What is a drug?

 

Drugs are chemical substances that affect the central nervous system, such as opioids or hallucinogens. They may be used for perceived beneficial effects on perception, consciousness, personality, and behavior. Some drugs can cause addiction and habituation.


Drug Classification


 Depressants

Depressants are drugs that slow down the functions of the central nervous system. Depressant drugs do not necessarily make a person feel depressed.

In small quantities, depressant s can cause the user to feel more relaxed and less inhibited. In larger quantities they can cause unconsciousn ess, vomiting and even death. Depressants affect concentration and coordination. They slow down a person’s ability to respond to unexpected situations.

(Alcohol, cannabis, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutrate), or “fantasy”, opiates and opioids, including heroin, morphine, codeine, methadone and pethidine, some solvents and inhalants)


 Stimulants

Stimulants act on the central nervous system to speed up the messages to and from the brain. They can make the user feel more awake, alert or confident. Stimulants increase heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure. Other drug effects include reduced appetite, dilated pupils, talkativeness, agitation and sleep disturbance.

Large quantities of stimulants can “over-stimulate” the user, causing anxiety, panic, seizures, headaches, stomach cramps, aggression and paranoia. Prolonged use of strong stimulants can mask some of the effects of depressant drugs, such as alcohol, making it difficult for a person to judge their effects.

(Ephedrine used in medicines for bronchitis, hay fever and asthma, caffeine in coffee, tea and cola drinks, nicotine in tobacco)

(Amphetamines, including illegal amphetamines (“speed”, “crystal meth”, “ice”, “shabu”), cocaine (“coke”, “crack”), Ecstasy (“E”, “XTC”, “eccy”), slimming tablets such as Duromine, Tenuate Dospan and Ponderax)


Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens affect perception. People who have taken them may believe they see or hear things that aren’t really there, or what they see may be distorted in some way. The effects of hallucinogens vary a great deal, so it is impossible to predict how they will affect a particular person at a particular time.

Some effects of hallucinogens include dilation of pupils, loss of appetite, increased activity, talking or laughing, emotional and psychological euphoria and wellbeing, jaw clenching, sweating, panic, paranoia, loss of contact with reality, irrational or bizarre behaviour, stomach cramps and nausea.

(Datura, Ketamine (“K”, “Special K”), LSD, Magic mushrooms (psilocybin; “gold tops”, “mushies”), Mescaline (peyote cactus), PCP (‘angel dust’), Cannabis is an hallucinogen as well as a depressant. Ecstasy can also have hallucinogenic qualities)


 

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