Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug in America. It is legal, widely available, and affordable. Alcohol is often consumed during social situations involving friends and family, making it seem harmless at first. Yet alcohol is responsible for more tragic accidents than any other drug in Ohio. Most people think alcohol is a stimulant because it reduces inhibitions but alcohol is, in fact, a depressant. Long term usage of alcohol can lead to mental illness, liver disease and other organ failure.
Cocaine is a stimulant which increases alertness, feelings of well-being and euphoria, energy, motor activity, feelings of competence, and sexuality. Anxiety, paranoia, and restlessness are also attributed to the affects of cocaine use. At the turn of the 20th century cocaine was legal and even an ingredient in common over-the-counter medications and soft drinks. Today, cocaine is illegal, yet that doesn't stop it from being one of the most commonly used drugs in America.
Marijuana, also known as Cannabis, is also a very popular drug that is abused in America. Today there are many states outside of Ohio that legally sell marijuana if you have permission from your doctor. Marijuana is smoked or eaten, resulting in relaxation, short-term memory loss, increased heart-rate and appetite. Because marijuana is harvested from a plant and not made through a chemical process, many users think marijuana is benign. However long term usage of marijuana can result in psychosis, lung disease and other mental and physical ailments.
Heroin is a highly addictive substance that is derived from the opium poppy. Usually snorted or injected, heroin was originally used as a pain reliever. The recreational use of heroin has afflicted every level of society from criminals to executives. Heroin creates a long-lasting intense high that ultimately results in a severe "crash" once the effects wear off. A tolerance for the drug quickly builds, and a larger dosage is needed to achieve the desired "high." What begins as recreational usage quickly becomes a way of life for many heroin abusers.
Ecstasy is commonly known as a "club drug" and is taken in pill form. Users report feelings of pleasure, warmth, happiness and makes people feel more amorous towards others. Effects usually begin to be experienced within an hour of taking the drug and can last anywhere from 4 to 6 hours. Some people experience negative effects such as paranoia, nausea and anxiety. On coming down from the effects of Ecstasy one may feel physically and emotionally drained. Other possible side effects are changes in the brain's serotonin levels, memory loss and brain damage. Ecstacy is frequently cut with other drugs such as heroin or methamphetamine, which often leads to dangerous overdoses in people who have no idea what they are consuming.
Meth or Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug that can be snorted, injected or smoked and affects the central nervous system and the brain. When used, meth produces an intense "rush" by releasing high levels of dopamine in the brain. Even in small amounts meth can cause:
- Prolonged insomnia
Long term meth usage can result in:
- Violent behavior
- Psychotic behavior
- Auditory hallucinations
- Mood disturbances
- Delusions and paranoia
- Homicidal or suicidal thoughts
LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide is a psychedelic drug that is taken on blotter paper, sugar cube or gelatin form and can also be taken intravenously. LSD's effects, known as a "trip," vary greatly from person to person depending on dose strength, environment and previous experiences. Psychological effects may include seeing vibrant colors, moving shapes and surfaces, morphing images, and a sense that one's thoughts are tunneling into themselves. If a person trips while being in a hostile or unpleasant environment or isn't prepared for the overwhelming distortions that the drug can cause, a negative feeling of paranoia associated with nausea and shortness of breath can result.
PCP, also known as "angel dust," was first developed in the 1950s as an intravenous anesthetic, but due to the side effects of hallucinations, delirium, and mania, it was quickly discontinued. PCP can make users feel detached and numbed from their surroundings. Severe mood changes and loss of physical coordination are also side effects of PCP use. The worst effect of PCP that is widely known is cases where users enter into such severe delusional states that they begin viciously attacking people. When taken with alcohol, PCP can slur speech, cause paranoia, severe mood disorders, and even amnesia.
Amphetamine is a stimulant and appetite suppressant that is often used to aid in weight loss and treat attention deficit disorder. By increasing certain chemicals in the body, amphetamines causes an increase in heart and blood pressure. Amphetamines have also been used to negate the feeling of tiredness. One should use extreme caution when operating machinery, driving or performing other potentially dangerous activities if prescribed amphetamines such as adderall. Amphetamines are extremely habit forming and should be used only as prescribed by a physician.
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