Find out about these addictive substances

    About

    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.

    Effects

    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.

    Low And Moderate Doses

    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.

    High Doses

    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.

    Long Term Effects

    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.

    Legal Issues

    About

    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;
    * Pot
    • Weed
    • Grass
    • Ganja

    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

    Effects

    Marijuana affects the body in a variety of ways and can do damage to a persons;
    * Immune system
    *Heart
    *Lungs
    * 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 And Moderate Doses

    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
    * Confusion
    * Altered thinking and memory
    * Anxiety
    * Mild paranoia
    * Altered vision
    * Reddened/bloodshot eyes.

    High Doses

    Confusion
    Restlessness
    Excitement
    Hallucinations
    Anxiety or panic
    Detachment from reality
    Decreased reaction time
    Paranoia.

    Long Term Effects

    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.

    Legal Issues

    About

    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;
    * coke
    * crack
    * blow
    * candy

    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.

    Effects

    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.

    Side-effects;
    * Restlessness
    * Irritability and anxiety
    * Panic
    * Paranoia

    Low And Moderate Doses

    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.

    High Doses

    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

    Long-term effects of cocaine use include:
    * Insomnia and exhaustion
    * Depression
    * Anxiety, paranoia and psychosis
    * Eating disorders and weight loss
    * Sexual dysfunction
    * Hypertension and irregular heart beat
    * Sensitivity to light and sound
    * Hallucinations

    Legal Issues

    About

    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.

    Effects

    Short term effects include;
    * nausea
    * hallucinations
    * chills and sweating
    * increased body temp
    * tremors
    * muscle cramping
    * blurred vision

    Low And Moderate Doses

    Low doses of Ecstasy are associated with decreased verbal memory function, which is suggestive for Ecstasy-induced neurotoxicity.

    High Doses

    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.

    Long Term Effects

    * 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.
    Impairs memory.
    Brain damage is directly related to amount and frequency of usage.

    Legal Issues

    About

    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.

    Effects

    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
    Dry mouth
    Increase in body temperature
    Nausea
    Vomiting
    Severe itching.

    Low And Moderate Doses

    Some of the effects that may be experienced after taking heroin include:
    Feelings of intense pleasure
    Strong feelings of wellbeing
    Confusion
    Lowered cough reflex
    Pain relief
    Reduced sexual urges
    Drowsiness
    Slurred and slow speech
    Reduced coordination
    Slow breathing rate
    Decreased heart rate and blood pressure

    High Doses

    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:
    Impaired concentration
    Going on the nod (falling asleep)
    Shallow and slow breathing
    Irregular heartbeat
    Unconsciousness
    Death.

    Long Term Effects

    The long-term effects of heroin use on health can include:
    Dependence
    Constipation
    Menstrual irregularity and infertility in women
    Loss of sex drive in men
    Intense sadness
    Cognitive impairment
    Tetanus
    Damage to heart, lungs, liver and brain.

    Legal Issues

    About

    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).

    Effects

    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.

    Low And Moderate Doses

    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.

    High Doses

    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.

    Long Term Effects

    Physical Effects
    Dilated pupils
    Higher or lower body temperature
    Sweating or chills (goose bumps)
    Loss of appetite
    Sleeplessness
    Dry mouth
    Tremors
    Mental Effects
    Delusions
    Visual hallucinations
    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

    Legal Issues

    About

    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.

    Effects

    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).

    Low And Moderate Doses

    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.

    High Doses

    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

    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
    * Death

    Legal Issues

    About

    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.

    Effects

    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.

    Low And Moderate Doses

    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.

    High Doses

    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.

    Long Term Effects

    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.

    Legal Issues

    About

    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.

    Effects

    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.

    Low And Moderate Doses

    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).

    High Doses

    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.

    Long Term Effects

    Muscle weakness
    Disorientation
    Lack of coordination
    Irritability
    Depression
    Serious and sometimes irreversible damage to the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs and brain
    Memory impairment, diminished intelligence
    Hearing loss
    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.

    Legal Issues

    About

    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.

    Effects

    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.

    Low And Moderate Doses

    Men who take anabolic steroids may:
    Develop breasts
    Get painful erections
    Have their testicles shrink
    Have decreased sperm count
    Become infertile
    Become impotent
    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

    High Doses

    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
    Extreme irritability
    Delusions false beliefs or ideas
    Impaired judgment.

    Long Term Effects

    Anabolic steroid abuse may lead to serious, even permanent, health problems such as:
    Kidney problems or failure
    Liver damage
    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.

    Legal Issues

    About

    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.

    Effects

    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.

    Low And Moderate Doses

    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

    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.

    Long Term Effects

    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.

    Legal Issues

    About

    Tobacco is a plant grown for its leaves, which are dried and fermented before being put in tobacco products. Tobacco contains nicotine, an ingredient that can lead to addiction, which is why so many people who use tobacco find it difficult to quit. There are also many other potentially harmful chemicals found in tobacco or created by burning it.

    Effects

    Addiction. Nicotine from cigarettes is as addictive as heroin. Nicotine addiction is hard to beat because it changes your brain. The brain develops extra nicotine receptors to accommodate the large doses of nicotine from tobacco. When the brain stops getting the nicotine its used to, the result is nicotine withdrawal. You may feel anxious, irritable, and have strong cravings for nicotine.

    Low And Moderate Doses

    Nicotine has clinically significant cognitive-enhancing effects at low doses, particularly in fine motor skills, attention, and memory. These beneficial cognitive effects may play a role in the maintenance of tobacco dependence.

    High Doses

    At high-enough doses, it is associated with nicotine poisoning. Today nicotine is less commonly used in agricultural insecticides, which was a main source of poisoning. More recent cases of poisoning typically appear to be in the form of Green Tobacco Sickness or due to accidental ingestion of tobacco or tobacco products or ingestion of nicotine containing plants. People who harvest or cultivate tobacco may experience Green Tobacco Sickness (GTS), a type of nicotine poisoning caused by dermal exposure to wet tobacco leaves. This occurs most commonly in young, inexperienced tobacco harvesters who do not consume tobacco.

    Long Term Effects

    Most people think of cancer when they think of tobacco use. Tobacco does cause a wide variety of devastating cancers. However, tobacco kills even more people through heart disease and stroke than it does through cancer! About 181,000 people die each year in the United States from smoking-related heart disease and stroke, and about 158,000 die from smoking-related cancer. The remainder of the smoking-related deaths, 123,000, are from lung diseases other than cancer.

    Legal Issues