Drug Addiction & Understanding Substances

When you hear the word drugs, what do you think of first? Most people think of drugs such as cocaine, weed, heroin, and ecstasy; not many people associate alcohol with drugs. Many young people are developing strong drug addictions these days. The amount of teens and young adults using drugs is going down all the time. Although many teens are beginning small, and ending up in a lot of trouble. Cigarettes and beer are just the beginning; eventually if you stay on this path you will move on to bigger things to get the same effects and end up in a rehabilitation centers.
First off, I would like to define what an addiction is. Addiction is defined as a compulsive physiological and psychological need for a habit-forming substance such as a drug. Addiction can be to anything in the world. Being addicted to something doesn’t have to be limited to just drugs. People have the ability to be addicted to anything in the world.
There are many kinds of drugs that young people are getting addicted to these days. Some of the main drugs that are used today by teens and young adults include the following: Marijuana, crack/cocaine, heroin, and LSD. Also a new fad in drugs known as “club drugs” are entering the picture for teens. Some of these drugs include ecstasy, Rohypnol (Roofies), and Methamphetamine (Speed).
Marijuana is a mixture of leaves, stems and flowers of the Indian hemp plant Cannabis sativa, and is smoked or eaten for its hallucinogenic and pleasure-giving effects. The psychoactive ingredient of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is concentrated in the flowers. Hashish, a drug prepared from the plant resin, has about eight times more THC than marijuana. (www.allsands.com) People who use marijuana seem to go through two different phases. The first phase being the initial stimulation. This stage consists of hyperness and euphoria. The second phase consists of sedation and a version of tranquility. Many people associate an increased appetite with the use of this drug. Also a heightened sensory awareness and of pleasure go along with the use. Negative effects can include confusion, acute panic reactions, anxiety attacks, fear, a sense of helplessness and loss of self-control. Like alcohol intoxication, marijuana impairs reading comprehension, memory, speech, problem-solving ability and reaction time. In addition to side effects to memory and behaivior, marijuana has effects on your health as well. Smoking this could also cause acute and chronic bronchitis, bronchial epithelium, over expression of genetic markers of progression to lung cancer in bronchial tissue, abnormally increased accumulation of inflammatory cells in the lung, and reduced ability to kill microorganisms and tumor. (http://www.drugs.indiana.edu/drug info)
Cocaine is a white powder obtained from the leaves of the coca plant and is a powerful stimulant, which has similar effects to amphetamines. The usual way to take this drug is to be sniffed or “snorted” up the nose through a small tube and is absorbed into the bloodstream through the thin membranes in the nose. The smoke able form of this drug is known as crack. Crack is becoming more popular due to the fact that it kicks in faster because it can be absorbed faster than when it is snorted. Cocaine produces feelings of well-being, mental sharpness, reduced appetite and great physical strength.
When sniffed snorted the effects of cocaine peak in about 15-30 minutes and then fade, which often encourages users to repeat the dose in order to maintain the effect. Large doses or lots of quickly repeated doses over a period of hours or days can lead to extreme states of agitation, anxiety, paranoia and possibly hallucinations which generally fade when the drug leaves the body. After effects can include tiredness and depression. Excessive doses can in rare cases cause death from heart failure. Crack produces similar experiences but is more intense, and due to it being smoked it happens in a shorter space of time. Most of a crack high is usually finished after 15 minutes. Increased temperature, dilated pupils, constricted vessels, increased blood pressure, mental alertness, increased energy, decreased appetite, and increased heart rate are all short term effects of using crack. Some long term effects of using crack include addiction, paranoia, irritability, restlessness, auditory hallucinations, and mood disturbances. (http://www.cocaine-effects.com)
Heroin is the most abused, most rapidly acting of the opiates or narcotics. A derivative of the opium poppy, heroin was first synthesized as an alternative to morphine in 1874, but was banned in 1924 because of its highly addictive nature. Heroin, a depressant drug, slows down the central nervous system. The effects of heroin may last three to four hours. Some of the short term effects of heroin are intense pleasure. This means it may cause a rush of intense pleasure and a strong feeling of well being. Heroin also relieves physical pain. After using heroin, feelings of pain, hunger or sexual urges are diminished. Breathing, blood pressure and pulse become slower also as an effect. The pupils of the eyes also get much smaller as the mouth dries out. As the amount used increases, the user may feel warm, heavy and sleepy. Nausea and vomiting may also occur. (http://www.adf.org.au/drughit/facts) Some street names for heroin include smack, skag, dope, H, junk, hammer, slow, gear, harry, and horse.
LSD (lysergic acid diethylamid) is a potent hallucinogen derived from lysergic acid. Lysergic acid can be found on ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. Commonly referred to as “acid” on the club scene, a “hit” or dose can be found as tablets, capsules, liquid form, thin squares of gelatin, or absorbed on colorful paper to be licked. (www.tcada.state.tx.us/research/facts/clubdrug.html) LSD is colorless and odorless, but as a somewhat bitter taste. Blotter acid is a colorful paper soaked with LSD and sold for $4 to $5 for a “hit.” This high usually lasts about twelve hours. This drug can also be known as Microdot, White Lightning, Blue Heaven, Windowpane, and Sugar Cubes.
Ecstasy, also known as MDMA, is most popular among “ravers“, although others at rock concerts and with friends are also using it as yet another escape from the rigors of adolescence and early adulthood. MDMA is taken orally in tablets or capsules. The effects last approximately four to six hours, although has been reported to last in some users up to twelve. Ecstacy is said to produce sympathy, decreased anxiety, relaxation and heightened senses. MDMA is also known to decrease your appetite, thirst, and willingness to sleep. Unfavorable short term effects may include nausea, cold sweats, chills, hallucinations, increased body temperature, tremors, teeth clenching, tremors, double vision and muscle cramps. Long term after-effects of MDMA include anxiety, paranoia and depression. (www.ecstasyabuse.net/ecstasy.html)
Rohypnol, also known as roofies, are round tablets, white and slightly smaller than aspirin. They are single or cross-scored on one side with “ROCHE” and a 1 or 2 encircled on the other. The numbers indicate the number of milligrams in the tablet. Rohypnol is most commonly used in conjunction with alcohol to exaggerate the sensation of intoxication and to lower inhibitions. The drug is colorless, tasteless, odorless, and dissolves readily in liquid. It is often dissolved in alcohol or soda. (www.wellesley.edu/Health/rohypnol) Many people get it slipped into their unattended drinks at clubs and parties. The effects of roofies tend to appear about thirty minutes after consumption and peak within two hours. The effects can last up to eight hours. It can cause decreased blood pressure, memory impairment, drowsiness, visual disturbances, dizziness, confusion, slurred speech, lack of motor coordination, gastrointestinal disturbances and urinary retention. Resulting memory loss can last up to 24 hours. Rohypnol can be detected in the blood up to four hours after ingestion, and in urine for up to 48 hours. It is imperative to be tested as soon as possible if you think you might have ingested Rohypnol. Some common street names for roofies also include “roaches,” “rib,” “rope.” and “Mexican Valium.” Methamphetamines are synthetic stimulants that are produced and sold illegally in pill form, capsules, powder, and crystalline chunks. Some of the short term effects are increased attention, decreased fatigue, increased activity, decreased appetite, increased respiration, and hypothermia. Long term effects include dependence and addiction psychosis, paranoia and hallucinations, mood disturbances, stroke, and weight loss. “Crank,” “speed, “and “ice” are common street names for methamphetamines. Crank refers to any form of methamphetamine. Ice is a clear, crystallized, smokeable chunk of methamphetamine that produces a more intense reaction than cocaine or speed.


One Response to Drug Addiction & Understanding Substances

  1. So much info in so few words. Truly could learn a lot.