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Order of Information

  • Tobacco & Nicotine
  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Meth
  • Ecstasy
  • Opiate
  • GHB
  • Hallucinogens
  • Inhalants
  • ROHYPNOL
  • Steroids
  • Over-the-counter

Tobacco & Nicotine

Tobacco is a carrier for a highly addictive drug nicotine. Once your body gets a taste for nicotine, it can quickly become a life-long addiction, with extremely fatal consequences.

Tobacco and Nicotine are also known as:

• Cigarettes

• Smokes

• Cigs or butts

• Chew

• Dip

• Spit tobacco

• Snus or snuff

Tobacco is a plant that contains nicotine which is an addictive drug with both stimulants and depressant effects. Nicotine is the main drug in all forms of tobacco. Nicotine acts as both a stimulant and a sedative. It is one of the most addictive drugs in the U.S. or around the world.

Some of the risks:

• Whether smoked or chewed, nicotine is extremely hard to overcome once you are hooked.

• Smoking harms your immune system and nearly every organ of your body.

• Chewing or a prolonged use of smokeless tobacco can lead to a high risk of cancers of the mouth.

• Forms of tobacco can cause cellular damage also.

• Long-term smoking can cause cancer and lung disease.

The nicotine in tobacco smoke travels quickly to the brain, where it acts as a stimulant and increases heart rate and breathing. Tobacco smoke also reduces the level of oxygen in the bloodstream, causing a drop in skin temperature. People who are new to smoking are likely to experience dizziness, nausea, and coughing or gagging.

Some withdrawal systems:

• Irritability

• Restlessness

• Anxiety

• Insomnia and fatigue

These symptoms can vanish within a couple weeks, some may be unable to concentrate, and have strong cravings to smoke, for weeks or even months after quitting.

Marijuana

What is it?

Marijuana is the common name for a crude drug made from the plant Cannabis sativa. The main mind-altering (psychoactive) ingredient in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), but more than 400 other chemicals also are in the plant. A marijuana "joint" is made from the dried particles of the plant. The amount of THC in the marijuana determines how strong its effects will be. The type of plant, the weather, the soil, the time of harvest, and other factors determine the strength of marijuana. The strength of today's marijuana is as much as ten times greater than the marijuana used in the early 1970s. This more potent marijuana increases physical and mental effects and the possibility of health problems for the user. Hashish, or hash, is made by taking the resin from the leaves and flowers of the marijuana plant and pressing it into cakes or slabs. Hash is usually stronger than crude marijuana and may contain five to ten times as much THC. Pure THC is almost never available, except for research.

Effects

Cannabis has psychoactive and physiological effects when consumed. The minimum amount of THC required to have a perceptible psychoactive effect is about 10 micrograms per kilogram of body weight. Aside from a subjective change in perception and, most notably, mood, the most common short-term physical and neurological effects include increased heart rate, lowered blood pressure, impairment of short-term and working memory, psychomotor coordination, and concentration. Long-term effects are less clear.

Deaths associated to cannabis overdose are exceptionally rare. Fatalities resulting from cannabis overdose are said to most often occur after intravenous injection of hashish oil.

Classification

While many psychoactive drugs clearly fall into the category of either stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogen, cannabis exhibits a mix of all properties, perhaps leaning the most towards hallucinogenic or psychedelic properties, though with other effects quite pronounced as well. Though THC is typically considered the primary active component of the cannabis plant, various scientific studies have suggested that certain other cannabinoids like CBD may also play a significant role in its psychoactive effects.

Long Term Effects

Given the limitations of the research, scientists still debate the possibility of cannabis dependence; the potential of cannabis as a "gateway drug"; its effects on intelligence and memory; its effect on the lungs; and the relationship, if any, of cannabis use to mental disorders such as Schizophrenia, Psychosis, Depersonalization disorder, and Depression.

How it can be consumed:

Inhaled:

- Pipe

-Bong

- Rolled into a Cigar Casing

- Rolled Into a Joint

- Vaporized

Oral Consumption:

- Can be baked into different pastries, also can be put into food you cook

- Marijuana can also be brewed into water to drink

Cocaine

Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that can be risky even the first time you use it. Common side effects include increased heart rate and blood pressure, but more dangerous side effects are, seizures, cardiac arrest and even death are a real risk with this drug.

AKA

• Blow          • Bump          • C          • Candy          • Charlie          • Coke          • Snow          • Crack          • Flake          • Freebase          • Rock

What is it?

Powder cocaine is a hydrochloride salt derived from the processed leaves of the coca plant. "Crack" is a type of processed cocaine that is formed into a rock-like crystal.


You may hear that it will keep you wired and ready to party all night. What you may not hear is that even the first time you snort it or smoke it, your blood vessels constrict immediately. This increases your heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. At first, this may make you sweaty and shaky, but seizures, cardiac arrest and even death are the real gamble you take when you use this drug.


Cocaine hydrochloride—the form in which cocaine is snorted or injected—is a white crystalline powder. It is sometimes “cut,” or mixed, with things that look like it, such as cornstarch or talcum powder, or with other drugs, such as local anesthetics or amphetamines.


The base form of cocaine can be chemically processed to produce forms of cocaine that can be smoked. These forms, known as “freebase” and “crack,” look like crystals or rocks.


Cocaine is often used with other drugs, especially alcohol and marijuana. Cocaine and heroin, mixed and dissolved for injection, is called a “speedball.”


When the cocaine high fades, the person may begin to feel anxious and depressed, and have intense craving for more of the drug. Some people stay high by “bingeing,” or continually using the drug, for hours or days.

The drug can be very dangerous, whether it’s used once or often:

• Cocaine causes the blood vessels to thicken and constrict, reducing the flow of oxygen to the heart. At the same time, cocaine causes the heart muscle to work harder, which can lead to heart attack or stroke, even in healthy people.

• Cocaine raises blood pressure, which can cause weakened blood vessels in the brain to burst.

• A person can overdose on even a small amount of cocaine. Overdose can cause seizures and heart failure. It can cause breathing to become weak or stop altogether. There is no antidote to cocaine overdose.

• When cocaine is used with alcohol, the liver produces cocaethylene, a powerful compound that increases the risk of sudden death beyond the risk of using cocaine alone.

Not everyone who uses cocaine becomes addicted, but if they do, it can be one of the hardest drug habits to break.

• People who become addicted to cocaine lose control over their use of the drug. They feel a strong need for cocaine, even when they know it causes them medical, psychological and social problems. Getting and taking cocaine can become the most important thing in their lives.

• Smoking crack, with its rapid, intense and short-lived effects, is the most addictive. However, any method of taking cocaine can lead to addiction. The amount of cocaine used, and how often people use the drug, has an effect on whether people get addicted.

• Cocaine causes people to “crash” when they stop using it. When they crash, their mood swings rapidly from feeling high to feeling distressed. This brings powerful cravings for more of the drug. Bingeing to stay high leads quickly to addiction.

• Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal can include exhaustion, extended and restless sleep or sleeplessness, hunger, irritability, depression, suicidal thoughts and intense cravings for more of the drug. The memory of cocaine euphoria is powerful, and brings a strong risk of relapse to drug use.

• Cocaine increases the same chemicals in the brain that make people feel good when they eat, drink or have sex. Regular cocaine use can cause lasting changes in this “reward system” of the brain, which may lead to addiction. Craving and psychiatric symptoms may continue even after drug use stops.

Regular long-term use of cocaine is associated with many serious health and behavior problems.

• Snorting cocaine can cause sinus infections and loss of smell. It can damage tissues in the nose and cause holes in the bony separation between the nostrils inside the nose.

• Smoking cocaine can damage the lungs and cause “crack lung.” Symptoms include severe chest pains, breathing problems and fever. Crack lung can be fatal.

• Injection can cause infections from used needles or impurities in the drug. Sharing needles can also cause hepatitis or HIV infection.

• Cocaine use in pregnancy may increase risk of miscarriage and premature delivery. It also increases the chance that the baby will be born underweight. Because women who use cocaine during pregnancy often also use alcohol, nicotine and other drugs, we do not fully know the extent of the effects of cocaine use on the baby.

• Cocaine use while breastfeeding transmits cocaine to the nursing child. This exposes the baby to all the effects and risks of cocaine use.

• Cocaine use is linked with risk-taking and violent behaviors. It is also linked to poor concentration and judgment, increasing risk of injury and sexually transmitted disease.

• Chronic use can cause severe psychiatric symptoms, including psychosis, anxiety, depression and paranoia.

• Chronic use can also cause weight loss, malnutrition, poor health, sexual problems, infertility and loss of social and financial supports. 

Heroin

Also known as:

• Smack          • Horse          • Brown sugar          • Dope          • H          • Junk          • Skag          • Skunk          • White horse          • China white          • Mexican black tar

What is it?

Heroin is an opiate and a highly addictive drug. It's produced from morphine, a naturally occurring substance that comes from the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant. People abuse heroin by injecting, snorting or smoking it. All three ways can cause the same level of addiction, as well as serious health problems.

The Risks:

• Heroin enters the brain very quickly. This effect makes it very addictive.

• And each time you use heroin, the more you need to get high.

• One of the greatest risks with this drug is how extremely easy it is to become dependent.

• It's estimated that almost one-fourth of the people who try heroin become addicted.

It's nearly impossible to know the actual strength or purity of heroin because it's often combined with toxic ingredients. This is one of the reasons why using heroin always carries the risk of infection, overdose and death. Also, heroin often has additives that will not dissolve in the bloodstream. This can easily cause a blood clot to form and travel to the lungs, liver, heart or brain, which is instantly fatal.

LONG-TERM EFFECTS

In a short amount of time, regular heroin use destroys the body. Common conditions that plague heroin users include infection of the heart lining and valves, liver disease, lung disease, hepatitis and HIV/AIDS, from needle use.

THE BOTTOM LINE

It is a fast high, but it's one that can be instantly fatal. Also, the high risk of addiction should make you stop and think before ever giving it a try. One time could lead to a lifetime of chasing a high that can ruin your body and your life.

Heroin is dangerous in a number of ways:

• The most immediate danger is overdose.

• Heroin depresses the part of the brain that controls breathing.

• In an overdose, breathing slows down, and may stop completely.

• A person who has overdosed is unconscious and cannot be roused, and has skin that is cold, moist and bluish.

• A heroin overdose can be treated at a hospital emergency room with drugs, such as naloxone, which blocks heroin's depressant effects.

The risk of overdose is increased by:

• The unknown purity of the drug. This makes it difficult to determine the correct dose. Ironically, many overdoses are due to increases in the quality of the drug sold on the street.

• Injection, because the drug reaches the brain more quickly than by other ways of taking the drug, and because the dose is taken all at once.

• Combining heroin with other sedating drugs, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines or methadone.

• Dangers other than overdose that are associated with heroin use include:

• Injection: Injection drug use puts a person at high risk of bacterial infection, blood poisoning, abscesses, endocarditis (an infection of the lining of the heart) and collapsed veins. Sharing needles greatly increases the risk of becoming infected with, or spreading, HIV, and hepatitis B or C.

• Unknown content of the drug: Heroin is often cut with additives that may be poisonous, such as strychnine, or that do not dissolve (and so can clog blood vessels), such as chalk. Combining heroin with other drugs, such as cocaine (in “speedballs”): When drugs interact inside the body, the results are unpredictable, and sometimes deadly.

• Risk of addiction: The constant need to obtain heroin, and the repeated use of the drug, can result in criminal involvement or other high-risk behavior, breakdown of family life, loss of employment, and poor health.

• Pregnancy: Women who use heroin regularly often miss their periods; some mistakenly think that they are infertile, and become pregnant. Continued use of heroin during pregnancy is very risky for the baby.

It can be very addictive:

• Regular use of heroin, whether it is injected, snorted or smoked, can lead to addiction within two to three weeks. Signs of addiction include strong cravings for the effects of the drug, taking more of the drug than intended and continuing to use the drug despite the problems it may cause. Addiction may develop with or without physical dependence.

• Not all people who experiment with heroin become addicted. Some use the drug only on occasion, such as on weekends, without increasing the dose. With regular use, however, tolerance develops to the effects of the drug, and more and more heroin is needed to achieve the desired effect. Continuous use of increasing amounts of the drug inevitably leads to physical dependence.


Once dependence is established, stopping use can be extremely difficult. People who have used heroin for a long time often report that they no longer experience any pleasure from the drug. They continue to use heroin to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal and to control the powerful craving for the drug, which is often described as a “need.” Cravings may persist long after they stop taking the drug, which makes it difficult to avoid relapse, or beginning to use again.

Meth

What is it?

Methamphetamine increases alertness, concentration, energy, and in high doses, can induce euphoria, enhance self-esteem and increase libido. Methamphetamine has high potential for abuse and addiction, activating the psychological reward system by triggering a cascading release of dopamine in the brain. Methamphetamine is FDA approved for the treatment of ADHD and exogenous obesity. It is dispensed in the USA under the trademark name and manufactured by Ovation Pharmaceuticals.


As a result of methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity to dopaminergic neurons, chronic abuse may also lead to post acute withdrawals which persist beyond the withdrawal period for months, and even up to a year. A study performed on female Japanese prison inmates suffering from methamphetamine addiction showed 20% experienced a psychosis resembling schizophrenia which persisted for longer than six months post-methamphetamine use; this amphetamine psychosis could be resistant to traditional treatment. In addition to psychological harm, physical harm – primarily consisting of cardiovascular damage – may occur with chronic use or acute overdose.

Effects:

Physical

Physical effects can include anorexia, hyperactivity, dilated pupils, flushing, restlessness, dry mouth, headache, tachycardia, bradycardia, tachypnea, hypertension, hypotension, hyperthermia, diaphoresis, diarrhea, constipation, blurred vision, dizziness, twitching, insomnia, numbness, palpitations, arrhythmias, tremors, dry and/or itchy skin, acne, pallor, and with chronic and/or high doses, convulsions, heart attack, stroke, and death.

Psychological

Psychological effects can include euphoria, anxiety, increased libido, alertness, concentration, increased energy, increased self-esteem, self-confidence, sociability, irritability, aggressiveness, psychosomatic disorders, psychomotor agitation, dermatillomania, delusions of grandiosity, hallucinations, excessive feelings of power and invincibility, repetitive and obsessive behaviors, paranoia, and with chronic use and/or high doses, amphetamine psychosis can occur.

Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms of methamphetamine primarily consist of fatigue, depression and an increased appetite. Symptoms may last for days with occasional use and weeks or months with chronic use, with severity dependent on the length of time and the amount of methamphetamine used. Withdrawal symptoms may also include anxiety, irritability, headaches, agitation, akathisia, hypersomnia (excessive sleeping), vivid or lucid dreams, deep REM sleep, and suicidal ideation.

Long-term

Methamphetamine use has a high association with depression and suicide as well as serious heart disease, amphetamine psychosis, anxiety and violent behaviors. Methamphetamine also has a very high addiction risk. Methamphetamine is not directly neurotoxic but its use is associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's disease due to the fact that uncontrolled dopamine release is neurotoxic. Long-term dopamine upregulation occurring as a result of Methamphetamine abuse can cause neurotoxicity which is believed to be responsible for causing persisting cognitive deficits, such as memory, impaired attention and executive function. Over 20 percent of people addicted to methamphetamine develop a long-lasting psychosis resembling schizophrenia after stopping methamphetamine which persists for longer than 6 months and is often treatment resistant. Methamphetamine use is frequently comorbid with other mental health issues, especially clinical depression, likely due to its dopaminergic qualities. (Dopamine imbalances are often implicated in psychological health problems.)

Meth Mouth:

Methamphetamine users and addicts may lose their teeth abnormally quickly, a condition informally known as meth mouth. According to the American Dental Association, meth mouth "is probably caused by a combination of drug-induced psychological and physiological changes resulting in xerostomia (dry mouth), extended periods of poor oral hygiene, frequent consumption of high-calorie, carbonated beverages and bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching)". Some reports have also speculated that the caustic nature of the drug is a contributing factor. Similar, though far less severe, symptoms have been reported in clinical use of regular amphetamine, where effects are not exacerbated by extended periods of poor oral hygiene.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Methamphetamine present in a mother's bloodstream passes through the placenta to a fetus, and is also secreted into breast milk. Infants born to methamphetamine-abusing mothers were found to have a significantly smaller gestational age-adjusted head circumference and birth weight measurements. Methamphetamine exposure was also associated with neonatal withdrawal symptoms of agitation, vomiting and tachypnea. This withdrawal syndrome is relatively mild and only requires medical intervention in approximately 4 percent of cases.

Consumption:

-Inhaled

-Injected

-Snorted

-Suppository

Ecstasy

Ecstasy has a rep for being a party drug. But side effects like tremors, teeth clenching and nausea, not to mention anxiety, depression and possible brain damage, will suck all the life out of any party, fast.

AKA

• XTC,          • X          • E          • Adam          • Eve          • Clarity          • Hug          • Beans          • Love drug          • Lovers' speed          • Peace          • Uppers          • Molly

What is it?

Ecstasy's medical name is MDMA (methylenedioxy-methamphetamine). It is a synthetic, mind-altering drug that acts both as a stimulant and a hallucinogenic. Research shows that many Ecstasy tablets contain a number of other drugs that can be dangerous when combined, including methamphetamine, ketamine, cocaine, DXM and the diet drug ephedrine.

The Risks

Shortly after taking Ecstasy, you may feel confusion, depression and severe anxiety—but these effects can also show up days or weeks after taking the drug. Like any other stimulant, it will increase your heart rate and blood pressure.

Physical effects of Ecstasy include:

• Tremors

• Teeth clenching

• Muscle cramps

• Nausea

• Faintness

• Chills

• Sweating and blurred vision

LONG-TERM EFFECTS

Ecstasy directly affects the brain chemical serotonin and how your brain cells communicate with each other. Clinical studies show that Ecstasy can be harmful to your brain and can increase the risk of permanent problems with memory and learning.

Also, taking too much Ecstasy can interfere with the body's ability to regulate its temperature. This can cause hyperthermia and can lead to liver, kidney, and cardiovascular failure.

The word is that Ecstasy lets you get in touch with all your senses. But what you might really "get in touch with" is the sensation of shaking, cramps, nausea, sweating, and blurred vision-now, that doesn't really sound like fun. Also not fun, is the life-long damage Ecstasy can do to your brain. 

Opiate

Brain Functions:

The human body naturally produces its own opiate like substances and uses them as neurotransmitters. These substances include endorphins, enkephalins, and dynorphin, often collectively known as endogenous opioids. Endogenous opioids modulate our reactions to painful stimuli. They also regulate vital functions such as hunger and thirst and are involved in mood control, immune response, and other processes.


The reason that opiates such as heroin and morphine affect us so powerfully is that these exogenous substances bind to the same receptors as our endogenous opioids. There are three kinds of receptors widely distributed throughout the brain: mu, delta, and kappa receptors.


These receptors, through second messengers, influence the likelihood that ion channels will open, which in certain cases reduces the excitability of neurons. This reduced excitability is the likely source of the euphoric effect of opiates and appears to be mediated by the mu and delta receptors.


This euphoric effect also appears to involve another mechanism in which the GABA-inhibitory interneurons of the ventral tegmental area come into play. By attaching to their mu receptors, exogenous opioids reduce the amount of GABA released (see animation). Normally, GABA reduces the amount of dopamine released in the nucleus accumbens. By inhibiting this inhibitor, the opiates ultimately increase the amount of dopamine produced and the amount of pleasure felt.


Chronic consumption of opiates inhibits the production of cAMP, but this inhibition is offset in the long run by other cAMP production mechanisms. When no opiates are available, this increased cAMP production capacity comes to the fore and results in neural hyperactivity and the sensation of craving the drug.

Types of Opiates

• Morphine

• Hydrocodone

• Oxycodone

• Vicoden

• Heroin

• Opana

• Oxycotin

A Little More About Opiates

The human body naturally produces its own opiate-like substances and uses them as neurotransmitters. These substances include endorphins, enkephalins, and dynorphin, often collectively known as endogenous opioids. Endogenous opioids modulate our reactions to painful stimuli. They also regulate vital functions such as hunger and thirst and are involved in mood control, immune response, and other processes.


The reason that opiates such as heroin and morphine affect us so powerfully is that these exogenous substances bind to the same receptors as our endogenous opioids. There are three kinds of receptors widely distributed throughout the brain: mu, delta, and kappa receptors.


These receptors, through second messengers, influence the likelihood that ion channels will open, which in certain cases reduces the excitability of neurons. This reduced excitability is the likely source of the euphoric effect of opiates and appears to be mediated by the mu and delta receptors.


This euphoric effect also appears to involve another mechanism in which the GABA-inhibitory interneurons of the ventral tegmental area come into play. By attaching to their mu receptors, exogenous opioids reduce the amount of GABA released (see animation). Normally, GABA reduces the amount of dopamine released in the nucleus accumbens. By inhibiting this inhibitor, the opiates ultimately increase the amount of dopamine produced and the amount of pleasure felt.


Chronic consumption of opiates inhibits the production of cAMP, but this inhibition is offset in the long run by other cAMP production mechanisms. When no opiates are available, this increased cAMP production capacity comes to the fore and results in neural hyperactivity and the sensation of craving the drug.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nQQzH4rH7o

GHB

Street Name: G, Liquid Ecstasy, Liquid X, Grievous bodily harm

What is it?

GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) is produced naturally in the human body in very small amounts. When taken as a recreational drug, and especially when taken in combination with alcohol or other drugs, GHB can be extremely dangerous.


GHB is a central nervous system depressant. That means it makes you sleepy, and slows down your breathing and heart rate. GHB was first made in a laboratory in 1960. It has been used experimentally as an anesthetic, and as a treatment for sleep disorders and alcohol withdrawal.


Before it was banned, GHB was widely available in the U.S. in health food stores. Claims were made that it would help build muscles, burn fat, and improve sex. Some called it a "safe" alternative to alcohol and conventional sleep aids. Currently GHB is illegal to possess, traffic, import or produce in Canada and the United States.

Where does GHB come from?

GHB is made in illicit labs. The chemicals and processes used vary from lab to lab, as does the strength and purity of the final product.

What does GHB look like?

In its liquid form, GHB looks like water. It has no smell, and is tasteless or has a slightly salty or solvent taste that can be easily masked. It is usually sold as a liquid in small vials. GHB is also available as a white powder or capsule.

How does GHB make you feel?

How GHB affects you depends on several things:

• Your age and your body weight

• How much you take and how often you take it

• How long you've been taking it

• The method you use to take the drug

• The environment you're in

• Whether or not you have certain pre-existing medical or psychiatric conditions

• If you've taken any alcohol or other drugs (illicit, prescription, over-the-counter or herbal)


The way you feel when you take GHB is similar to the way some people feel when they drink alcohol. At a low dose, users usually feel more sociable, less inhibited and lightheaded. A slightly higher dose intensifies these effects or makes you drowsy and dizzy. A little more may cause nausea and vomiting, and a higher dose can make you slip into a deep coma-like sleep. An overdose can result in difficulty breathing, a lowered heart rate, convulsions, and even death.


With GHB there is only a slight difference between a dose that produces the desired effects, and a dose that puts the user at risk. If you have a little too much GHB, the consequences can be fatal.

How long does the feeling last?

The effects of GHB can generally be felt between 10 and 20 minutes after you take it, and can last up to four hours, depending on the dose. There have been some reports of dizziness lasting for days.

Is GHB dangerous?

Yes, GHB is dangerous in a number of ways.

• Since GHB is illegal, there are no controls over the strength and purity of the drugs produced. What's sold as GHB often contains unknown drugs or other fillers, which may be toxic. You don't know how much GHB is in the solution or what dose is safe.

• With GHB it's easy to take too much, or overdose. When taken with alcohol or other drugs, the effects of GHB are more intense, and the risk of toxic effects and overdose increases.

• GHB is a potent sedative, causing users to fall into a deep coma-like sleep from which they might not be aroused for several hours. They may vomit while they're sleeping and choke. When in a GHB sleep, convulsions can occur, often alarming others into rushing the user to the hospital for emergency care.

• GHB's liquid form allows it to be slipped into drinks, and its sedative effects prevent victims from resisting sexual assault. For this reason, it has been referred to in the media as a "date rape" drug. GHB can also cause amnesia, meaning that when people recover from the drug's effects, they may not remember what happened. Take caution at parties and bars - watch your drink.

• GHB may interact dangerously with some medications, such as protease inhibitors used to treat HIV.

• Driving or operating machinery while under the influence of GHB, or any drug, increases the risk of physical injury to the user, and increases the risk of injury to others.

Regular use of GHB can cause physical dependence. Stopping abruptly can result in anxiety, tremors, inability to sleep, and other unpleasant, potentially dangerous side-effects, including paranoia with hallucinations and high blood pressure. Dependent users should seek medical help to ease withdrawal.

Because very little research has been done in this area, the long-term effects of using GHB are not known.

Hallucinogens

Also known as:

• LSD          • Mescaline          • Psilocybin          • PCP          • Cannabis          • Ecstasy          • Salvia and others

What is it?

• Hallucinogens disrupt the normal functioning of your brain, making it hard to think, communicate and focus on reality. Psychosis, panic attacks, and dangerous accidents are all possible risks of taking that one "trip."

• Hallucinogens are drugs that distort the way you perceive reality. They can cause you to see, feel and hear things that don't exist, making it hard to communicate or think clearly. They can also cause rapid, intense emotional mood swings.

• Hallucinogens work by disrupting how your nerve cells and the neurotransmitter serotonin interact throughout the brain and spinal cord. By changing the normal, healthy structure of serotonin in the body, hallucinogens twist and alter the way your brain processes your senses, feelings and visual information.

• When you are unable to get a grip on reality, normal events and situations can take on an unreal and frightening quality.

The most common hallucinogens are:

LSD (AKA: Acid, blotter, cubes, microdot, yellow sunshine, blue heaven, Cid) — an odorless, colorless chemical that comes from ergot, a fungus that grows on grains.

Mushrooms (Psilocybin) (AKA: Simple Simon, shrooms, silly putty, sherms, musk, boomers) — psilocybin is the hallucinogenic chemical found in approximately 190 species of edible mushrooms.

Mescaline (AKA: Cactus, cactus buttons, cactus joint, mesc, mescal, mese, mezc, moon, musk, topi) — occurs naturally in certain types of cactus plants, including the peyote cactus.

The Risks, Taking any hallucinogens can cause you to:

• Experience anxiety

• Fear and paranoia

• Sometimes verging on psychosis (a complete loss of contact with reality)

• In this state of mind, it can be very easy to have a dangerous, or even fatal, accident

LONG-TERM EFFECTS:

• Though more common with LSD, all hallucinogens can cause flashbacks—feelings and thoughts that replay the effects of being on the drug weeks or even years after taking them.

• Since all hallucinogens disturb the normal functioning of the brain, they put you at risk of developing long-lasting psychoses or mental disorders.

• The effects of hallucinogenic drugs are unpredictable.

• They depend on the amount taken and on your own unique personality and body chemistry.

• What is predictable is that when you hallucinate, you dramatically disturb the normal functioning of your brain. And this will always make you vulnerable to dangerous, or even fatal, accidents.

Most of the hallucinogens used in North America belong to one of these six categories:

• Indolealkylamines, which includes LSD (d-lysergic acid diethlyamide, a semi-synthetic substance originally derived from “ergot,” a fungus that grows on rye and other grains), LSA (d-lysergic amide, from morning glory seeds), psilocybin and psilocin (from Psilocybe mushrooms) and DMT (dimethyltryptamine, from the bark of the Virola tree, and other sources)

• Phenylethylamines, which includes mescaline (found in peyote cactus), and “designer drugs” such as:

o MDA (methylenedioxyamphetamine)

o MDMA (ecstasy, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine)

o PMA (paramethoxyamphetamine)

o 2-CB (4-bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine)

o STP (2,5-dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine)

o TMA (trimethoxyamphetamine).

• Arylcycloalkylamines, such as PCP (phencyclidine) and ketamine

• Cannabinoids, especially THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), found in marijuana, hash and hash oil

• Anticholinergics, from the plant family Solanaceae, which includes deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) and Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium)

• The diterpene, salvinorin-A, from the plant Salvia divinorum.

Hallucinogens cause mostly psychoactive, or mind-altering, effects, which can be mild to intense. These effects vary from drug to drug, from person to person, from one drug-taking episode to the next, and can even change dramatically within one time of use. Effects can range from ecstasy to terror, from mild distortion of the senses to full hallucinations (where people believe that drug-induced visions or other perceptions are real). 

Inhalants

Inhalants are simply toxic chemical vapors. Sniff, huff or inhale these chemicals and you can easily damage your brain or shut it down forever.

Inhalants are also known as:

• Laughing gas

• Poppers

• Snappers

• Or whippets

What inhalants are:

Inhalants are highly toxic substances that produce dangerous chemical vapors. When inhaled, these chemicals can caus damaging, mind-altering effects and sudden death. The three main types of inhalants are:

• Solvents

• Gases and nitrates.

Inhalants can also be found in products such as:

• Paint thinners

• Glues

• Cleaning products

• Gases

• Lighter fluids

• And aerosol sprays

Some of the risks and effects:

Since the “high” feeling of inhalants lasts only a few minutes, people often use them over and over, which is extremely dangerous. “Sudden sniffing death” can happen to a completely healthy young person from a single session of inhalant use.

Some inhalants produce effects similar to those of anesthesia. They slow the body down, produce a numbing feeling, and can cause unconsciousness. Inhaling concentrated amounts of these chemicals can cause heart failure, suffocation, convulsions seizures and coma.

Long-term:

• Ongoing exposure to inhalants can lead to brain or nerve damage that produces results similar to that of multiple sclerosis.

• Can also cause damage to the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys.

• Prolonged abuse can permanently affect thinking, movement, vision and hearing.

Some long-term effects may be reversible, but others are permanent. 

ROHYPNOL

Dangerous when taken on its own, and fatally dangerous when combined with alcohol, Rohypnol is horrifyingly infamous for being the "date-rape drug"

AKA

• Forget-me pill          • Mexican valium          • R2          • Roche          • Roofies          • Roach          • Rope          • Wolfies

What is it?

Rohypnol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant medication that is not approved or available for medical use in the United States. In this country, it is illegally abused for sedative and muscle-relaxant effects. Because of these effects, it has been associated with sexual assaults and is known as the "date-rape drug."

The Risks

Rohypnol slows down the central nervous system, causing a range of effects, including exhaustion, sedation, confusion, impaired coordination, impaired judgment, and memory loss. Use it, and you can be physically and psychologically incapacitated, meaning you're unable to move or think—or you're knocked out. This is why it has been used in targeting people for sexual assault. In the past, it was easy to slip the drug into a drink, because it was colorless and tasteless. In 1997, the drug was reformulated so that when dissolved in light-colored drinks, it will dye the liquid blue. Still, be forewarned: generic versions of Rohypnol may not contain this blue dye.

LONG-TERM EFFECTS

Rohypnol is lethal when combined with alcohol or other drugs. It can slow the pulse and breathing, leading to unconsciousness, slowed heart rate, suppressed breathing and, ultimately, death.

THE BOTTOM LINE

With the extreme damage it does to your central nervous system, the effects of Rohypnol can make any activity lethal, or any party dangerous. This is one drug that can knock you out completely, maybe even for life. 

Steroids

Cheating to get a pumped-up body has its drawbacks. Steroids can be a fast track to dangerous side effects and frightening physical changes, like stunted height and hair loss.

AKA

• Arnolds          • Gym candy          • Juice          • Pumpers          • Roids          • Stackers          • Weight trainers

What is it?

Steroids are a class of drugs used to treat a wide variety of medical conditions. Estrogen and cortisone are some of the hormones steroids can replicate. Anabolic steroids are designed to imitate the hormone testosterone. Anabolic steroids are designed for medical use only, and to treat conditions like hypogonadism, delayed puberty and impotence. Anabolic steroids have a high potential for abuse, and only a very small number are approved for human and animal use in the U.S.

The Risks

Using steroids to cheat your way to a pumped-up body is not only dangerous to your body, but it's also against the law. The possession or sale of steroids without a valid prescription is illegal, and professional sports leagues like the NBA and NFL have banned the use of steroids because of their dangerous side effects. It's just not a fair way to play.

When you're young and your body is still developing, the effects of steroids can be dangerous and unattractive, and they can also be permanent. Boys can get shrunken testicles, have difficulty or pain when urinating, develop breasts and lose hair. For girls, it can stop your menstrual cycle, may cause excessive body and facial hair, leave you with male-pattern baldness, and decrease your breast size.

Steroids can also make you irritable, hostile and aggressive, and cause you to develop severe acne.

LONG-TERM EFFECTS

Abusing steroids while you're still growing can cause a range of physical changes, including stunting your height permanently.

But the long—term effects are not just superficial.

• Steroid use can lead to high blood pressure

• An increased risk of blood clotting and increases in LDL (bad cholesterol)—all three combined are a recipe for heart failure

THE BOTTOM LINE

Sure, it would be nice to get that strong body you want, fast and easy, but at what cost? Over time, you may get rapid muscle growth, but you can also get opposite-sex characteristics. Make a mental picture of yourself and all the potential risks:

• Hair loss

• Potential height loss

• Breast loss or gain

• Then add those muscles

Probably not the look you were going for. 

Over-the-Counter DRUGS

Just because you can get over-the-counter (OTC) drugs at your local store, doesn't mean they aren't dangerous, or even deadly.

What is it?

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are products that are available at supermarkets, drugstores, and convenience stores. There is an incorrect but widespread belief that because you don't need a prescription, these drugs must be much less dangerous than those found behind the pharmacy counter.

The most commonly abused OTC drugs include those that contain the ingredient DXM (dextromethorphan), which is used to treat cough, cold and flu symptoms. Also, OTC medications believed to help with weight loss—like laxatives, diuretics and diet pills-are often abused. All of these medications can have serious and potentially fatal side effects over time.

The Risks

Both liquid cough syrups and the tablet or capsule forms of medicine that contain DXM can distort your visual perceptions and damage your sense of judgment. High doses can lead to loss of coordination, dizziness, nausea, hot flashes, and hallucinations.

With diet pills, it sometimes starts by trying just a few, but then can quickly turn into a full addiction. Ephedrine is one of the dangerous stimulants that can be found in diet pills. But even herbal or "natural" weight-loss products can often contain this and other ingredients that are just as dangerous.

Among the many possible side effects of diet pills are hair loss, insomnia, menstrual cycle disturbances, urinary tract infections, diarrhea, vomiting, blurred vision, and anxiety.

LONG-TERM EFFECTS

DXM can be so physically debilitating, it makes any activity potentially dangerous. When combined with alcohol or other drugs, it can lead to overdose and death.

The stimulants found in diet pills affect the central nervous system, increase your metabolism and make your heart beat faster. This can be especially serious for anyone with a pre-existing heart problem or high blood pressure. But even in a healthy person, diet pills can eventually cause a heart attack or stroke.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Since they're legal and easy to find, OTC drugs are also easy to abuse. Like any medicine, they can have their benefits when taken as directed and in moderation. But there's always the danger of taking too much, mixing them with other drugs, and even overdosing. They can damage your body for life, and even cause death.

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