Don't Know What To Do?
- Article Summary
- Cocaine Facts
- Crack Cocaine Facts
- Ecstasy/XTC/MDMA Facts
- Heroin Facts
- Marijuana Facts
- Meth/Methamphetamine/Crystal Meth Facts
- The initial resurgence of cocaine use in the 1960s was largely confined to the affluent, for it was at that time quite expensive. Part of the drug's mystique was its association with celebrities in the music, sports, and show business worlds. Today, people from all walks of life use cocaine. Young single people are the most frequent users, with male users outnumbering female users two to one. There are no clear connections between cocaine use and education, occupation, or socioeconomic status.
- Cocaine abuse and addiction continues to be a problem that plagues our nation. In 1997, for example, an estimated 1.5 million Americans age 12 and older were chronic cocaine users. Although this is an improvement over the 1985 estimate of 5.7 million users, we still have a substantial distance to go in reducing the use of this addictive stimulant. Science is helping. For example, we now know more about where and how cocaine acts in the brain, including how the drug produces its pleasurable effects and why it is so addictive.
- There are basically two chemical forms of cocaine: the hydrochloride salt and "freebase."
- Cocaine is classified as a Schedule 2 Controlled Substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act and is illegal in most circumstances.
- The negative side effects of habitual cocaine use that was responsible for coining the phrase, "dope fiend".
- In Texas, 200-300 cocaine overdose deaths are reported each year.
- The number of Americans that use cocaine weekly has remained steady at around a half million since 1983 according to the 1993 Household Drug Survey; 582,000 (0.3% of the population) were frequent cocaine users in 1995 (frequent meaning use on 51 or more days during the past year.
- Cocaine raises body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. Even one use causes heart palpitations or cardiac arrest.
- Cocaine users will lose interest in their family, sex, jobs, just about everything, except using more cocaine.
Crack Cocaine Facts
- Of the 4.2 million Americans who have ever tried crack, about 600,000 are currently addicted.
- Some experts call it the most addictive drug; and some users say they were addicted the moment they first put a pipe to their lips.
- When smoked, crack reaches the brain within seconds, producing instant effects which last eight to fifteen minutes.
- Serious respiratory problems are often seen in crack users, including lung damage, chest congestion, wheezing, spitting up black phlegm, extreme hoarseness, and burning of the lips, tongue and throat.
- Physical side effects of crack include body burn-out and malnutrition and possible liver damage. The drug depletes levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in regulation of mood, attention, and motivation.
- Intense cravings are a main feature of addiction. In fact, most hooked users will keep right on using until they run out of money or run out of the drug.
- Chronic use can trigger a full-blown psychosis, with the same symptoms as paranoid schizophrenia.
- In the early 80's the use of freebase cocaine became popular among those searching for the "highest" high.
- Crack is sold in small plastic vials in the form of small white, gray or beige rough chunks that can be smoked in a marijuana or tobacco cigarette, or in a pipe stem often made of glass.
- The effects of long-term MDMA use are just beginning to undergo scientific analysis. In 1998, the National Institute of Mental Health conducted a study of a small group of habitual MDMA users who were abstaining from use. The study revealed that the abstinent users suffered damage to the neurons in the brain that transmit serotonin, an important biochemical involved in a variety of critical functions including learning, sleep, and integration of emotion. The results of the study indicate that recreational MDMA users may be at risk of developing permanent brain damage that may manifest itself in depression, anxiety, memory loss, and other neuropsychotic disorders.
- MDMA stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin from brain neurons, producing a high that lasts from several minutes to an hour. The drug's rewarding effects vary with the individual taking it, the dose and purity, and the environment in which it is taken.
- MDMA can produce stimulant effects such as an enhanced sense of pleasure and self-confidence and increased energy. Its psychedelic effects include feelings of peacefulness, acceptance, and empathy.
- Ecstasy users claim they experience feelings of closeness with others and a desire to touch them. Because MDMA engenders feelings of closeness and trust and has a short duration of action, some clinicians claim that the drug is potentially valuable as a psychotherapeutic agent. However, MDMA is classified by Federal regulators as a drug with no accepted medical use.
- Clandestine laboratories operating throughout Western Europe, primarily the Netherlands and Belgium, manufacture significant quantities of the drug in tablet, capsule, or powder form. Although the vast majority of MDMA consumed domestically is produced in Europe, a limited number of MDMA labs operate in the United States.
- Overseas MDMA trafficking organizations smuggle the drug in shipments of 10,000 or more tablets via express mail services, couriers aboard commercial airline flights, or, more recently, through air freight shipments from several major European cities to cities in the United States. The drug is sold in bulk quantity at the mid-wholesale level in the United States for approximately eight dollars per dosage unit.
- The retail price of MDMA sold in clubs in the United States remains steady at twenty to thirty dollars per dosage unit. MDMA traffickers consistently use brand names and logos as marketing tools and to distinguish their product from that of competitors. The logos are produced to coincide with holidays or special events. Among the more popular logos are butterflies, lightning bolts, and four-leaf clovers.
- Ecstasy's psychological effects can include confusion, depression, sleep problems, anxiety, and paranoia during, and sometimes weeks after, taking the drug.
- Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University demonstrated that 4 days of exposure to the drug caused damage that persisted 6 to 7 years later.
- Ecstasy is most commonly used at all night parties called "raves".
- Many of the risks users face with MDMA use are similar to those found with the use of cocaine and amphetamines.
- Psychological difficulties due to ecstasy include confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, severe anxiety, and paranoia - during and sometimes weeks after taking MDMA.
- Physical symptoms due to ecstasy include muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, faintness, and chills or sweating.
- Ecstasy content varies widely, and it frequently consists of substances entirely different from MDMA, ranging from caffeine to dextromethorphan. MDMA is on the U.S. Schedule I of controlled substances, and is illegal to manufacture, possess, or sell in the United States.
- MDMA was first synthesized and patented in 1914 by the German drug company called Merck.
- Memory tests of people who have taken Ecstasy as compared to non-drug users have shown that the Ecstasy users had lower scores.
- Typically, a heroin abuser may inject up to four times a day.
- Smoking and sniffing heroin do not produce a "rush" as quickly or as intensely as intravenous injection, NIDA researchers have confirmed that all three forms of heroin administration are addictive.
- Over 80% of heroin users inject with a partner, yet 80% of overdose victims found by paramedics are found alone.
- Heroin accounts for the majority of the illicit opiate abuse in America.
- According to the National Household Survey for 1994, 2.2 million Americans have tried heroin; 191,000 had used it in the previous 30 days.
- Heroin's potent pain-relieving properties may actually conceal symptoms of real physical illness or disease such as pneumonia and delay treatment.
- Recent studies suggest a shift from injecting to snorting or smoking heroin because of increased purity and the misconception that these forms of use will not lead to addiction.
- Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed-pod of the Asian poppy plant.
- Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder.
- According to DAWNs Year End 1998 Emergency Department Data, 14 percent of all emergency department drug-related episodes had mentions of heroin/morphine in 1998.
- Heroin abuse is associated with serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, collapsed veins, and infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
- When the effect wears off, the person may feel slightly drowsy for a day or so. After that they return to normal.
- However, if they start using heroin on a daily basis after a period . usually a few weeks . tolerance to the drug develops. The body's natural way of responding to this excess of opiates is to reduce the number of opioid receptors in the brain. This means the user must administer larger and larger doses of heroin to get the same physical effect.
- When heroin is no longer in the body, with too few opioid receptors and not enough heroin, there are a number of physical and biochemical changes which give rise to withdrawal symptoms, including: irritability, anxiety, muscle cramps, abdominal pains, chills, nausea, diarrhoea, sweating, sniffing, sneezing, weakness and insomnia.
- These extremely uncomfortable sensations begin within 12 hours of not using, and peak after two to four days; subsiding after about a week. Death from withdrawal is rare.
- People who use heroin regularly suffer a range of physical conditions. Some of these relate to the effects of the drug itself, some relate to the way the drug is administered, and others relate to the lifestyle that often accompanies regular use of the drug.
- Most users roll loose marijuana into a cigarette (called a "joint").
- Effects of smoking marijuana are felt within minutes, reach their peak in 10 to 30 minutes, and may linger for two or three hours.
- Marijuana is the most often used illegal drug in this country.
- Marijuana decreases the body's ability to fight diseases is weakened.
- Generally, traces (metabolites) of THC can be detected by standard urine testing methods several days after a smoking session. However, in heavy chronic users, traces can sometimes be detected for weeks after they have stopped using marijuana.
- In 1995, 165,000 people entering drug treatment programs reported marijuana as their primary drug of addiction, showing they need help to stop using the drug.
- Smoking marijuana causes some changes in the brain that are like those caused by cocaine, heroin, and alcohol.
- People who smoke marijuana often develop the same kinds of breathing problems that cigarette smokers have: coughing and wheezing. They tend to have more chest colds than nonusers. They are also at greater risk of getting lung infections like pneumonia.
- Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, one of nearly 400 chemicals in a hemp plant, accounts for most of marijuana's psychoactive, or mind-altering, effects. The strength of the drug is determined by the amount of THC it contains.
- THC suppresses the neurons in the information-processing system of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is crucial for learning, memory, and the integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivation.
- Smoking marijuana decreases blood flow to the brain.
- Marijuana is classified as a "psychotropic" or "psychoactive" drug and is highly addictive for some individuals.
- Marijuana has a strong and distinct odor that is not easy to wash off and that can remain on the breath despite repeated brushing.
- You can get high from second hand marijuana smoke.
- Because it is part of the illegal drug trade and is the most widely used illegal substance in North America, marijuana is a major contributor (directly and indirectly) to petty crime and drug related violence.
- Some scientific studies have found that babies born to marijuana users were shorter, weighed less, and had smaller head sizes than those born to mothers who did not use the drug.
- Studies have shown that marijuana lowers testosterone levels in men.
- Marijuana use can also lower sperm counts possibly resulting in difficulty in having children.
- Females who use marijuana, over time, increase their levels of testosterone which can result in increased facial hair and acne, and may adversely affect reproductive functioning in women.
- Marijuana is the most frequently used illegal drug in the United States. Nearly 69 million Americans over the age of 12 have tried marijuana at least once.
- Researchers report that marijuana cigarettes release five times as much carbon monoxide into the bloodstream and three times as much tar into the lungs of smokers as tobacco cigarettes.
Meth/Methamphetamine/Crystal Meth Facts
- Methamphetamine is the name of the drug commonly known on the street as Meth, Crystal Meth, Crystal, Ice, Crank, Speed, Glass, & Chalk.
- Methamphetamine comes in many forms and can be smoked, snorted, orally ingested, or injected.
- Meth is odorless, making it difficult to detect.
- In the 1980's, "ice," a smokable form of methamphetamine, came into use.
- Acute lead poisoning is a potential risk for methamphetamine abusers.
- Even small amounts of meth can produce serious negative effects on your body such as hyperthermia and convulsions, which sometimes result in death to the user.
- Meth is a stimulant on the central nervous system and has a high potential for abuse and addiction.
- Meth stimulation on the central nervous system, causing chemical reactions in the brain which trick the body into thinking it has unlimited energy supplies and drains energy reserves needed in other parts of the body.
- Meth's effects the user in similar ways as cocaine, but with more power, more amps to the body so to speak.
- Meth looks like white crystalline powder, soluble in water or alcohol and bitter-tasting.
- Research shows that damage to neurons containing Dopamine and Serotonin occurs to the nerve endings "terminals" which appear to have limited ability to re-grow, thus putting the user at risk for conditions such as Parkinsons & Alzheimers in later years.
- Meth users can stay awake for long periods of time and then eventually crash, feeling tired and depressed, worse off then than before they took the drug.
- Chemical imbalances in the brain combined with sleep deprivation commonly associated with continued use of meth cause the user to experience hallucinations, extreme paranoia and bizarre, violent behavior.
- Women are more likely to use meth than cocaine.
- Methamphetamine kills by causing heart failure, brain damage and stroke.
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