Find out about these addictive substances
People drink to socialise, celebrate, and relax. Alcohol often has a strong effect on people and throughout history, some people have struggled to understand and manage alcohol’s power.
Street names; booze, piss, sauce, etc.
Alcohol is the most common recreational drug in New Zealand. Over a third of all offences are committed by an offender who has been drinking. A significant proportion of police work therefore involves alcohol related incidents.
The expected cost to NZ on alcohol related harm is about .7 billion a year.
While at low to moderate doses, alcohol does seem to provide certain health benefits including a longer life and a healthier heart, Experts typically define moderate drinking as one drink a day for women and up to two for men.
Changes in mood or behaviour, impaired judgement, slurred speech, unsteadiness, lack of coordination, impaired attention or loss of consciousness.
Alcohol poisoning is when a large amount of alcohol is drunk, causing nausea, vomiting and dehydration.
Young people drinking high volume alcohol drinks like; vodka, rum, gin, whiskey, etc are at a increased risk of alcohol poisoning. Time is crucial if they pass out; put in the recovery position if you can’t wake them, seek help or call for an ambulance or take them to the hospital.
Binge drinking and continued alcohol use in large amounts are associated with many health problems, including:
* Unintentional injuries such as car crash, falls, burns, drowning
* Intentional injuries such as firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence
* Increased on-the-job injuries and loss of productivity Increased family problems, broken relationship
* Alcohol poisoning High blood pressure, stroke, and other heart-related diseases
*Liver disease Nerve damage Sexual problems Permanent damage to the brain
Many alcoholics sadly live a far shorter life than they should have.
If you are 18 years or older you can enter any licensed premises and buy and drink alcohol, as long as you can provide acceptable proof of age identification such as a driver licence, Hospitality New Zealand (HANZ) card or passport.
The penalty for drink driving is 6+ months loss of licence, up to ,500 and possibly a term of imprisonment.
People can easily become quite “wasted” by consuming cannabis.
Marijuana/Cannabis is product from dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa (indica and ruderalis are other varieties). The plant contains the mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other related compounds. Extracts can also be made from the cannabis plant, these may be an oil substance looking like molasses.
Common street names in NZ are;
Cannabis can be consumed by;
• Smoked, in cigarette paper, or a pipe.
• Vapour, like a bong. Inhaling the oil off a heated spoon or knife.
• Eaten in food
Marijuana affects the body in a variety of ways and can do damage to a persons;
* Immune system
* Reproductive system
Marijuana’s physical effects on the heart are often obvious in new users. A 20% – 100% rise in heart rate can be seen and it may last 2 – 3 hours. Other marijuana effects on the body, specifically the heart, include possible heart attack, heart failure and stroke in those with additional risk factors.
Low to moderate doses of cannabis can produce effects that last 2 to 4 hours after smoking. The effects of ingested (eaten) cannabis usually start within 1 hour. Some of the effects include:
* Affected perception including sound, colour and other sensations
* Altered thinking and memory
* Mild paranoia
* Altered vision
* Reddened/bloodshot eyes.
Anxiety or panic
Detachment from reality
Decreased reaction time
Long-term cannabis use can have many effects on an individual:
Brain: Impaired concentration, memory and learning ability.
Lungs: Smoking cannabis can result in asthma and bronchitis.
Hormones: Research shows that some cannabis users have a lowered sex drive. Irregular menstrual cycles and lowered sperm counts have also been reported.
Immune system: There is some concern that cannabis smoking may impair the functioning of the immune system.
Mental health: Cannabis use in young people is particularly risky, especially heavy and regular use.
Cannabis use is controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. Possession of any amount of cannabis is illegal. The maximum penalty for possession of cannabis is imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months or a 0 fine.
Cocaine is illegal. It is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America.
It can be; “snorted” (sniffed), injected, smoked,
As a street drug, cocaine looks like a fine, white, crystal powder. Street dealers often mix it with things like; baking powder, talcum powder, or flour to increase profits. They may also mix it with other drugs such as the stimulant amphetamine.
Street names include;
Cocaine and heroin mixed is called a “Speedball”. Notable deaths linked to “Speedballs” are; John Belushi, Chris Farley, River Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and lots of others.
Cocaine may increase a persons dopamine level (feel good chemicals in the brain) creating a high.
This helps make this a highly addictive drug, as people strive to make this feeling happen again.
* Irritability and anxiety
The effects of cocaine can last anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours, depending on how the cocaine is taken. When the immediate rush of the cocaine has worn off, the person may experience a crash.
Sadly the lows are often very strong panic attacks, anxiety, etc.
A high dose of cocaine can cause a person to overdose.
Unlike other drugs, there is a rapid crossing of the blood-brain barrier. This can cause brain shutdown and heart attacks.
Stats show that over 100 people die in the US from cocaine EVERY DAY!!
Long-term effects of cocaine use include:
* Insomnia and exhaustion
* Anxiety, paranoia and psychosis
* Eating disorders and weight loss
* Sexual dysfunction
* Hypertension and irregular heart beat
* Sensitivity to light and sound
Cocaine is a Class A drug. These are the drugs classified as “Very high risk of harm”.
Ecstasy was originally developed by Merck pharmaceutical company in 1912. In its original form, it was known as MDMA. It was used in 1953 by the US Army.
Ecstasy is also called; E, XTC,
MDMA is usually consumed in tablet form.
Short term effects include;
* chills and sweating
* increased body temp
* muscle cramping
* blurred vision
Low doses of Ecstasy are associated with decreased verbal memory function, which is suggestive for Ecstasy-induced neurotoxicity.
In high doses, Ecstasy can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature. On rare but unpredictable occasions, this can lead to a sharp increase in body temperature (hyperthermia), resulting in liver, kidney, and cardiovascular system failure, and death.
* Heart disease.
* Dehydration can lead to liver and kidney failure.
Disturbing emotional reactions, confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, severe anxiety, and heart palpitations. Symptoms last a long time after taking the drug.
Depletes the amount of serotonin in the brain and blocks uptake of serotonin.
Toxic to the brain.
Brain damage is directly related to amount and frequency of usage.
Ecstasy is a Class B drug which means the penalties for possession are 3 months imprisonment and/or 0 fine and supplying and manufacturing are 14 years imprisonment.
Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. Other common names for heroin include dope, horse, junk, and smack.
The heroin high is characterized by an immediate and intense rush of pleasure and euphoria.3,4 It can also be accompanied by additional sensations, including:
Relief from pain
Alleviation of anxiety
Overall sense of wellbeing
Warm flushing of the skin
Sensation of heaviness within the extremities
Increase in body temperature
Some of the effects that may be experienced after taking heroin include:
Feelings of intense pleasure
Strong feelings of wellbeing
Lowered cough reflex
Reduced sexual urges
Slurred and slow speech
Slow breathing rate
Decreased heart rate and blood pressure
A high dose of heroin can cause a person to overdose. This means that a person has taken more heroin than their body can cope with. The risk of overdose increases if the strength or purity of the heroin is not known. Injecting heroin increases the risk of overdose due to large amounts of the drug entering the blood stream and quickly travelling to the brain. High doses of heroin can intensify some of the effects. People may also experience:
Going on the nod (falling asleep)
Shallow and slow breathing
The long-term effects of heroin use on health can include:
Menstrual irregularity and infertility in women
Loss of sex drive in men
Damage to heart, lungs, liver and brain.
Heroin is a Class A drug in NZ and has the following penalties if found 6 months imprisonment and/or ,000 fine and if you are supplying or manufacturing the penalties are Life Imprisonment
LSD is produced in crystalline form and then mixed with excipients, or diluted as a liquid for production in ingestible forms. It is odorless, colorless and has a slightly bitter taste. LSD is sold in tablet form (usually small tablets known as Microdots), on Sugar Cubes, in thin squares of gelatin (commonly referred to as Window Panes), and most commonly, as blotter paper (sheets of absorbent paper soaked in or impregnated with LSD, covered with colorful designs or artwork, and perforated into one-quarter inch square, individual dosage units).
The effects of LSD are unpredictable. Usually, the first effects of the drug are felt 30 to 90 minutes after taking it. The user may experience extreme changes in mood, feel several different emotions at once, or swing rapidly from one emotion to another. If taken in large enough doses, the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations. The physical effects include dilated pupils; higher body temperature and sweating; nausea and loss of appetite; increased blood sugar, heart rate and blood pressure; sleeplessness; dry mouth and tremors.
The user may also suffer impaired depth and time perception, with distorted perception of the size and shape of objects, movements, color, sound, touch and own body image. Sensations may seem to cross over, giving the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds. These changes can be frightening and can cause panic.
If taken in large enough doses, the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations. The physical effects include dilated pupils; higher body temperature and sweating; nausea and loss of appetite; increased blood sugar, heart rate and blood pressure; sleeplessness; dry mouth and tremors.
Higher or lower body temperature
Sweating or chills (goose bumps)
Loss of appetite
An artificial sense of euphoria or certainty
Distortion of ones sense of time and identity
Impaired depth perception
Impaired time perception, distorted perception of the size and shape of objects, movements, color, sounds, touch and the users own body image
Severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings
Fear of losing control
LSD is a Class A drug in NZ and if caught in possession there can be penalties of 6 months imprisonment and/or ,000 fine and if supplying of manufacturing penalties are Life imprisonment
Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It takes the form of a white, odourless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol. Crystal methamphetamine is a form of the drug that looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks.
High purity methamphetamine is most commonly referred to by the uniquely New Zealand street name of P, for pure. Also known as meth, chalk, ice, and crystal.
It is chemically similar to amphetamine [a drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder].
P is often smoked in a small glass pipe.
As a powerful stimulant, methamphetamine, even in small doses, can increase wakefulness and physical activity and decrease appetite.
Physical effects include;
* Not sleeping for long periods.
* Can lose their appetite.
* Seem to be very active and not slowing down.
* May seem to be anxious and nervous.
* Often suddenly lose a lot of weight.
* Blackened rotting teeth (called meth-mouth).
Highly addictive!! Some people become addicted to “P” after only one or two uses. Methamphetamine can also cause a variety of cardiovascular problems, including rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, and increased blood pressure.
Elevated body temperature and convulsions may occur with methamphetamine overdose, and if not treated immediately, can result in death.
Most of the pleasurable effects of methamphetamine are believed to result from the release of very high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is involved in motivation, the experience of pleasure, and motor function, and is a common mechanism of action for most drugs of abuse.
Long-term effects may include:
* Psychosis, including:paranoia, hallucinations and repetitive motor activity
* Changes in brain structure and function
* Deficits in thinking and motor skills
* Increased distractability
* Memory loss
* Aggressive or violent behaviour
* Mood disturbances
* Severe dental problems
* Weight loss
Methamphetamine is a Class “A” or Schedule 1 controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.
The maximum penalty for production and distribution is imprisonment for life.
Narcotics are drugs from the opiate family, drugs that are derived naturally from the seedpods of the opium poppy (papaver somniferum), or are produced synthetically and have opiate like effects. Narcotics reduce pain and create a state of well-being. Upon use, narcotics have an immediate effect on the body.
Narcotics initially produce a feeling of euphoria that often is followed by drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. Users also may experience constricted pupils, watery eyes, and itching. An overdose may produce slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma, and possibly death.
At sufficient doses, respiratory arrest can deprive the brain and body tissues of oxygen. This can easily prove fatal, or result in debilitating organ system injury.
One possibility of overdosing narcotics is respiratory arrest and death. The longer you use narcotics, the more you tolerate them, however, and the more you need for pain relief. Long-term use narcotics can cause awful constipation, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. It’s often dangerous to use alcohol, allergy medications, or sleeping pills when you are using narcotics.
Physically, the long term user of certain painkillers or heroin is at risk of contracting STDs or other diseases as a result of sharing dirty needles. There is also a risk of permanent damage to the internal organs which can lead to renal failure and potentially even death if left untreated. In many cases, the long term effects of narcotics are so severe that even medical care and no longer using the drugs is simply not enough to reverse the negative complications that have occurred.
Narcotics is a Class B drug and the penalties for them are 3 months imprisonment and/or 0 fine.
The term solvents refers to liquid organic chemicals used to dissolve solid materials. Solvents can be made from natural sources such as turpentine and the citrus solvents, but most are derived from petroleum or other synthetic sources. Solvents are used widely because they dissolve materials like resins and plastics, and because they evaporate quickly and cleanly.
There are no safe solvents. All solvents, natural or synthetic, are toxic. Contact either with liquid solvents or inhalation of the vapors they emit into the air are hazardous.
In general, solvents can irritate and damage the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract, cause a narcotic effect on the nervous system, and damage internal organs such as the liver and kidneys. These kinds of damage can be acute (from single heavy exposures) or chronic (from repeated low dose exposures over months or years).
In addition, some solvents are especially hazardous to specific organs or can cause specific diseases such as cancer in the long term. If large amounts of inhalants are inhaled, disorientation and lack of co-ordination can occur. Other possible side effects include visual distortions and even losing consciousness and death.
Lack of coordination
Serious and sometimes irreversible damage to the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs and brain
Memory impairment, diminished intelligence
Bone marrow damage
Deaths from heart failure or asphyxiation (loss of oxygen)
The chronic use of inhalants has been associated with a number of serious health problems. Sniffing glue and paint thinner causes kidney problems. Sniffing toluene and other solvents causes liver damage. Inhalant abuse has also resulted in memory impairment and diminished intelligence.
Most inhalants are common household products, so it is not practical to make them illegal and it would not help protect young people from harm. However, it is illegal for shopkeepers to sell products to someone if they believe that they are to be used for inhaling. It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of any drug, including inhalants. Breaking this law carries heavy penalties including disqualification from driving, fines and even imprisonment. It is advised that you do not drive after the consumption of any mood altering substance. You could put your own and other peoples lives at serious risk.
Anabolic steroids are synthetic variations of the male sex hormone testosterone. The proper term for these compounds is anabolic-androgenic steroids. “Anabolic” refers to muscle building, and androgenic refers to increased male sex characteristics. Some common names for anabolic steroids are Gear, Juice, Roids, and Stackers.
Anabolic steroids work differently from other drugs of abuse; they do not have the same short-term effects on the brain. The most important difference is that steroids do not trigger rapid increases in the brain chemical dopamine, which causes the “high” that drives people to abuse other substances.
Men who take anabolic steroids may:
Get painful erections
Have their testicles shrink
Have decreased sperm count
Women who take anabolic steroids may:
Grow excessive face and body hair
Have their voices deepen
Experience menstrual irregularities
Have an enlarged clitoris
Have reduced breast size
Have a masculinized female fetus
Aside from mental problems, steroid use commonly causes severe acne. It also causes the body to swell, especially in the hands and feet.
Paranoid (extreme, unreasonable) jealousy
Delusions false beliefs or ideas
Anabolic steroid abuse may lead to serious, even permanent, health problems such as:
Kidney problems or failure
Enlarged heart, high blood pressure, and changes in blood cholesterol, all of which increase the risk of stroke and heart attack, even in young people.
Anabolic steroids are only legal if a doctor prescribes them. Doctors will only prescribe anabolic steroids if a patient:
Requires bone marrow stimulation or prevention of bone loss
Needs artificial induction of male puberty
Needs appetite stimulation and preservation of muscle mass due to wasting conditions such as AIDS or cancer
Decides to undergo gender reassignment procedures.
Synthetic drugs are created using man-made chemicals rather than natural ingredients. A number of synthetic drugs on the market, including Ecstasy, LSD and methamphetamine, are described in other booklets in The Truth About Drugs series. This booklet gives the facts about synthetic marijuana (Spice or K2), synthetic stimulants (Bath Salts) and a drug known as N-bomb. These are among the synthetic drugs known as designer drugs.
People who have used synthetic cannabinoids and have been taken to emergency rooms have shown severe effects Synthetic cannabinoids can also raise blood pressure and cause reduced blood supply to the heart, as well as kidney damage and seizures. Use of these drugs is associated with a rising number of deaths.
Synthetic drugs can produce visual and auditory distortions and a sense of floating and dissociation (feeling detached from reality) in users. Use of synthetic drugs can also cause anxiety, memory loss, and impaired motor function, including body tremors and numbness. These effects, which depend on the amount of the drug taken, are also unpredictable typically beginning within minutes of ingestion and lasting for several hours.
High doses, it can cause an excited delirium, during which a user’s body temperature can rise to as high as 105 degrees. It can also create heart problems like tachycardia and life-threatening kidney failure.
The long-term effects on humans are not fully known, but poison center experts report that effects of synthetic marijuana can be life-threatening. It can be addictive and lead to withdrawal symptoms which include craving, nightmares, heavy sweating, nausea, tremors, headaches, extreme tiredness, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, problems thinking clearly and neglect of other interests or duties. After repeated and long-term use of the drug, users can experience forgetfulness and confusion. Some users have reported experiencing paralysis.
There are some synthetic drugs in the Class A category of drug while there are some in Class B but all synthetic drugs are illegal.