Drug Abuse: The intentional improper or unsafe use of a drug.
Drugs of Abuse: Drugs that are used for recreational purposes.
Illegal Drugs: Drugs that are against the law to buy, sell, or use.
Effects of use: addiction, dangerous and permanent effects on your body and brain, major factors in crimes, motor vehicle accidents, and suicide, overdose, raises risks of catching infectious disease by sharing needles, takes the ability to make conscious decisions, etc.
Overdose: Taking too much of a drug, which causes death, loss of consciousness, permanent damage, or sickness.
Teens may begin using drugs because of curiosity (the media gives so much attention to drugs and drug users, so many teens think that this may be their way to get attention), lack of refusal skills (they feel intimidated and may give in to the pressure), peer pressure that does not involve direct pressure (sometimes just being around people who are using drugs causes teens to give in without being directly pressured), etc.
People may begin using drugs because of the belief that drugs solve medical, personal, or social problems, desire to escape from boredom and depression, desire to experiment, enjoyment of risk taking behaviours, peer pressure, romanticization of drugs by the media, etc.
Anabolic Steroid: A synthetic version of the male hormone testosterone that is used to promote muscle development.
Club (designer) Drug: A drug that is made to closely resemble a common illegal drug in chemical structure and effect.
Types of club drugs include ecstasy (has both hallucinogenic and stimulant properties; normally taken as a pill, but is sometimes crushed and snorted), GHB (a clear liquid of a white powder that cause dizziness, euphoria, loss of inhabitants, and relaxation), ketamine (the effects of ketamine include dissociation, hallucination, inability to move, loss of memory, and numbness), and PCP (the effects of PCP include distortions of reality, mild euphoria, out-of-body experiences, and psychotic and violent behaviour).
Inhalant: A drug that is inhaled as a vapor.
Effects of use are felt immediately and can last for several hours. The effects include brain damage, death of brain cells, decreased ability to carry oxygen, heart attack, irregular heart beat, kidney damage, liver damage, loss of bladder control, loss of coordination and vision, lung irritation and possible suffocation.
Marijuana: The dried flowers and leaves of the plant Cannabis Sativa that are mixed in food or smoked for intoxicating purposes.
Effects of use are felt within minutes of using the drug and can last up to three hours. The effects include anxiety, difficulty paying attention, distorted sense of distance and time, giddiness, increased appetite, loss of balance and coordination, loss of short term memory, panic attacks, slowed thinking ability, etc.
Effects on females include baldness, increased cholesterol, increased facial hair, infertility, liver cancer, rapid weight gain, severe acne, etc. Effects on males include aggression, heart disease, increased cholesterol, liver cancer, paranoia, severe acne, stunted growth, etc.
Depressant: A drug that causes relaxation and sleepiness.
Dextromethorphan (DMX) is the legal drug found in cough medicines, but when abused, the user may feel bizarre sensations or spacy, hallucinate, or lose muscular control. Rohypnol is a powerful hypnotic and has developed a reputation as the most commonly used date rape drug. It can be mixed with a drink unnoticed. A person who is exposed to rohypnol becomes distorted, loses their inhibitions, and may not remember what happened while on the drug.
Hallucinogen: A drug that distorts perceptions, causing users to hear or see things that are not really there.
LSD is usually taken in the form of a tablet or on small paper squares. The effects of LSD are very hard to predict. The one common characteristic of LSD is the users will experience huge emotional mood swings. Anything from feelings of depression to increased energy. Mushrooms are either eaten raw or mixed with food. They produce an altered perception of sight, smell, sound, taste, or touch. Other effects include anxiety, confusion, and panic.
Opiates: A group of highly addictive drugs derived from the poppy plant that are used as anesthetics, pain relievers, and sedatives.
Codeine or morphine is most commonly used to help with severe pain, such as terminal cancer patients. Codeine is used for milder pain and to stop coughing. Heroin is the chemically altered form of morphine. It creates an initial rush that quickly subsides into a dream-like state, feeling of drowsiness and well-being. Tolerance to heroin develops rapidly and is one of the most common drugs of violence. Opium is a bitter, brown drug made from the dried juice of opium poppy. It is used as a painkiller, but also causes loss of appetite and inhibitions, shallow breathing, and slowed heart rate.
Stimulant: A drug that temporarily increases users' alertness and energy.
Common types of stimulants are amphetamines (a group of stimulants that are prescribed to treat neurological disorders and life-threatening obesity and are produced in a laboratory), cocaine or crack cocaine (comes from the coca plant in South America. both are very addictive. but crack cocaine is the most addictive of the two), and methamphetamine (usually appears as a white or yellow crystal that can be inhaled, injected, or smoked. the effects of the drug include euphoria, hyperactivity, increased alertness, and loss of appetite, which last for hours).
Intervention: Confronting a drug user about their drug problem to stop them from using drugs.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: Drug withdrawal that occurs in newborn infants whose mothers were frequent drug users during pregnancy.
Recovering: The process of learning to live without drugs.
Relapse: The return to drugs while trying to recover from drug addiction.
As family members, here are some signs that a person may be abusing or using drugs: they act out for attention, change their circle of friends without reason, have unusual reactions to normal situations, repeatedly break household or school rules, start to dress differently, withdraw from family activities, etc.
Most drug users do not feel that drugs will affect them in a negative way, but here are some of the risks of drug use: accidental death or injury, car accidents, criminal activity and violence, damaged or unplanned pregnancy, overdose, etc.
Treatment for drug users should be available and easily accessible. The best treatments address all problems with the abuse and include several services such as counseling, health, job training, and legal services. The longer the user can stay in treatment, the better it usually works. Group therapy is a very good example. Treatment does not have to be voluntary, but when it is, there is a better chance it will work. Patients should be continuously monitored for drug use during treatment.