You Donít Know About Drugs & Alcohol Can Hurt You
One special problem with any drug you buy on the street is that you
can never be sure exactly what you are getting. At best, you get what
you asked for--probably cut with a sugar or starch compound. Often-unfortunately--you
get something other than what you expect: A different drug altogether
or a drug cut with harmful substances or contaminated with impurities.
Drug dealers are in business to make money. They need to make lots of
it to make their risks worthwhile. Keeping drugs pure costs money, so
its not a very important consideration to dealers.
REMEMBER, THE FDA ISNíT PROTECTING THE PURITY OF STREET DRUGS.
Cigarettes, coffee, tea and cola drinks contain legal stimulants (NICOTINE
and CAFFEINE). AMPHETAMINES, COCAINE and CRACK are also stimulants.
Side effects include jittery feelings, irritability and palpitations.
More serious side effects include sleep problems and decline in appetites
for food and sex. The most serious problem is that these drugs are very
addictive. Stimulants produce exaggerated feelings of energy, alertness
and well-being. Unfortunately, when the drug effect wears off, a corresponding
period of exhaustion and depression sets in. These effects reinforce
a desire for more drugs to combat the low feelings. DEPRESSANTS Beverages
with ALCOHOL are depressants. BARBITURATES ("downers") and NARCOTICS
(such as heroin) are also depressants. Side effects include slowing
of reflexes and reactions, slurred speech, impaired judgment and blurred
perceptions. These effects make it especially dangerous to drive. People
feel that they are performing well when in fact their abilities are
impaired. Other serious effects include dependence and addiction. Depressants
produce relaxed, calm feelings. Over time, depression and anxiety increase
and more and more drugs are required to suppress these feelings. Alcohol-related
accidents and diseases cause more deaths than all other drugs combined.
MARIJUANA ("smoke" or "pot") and HASHISH ("hash") both contain the chemical
THC. Side effects include impairment of judgment, memory and concentration
and some inexperienced users experience anxiety attacks. These drugs,
like alcohol, are often used in social situations because of the enhancement
of sensory perception and lowered inhibitions some users experience.
The main danger is psychological dependence where getting high is used
to avoid personal problems or uncomfortable feelings. These drugs may
also be contaminated with other chemicals in order to "enhance" their
effect or where pesticides or other agricultural chemicals have been
used on the plants.
LSD ("acid"), MESCALINE and PSILOCYBIN are hallucinogens which cause
powerful, extreme and unpredictable changes in mood and perception during
a 10-12 hour "trip" period. The trip can be unpleasant and disorienting
with unpredictable reoccurrences ("flashbacks") for months afterward.
A "bad trip" can cause considerable anxiety.
Phencyclidine (PCP or "angel dust") produces a masking of inhibitions
and pain perception and disrupts the intellect. While some people enjoy
the disorientation, others experience confusion, agitation, unrealistic
fears, speech disturbances, memory and mood problems. OVERDOSES A serious
problem with many drugs is the potential for overdose. Because these
drugs are not distributed under controlled conditions, it is impossible
to know their strength (or exact composition). Many users do not understand
the dangers of mixing drugs which multiply each othersí effects. Combining
alcohol, depressants, cocaine and/or narcotics can drastically lower
the overdose threshold. High doses shut down vital brain control centers
leading to death from lack of oxygen.
Try to stop using drugs (including legal ones) for one month. If you
have trouble doing so, you have a problem and need professional help.
AIDS is a serious, specific risk for people who share needles in order
to inject any drug. If you share a needle, you stand a very good chance
of being dead within five years from AIDS. Unfortunately, most drugs
interfere with judgment--so those most at risk are least likely to take
the risk seriously. Since drugs lower inhibitions, people using drugs
are more likely to be exposed to AIDS through unsafe sex (more than
one partner and/or not using condoms).
IF YOU NEED
If you or someone you care about needs free, confidential help with
a drug or other personal problem, speak with a professional counselor
in 0203 James Hall--951-5363.