Keep Kids Drug Free

Drug Info at a Glance:

There’s a lot of information out there: right, wrong, partly right. This chart provides accurate, quick information. If you want serious information and lots of it, try one of the links we have provided along the way (or on our links page.)

Quick jump: Tobacco | Alcohol | Marijuana | Cocaine | Inhalants | Ecstacy | Steroids | LSD/PCP | OxyContin | GHB/Rohypnol | Methamphetamine


tobaccoTobacco:

Tobacco use is the LEADING preventable cause of premature death in the United States! There are approximately 3,000 (or more) new smokers under the age of 19 that start smoking EVERY DAY… plus there are over 15.5 MILLION kids exposed to second hand smoke each and every day.

WHAT IS IT?

What you see in a cigarette, cigar, chewing tobacco or snuff is the dried and shredded leaves of the tobacco plant. There are many other things in the product you buy, however. Cigarette smoke contains over 3,000 chemicals including: Acetone (nail polish remover/ paint remover), hydrogen cyanide (rat poison), nicotine (bug killer), hydrazine (rocket fuel) and formaldehyde (embalming fluid) just to name a few.

EFFECTS:

Smoking tobacco (cigarette smoking is the most common way of using tobacco) produces a pleasurable sensation, a calming feeling for many smokers at first… until addiction. Tobacco is a rapidly addictive drug. Initial side effects can include: increased stress, rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, decreased oxygen flow. Longer term side effects include many serious illnesses including heart failure, stroke, heart attack, various cancers, bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema, miscarriages, birth defects, and more.

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alcoholAlcohol:

Alcohol is the name given to a variety of related compounds. The drinkable form is ethanol, or ethyl alcohol. It is a powerful, addictive, central nervous system depressant produced by the action of yeast cells on carbohydrates in fruits and grains.

There are three basic types of alcoholic drinks:

BEER: Made from fermented grains and has an alcohol content of three to six percent.

WINE: Made from fermented fruits and has an alcohol content of 11 to 14 percent. Some wine drinks, such as coolers, have fruit juice and sugar added which lowers the alcohol content somewhat. Fortified wines, such as port, have alcohol added and can have an alcohol content as high as 20 percent.

LIQUOR: Made by distilling a fermented product to yield a drink that usually contains forty to fifty percent alcohol.

A 12 OUNCE GLASS OF BEER, A 5 OUNCE GLASS OF WINE, AND A 1. 5 OUNCE SHOT OF LIQUOR ALL CONTAIN THE SAME AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL AND, THEREFORE, HAVE AN EQUAL EFFECT ON THE DRINKER. ALL HAVE THE SAME POTENTIAL FOR INTOXICATION AND ADDICTION.

EFFECTS:

The drug “alcohol” acts on nerve cells deep within the brain.

At first, alcohol feels more like an energy drink. But then quickly brings on feelings of relaxation and less stress. Two or three drinks in an hour can throw your judgment off. Five drinks over two hours can raise the level of alcohol in your blood to the level of being considered too intoxicated to drive (in EVERY state).

Side effects include: becoming irritable, losing your coordination, becoming inappropriate or violent, difficulty standing or walking, slurred or incoherent speech, blacking out, short term memory loss, depression, impaired vision and function, elevated blood pressure, liver damage and more.

Ongoing use/abuse of alcohol can lead to addiction or alcoholism.

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marijuanaMarijuana:

Marijuana has been around for a long long time. Regardless of what it’s called (there are over 200 names) it is, by far, the world’s most commonly used illicit drug. Although the plant (cannabis sativa) contains at least 400 different chemicals, its main mind altering ingredient is THC (delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol). The amount of THC in marijuana determines the drug’s strength, and THS levels are affected by several factors. Therefore, THC levels can be drastically different from one form of marijuana to another.

HOW IS IT USED?

Marijuana and other cannabis products are usually smoked, most often in loosely rolled cigarettes. There are several slang names for a marijuana cigarette, but “joint” or “j” remains the most common. “Blunts” are when someone hollows out a cigar and repacks it with marijuana. Sometimes other drugs are added to marijuana to add additional “effects” from smoking.

EFFECTS:

How marijuana affects someone is partially influenced by whether they are a first time user or have been smoking and what the previous reactions were. Previous experiences often influence how they will feel. Marijuana is a mild hallucinogen and can feel somewhat like an alcohol “buzz” initially. Effects are felt within a few minutes and reach their strongest in about 30 minutes. Effects include; increased heart rate, impaired coordination and balance, delayed reaction time, diminished short term memory, dry mouth and throat. Effects also include distorted perception and often paranoia.

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Cocaine

Cocaine is a stimulant, the most powerful found in nature. Most often seen in the form of a white, crystalline powder, it is extracted from the leaves of the coca plant. Crack is a smokeable, rapidly reacting form of cocaine base, which is processed from cocaine hydrochloride. It usually appears as off white chips, rocks or chunks.

The usual form of use for cocaine powder is through inhalation, commonly called “snorting”. The cocaine is poured out onto a mirror and finely chopped and separated into thin lines and then “snorted” through a straw or rolled up currency. Crack is smoked… placed in a pipe, often made of glass, and heated with a match or lighter. The user inhales the fumes.

EFFECTS:

Cocaine is all forms stimulates the central nervous system. It causes the heart to beat more rapidly and blood vessels to constrict….this increases the risk of cardiovascular incidents or strokes. Initially use of cocaine/crack reduces appetite and makes the user feel more alert, energetic and self confident. With higher doses users can become paranoid, delusional, and suffer psychosis. Strokes and heart attacks can be caused by the increased blood pressure. As the drug wears off, depression often sets in. Crack, because it is smoked, has about the same effects but they happen more quickly and more intense.

Cocaine/crack is highly addictive. In addition to those effects listed consequences include: fluid in the lungs, lung disorders, psychosis, depression, anxiety, aggressive behavior often becoming violent, sexual dysfunction, nausea and headaches. IV users have additional consequences including risk of HIV infection.

As with all most drugs, use while pregnant causes irreversible damage to the fetus.

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tobaccoInhalants:

Inhalants are drugs that produce quick, temporary high lasting only a short time. Inhalants are cheap and readily available as many are common products. Average age of first use is 13.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN TYPES OF INHALANTS?

  • Organic solvents: these are liquid products that give off fumes that can be inhaled, such as; gasoline, lighter fluid and butane lighter fluid, spray paint, paint thinners, nail polish remover, degreasers, cleaning fluids and others. Most of these products are in every household.
  • Nitrites: are often used medically and cause the walls of the blood vessels to relax so that the vessels enlarge or dilate. The most commonly abused are amyl nitrate and butyl nitrate. Amyl nitrate is usually packaged in small, crushable glass or plastic capsules, known as poppers or snappers. Butyl nitrate often comes in a bottle or spray can and is sold as an air freshener.
  • Nitrous oxide: is commonly called “laughing gas”. It is used primarily by dentists as an anesthetic. It does not completely block pain, but does alter the perception of pain so that there is less distress. This compressed gas is stored in metal tanks. It is also used to make canned whipped cream. Small cartridges, called whippets, are enclosed in containers of cream and the gas mixes with the cream when the nozzle is depressed.

How are they used?

Fumes may be inhaled from their containers. A liquid solvent may also be put on an absorbent material (rags, clothing, roll of toilet paper). Abusers make the effect stronger by putting the solvent in a paper/plastic bag then hold the open end over the mouth and nose. Capsules of amyl nitrate are crushed and breathed in. Butyl nitrate is usually used like a liquid solvent. Nitrous oxide may be inhaled through a mask or directly from a punctured whippet. The nozzle of a whipped cream container can also be depressed in such a way that only the nitrous oxide is discharged.

Effects:

Short term….impaired physical and mental judgment. Irritation of breathing passages which brings about severe coughing, painful inflammation and nosebleeds. Irregular heartbeats are common when using inhalants. Inhalants may dangerously hinder the nerves that control breathing which may cause unconsciousness, coma or death. This is especially the case when inhalants are used with alcohol.

Long term…..increasing use often leads to larger doses. Heavy doses increase the risk of brain damage including; poor memory, extreme mood swings, tremors and seizures. Nitrite inhalants may lead to glaucoma and blindness. The organic solvents are the most dangerous. They are poisons that break down living cells.

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Ecstasy

Ecstasy is one of the more dangerous and unpredictable drugs threatening youth today. It is a synthetic chemical that can be derived from an essential oil of the sassafras tree. MDMA ( 3-4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) as it is known to scientists, is especially dangerous because of the lack of content control. Ingredients are difficult to get and manufacturers of the drug often use substitutes, mixing other harmful additives with the already dangerous mix. It is difficult to measure the toxicity therefore consequences and symptoms of problems are difficult to detect.

Ecstasy was first developed as an appetite suppressant in 1914. By the 70’s Ecstasy began to show up as a street drug. In 1985 Ecstasy was made illegal and classified along with other Schedule 1, controlled substances like heroin, cocaine and LSD.

Ecstasy is usually taken in pill form. An Ecstasy high can last from six to 24 hours.

EFFECTS:

Ecstasy is similar in nature to other amphetamines and hallucinogens. It speeds up the nervous system and acts as a mood enhancer. Ecstasy often makes the user feel good, happy and relaxed at first. Although called the “love drug” Ecstasy is not an aphrodisiac and can actually inhibit sexual performance.

The following effects start within 20 minutes of taking “E”:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Feeling of well being
  • Increased body temp.
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetite

Taking higher doses of “E” does not increase the good feelings. In fact higher dosages can cause serious problems. Taking too much Ecstasy can result in:

  • High blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Breathing problems
  • Confusion
  • Fainting or collapsing
  • Tremors

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SteroidsSteroids

Steroids are testosterone-like drugs that are often taken to build muscle, enhance performance and/or improve appearance. Some steroids are used medically for conditions such as; asthma, lung diseases, skin conditions and allergic reactions. Using steroids for cosmetic or athletic purposes is not sanctioned in the US.

Steroids are usually in tables or liquid form (users often inject).

EFFECTS:

Steroid abusers often exhibit: rapid weight gain, rapid muscle development, mood swings, depression, aggressive behavior, and fluid retention.

Steroids can increase muscle mass, strength and endurance but can also cause liver tumors, jaundice, water retention and high blood pressure. Manic episodes and depression are common. Users often suffer from jealousy/paranoia, extreme irritability and delusions.

Long term effects can include hypertension, kidney disease, and heart damage. Over time, users can develop diabetes.

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blotter acidLSD/PCP

Hallucinogens pose grave dangers; LSD is known to trigger panic, anxiety, depression, paranoia or psychotic episodes. PCP often prompts violence and can induce psychosis. Both are very unpredictable.

LSD, commonly called “acid”, is the best known of the hallucinogens. Early advocates of LSD thought it was a “mind expanding aid” and was used therapeutically.

LSD is generally taken orally and in very small doses. Most often it is sold as very small tablets or small bits of paper with acid soaked in. When dropped on paper often cartoon drawings or colorful designs are used.

EFFECTS OF LSD

Physical effects of LSD may include: dilated pupils, high temperatures, high temperature, rapid heartbeat increased blood pressure, sleeplessness, appetite loss and tremors.

Psychological effects can last for more than 12 hours. At first changes in mood and visual perception are likely. The user may then begin to experience distorted impressions of time, space and distance. Judgment and the ability to recognize immediate danger can be impaired increasing the risk of injury.

After most of the drug’s effects have worn off, anxiety, depression, paranoia, panic or psychotic behavior may still be present. An overdose can result in a longer, more intense or frightening experience. Recurring hallucinations can occur days, weeks or more than a year after use.

PCP was originally developed as a synthetic drug for use as an anesthetic in surgery. However, the drug was quickly abandoned for this use due to extreme and adverse side effects.

In pure form, PCP is a white powder. It is produced in clandestine labs and often passed off as LSD or other hallucinogen. It is marketed under so many names, that buyers often do not know what they are taking.

EFFECTS OF PCP:

The effects of PCP can be unpredictable and are often severe. Moderate doses (and one never knows the strength of a dose), generally produce initial feelings of relaxation and mild euphoria, but depression, anxiety or disorientation can also often result. With a “normal” dose users may feel similar to a LSD high and feel very powerful.

Physical effects include: loss of coordination, shallow breathing, rising heart rate and temperature, rising blood pressure, and numbness.

At higher doses respiration drops and users may experience nausea, vomiting, loss of balance/dizziness and mood swings. Aggressiveness is common with PCP use as is paranoia.

Psychotic episodes caused by PCP may last for several days. At toxic levels, or when interacting with alcohol or other depressants, PCP can prove to be fatal, causing convulsions, coma and respiratory arrest. PCP also aggravates existing mental disorders.

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blotter acidOxyContin

OxyContin is the brand name for a pain medication. It is a legal narcotic that is available by prescription. When used as directed, it provides extended relief of pain associated with cancer, back pain or arthritis.

When used illegally, the drug is often crushed into a powder and snorted or mixed with water which creates a quick and intense rush to the brain. Overdoses often occur due to too much of the medication hitting the bloodstream too quickly. OxyContin is highly addictive so higher doses of the drug must be taken when a tolerance develops.

OxyContin most commonly exists in tablet form.

EFFECTS:

The most serious risk associated with OxyContin is respiratory depression. Because of this, OxyContin is especially dangerous when mixed with alcohol or other depressants. Other common effects include; nausea, vomiting, headaches, constipation, weakness, sweating, and dry mouth. Toxic overdose and/or death can occur by breaking down or crushing the tablets.

Over time, OxyContin is physically addictive. People who abuse the drug experience a high that is somewhat like an opiate high, a sedate, euphoric feeling.

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blotter acidGHB/Rohypnol

GHB, or Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate, is a central nervous system depressant. Since there is a small amount of this in the human body, GHB is often promoted as being “natural”. GHB is made from GBL which is a solvent found in nail polish and cleaning products.

GHB is most commonly used as a liquid and taken orally by the capful.

Rohypnol is also a central nervous system depressant. It is in the same family as Valium and Xanax but it up to ten times as strong.

Rohypnol (Roofies) comes typically in pill form that is taken orally or dissolved in water.

Both GHB and Rohypnol are inexpensive which makes them very popular with younger groups.

EFFECTS:

The effects of these two substances are similar. GHB “peaks” faster than Rohypnol but both cause an intoxication sensation similar to alcohol followed by drowsiness. Higher doses lead to a “sleep” from which a user has great difficulty being awakened.

GHB and Rohypnol both have reputations as being considered “Date Rape Drugs” as they are often used to sexually assault woman and men. The drugs are easily slipped into someone’s drink and the victim becomes very open to suggestion and weak or physically passes out leaving them vulnerable to the person who spiked the drink.

Rohypnol is the most disturbing as people often completely black out…leaving no memory of events.

Both GHB and Rohypnol present serious overdose threats. They can both be fatal when mixed with alcohol.

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MethamphetamineMethamphetamine

“Meth” is the horror story – rapid addiction and health decline are part of the process of this powerful compound.

WHAT IT IS:

Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant drug that strongly activates certain systems in the brain. Methamphetamine is closely related chemically to amphetamine, but the central nervous system effects of methamphetamine are greater.

It is occasionally argued that both methamphetamine and amphetamine have some medical uses primarily in the treatment of obesity, buttheir therapeutic use is extremely limited.

The chemicals or ingredients needed to manufacture methamphetamine are often illegally diverted from legitimate sources. Some of these chemicals include pseudoephedrine ), anhydrous ammonia (used primarily as an agricultural fertilizer and industrial refrigerant), and red phosphorus.

Street methamphetamine is referred to by many names, such as “speed,” “meth,” and “chalk.” Methamphetamine hydrochloride, clear chunky crystals resembling ice, which can be inhaled by smoking, is referred to as “ice,” “crank,” “crystal,” “tina,” and "glass.”

HOW IT’S USED:

Methamphetamine comes in more than one form – it can be smoked, snorted, injected, or orally ingested, though smoking is usually the most common.  Smoking leads to very fast intake into the brain, which multiplies the user’s potential for addiction and health implications.

Street methamphetamine is referred to by many names, such as “speed,” “meth,” and “chalk.” Methamphetamine hydrochloride, clear chunky crystals resembling ice, which can be inhaled by smoking, is referred to as “ice,” “crank,” “crystal,” “tina,” and "glass.”

EFFECTS:

The physical effects of amphetamines are similar to those of other stimulant drugs. When amphetamines are taken by mouth, snorted or smoked, the user usually experiences feelings of euphoria, heightened alertness and greater energy. Heart, breathing and blood pressure rates increase, and sensations of hunger and fatigue are reduced. Heart palpitations may be experienced. The mouth is usually dry and swallowing is difficult, which makes eating food difficult. Urination is also difficult.

The users' pupils are dilated, and reflexes are faster. Rapid speech often occurs, followed by slurred speech. Extremely high doses may cause people to flush or become pale, and cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat, loss of coordination and even physical collapse. Amphetamine injections create such an increase in blood pressure that strokes, high fevers or heart failure may result. As the drug wears off, feelings of fatigue or depression are experienced.

Amphetamines initially produce physical pleasure, so users easily are seduced into the repeated use of these drugs. Often users continually will take amphetamines to avoid the "down" mood they get when the drug wears off. Tissue tolerance develops quickly. It is not uncommon for some users to increase from 5 mg. to 1,000 mg. doses over a one-year period. "Speed freaks" are methamphetamine users who inject their drugs intravenously. Tissue tolerance develops very rapidly with them, as most methamphetamine users are compulsive/addictive users who cannot control their drug taking

Sources: NIDA


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