Street Drugs – Addiction and Behavioral Health Directory

Heroin

Heroin  abuse is associated with serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, collapsed veins, and infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

The short-term effects of heroin abuse appear soon after a single dose and disappear in a few hours. After an injection of heroin, the user reports feeling a surge of euphoria (“rush”) accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth, and heavy extremities. Major withdrawal symptoms peak between 48 and 72 hours after the last dose and subside after about a week. Following this initial euphoria, the user goes “on the nod,” an alternately wakeful and drowsy state.

With regular Heroin  use, tolerance develops. More heroin is needed to achieve the same effect. As higher The drug can be snorted doses are used over time, physical dependence and addiction develop. The body then will adapt to the drug and withdrawal symptoms may occur if reduced or stopped.

Withdrawal, which in regular abusers may occur as soon as a few hours after use, produces drug craving, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps (“cold turkey”), kicking movements (“kicking the habit”), and other symptoms.

Many serious health problems will eventually arise if no efforts to stop a person’s heroin addiction  are done.

Crystal Methamphetamine

Crystal methamphetamine amphetamine is one of many nicknames for methamphetamine and it usually refers to the smokable / snortable form of the drug.

Being a strong stimulant, amphetamine can make a user feel euphoric and energetic. These effects, however, eventually die down. Methamphetamine is a powerful nervous system stimulant that is made in illegal “labs” from cheap, over-the-counter ingredients. Crystal methamphetamine is easy and inexpensive to make and get and this has made it a widespread problem in the United States. Many people have found themselves addicted to this powerful drug. It is known by many names such as “ice,” “speed,” “meth,” “crank,” “glass,” and others, but has the same disastrous results. Crystal methamphetamine is a white powder that tastes bitter but is odorless.

The drug can be snorted, smoked, injected or swallowed to deliver the high. Like its cousin amphetamine, crystal meth increases activity, decreases appetite and can last up to 6 to 8 hours. Crystal methamphetamine causes an initial rush that the brain receives as a reward and the following high is a heightened state of awareness and agitation that can lead to violent and erratic behavior. For these reasons crystal methamphetamine in its pharmaceutical form is used rarely for obesity, narcolepsy and attention deficit disorder but the prescriptions are closely monitored by a medical professional and not refillable.

Alcohol

Alcoholism is a disease that includes the following four symptoms:

  • Craving: A strong need, or urge, to drink.
  • Loss of control: Not being able to stop drinking once drinking has begun.
  • Physical dependence: Withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety.
  • Tolerance: The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get “high.”

Alcoholism is a disease. The craving that an alcoholic feels for alcohol can be as strong as the need for food or water. An alcoholic will continue to drink despite serious family, health, or legal problems. Like many other diseases, alcoholism is chronic – it lasts a person’s lifetime and usually follows a predictable course. The risk for developing alcoholism is influenced both by genetics and lifestyle. Alcoholism can be treated! Treatment programs use both counseling and medications to help a person stop drinking. Most alcoholics need help to recover from their disease and with support and treatment, many people are able to stop drinking and rebuild their lives.

Club Drugs

Rohypnol, the trade name for flunitrazepam, has been a concern for the last few years because of its abuse as a “date rape” drug.

People may unknowingly be given the drug which, when mixed with alcohol, can incapacitate victims and prevent them from resisting sexual assault. It produces sedative-hypnotic effects including muscle relaxation and amnesia that can be lethal; it can also produce dependence. Rohypnol is not approved for use in the US and its importation is banned.

GHB: Since about 1990, GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) has been abused in the U.S. for euphoric, sedative, and anabolic (body-building) effects. GHB use associated with sexual assault has surpassed that of Rohypnol. Coma and seizures can occur following abuse of GHB and, when combined with methamphetamine, there appears to be an increased risk of seizure. Combining use with other drugs such as alcohol can result in nausea and difficulty breathing. GHB may also produce withdrawal effects, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating.

Oxycontin

Oxycontin addiction has come to the attention of drug abuse watchdog groups nationwide as it has increased many times over in recent years.

Oxycontin addiction is a new phenomenon in that it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in only 1995. Oxycontin addiction is as severe as heroin addiction because they are both derived from opium. Although man-made by the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma, Oxycontin addiction is no less severe. Like heroin, Percodan or Percocet, Oxycontin addiction must be treated in a detox facility where doctors can aid withdrawal with medications and licensed counselors can address new behavioral skills.

When taken orally or injected in its powder form, the time-release structure is by-passed and the user experiences a rush similar to heroin. The mind and body easily become obsessed with this pleasurable rush due to increased dopamine levels in the brain and a physical craving can develop causing addiction. Oxycontin addiction manifests through chronic use and increasing tolerance so that more of the drug is needed to feel the same effects smaller doses once provided.

Cocaine

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that directly affects the brain.

Cocaine has been labeled the drug of the 1980s and ’90s, because of its extensive popularity and use during this period. However, cocaine is not a new drug; it is one of the oldest known drugs. The pure chemical, cocaine hydrochloride, has been an abused substance for more than 100 years, and coca leaves, the source of cocaine, have been ingested for thousands of years.

Cocaine is generally sold on the street as a fine, white, crystalline powder, known as “coke,” “C,” “snow,” “flake,” or “blow.” Street dealers generally dilute it with such inert substances as cornstarch, talcum powder, and/or sugar, with such active drugs as procaine (a chemically-related local anesthetic) or with other stimulants such as amphetamines. Crack is the street name given to the freebase form of cocaine that has been processed from the powdered cocaine hydrochloride form to a smokable substance. The term “crack” refers to the crackling sound heard when the mixture is smoked. Crack cocaine is processed with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water, and heated to remove the hydrochloride.

Marijuana

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.

A dry, shredded green/brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, it usually is smoked as a cigarette (joint, nail), or in a pipe (bong). It also is smoked in blunts; cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana, often in combination with another drug. Use might also include mixing marijuana in food or brewing it as a tea. As a more concentrated, resinous form it is called hashish and, as a sticky black liquid, hash oil. Marijuana smoke has a pungent and distinctive, usually sweet-and-sour odor.

There are countless street terms for marijuana including pot, herb, weed, grass, widow, ganja, and hash, as well as terms derived from trademarked varieties of cannabis, such as Bubble Gum®, Northern Lights®, Juicy Fruit®, Afghani #1®, and a number of Skunk varieties. The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). The membranes of certain nerve cells in the brain contain protein receptors that bind to THC. Once securely in place, THC kicks off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the high that users experience when they smoke marijuana.

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