DRUGS OR MEDICATIONS

DRUGS OR MEDICATIONS

Drug abuse is another problem that affects each and every one of us. Drugs are available and are used by persons in every community of our state. Drugs are used by teenagers, college students, professionals, blue collar workers, housewives, the unemployed, public officials, corporate executives, and senior citizens. No one is immune to or unaffected by the drug abuse problem.

Drugs bring about a physiological change in all of us. If administered or prescribed by a physician and used appropriately, a drug can have a very beneficial effect in treating an illness or in relieving pain or other symptoms. If used illicitly, a drug poses a serious health risk for its users and those around them. Prescribed drugs, if used inappropriately, can have equally disastrous effects.

What are the risks to users? They range from impaired memory and perception to convulsions and coma; from sleeplessness and anxiety to psychological and physical dependence; from loss of appetite and nausea to emotional breakdown and possibly - death.

SIMILAR TO ALCOHOL
We will not go into the process of what happens in the elimination of a drug in your system since it works very similarly to alcohol.
All drugs have some kind of reaction on the system. When you add a foreign chemical to the chemistry of your body, there will be some kind of synergistic reaction when these different chemicals collide in the body. In some there may be no noticeable effects and in others there is a severe reaction." "

DRUG OVERVIEW
The following section will give you a general overview of several specific drugs and their effects.

MARIJUANA
WHAT IS IT?

Marijuana, often times referred to as grass, pot or weed, is the unprocessed, dried leaves, stems and seeds of the cannabis sativa and the cannabis indica plants. Hashish, a more potent product, is processed from the resin in the flowers of the marijuana plant.

Like marijuana, it may be smoked or eaten. In its most frequently used form, the dried leaves are shredded and rolled with cigarette papers into a “joint”. Hashish is usually smoked in a pipe.

Marijuana contains hundreds of chemicals, which affect the mind and body. Among the chemicals causing the high, THC is the main ingredient.

The amount of THC and other chemicals varies greatly in different marijuana plants, and from “joint” to “joint”.
Marijuana purchased on the street may contain other drugs such as PCP or contaminants such as herbicides, bacteria or fungus, which can be extremely dangerous.

EFFECTS ON DRIVING
Low-dosage marijuana use minimally affects motor coordination. Higher dosages reduce the ability to react to unusual or emergency situations.
When alcohol and marijuana are mixed, it is definitely more hazardous than using either substance alone because synergistic results are unpredictable. Marijuana may influence your ability to think or drive for several hours after the "high" feeling has passed - even though you’re not aware of it." "

STIMULANTS - WHAT ARE THEY?
Amphetamines, usually referred to as speed, black beauties, uppers or bennies, are central nervous stimulants. They have the ability to relieve sleepiness and fatigue. Up until recent years, amphetamines were prescribed by physicians for obesity, depression and even some kinds of hyperactive behavior in children. Because of abuse potential, physicians have greatly reduced prescribing use of amphetamines. Today, amphetamines are prescribed primarily for narcolepsy, certain medical conditions and short-term weight control in serious cases of obesity.

EFFECTS
A therapeutic dose of amphetamines can increase blood pressure, enlarge pupils, increase respiration rate, depress appetite, relieve sleepiness, decrease fatigue and the sense of boredom.
For some individuals even a moderate dose of amphetamines can cause: agitation, inability to concentrate, anxiety, confusion, blurred vision, tremors, heart palpitations, mild depression or mood swings after the stimulant effect wears off.

With higher doses of amphetamines, the adverse effects can be severe. Delirium, panic, aggression, hallucinations, psychoses and heart abnormalities can occur.
Although amphetamines do not create a physical dependence, the psychological dependence potential is high." "COCAINE WHAT IS IT? Cocaine is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It possesses two properties; anesthetic and vasoconstricting (narrowing of blood vessels). Other names for cocaine include, coke, snow, flakes, tot, nose candy, and The Lady. Cocaine is a white crystalline powder which comes from the processed leaves of the coca bush. Most people SNORT cocaine, but it can be injected into the veins or muscles. Injection usually produces an intense ""rush."" For many, after the euphoria, psychological depression, nervousness, irritability, loss of temperature sensations and muscle tightening or spasms may follow. Some mix cocaine and heroin. This mixture is called a “speed ball.” By combining, the effects of the drug are prolonged. EFFECTS Cocaine can cause devastating psychological and physical effects, occasionally resulting in death. Cocaine is very short acting. A sense of exhilaration, euphoria may last 20-30 minutes. The user may also talk a lot, feel energetic and self-confident. DEPENDENCE While tolerance to the effects of cocaine does seem to occur (more and more of the drug to achieve desired effects), actual physical dependence can best be characterized as a compulsion to continue using. On the physical level, the compulsion can be as equally motivated by the drive to avoid “withdrawal”; hunger, lassitude, fatigue, nervousness, muscle tightening and temperature sensation loss. The compulsion to use again and again is strongest when the user injects or smokes free-base, although it may occur with snorting." "CRACK WHAT IS IT? Crack is a form of cocaine that has been chemically altered so that it can be smoked. Because the processing converts into a chemical “base” (as opposed to an acid or a salt) crack belongs to a category of cocaine known as free-base. In the past, most free-base cocaine was processed using ether, a highly flammable solvent. Today, baking soda and heat are used to convert cocaine into free-base, eliminating the processing step involving ether. The product still contains some impurities found in the original cocaine, along with excess baking soda. When heated, the mixture makes a crackling sound. WHY IS CRACK SO DANGEROUS? Crack is an especially dangerous drug because it can cause intense dependency and addiction after only a relatively short period of use. One of the most commonly heard remarks on the street is, “Once you start using crack, you can’t stop.” Nearly every physical and psychological high produced by a drug is followed by a low. The intensity of the high produced by crack is followed by an equally intense “crash,” or period of depression. In other words, the higher the high, the lower the low. The desire to compensate for the low leads to the pattern of compulsive use that users report. Smoking crack provides the user with a rapid high that lasts about five to seven minutes and is followed by severe depression, feelings of worthlessness, and a craving for more of the drug. In a brief period of time, the drug begins to control the user, rather than the user the drug. This is the pattern of behavior that leads to addiction and dependence. PSYCHOSIS After repeated and continuing use of crack, users may develop cocaine psychosis, a condition which is characterized by paranoia and visual, auditory and other sensory hallucinations." "HEROIN-OPIATES-NARCOTICS WHAT ARE THEY? Narcotics generally refer to opium and other narcotic drugs derived from the Oriental poppy. These fluff powders, white in color, may be referred to as H, horse, junk or smack on the street. Morphine, codeine and heroin are their recognized names. Narcotics (except heroin) are used as pain killers and also for relief during the later stages of terminal illness. Opiates have been used for pleasure and medicine since prehistoric times. Some find the effect of opiates unpleasant, with nausea and even vomiting occurring frequently during the high. Drowsiness, dizziness, inability to concentrate, mental clouding, apathy and lethargy are also commonly noted. The immediate physiological responses usually includes reduced breathing and heart activity, a constriction of the pupils and reduction of visual acuity, itching, skin rash, warming of the skin, increases perspiration, constipation, nausea and sometimes vomiting. HALLUCINOGENS WHAT ARE THEY? Hallucinogens are also called “psychedelics” or “mind expanders.” Hallucinogens can alter time and space perception, change feelings of self-awareness and emotion, change one’s sense of body image and induce hallucinations, and feelings of religious experience. LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) LSD is capable of producing profound effects on the user’s thinking, self-awareness and emotion. It is known to distort time and space perception, to induce hallucinations, to “expand” the mind. Because such small amounts are required at any one time (25 to 150 millionths of a gram), LSD is often impregnated in sugar pills, blotter paper or small gelatin squares. LSD experiences can sometimes add to existing neurosis, or character disorders, and can produce transient waves of mild anxiety, paranoia, or severe panic. Much of the result of a trip - positive or negative - depends on the state of the user’s mind at the time, and the physical setting of the experience. Tolerance to the psychological and physiological effects of LSD develop rapidly with repeated use, but they also dissipate quickly when that use is stopped. Physical dependence does not develop to LSD, but psychological dependence has been reported that certain individuals become so preoccupied with LSD they feel dissatisfied and depressed without it. Psychological dependence has been observed in long-term LSD users but has rarely been reported as a consequence of other hallucinogenic use. EFFECTS Effects of these drugs are not predictable and are influenced by the personality of the user. General, low doses of hallucinogens produce mood and perceptual alterations, not necessarily hallucinations. It is with higher doses that hallucinations are usually reported. Not all of the drugs in this grouping have the same capacity for inducing hallucinations, but if hallucinations do occur they may recur (flashback) at any time without warning. Other effects include; blurred vision, incoordination, aggression and confusion. ALCOHOL AND HALLUCINOGENS Because of the unpredictable nature of these drugs, the addition of alcohol makes this combination particularly dangerous - especially LSD/alcohol." "