Information On Drugs and Addiciton
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a green or gray mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. There are over 200 slang terms for marijuana including “pot,” “herb,” “weed,” “boom,” “Mary Jane,” “gangster,” and “chronic.” It is usually smoked as a cigarette (called a joint or a nail) or in a pipe or bong. In recent years, marijuana has appeared in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana, often in combination with another drug, such as crack. Some users also mix marijuana into foods or use it to brew tea.
The Hard Facts About 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. In fact, 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.
What is Inhalant Abuse?
When we think of drugs, most of us think of marijuana, heroin and crack cocaine. But some of the most lethal drugs are simpler and easier to obtain.
We can find them in the drawers of our desks, stashed in our cabinets, and lined up on our grocery store shelves. Things like paint, magic markers, white out, lighter fluid, hair sprays, vegetable cooking sprays and air fresheners. Things that are cheap and easy to obtain, and at the same time, when inhaled can prove fatal.
Club Drugs Aren’t “Fun Drugs”
Across the country, teens and young adults enjoy all-night dance parties known as “raves” and increasingly encounter more than just music. Dangerous substances known collectively as club drugs-including Ecstasy, GHB, and Rohypnol-are gaining popularity. These drugs aren’t “fun drugs.”
What is LSD?
LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is one of the major drugs making up the hallucinogen class. LSD was discovered in 1938 and is one of the most potent mood-changing chemicals. It is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains.
LSD, commonly referred to as “acid,” is sold on the street in tablets, capsules, and, occasionally, liquid form. It is odorless, colorless, and has a slightly bitter taste and is usually taken by mouth. Often LSD is added to absorbent paper, such as blotter paper, and divided into small decorated squares, with each square representing one dose.
MDMA is a synthetic, psychoactive drug with both stimulant (amphetamine-like) and hallucinogenic (LSD-like) properties. Street names for MDMA include Ecstasy, Adam, XTC, hug, beans, and love drug. Its chemical structure (3-4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine, “MDMA”) is similar to methamphetamine, methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), and mescaline – other synthetic drugs known to cause brain damage.
MDMA also is neurotoxic. In addition, in high doses it can cause a sharp increase in body temperature (malignant hyperthermia) leading to muscle breakdown and kidney and cardiovascular system failure.
Rohypnol and GHB
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 a victim and prevent them from resisting sexual assault.
GHB (gamma- hydroxybutyrate) has been abused in the U.S. since about 1990 for euphoric, sedative, and anabolic (body building) effects. As with Rohypnol and clonazepam, GHB has been associated with sexual assault in cities throughout the country.
Helping Kids Navigate Their Teenage Years
Parents can do much to help their teenage sons or daughters through a variety of difficult situations. Depression, violence, substance abuse, and bullying are all serious issues that parents and teens can work together to help resolve.
Sometimes, however, parents need to confront their own problems before they can help their teenager. Children who live in violent households, or homes where one of the caretakers uses drugs or abuses alcohol, often sustain severe emotional trauma that can last a lifetime. Even if a parent’s violent behavior or substance abuse occurred when a child was small, the child may still suffer repercussions during his or her adolescent years.
Adolescent Substance Abuse
Being a teenager and raising a teenager are individually, and collectively, enormous challenges. For many teens, illicit substance use and abuse become part of the landscape of their teenage years. Although most adolescents who use drugs do not progress to become drug abusers, or drug addicts in adulthood, drug use in adolescence is a very risky proposition. Even small degrees of substance abuse (for example, alcohol, marijuana, and inhalants) can have negative consequences. Typically, school and relationships, notably family relationships, are among the life areas that are most influenced by drug use and abuse.