Drug Education Public

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Learn about the facts and consequences of drugs.

Module Information

Alcohol •Alcohol is the most frequently used drug by teenagers in the United States.   •About half of junior high and senior high school students drink alcohol on a monthly basis, and 14% of teens have been intoxicated at least once in the past year. •Nearly 8% of teens who drink say they drink at least five or more alcoholic drinks in a row (binge drink).                                           Alcoholism is a substance-use disorder in which the sufferer has problems managing how much alcohol they drink and their lives as a result.                                         The symptoms of alcoholism include tolerance to alcohol, withdrawal episodes, using more alcohol for longer periods of time, and problems managing life issues due to alcohol.                                                                                           Alcoholism is caused by a number of individual, family, genetic, and social factors rather than by any one cause.                                                                                         Although a number of genes play a role in the development of alcoholism, this is a disease in which other factors more strongly influence its occurrence.   •Alcohol decreases teens' ability to pay attention. •Teens who have experienced alcohol withdrawal tend to have difficulties with memory. •The teenage brain that has been exposed to alcohol is at risk for being smaller in certain parts.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            •In contrast to adults, teens tend to abuse alcohol with other substances.                                                                                                                                                            •Male teens who drink heavily tend to complete fewer years of education compared to male teens who do not.                                                                                                                                                            •The younger a person is when they begin drinking, the more likely they are to develop a problem with alcohol.   Each year, almost 2,000 people under the age of 21 years die in car crashes in which underage drinking is involved. Alcohol is involved in nearly half of all violent deaths involving youth.
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Marijuana Marijuana is the illicit drug most likely to be used by teens in the U.S. According to a 2012  Study, 45.3% of U.S. 12th graders reported having used marijuana once or more in their lifetime, with 22.9% reporting use in the previous 30 days.                                                                                           The main effects of marijuana on mood vary and may include euphoria, calmness, anxiety, or paranoia.                                           Getting high or "stoned" is the reason most pot smokers use marijuana.                                                                                                                              Signs of using marijuana include:                                                                                                                         •Rapid heart rate                                                                                                                         •Increased blood pressure                                                                                                                         •Increased rate of breathing                                                                                                                         •Red eyes                                                                                                                         •Dry mouth                                                                                                                         •Increased appetite, or "the munchies"                                                                                                                         •Slowed reaction time   Other short-term psychological effects of marijuana include: •Distorted sense of time •Paranoia •Magical or "random" thinking •Short-term memory loss •Anxiety and depression
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Opioids Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive drug. It is both the most abused and the most rapidly acting of the opiates. Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of certain varieties of poppy plant.   It is typically sold as a white or brownish powder or as the black sticky substance known on the streets as "black tar heroin." Although purer heroin is becoming more common, most street heroin is "cut" with other drugs or with substances such as sugar, starch, powdered milk, or quinine. Street heroin also can be cut with strychnine or other poisons. Because heroin abusers do not know the actual strength of the drug or its true contents, they are at risk of overdose or death.   Heroin also poses special problems because of the transmission of HIV and other diseases that can occur from sharing needles or other injection equipment SIGNS/ SYMPTOMS: •Shortness of breath •Dry mouth •Constricted (small) pupils •Sudden changes in behavior or actions •Disorientation •Cycles of hyper alertness followed by suddenly nodding off •Droopy appearance, as if extremities are heavy •Lying or other deceptive behavior •Substantial increases in time spent sleeping •Increase in slurred, garbled or incoherent speech •Sudden worsening of performance in school , including expulsion. •Decreasing attention to hygiene and physical appearance •Loss of motivation and apathy toward future goals •Withdrawal from friends and family, instead spending time with new friends Lack of interest in hobbies and favorite activities •Repeatedly stealing or borrowing money from loved ones, or unexplained absence of valuables •Hostile behaviors toward loved ones, including blaming them for withdrawal or broken commitments •Regular comments indicating a decline in self esteem or worsening body image •Wearing long pants or long sleeves to hide needle marks, even in very warm weather
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Opium Opium for illegal use is often converted into heroin, which is less bulky, making it easier to smuggle, and which multiplies its potency to approximately twice that of morphine.                                      Most opium imported into the United States is broken down into its alkaloid constituents, and whether legal or illegal, most current drug use occurs with processed derivatives such as heroin rather than with unrefined opium.
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Stimulants Cocaine The powdered form of cocaine is either inhaled through the nose (snorted), where it is absorbed through the nasal tissue, or dissolved in water and injected into the bloodstream. The intensity and duration of cocaine’s pleasurable effects depend on the way it is administered. Injecting or smoking cocaine delivers the drug rapidly into the bloodstream and brain, producing a quicker and stronger but shorter-lasting high than snorting. The high from snorting cocaine may last 15 to 30 minutes; the high from smoking may last 5 to 10 minutes. People who use cocaine often use the drug in a binge pattern—taking the drug repeatedly within a relatively short period of time, at increasingly higher doses. This practice can easily lead to addiction, a chronic relapsing disease caused by changes in the brain and characterized by uncontrollable drug-seeking no matter the consequences.  With repeated use, cocaine can cause long-term changes in the brain’s reward system as well as other brain systems, which may lead to addiction. With repeated use, tolerance to cocaine also often develops. Cocaine affects the body in a variety of ways. It constricts blood vessels, dilates pupils, and increases body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. It can also cause headaches and gastrointestinal complications such as abdominal pain and nausea. Because cocaine tends to decrease appetite, chronic users can become malnourished as well.  Most seriously, people who use cocaine can suffer heart attacks or strokes, which may cause sudden death. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of the heart stopping (cardiac arrest) followed by an arrest of breathing. Crack Crack is a form of cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal (also called “freebase cocaine”) that can be smoked. The crystal is heated to produce vapors that are absorbed into the blood-stream through the lungs. AMPHETAMINE Although it is a prescription medication in many countries, unauthorized possession and distribution of amphetamine is often tightly controlled due to the significant health risks associated with uncontrolled or heavy use. A moderate overdose may induce symptoms including: irregular heartbeat, confusion, painful urination, high or low blood pressure,  muscle pain, severe agitation, rapid breathing, tremor, urinary hesitancy, and urinary retention. An extremely large overdose may produce symptoms  such as psychosis,  cardiogenic shock, cerebral hemorrhage, circulatory collapse, edema (peripheral or pulmonary), extreme fever, pulmonary hypertension, renal failure, rapid muscle breakdown.  Fatal amphetamine poisoning usually also involves convulsions and coma. Meth…… What does it look like? Methamphetamine is a crystal-like powdered substance that sometimes comes in large rock-like chunks. When the powder flakes off the rock, the shards look like glass, which is another nickname for meth. Meth is usually white or slightly yellow, depending on the purity. How is it used? Methamphetamine can be taken orally, injected, snorted, or smoked.   Immediately after smoking or injection, the user experiences an intense sensation, called a “rush” or “flash,” that lasts only a few minutes and is described as extremely pleasurable. Snorting or swallowing meth produces euphoria — a high, but not a rush. After the initial “rush,” there is typically a state of higagitation that in some individuals can lead to violent h behavior. Methamphetamine is addictive, and users can develop a tolerance quickly, needing larger amounts to get high. In some cases, users forego food and sleep and take more meth every few hours for days, ‘binging’ until they run out of the drug or become too disorganized to continue. Chronic use can cause paranoia, hallucinations, repetitive behavior (such as compulsively cleaning, grooming or disassembling and assembling objects), and delusions of parasites or insects crawling under the skin. Users can obsessively scratch their skin to get rid of these imagined insects. Long-term use, high dosages, or both can bring on full-blown toxic psychosis (often exhibited as violent, aggressive behavior).   This violent, aggressive behavior is usually coupled with extreme paranoia. Methamphetamine use can also cause strokes and death.
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Club Drugs Typical club drugs that are popular among young people today include: Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) GHB is a CNS depressant that works on the neurotransmitter  (GABA) in the brain. This is the neurotransmitter that controls inhibitions.   GHB occurs naturally in the brain, but the dosage is far lower than that which is taken when using drugs recreationally. A colorless, odorless liquid originally developed as an anesthetic, GHB has developed a collection of cult followings.    For ravers, a gulp or two can feel like drinking a six-pack, minus the calories and you forget your inhibitions to the point where you don't care whom or what you're having sex with. Dose it wrong  and you “forget” how to breathe; you can end up in a coma, or dead.) GHB is more dangerously addictive than heroin, with potentially lethal withdrawal symptoms. Safely detoxing requires a 10 to15 day hospital stay, medical experts say. Without proper medical treatment, GHB addicts can die of stroke and heart failure while trying to quit.   Rohypnol Rohypnol is another CNS depressant popular among the club-going set. This drug is similar to medications like Xanax or Valium; however, it is not approved for any medical purpose in the United States. Both of these drugs are colorless and tasteless. They have no odor. They may be found in powder, liquid or pill form. Perhaps one of the most harrowing aspects of these particular club drugs is the link between the use of the drugs on unsuspecting party-goers and “date rape.”   MDMA (Ecstasy) MDMA has become widely known as "ecstasy" (shortened to "E", "X", or "XTC"), It is a synthetic drug with amphetamine-like and hallucinogenic properties. It is classified as a stimulant. What does it look like? Ecstasy comes in a tablet form that is often branded, e.g. Playboy bunnies, Nike swoosh, CK.
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