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Drug Issues

Drugs are substances containing chemicals, which alter a person’s mood, functioning or behavior. Drug abuse refers to an pattern of repeated use despite recurrent and significant use related problems. People can become physically and mentally addicted to drugs. Someone who is dependent is unable to control their drug use and drugs seem to rule their lives. Drug dependence has an effect on a person’s family, work and social networks. Drug problems can affect anyone regardless of sex, age, race or income level. 

            Signs of abuse:

    • Getting high or drunk on a regular basis
    • Lying about the amount of drugs or alcohol they are using
    • Using drugs in inappropriate situations such as at work or school
    • Using drugs to cope with problems
    • Pressuring others to use drugs
    • Missing school or work for a drug related incident
    • Denial of problem
    • Increased tolerance

Facts About Drugs
Marijuana: Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States and tends to be a "gateway" drug, meaning that its usage often leads to more potent drugs such as cocaine. Users of marijuana can become psychologically and physically addicted to the drug. Marijuana cigarettes are more damaging to the lungs than tobacco cigarettes and can cause harm to a developing fetus.

            Short term effects:

    • Sleepiness
    • Impaired or reduced short term memory
    • Increased heart rate
    • Bloodshot eyes
    • Increased hunger
    • Increased body temperature
    • Dry mouth
    • Paranoia

            Long term effects:

    • Increased cancer risk
    • Decrease in testosterone level for men
    • Increase in testosterone level for women
    • Psychological dependence
    • Diminished sexual pleasure

Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine (crank, speed) has a strong effect on the central nervous system. It is used in a pill form or in a powdered form, which is administered by snorting or injecting. The effects of methamphetamines include a wave of physical and psychological exhilaration that can last up to 30 hours. The effects are dependent on several factors such as the dose, how the drug is taken, and whether the user has developed a tolerance to the drug. 

            Short term effects:

    • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
    • Increased physical activity
    • Decreased appetite
    • Insomnia
    • Euphoria
    • Anxiety, paranoia, or violent behavior

            Long term effects:

    • Malnutrition
    • Body sores and hives
    • Problems with immune system
    • Chronic fever
    • Damage to internal organs, especially brain, heart, liver and kidneys

Hallucinogens: Hallucinogens are a chemically diverse group of drugs that alter mood, thought, perception and brain function. The most common of these drugs is LSD, but there are others such as mescaline, which is grown on the peyote plant, but can also be made in a laboratory. The effects of LSD can be felt within 30 to 90 minutes of ingestion and last 6 to 12 hours. Hallucinogens impair the users' visual perceptions as well as perception of time and space. LSD can also cause adverse psychological effects known as a "bad trip." A person on a bad trip may experience feelings of helplessness which can be very frightening. An overdose of LSD is very unlikely but there have been many deaths attributed to LSD accidents or suicides. 

            Short term effects:

    • Rapid reflexes and impaired coordination
    • Increased heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature
    • Tremors
    • Dilation of pupils
    • Reduced appetite
    • Nausea or vomiting

            Long term effects:

    • "Flashbacks"
    • Tolerance
    • Psychological dependence

Summary
Marijuana, methamphetamines, and hallucinogens represent a few of the many kinds of drugs that exist. Others include cocaine, alcohol, inhalants, "crack," and tranquilizers. If you or anyone you know has a problem with drug abuse or dependency there are many places to find help. Appropriate treatment has been shown to be effective both for the user and for the user's family and friends. The resource room at the Counseling Center has additional information about drugs and drug abuse. To schedule an appointment with a counselor, contact the center at 765-285-1736.