Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Also known as meth, chalk, ice, and crystal, among many other terms, it takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol.
Methamphetamine was discovered in 1893 and exists as two enantiomers: levo-methamphetamine and dextro-methamphetamine. Its parent drug, amphetamine, was used originally in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers. Like amphetamine, methamphetamine causes:
- Loss of appetite
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature
- Dilation of pupils
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Bizarre, erratic, sometimes violent behavior
- Hallucinations, hyperexcitability, irritability
- Panic and psychosis
- Convulsions, seizures and death from high doses
LONG TERM AFFECTS
- Permanent damage to blood vessels of heart and brain, high blood pressure leading to heart attacks, strokes and death
- Liver, kidney and lung damage
- Destruction of tissues in nose if sniffed
- Respiratory (breathing) problems if smoked
- Infectious diseases and abscesses if injected
- Malnutrition, weight loss
- Severe tooth decay
- Disorientation, apathy, confused exhaustion
- Strong psychological dependence
- Damage to the brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease
Methamphetamine differs from amphetamine in that, at comparable doses, much greater amounts of the drug get into the brain, making it a more potent stimulant. It also has longer-lasting and more harmful effects on the central nervous system. These characteristics make it a drug with high potential for widespread abuse.
Heroin is an opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin.”
Heroin can be injected, snorted, or smoked. All three routes of administration deliver the drug to the brain rapidly, which contributes to its health risks and to its high risk for addiction, which is a chronic relapsing disease caused by changes in the brain and characterized by uncontrollable drug-seeking.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Itchy skin
- Miotic or constricted pupils
- Light sensitivity
- Lower than normal body temperature
- Slowed respiration
- Slowed heart rate
- Cyanotic (bluish) hands, feet, lips
Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The plant contains the chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) a mind altering chemical, and other related compounds. Extracts with high amounts of THC can also be made from the cannabis plant such as oils etc.
- Sensory distortion
- Poor coordination of movement
- Lowered reaction time
- After an initial “up,” the user feels sleepy or depressed
- Increased heartbeat (and risk of heart attack)
LONG-TERM SIDE EFFECTS
- Reduced resistance to common illnesses (colds, bronchitis, Flu, etc.)
- Suppression of the immune system
- Growth disorders
- Increase of abnormally structured cells in the body
- Reduction of male sex hormones
- Rapid destruction of lung fibers and lesions (injuries) to the brain could be permanent
- Reduced sexual capacity
- Attention disability: reduced ability to learn and retain information
- Drowsiness, lack of motivation
- Personality and mood changes
- Difficulty understanding things clearly
Opioids are designed to relieve pain. They reduce the amount of pain signals reaching the brain and affect those brain areas controlling emotion, which diminishes the effects of a painful stimulus. Medications that fall within this class include hydrocodone, oxycodone, (OxyContin, Percocet), morphine, codeine, and other related drugs. Hydrocodone products are commonly prescribed for a variety of painful conditions, including dental and injury-related pain. Morphine is often used before and after surgical procedures to alleviate severe pain. Codeine is often prescribed for mild pain. In addition to their pain-relieving properties, some of these drugs—codeine and diphenoxylate (Lomotil) for example—can be used to relieve coughs and diarrhea.
Opiates cover a Range of drugs.
- Oxycodone (AKA: OxyContin and Percocet)
- Hydrocodone (AKA: Vicodin and Lortab)
It's used to treat moderate to severe pain. Vicodin, Lorcet, and Lortab are other brand names for this combination, which is also available as a generic. Hydrocodone is a narcotic, while acetaminophen is a mild painkiller.
- Shallow breathing, slow heartbeat
- Light-headed feeling, like you might pass out
- Confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior
- Seizure (convulsions)
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Infertility, missed menstrual periods
- Impotence, sexual problems, loss of interest in sex
- Liver problems--nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- Low cortisol levels-- nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness or weakness.
- Stomach Pain
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
- Clay colored stools
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor. Alcohol is produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches. It is a central nervous system depressant that is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream.
Alcohol affects every organ in the drinker's body and can damage a developing fetus. Intoxication can impair brain function and motor skills; heavy use can increase risk of certain cancers, stroke, and liver disease. Alcoholism or alcohol dependence is a diagnosable disease characterized by a strong craving for alcohol, and/or continued use despite harm or personal injury. Alcohol abuse, which can lead to alcoholism, is a pattern of drinking that results in harm to one's health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to work.