the drug's long term effects on physical health or emotional well-being. Heroin What is it? Heroin is an opiate. This produces a feeling of relaxation. security and well-being. As a sedative drug. This plant is grown as an illicit crop in countries across the Middle East. and the Medicines Act regulates its manufacture. anxiety and tremor. It is not illegal to possess or use GHB in the UK as of mid 1998. However.such as alcohol. GHB is classed as a medicine. seizures and coma can occur. there is a very serious risk of overdose or damage to health if GHB is taken with other depressants . Legal Consequences In the UK. It is not yet clear if users can become tolerant to GHB or become psychologically or physically dependent upon it. It was . A conviction for illegal manufacture of a medicine carries a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment and a fine of two thousand pounds.respiratory problems and occasionally unconsciousness. After excessive use. Asia and South America. However. Medicinal uses Although opium has been known and used as a sedative and intoxicant in some cultures for several thousand years. it seems probable that tolerance and/or psychological dependence could occur in some individuals and a withdrawal syndrome has been reported that may last 3-12 days including insomnia. heroin is a relatively new substance. Pure heroin is a white powder with a bitter taste that is made from the milky 'sap' of the opium poppy (see right). Drinking alcohol with GHB could easily lead to respiratory failure or coma. The manufacture of GHB by unlicensed persons is illegal. this situation is likely to change in the near future as efforts are underway to place this drug within the remit of the Dangerous Drugs Act. Heroin is a powerful painkiller that depresses the Central Nervous System.
Along with an increase in purity. Many deaths have resulted from overdosing on a batch of unusually pure heroin. Heroin on the streets is usually diluted with other substances .depending pretty much on the mood of the dealers. the amount by which the drug is 'cut' varies from purchase to purchase or day to day and so its purity in any particular locality can vary enormously . as synthetic sedatives and anaesthetics have replaced the opium-based compounds that were used in the past.first synthesized from morphine in 1874 in Germany and given the name heroisch meaning 'powerful'. However. . A gram of the drug now costs around 60 Pounds Sterling on the street. Heroin was not extensively used in medicine until around the beginning of this century. although it can range from 1 to 98 percent (hence the likelihood of accidental overdose). the cost of heroin has fallen. A few years ago powders sold as illicit heroin only actually contained 1 to 10 percent of the drug. Abuse of Heroin Illicit heroin comes in the form of a powder that may vary in colour from white to dark brown because of impurities left from the manufacturing process or the presence of adulterants. At that time it then received widespread acceptance from the medical profession as a sedative and anaesthetic. In recent years street supplies have become stronger and the UK national average purity of heroin is now around 40 percent. Physicians remained unaware of its potential for addiction. or swallowed after being wrapped in paper. Today heroin does not have many legitimate medical applications. It can also be smoked by mixing with tobacco or heating on tin foil and inhaling the fumes. The powder can be sniffed or dissolved in water and injected. When the dangers of heroin came to be appreciated many governments around the world took steps to control its manufacture and it came under very strict prescription controls.ranging from lactose to paracetemol.
It produces a state of mind where all cares and worries seem far removed. What effect does it have? All opiates tend to relax the user and kill pain to some degree. under the skin or into a muscle. as sniffing or smoking heroin eliminates the health risks associated with injecting drugs. It would certainly be a cause for concern if the reduction in the cost of heroin and increase in its purity leads to the drug becoming more acceptable to young people. Smoking and sniffing of heroin appears to be on the increase in the UK as of 1997/8.particularly heroin .and so is emotional pain.Melvin Burgess. It can be hard for non-users to understand the attraction of drugs .but a major reason why any individual may feel drawn to use heroin again after an initial experience is that it produces such a powerful sense of security and tranquillity. You can just sit in a sewer all day and be soooo happy and feel soooo good" ("Junk" . Although this may seem like 'good' news. 1996 Penguin Books) . The availability of higher purity heroin has meant that more users can now snort or smoke the drug and still achieve the desired effect. Heroin is the most powerful opiate and when it is injected. the user feels an immediate 'rush' of relaxation and well-being. Perhaps it's like being in the womb. it has a downside. This is the most practical and 'efficient' way to take impure heroin. Many people that may try heroin by sniffing or smoking may not have tried the drug if they had to inject it. and the initial distaste regarding self-injection.either into a vein. ahhh. Physical pain is completely removed . most heroin users took the drug by injection . Nothing matters.Until recently. The best description this writer has ever found is: "But with heroin. Sniffing or smoking heroin is likely to be more appealing to new users because it eliminates both the fear of acquiring syringe-borne diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
nausea and vomiting. No matter how good a user may feel. If a person is abstinent from heroin for a time.over a matter of weeks .or whatever other situation exists and this is usually quite unpleasant . The pupils of the eye are reduced to pinpricks. or only two or three times each week. Heroin is a Central Nervous System depressant and when it's taken vital functions such as higher brain activity. although intravenous injection is most dangerous in this respect as the whole dose is delivered directly into the blood system.although it continues to increase as long as a user takes heroin regularly. Consequences of heroin use Risks to physical health One of the most obvious risks of taking heroin is that of overdose. If they should use heroin again in the same amounts as previously. Breathing becomes shallow and intermittent and death may occur. Tolerance can build up quite quickly .or the heroin is exceptionally pure . an overdose could easily occur. Tolerance If heroin is used regularly over a period of time then a tolerance to the drug builds up.include restlessness. the reality is the sewer .particularly for new users . Users have to take larger amounts of heroin in order to get the same effect as previously. .or slowed down. their tolerance to the drug decreases.going back and forth from appearing fairly alert to almost falling asleep. It makes no difference what method of taking heroin a person may employ and regularly can mean using many times each day. This can occur whatever method is used to take the drug. If a large dose is taken . breathing and heart rate are inhibited . The user may go 'on the nod' or 'gouch out' .Of course.hence the need to escape from it.the user may become comatose and the skin feel cold and clammy. Side effects from heroin use . these pleasant sensations have nothing to do with reality.
especially if a person uses a lot of the drug or even uses it occasionally over a long period of time. Hepatitis B or C. Injecting heroin . This can lead to severe blood infection and damage the heart.in situations where shared needles are used. Dependence Physical and psychological dependence upon heroin is likely to occur. anxiety. As heroin is also a powerful CNS depressant. both of which are serious infections. Coming off the drug can be very difficult because withdrawal symptoms . Heroin use can result in a powerful physical addiction. Users who inject heroin might often employ contaminated needles or syringes. Generally speaking. a craving for the drug may still persist for a long time and relapses are common. The prospect of going through such a painful withdrawal puts many heroin users off the idea of trying to stop using the drug. Another immediate physical danger associated with heroin use exists if the drug is combined with other substances. perhaps accidentally. and tremors. The method of taking heroin makes no difference here . benzodiazepines and barbiturates are particularly dangerous as they are all CNS depressants.although lasting for only a few days . a heroin user who wishes to stop using the drug completely needs a strong support network to help him or her overcome the craving for the drug. leaves the users open to infection from the HIV virus that causes AIDS. sweating. muscle cramps.or any drug .are fairly severe.a person who sniffs or smokes heroin can become dependent on the drug just as easily as a person who injects it. Once the physical withdrawal is over. vomiting. the combined effect of mixing these drugs can depress breathing or heart rate to such an extent as to cause respiratory failure or heart failure. Abstinence can bring on symptoms such as chronic diarrhoea. can be spread in this way and are common among intravenous heroin users. insomnia. Other depressant drugs. Social consequences . such as alcohol.Other physical health risks related to heroin use are associated with the means of taking the drug.
premature births and stillbirths. cleaning fluids. Infants born to these women often have heroin withdrawal symptoms which may last several weeks or months. This has serious implications for our society. Many regular users resort to crime of one kind or another to fund their drug use. nail polish remover. It is illegal to supply or possess it. pneumonia or hepatitis during pregnancy and childbirth. Inhalants What are they? Inhalants are chemicals that produce mood-altering vapors. paint thinner. There are more than a thousand different commercial products that can be abused for their mood-altering properties. They have more spontaneous abortions. dipapanone and pethidine are also Class A drugs. caesarean sections. as the social costs of drug-related crime are enormous. opium. Many of these babies die. breech deliveries. correction fluid. heart disease. The UK Home Office provided an estimate of the size of the problem in research in 1997. which found that 20 percent of all people arrested in Britain were on heroin. Many people don't usually think of inhalants as drugs because most of them were never meant to be used that way. Aerosols: . such as morphine. Legal consequences Heroin is a Class A drug. spray paint.It costs a lot of money to maintain a regular intake of heroin. diabetes. Effect on pregnant women Researchers estimate that nearly half of the women who are dependent on heroin suffer anaemia. They can be divided into three main categories: Volatile gases and solvents: Such as cigarette lighter gas. methadone. Penalties are high. Codeine and dihydrocodeine (DF118) are Class B drugs unless they are prepared for injection when they become Class A drugs. petrol and glues. Drugs similar to heroin.
for some young people.in a similar fashion to that of intravenous injection of other drugs. Nitrates: Such as Amyl nitrite. deodorants and other spray products that are abused more for the propellant gas. Its availability to the public is controlled within the UK. Some sniffers strengthen the effect by sniffing from inside a plastic bag placed over the head. This is very dangerous because the user may suffocate and become unconcious or even die. The effect of inhalants on the brain is so fast that sniffing these substances can provide an 'instant high' . have any medicinal application. such as those examples listed above. inexpensive and their abuse carries no criminal penalties. the large surface of the lungs allows rapid absorption of the vapour into the bloodstream. or from a rag soaked in the substance and held to the face. which has medical applications for heart patients and Butyl nitrite. It is now rarely prescribed as a medicine as more effective compounds have been developed.Such as hair spray. Inhalant vapours can be sniffed or sucked in directly from an open container or aerosol. Once inhaled. These factors make inhalants. Alternatively. the open container. one of the first substances to be abused. None of the other commonly abused inhalants. Medicinal uses Amyl nitrite was widely used in the past as a treatment for angina in heart patients and for diagnostic purposes. which is used in room deodorizers. substance or soaked rag can be placed in a paper or plastic bag and the vapours inhaled from that. A note on nitrates . Abuse of inhalants Young people are particularly likely to abuse inhalants because they are easily available. than for the contents.
when the co-ordination centres are depressed this results in loss of balance and limb control.in a similar fashion to the alcohol user after. At low doses users may feel slightly stimulated . nearly all of the commonly abused inhalants produce effects similar to that of anaesthetics. say two or three pints of beer. with all sorts of consequences. At high doses. this causes slurred speech. So inhalants can feel stimulating .but they're not . How do they work? Although different in makeup.Amyl nitrite was first prescribed for use in small sealed ampoules. What effect do they have? The effects of abusing inhalants such as solvents. This is caused by depression of the higher brain centres. An inhalant abuser may demonstrate increased self-confidence and loss of self-restraint. Amyl and butyl nitrites are sometimes abused by nightclub customers who inhale the fumes for the rush whilst dancing. . They are also popular as a sex drug. or in clubs. The purchase of Amyl nitrite is controlled but Butyl nitrite can be bought from sex and other speciality shops. They exert a very short-lasting stimulant effect. an inhalant abuser can lose consciousness as the brain activity that controls vital functions such as breathing and heartbeat becomes inhibited. but more often for added stimulation at the time of orgasm. When these were broken. This slang is often used today. when the vision centres are affected this produces distorted vision. In general terms they are Central Nervous System depressants.these effects are a result of the inhibition of normal brain activity. resemble the effects of drinking alcohol. For example. glue and aerosols etc. These compounds widen blood vessels and make the heart beat faster. when the brain's speech centres are inhibited. The exceptions to this are Amyl and Butyl nitrites. Various parts of the central nervous system are depressed by inhalants. they made a snapping sound and illicit users nicknamed these ampoules 'snappers' or 'poppers'. which produces an apparent stimulation by reducing anxiety and self-consciousness. sometimes said to be used for its muscle relaxant properties. which act to slow down the body's functions.
Amyl and Butyl nitrites are regarded as 'party' or 'nightclub' drugs.e. Inhalants can also cause death by depressing the central nervous system so much that breathing slows down until it stops. Some people get a bad headache after using nitrates. sniffing solvents or aerosol sprays can cause heart failure and instant death. Consequences of inhalant abuse Consequences for health There is no safe way of abusing inhalants. nausea or vomiting. coughing and dizziness. Death from inhalants usually results from sniffing a very high concentration of inhalant fumes . Inhalants can cause death from suffocation by displacing the oxygen in the lungs. loss of motor coordination and problems with breathing. nausea. Clothes. skin and breath may smell of paint or solvents. For this reason. A characteristic 'glue sniffer's rash' around the nose and mouth is often seen on individuals who abuse inhalants. with possible serious health risk or life-threatening consequences. slurred speech. rather than drugs of everyday abuse. This can lead to near-continuous use. Inhalants cause distortion in perceptions of time and space. People have died at the first sniff. Many users experience headache. a flush of warmth and heightened sensual awareness.say 15 to 30 minutes later. or after using them for some time. This means that an inhalant abuser is likely to keep repeating the inhalation in an attempt to maintain the 'high'. Nitrates Sniffing nitrites makes the user light headed and giddy and produces a feeling of blood rushing to the head. Repeated sniffing can cause the user to become dizzy or to possibly pass out. Short-term. Some side effects include headaches. Sniffing can cause death the first time or any time.i. sniffing from a bag where the vapours have been allowed to . These effects last only one minute or so at most.The effects of inhalants occur very quickly and disappear after a short time .
which means the sniffer needs more and more each time to get the same effect. In early 1998 the UK Government announced its intention to extend this ban to cigarette lighter gas refills. Deliberately inhaling from a paper bag greatly increases the chance of suffocation.to possess inhalants. and are intended to prevent young people buying products that can be abused as inhalants. is likely to develop from most inhalants when they are used regularly. . skin problems. In 1995 abuse of volatile substances caused 68 deaths . sudden exertion can cause a muscle spasm in the throat or heart. They are not easy to enforce and in any case many of the substances that can be used for inhalant abuse are present in every home.collect.to people under 16 years old in the UK. paint thinners. and bone marrow. Glue and paint thinner sniffing in particular produce kidney abnormalities. kidneys. In addition. are freely available for sale to adults. Butyl nitrite and all other inhalants referred to above . It is not an offence for any person . mood swings and loss of concentration. memory impairment. bronchitis.of any age . Long-term abuse of inhalants can cause weight loss. blood. Tolerance. more than 40 were caused by abuse of gas lighter fuel refills.such as glues. Inhaling gases straight from aerosols may freeze the back of the throat causing death through suffocation.of these. but it is not illegal to possess this drug. . long-term abuse of certain inhalants can damage the liver. Such bans apply to shopkeepers etc. However. Legal Status Amyl nitrite can only be issued by pharmacists.such as solvents. aerosols etc. This can cause death. muscle fatigue. When a person is under the influence of inhalants. while the solvents toluene and trichloroethylene (trike) cause liver damage. Repeated sniffing of strong vapours over a number of years can cause permanent damage to the nervous system. The gases may also be toxic. it is an offence to sell some substances that can be used for intoxication . glues etc.
the pure drug is usually diluted to a great extent and then a single drop containing enough for one dose is placed onto blotting paper. In its pure form it is a white. It was popular in the UK during the late 1960's and early 1970's and also again in the late 1980's with the rise of 'acid house parties'. An average dose taken for a 'trip' would be around 200 micrograms. sugar cubes etc. representing single doses. LSD is a semi-synthetic drug derived from lysergic acid that is found in ergot . Blotting paper is a popular medium for the drug as it can be cut into squares. that can be decorated with cartoon characters and suchlike (see illustrations at top of page). mostly in Europe and North America. Its popularity has declined with the appearance of Ecstasy and LSD now has a relatively limited number of users when compared to that drug. to the extent where hallucinations can occur . LSD is an almost unbelieveably potent drug. Use of LSD LSD is commonly known as 'Acid'..a fungus that grows on rye and other grains.or one fivethousandths of a gram. exist. sounds. It's a drug which alters a persons perception of sights. the drug can be added to gelatine sheets or made into tablets or capsules.000 doses! Because a single dose of LSD is so small. in reality. where the user sees or hears things that don't. A single heaped tea spoonful of LSD would contain something like 20-25. although it has been suggested that it may have some uses in the treatment of certain mental illnesses. That is one fifth of a milligram . Medicinal uses LSD has no applications as a medicine. It is manufactured for the street market in illicit laboratories. touch etc. .LSD What is it? LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide) is a powerful hallucinogen. odourless crystalline powder that is soluble in water. Alternatively.that is.
colours 'heard' and smells 'felt'. Amplification of the relationship between the user and his/her surroundings . The hallucinogenic effects reach a plateau after about 1-2 hours. where a part of the user's conscious thought is aware that the hallucinations of sight. Like any other drug. where sounds are 'seen'. its effects depend on the amount taken. A single dose . sound.e. and large objects small. Distorted perception of distance.i. This can include: Vivid 'pseudo-hallucinations' . If anything in the immediate environment is perceived as . for others a feeling of terror and loneliness. An example is that commonly called a 'microdot'.to predict the effects of LSD on any person. with repeated peaks of intensity.LSD tablets can be very small. the user's personality. What effect does it have? The effects of LSD are unpredictable.or 'trip' .for some this may be a feeling of oneness with the universe. smell and touch are not real. Distorted perceptions of time. Apparent fusion of the senses.if not impossible .costs between 3 and 5 Pound Sterling. the user feels the first effects of the drug 30-90 minutes after taking it. These factors are particularly important with LSD because its hallucinogenic properties can be so strong. This can be very strong because of the difficulty in accurately measuring and preparing the tiny quantities necessary for an effective dose. LSD causes dramatic changes in perception. It is difficult . perspective and colour. Small objects may seem huge. mood and expectations.oppressive or threatening. A close object may seem to be very distant and a distant object very close. where minutes can seem like hours. thoughts and mood. which is about the side of a pinhead. Usually. even if they have taken the drug before. .say . past experience of the drug and the surroundings in which the drug is taken. under the influence of LSD the 'normal' reaction of mild anxiety can take the form of totally overwhelming fear.
sleeplessness. Consequences for Physical Health LSD appears to have few direct effects on the physical health of a user. These usually pass unnoticed by the user as the mental/emotional effects of the drug are far stronger. religious. In 'bad trips'. After several days of abstinence the hallucinatory effects are again felt. or cosmic nature . Tolerance Tolerance to LSD's effects develops rapidly. their place in the world and that there is no reality to hold on to. No deaths caused by an LSD overdose have ever been reported and there is no physical dependence on the drug. as no withdrawal symptoms occur when a user stops taking it.or that's how they may appear to the user. which can result in insignificant thoughts or objects taking on an importance out of proportion to their status. and tremors. The validity of such experiences is questionable. loss of appetite.Loss of control over thought processes. this psychotic state lasts several days or even longer. sweating. anxiety or depression. Mental/emotional experiences of a mystical. increased heart rate and blood pressure. dry mouth. Users may feel that they have lost their identity. It is difficult for anyone who has not experienced this to appreciate just how terrifying it can be . Many regular users experience unpleasant reactions to LSD sooner or later . sometimes resulting in very erratic behaviour. They often take the form of very intense feelings of fear. . making larger amounts of the drug necessary to produce the same effects. In some cases. pseudo-hallucinations can give way to terrifying true hallucinations.when all perceptions are amplified.or this can happen the first time a person takes the drug. within a few days of consecutive daily doses. Often. Physical effects The physical effects of taking LSD include dilated pupils. no amount of the drug will produce the desired effect. higher body temperature. These 'bad trips' can occur anytime with any user.
The drug may reveal deep seated mental or emotional problems that were previously unknown to the user. It is illegal to produce. Legal consequences LSD is a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. It is not yet known whether such mental changes are permanent or if they disappear when LSD use is stopped. These can occur up to two years after the last time LSD was taken and may be very frightening. walking near traffic or being near vertical drops while under the influence of LSD can all result in serious or fatal accidents. Irrational behaviour is common under the influence of the drug and a user may run onto a busy road or attempt to fly etc. Similarly.in the eyes of the law . Heavy users sometimes develop signs of organic brain damage.However. A small minority of regular LSD users become psychologically dependent on the drug and the need to keep taking it becomes a compulsion. The offence of supply . supply or possess it. such as impaired memory and attention span. mental confusion and difficulty with abstract thinking. where a person experiences LSD's effects for a short time without taking the drug. LSD can exert a profound indirect effect on physical health. 'Flashbacks' can occur. Driving a motor vehicle. resulting in death or injury to the user or others.can be committed by giving a single dose to another person. Mental Health Repeated use of LSD may result in prolonged depression and anxiety. Methadone What is it? .yet an LSD user would have no real appreciation of the dangers. Cases of suicide have occurred after taking LSD and the drug can induce violent or hazardous behaviour. the distorted perception of time and distance and other vivid hallucinations caused by LSD make driving a motor vehicle absolute madness .
Medicinal uses Although it was originally developed for use as an analgesic. The fact that it is a slow-action drug that is usually prescribed as liquid syrup means the pleasurable feelings derived from methadone are far milder than those produced by . It was first synthesised by German scientists during World War II because of a shortage of the morphine that was used as a painkiller. methadone is mainly used today as a substitute for heroin in an attempt to relieve some of the problems associated with heroin addiction.Methadone is a synthetic opiate.addicts will be able to lead a more stable life. It is usually prescribed as a liquid syrup to be swallowed but it is also manufactured as tablets and ampoules for injection.are reduced if addicts receive a daily supply of methadone as a substitute for illicit heroin.say . Methadone maintenance programmes are intended to reduce the risks associated with heroin addicts who use illicit sources for their drugs. as they will no longer suffer from repeated heroin withdrawal. It produces similar effects to heroin or morphine. The effects of methadone last far longer than those of heroin or morphine. Methadone mimics many of the effects of opiates such as heroin. HIV or hepatitis infection from shared syringes and risks associated with the need for criminal activity to fund illicit drug use . The effectiveness of methadone maintenance programmes has come under question in recent years and this remains a controversial practice. What effect does it have? Methadone has a similar effect to that of opiates but not as intense. which allows an opiate addict to take methadone only once a day in methadone maintenance programmes without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. . Methadone can also be used for a short period to help addicts get through the physical and psychological trauma of opiate withdrawal in detoxification programmes.given a regular supply of a prescribed drug . It is also presumed that . It is presumed that these risks .such as heroin overdose. They can last up to 24 hours.injection of heroin.
apart from minor symptoms such as constipation. . . A serious problem with much of the methadone prescription in the past was that heroin addicts were often given sufficient methadone to last one week . small pupils. As a result. Consequences of methadone use and abuse Consequences for health If methadone is taken as intended by the prescribing doctor it causes no damage to the physical health of the user. . overdose or poisoning are not present. It is more common practice today to require addicts on methadone maintenance programmes to collect their prescription from a clinic or pharmacy daily .conning a doctor into prescribing a higher dosage than is required.and to swallow this under observation. The dangers to health associated with illicit heroin or morphine .taking more than the recommended dosage. methadone needs to be as powerful as heroin and many addicts have stated that withdrawal from methadone is worse.or even one month. addicts commonly sold their prescribed methadone in the illicit drug market. .Although methadone produces a mild sense of well-being and relief of stress similar to that of heroin. Abuse of methadone Abuse of methadone can take several forms: . This is to prevent methadone from entering the illicit market. For it to work effectively. this does not mean that methadone is a weak alternative to that drug.such as HIV or hepatitis infection. .using methadone as a 'top up' drug while continuing to take heroin. Schoolchildren have been found in possession of this drug and several have died. In 1996 more than twice as many people died in the UK from methadone-related causes than died from taking heroin.taking methadone in combination with other drugs. sweating and itchy skin. including alcohol. This casts doubt on the usefulness of methadone maintenance programmes and illustrates the danger inherent in its abuse.selling prescribed methadone in order to buy heroin.
Although methadone does not produce the same 'high' as heroin. If prescription for an individual involves drinking the methadone syrup within the clinic or pharmacy dispensing it. This can . possession of the drug outside of those premises would constitute an offence . Legal consequences Methadone is a class A drug and it is only legal for a person to possess methadone if it has been prescribed for that individual.Taking extra methadone above the recommended dose or mixing it with other depressants such as temazepam. although the attraction of injecting a 'fix' (a large part of psychological addiction) is not present. (where more and more of the drug must be taken to achieve the same effect) and physical/psychological dependence on the drug may occur. it does prevent withdrawal symptoms and (hopefully) reduces the craving to use other opiates. or . Methadone maintenance programmes Methadone maintenance is commonly used as a form of treatment for opiate addiction in the UK because it could break the cycle of dependence on illicit drugs like heroin. they are not inclined to seek out and buy illegal drugs on the street.commonly result in overdose and death of the user. alcohol or even heroin is very dangerous. Anecdotal evidence appears to suggest that methadone is equally as addictive as heroin. The underlying rationale of methadone maintenance is that if patients are receiving methadone.it would be unlawful possession. they are more prolonged and in many respects more unpleasant. Although these develop more slowly and are less severe than those associated with morphine and heroin withdrawal. The maximum sentence for unlawful possession of methadone is 7 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine. Dependence Tolerance to methadone.and does . The maximum sentence for supplying methadone (including giving some to a friend) is life imprisonment and an unlimited fine. Withdrawal symptoms occur when a regular dosage of methadone is halted.
engage in criminal activities to fund illicit drug use. As previously mentioned.is increased if other help. it offers little or no incentive for an addict to stop taking drugs. its widespread use could increase the number of chemically dependent individuals. particularly when the drug is dispensed on a weekly basis rather than daily.or at least find a stable lifestyle . Prescribed methadone is frequently encountered on the illicit market and has recently been associated with a greater number of overdose deaths than has heroin. Prescription of a substitute for heroin offers no incentive to abstain from using drugs and many addicts simply use it as a free 'top up' to their existing illicit drug consumption. Also. the health risks associated with injection of illicit drugs are removed. This approach to heroin addiction is often referred to as 'harm reduction' or 'harm minimisation' as its primary aim is not so much to encourage addicts to stop using drugs but simply to attempt to reduce the damage that such use causes to addicts and society. many addicts have stated that it is physically more difficult for addicts to stop using methadone than it is to stop using heroin. advice and support is also accepted. Abuse of methadone maintenance programmes is common. Problems associated with methadone maintenance Methadone has been accused of acting only as a palliative to the problem of heroin addiction and simply prolongs drug addiction within any individual. such as counselling. It has been demonstrated that the probability of a methadone maintenance programme helping a heroin addict to become abstinent from all drugs . While methadone maintenance does represent a low-cost form of treatment for opiate addicts (and this may be its main attraction). While methadone prescription for a short period to counteract the symptoms of heroin withdrawal must have a place in addiction treatment. 'Magic' Mushrooms What are they? .
Although fungi of various sorts have been used as medicines and for ceremonial/spiritual purposes in cultures across the world for thousands of years. These chemicals bear a close resemblance to the neurotransmitter serotonin and the hallucinogenic effect of .Psilocibe semilanceata. How do they work? The primary active ingredients of Psilocybe mushrooms are psilocybin and psilocin and to a lesser extent baeocystin and norbaeocystin.immediately after picking or preserve them by drying to be eaten later. The most common is the Liberty Cap . The original 'magic mushroom' is in fact another. which is commonly referred to as a 'Magic mushroom'. Mushrooms were popular as an hallucinogenic drug in the 'hippie' culture of the late 1960's and 1970's.which may or may not say something about their 'magical' value. This is easily recognisable as a red toadstool with white warts. not so common hallucinogenic fungi seen in the UK called Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria). Use/abuse of mushrooms Psilocybe mushrooms grow after rain in late summer and autumn in the UK. Those who chose to ingest mushrooms eat them fresh .Many species of fungi possess psychedelic properties and about a dozen of these grow wild in the UK. As far as can be judged. who may have used hallucinogenic fungi to enter a trance or see visions in order to fulfil a role within their community. They have retained their popularity partly because they are seen as a 'natural' high and also because they cost nothing to obtain. often depicted in cartoons as the cute red and white spotted variety from 'Alice In Wonderland'. Fly Agaric grow in or near woodland. Medicinal uses None in modern medicine. Some people brew a 'tea' made from them or use them in cooking. They are often found on cowpats in cattle grazing areas . their use was largely restricted to shamans etc.
psilocybe mushrooms is probably caused by their interference with the normal actions of brain seretonin. It's likely that LSD (which is synthesised from ergot - a fungus that grows on grains) works in a similar fashion. Fly Agaric contains mycoatropine and muscarine, together with two other less poisonous compounds, muscimol and ibotenic acid. These are seriously nasty chemicals that basically irritate the brain and have an hallucinogenic effect. They also induce sweating and can cause delerium and coma. What effect do they have? Psilocybe The effects of Psilocybe mushrooms are similar to a mild LSD 'trip', that is, they alter the perception of sight, sounds etc. and change the feelings and thoughts of the user. They take effect after about 30-45 minutes, peaking after about 3 hours, and last for around 4 or 5 hours altogether. At low doses, euphoria, a sense of well being and a feeling of detachment occur, along with some mild distortion of perception. There is less dissociation than occurs with LSD and so less chance of a 'bad trip' as the user still has some control over his or her thought processes. Nevertheless, the effect of psilocybe mushrooms is unpredictable and depends on the setting in which they are taken and the mental or emotional state of the user. At high doses visual distortions and vivid hallucinations can take place. Most mushrooms containing psilocybin cause some nausea and other physical symptoms before the mental effects take over. Fly Agaric This hallucinogenic agents in this fungus are more toxic that those found in psilocybe and the intensity of the experience is higher. After the mushroom is eaten, individuals often vomit and may have a severe headache for a short time. The heart rate speeds up and the pupils dilate. The mental effects resemble a state similar to extreme alcoholic intoxication, with the added complication of vivid hallucinations. Bizarre behaviour of users is
common, ranging from non-stop talking or shouting to complete unawareness of their surrounding. The duration of the hallucinogenic experience depends on the amount of mushrooms eaten and can range from 7-8 hours to 2 days. The user usually then falls into a deep sleep and on waking will not remember his or her behaviour while 'high'. The 'magic' myth 'Magic mushrooms' haven't got any magic! In fact, their alarming effects are the nasty, brutish - and sometimes not so short - result of disruptive, chemical interference with the body's nervous system. Consequences of using mushrooms The idea that - because fungi are living things - they provide a 'natural high' is crazy. The active constituents of these mushrooms are dangerous chemicals. Opium is a natural substance - it's highly addictitve. Belladonna (Deadly nightshade) is natural - it can kill. Natural does not mean harmless. Risk to physical health Philocybe Philocybe mushrooms are not poisonous in the sense that they can kill and no lethal dose is known. However, some people react to them with vomiting, nausea and stomach pains. No serious long-term physical damage to health has been reported although it must be noted that no research has been carried out to assess the effects of frequent use. The main risk to health from eating philocybe mushrooms comes from mistaken identity - collecting and eating poisonous varieties of mushrooms instead of the ones possessing the desired hallucinogenic properites. Some of these other fungi can cause death or permanent liver damage within hours of ingestion. Distinguishing hallucinogenic mushrooms from poisonous ones can be very difficult and sometimes almost impossible.
Risks to physical safety are likely to result from an individual's behaviour while under the influence of psilocybin. This may include irresponsible behaviour which could lead to an accident or injury. Fly Agaric Fly Agaric is poisonous as well as being hallucinogenic. Its toxicity is mainly due to the presence of mycoatropine, which causes disorders of mental activity. The content of another poisonous agent, muscarine, is relatively small. Eating them can cause permanent physical damage, or even death. Fly Agaric itself is moderately toxic, but it should be remembered that species from the Amanita genus cause 95 percent of all deaths from mushroom poisoning. Fly Agaric's closest relatives are Amanita virosa (Destroying Angel) and Amanita phalloides (Death Cap) - the names say it all. So, consuming Fly Agaric can be very dangerous for an individual's physical safety as so much depends on correct identification of the fungi. If a person is collecting mushrooms to eat for their hallucinogenic properties, one mistake could be their last mistake. Death by Amanita poisoning is reportedly an excruciating way to die. Even more horrifying is that the fatal symptoms only start to appear 2-3 days after eating the mushrooms - and by then it's too late. Tolerance and Dependence As with LSD, tolerance to the active ingredients in hallucinogenic mushrooms develops quickly and the day following a mushroom 'trip' it may take twice the original dose to produce the same effect. There are no significant withdrawal symptoms from hallucinogenic mushrooms and no physical dependence appears to take place. There may be a strong desire to repeat the experience, which could be indicative of some degree of psychological dependence. Legal consequences The possession and use of hallucinogenic mushrooms in their natural form is not illegal in the UK. However, if they are prepared in any way, i.e. dried, crushed, cooked or brewed into tea, they then become a Class A drug. The penalties for possession or supply of a Class A drug are severe.
What are they? Tranquillisers are synthetic drugs that are intended to reduce anxiety and help people to sleep. Benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed of these drugs, which include the well known brands such as Valium and Temazepam. Medicinal uses Benzodiazepines are frequently prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia. They are also used as sedatives before some surgical and medical procedures and for the treatment of some seizure disorders and alcohol withdrawal. Because they are considered to be safer and more effective, benzodiazepines have largely replaced barbiturates in the treatment of both anxiety and insomnia. The first benzodiazepine to be produced was chlordiazepoxide, commonly known as Librium. Diazepam (Valium) was the next to be developed and until the early 1980s this was the most widely prescribed tranquillizer in the world. Now, newer benzodiazepines such as Lorazepam (Ativan) account for most tranquillizer prescriptions. Use and abuse of tranquillisers Benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed drugs in Britain. Twice as many women take them as men and, where they have been prescribed over a long period of time, many patients have become dependent upon them. The easy availability of tranquillisers has made them common as drugs of abuse. Some drug abusers take tranquillisers to bring them down after using stimulants such as ecstasy or cocaine. Others take them to 'enhance' the effect of alcohol. They are also used as replacement drugs when an addict's drug of first choice such as heroin - is not available. Tranquillisers are not generally injected but Temazepam capsules, known as 'jellies' or 'eggs' became a very popular injected drug among addicts in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Because of this they were banned in 1996, although the tablet form is still available. What effect do they have?
so a fatal overdose of these drugs alone is very rare. alcohol can 'magnify' the effect of tranquillisers two or threefold. Death or injury can easily occur where tranquillisers are mixed with other drugs without appreciation of the dangers.either accidental or intentional . If tranquillisers are mixed with other depressant drugs their effect is amplified. A prescribed dose of tranquillisers is generally well tolerated and has a wide margin of safety. Tranquillisers inhibit mental activity and alertness and impair driving and similar skills that require concentration. lethargy dizziness and lack of co-ordination. Any Benzodiazepine in a high enough dose can act as a hypnotic and induce sleep. even when the individual doses of tranquillisers and alcohol are small. Nevertheless. they are intended to relieve. Larger doses may cause drowsiness. A prescribed dose of tranquillisers will usually exert a mild calming effect. For example.Tranquillisers act as sedatives to lower anxiety and as hypnotics to assist sleep. Such a combination can cause irrational or aggressive behaviour and is a common cause of injury or death. Tranquillisers can sometimes release aggression by lowering the inhibitions of any user. drug abusers commonly take tranquillisers with alcohol as tranquillisers exaggerate the effect of drink. Consequences of tranquilliser abuse Consequences for health Generally speaking. heroin or other depressant drugs. such as anxiety and insomnia. This can result in violent or irrational behaviour that can pose a risk of injury or death to the user or others.do happen. While death rarely results from tranquillizer overdose alone. these drugs can be fatal when used in combination with alcohol. For example. The hypnotic effects can last for 3 to 6 hours but this depends on the type of drug used. overdoses . a low dosage of tranquillisers prescribed for a short time only is unlikely to pose any greater risk to health than the symptoms. often having a sedative effect at low doses and a hypnotic effect at high doses. . Many tranquillisers have both effects. Driving a vehicle would then be very hazardous indeed.
the risk of dependence is high as they are likely to take a far higher dosage than is normally prescribed. However. anxiety. They include an inability to sleep. A physician may decide to taper off the dosage of a tranquilliser prescription over a period of time to allow a patient to relinquish tranquillisers without suffering too much in the way of withdrawal. as the patient's body adapts to the presence of the medication. These symptoms can be unpleasant and long-lasting. Temazepam) are classified as Class C drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.as withdrawal symptoms occur.particularly a high dose regimen . It is an offence to supply them to another person. Benzodiazepines (e. Legal consequences All tranquillisers are drugs that are legally available only to members of the public who have a valid doctor's prescription. Penalties for possession and/or supply of Class A drugs are very high. then it becomes a Class A drug under the 1971 Act. Where illicit users.e. .g. sweating. abuse tranquillisers. if Temazepam is illicitly prepared for injection. Psychological dependence is common in users with a long-term tranquilliser prescription. i. loss of appetite. irritable and anxious and unable to carry on with their normal routine. problems have been reported after shorter periods of use. especially at higher than normal doses. After they have stopped using tranquillisers. those who have acquired the drug on the black market. The risk of physical dependence increases if tranquillisers are taken regularly for more than a few months. It is an offence to possess them without a doctor's prescription. However.Dependence Research has suggested that physical dependence on tranquillisers occurs even with a medically prescribed dose. There may be great fear concerning the thought of living without the drug. nausea and sometimes convulsions and mental confusion. patients may be confused. This may be particularly necessary where the patient has been taking tranquillisers for a long period. This is demonstrated when a patient suddenly stops taking a prescribed tranquillizer .
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