Drugs, alcohol and cigarettes are widely known amongst society. Almost anyone you meet has had some sort of interaction with a substance. Whether it be in passing or whether they were curious to try something. It is totally your choice if you choose to experiment or not. Whatever you do choose, make sure you are fully educated on the types of substances out there and how they can affect you.
There are so many types of substances. Some are legal and some are illegal. But remember, just because a substance is legal, doesn’t mean it is good for you. For example, a doctor can prescribe you a drug with medical benefits and then, there are others which have no real upside. Any form of drug, alcohol or cigarette will have some long term or short-term affect on your mind, body and soul.
What are some of the substances out there? What do they do and how do they impact you?
Caffeine, energy drinks and performance enhancing drugs for sports
Some may think a substance like caffeine isn’t classified as a drug. Caffeine is usually naturally produced and can be found in things like coffee, energy drinks, soft drinks and some foods. So why do we call it a drug? Because caffeine can stimulate the nervous system which causes increased alertness giving you a temporary energy boost and an elevated mood. However, it can also make you dizzy, give you headaches and can make you feel anxious. Caffeine can affect you for hours meaning you may even have trouble sleeping. Sometimes, you might drink too much caffeine without even noticing. A lot of soft drinks and energy drinks can be sweet and fruity and contain massive amounts of caffeine. Consuming high amounts of caffeine is very risky and can even cause heart problems.
There are a few forms of performance enhancing drugs such as creatine and anabolic steroids. Creatine is a type of protein found in our bodies but it can also be sold over-the-counter. Then there are steroids. These are a synthetic version of the hormone testosterone. Both of these substances, whilst making you feel stronger and bigger can cause problems like nausea and mood swings but more long-term effects include blood-clots and liver problems. You have to ask yourself, is it really worth it? No.
Prescription drugs will be prescribed by a doctor. Taking prescription medications without the recommendation of a doctor is dangerous and really silly! There are many types out there; opioids, anti-depressants, stimulants and each can be just as addictive as the other. Addiction can become so easy. You might see your mum or dad take them and think it’s okay. You might think prescription drugs will help you to have more fun or lose weight but there is a reason why they are prescribed by a doctor. A doctor can look at your medical condition, tell you how much you should take and monitor your process. They also let you know of things to avoid such as drinking. Doctors let you know how to safely use these medications. They can also recommend safe alternatives. Most of the time, doctors try and keep you away from prescription medicines because of the risks they carry. So if you don’t have all the information, you’re putting yourself at risk of symptoms like vomiting, seizures, addiction and even death.
Alcohol & Smoking
Alcohol, the most widely used and socially accepted drug in the world. Alcohol can make you lose your inhibitions and feel confident amongst other people. You can lose your senses so you won’t hear, see or taste as you normally would. You do things you wouldn’t normally do because your judgment becomes impaired. This is just one of the reasons it is so dangerous! Just like any drug, there are negative side effects. Alcohol slows down your brain and your nervous system. Drinking too much in too little time can make you feel sick, you might need to vomit or have a headache. If you continue to drink to excess regularly, it can cause brain and liver damage, digestive problems, depression and memory loss.
Smoking is another socially accepted drug. You might see it in movies or music videos and think “wow, that looks so cool”. But smoking can quickly become addictive due to cigarettes having nicotine in them. Being a long-term smoker can cause chronic lung disease, stroke, cancer in various parts of the body and general poor health. Besides, it’s expensive and it smells bad! The easiest way to give up is to never start.
There are three types of hardcore drugs and they can be categorized as stimulants, depressants or hallucinogens. Sometimes they can fall into more than one category. Stimulants like amphetamines, ecstasy and cocaine increase activity of your central nervous system. Depressants like cannabis, heroin, tranquilisers and methadone suppress activity of your central nervous system. Hallucinogens like ketamine, LSD, magic mushrooms and cannabis can alter perceptions and sense of time and space.
Cannabis is also known as marijuana, hashish, dope, pot, draw, grass, weed, skunk and buddha. It is usually rolled into a joint or a cigarette but can sometimes be put into cakes and cookies. You will feel relaxed or see things that aren’t really there, making it a depressant and a hallucinogen. Whilst you have a feeling of being high, cannabis can also have negative affects such as memory impairment, panic attacks, psychosis and you increase your chances of various forms of cancer.
Ecstasy can be known as e, pills, eccy, eggs, doves, mdma , xtc, tab, happy face, love drug and disco burgers. It is usually in the form of a pill or a tablet but can also come in powder form and can be swallowed or crushed and snorted. You will feel a loved-up sense of happiness followed by a downer of physical exhaustion and depression. It will increase your heart rate, enlarge your pupils, damage your liver, cause you to clench your jaw or grind your teeth, lose your appetite and cause some serious damage to your liver and kidney. It can also cause long-term damage to you like brain damage, anxiety, panic disorders and depression.
LSD, also known as trips or acid, is a hallucinogen that has the ability to change your perception. These drugs make you experience and see things that may not exist. It usually comes in the form of a small paper square that is soaked in the tasteless drug. It can cause you to have a total loss of control and feel an intense pleasure, a trance-like euphoria. However, just like all drugs, there are bad affects you can feel like an increased heart rate, insomnia, paranoia and hallucinations. It can cause you to have flashbacks, severe anxiety attacks and nausea. Even worse, it can cause permanent brain damage or a life-long mental illness.
Cocaine and crack cocaine, also known as coke, snow, nose candy, flake, blow, big c, lady, snowbirds and charlie is a stimulant that speeds up the brain and nervous system. Cocaine is usually in the form of a white powder and is most commonly snorted but it can also be injected. Crack cocaine is usually smoked through a pipe. It gives you a feeling of confidence, power and alertness but can also cause you to be aggressive. Due to the drug being quickly absorbed into your body, it will often leave you craving more and more. Crack cocaine is a stronger form of cocaine and can be way more addictive. Again, there are negative side effects like disturbances in heart rhythm, elevated blood pressure, talkativeness, irritability, argumentative behaviour, agitation, loss of coordination, anxiety, delusions, heart attacks, permanent destruction of nose tissue, respiratory failure, strokes and seizures.
Ice can also be known as shabu, crystal, crystal meth and glass and it looks like shards of glass or ice (hence the name). It is the purer kind of speed in crystal form and is a smoke-able form of methamphetamine. It is incredibly dangerous and powerfully addictive as it stimulates the central nervous system making you feel alert, energetic and excited. Ice will cause you to act violently erratic, give you an itching sensation tremors and convulsions. If used long-term, it can give you extreme paranoia, memory loss and damaged blood vessels and risks include coma, stroke and even death.
Depressants are sleeping pills and tranquillisers also known as benzos, valium, sleepers, mandrax and usually come in the form of a pill. They may cause you to feel drowsy, confused, slur your speech and you might even find it hard to breath. Depressants can also cause you potential problems like anxiety, depression, tremors, insomnia, suicide and have high risk of addiction.
GHB is a liquid substance that can be known as fantasy, liquid ecstasy, grievous bodily harm (GBH). GHB slows down the activity of your brain and in small doses can make you feel like you’re drunk. It can help you relax and can relieve stress but it can also make you feel drowsy, dizzy, nauseas and can reduce your inhibitions. GHB can cause loss of consciousness, hallucinations, convulsions, seizures, coma and death.
Heroin is a brown or white powder that is commonly injected but can also be smoked or snorted. It is also known as smack, H, skag, junk, hammer, gear and horse. When heroin enters your body, you’ll feel a state of euphoria and the sense of pain can be reduced as it acts as a depressants and painkiller. Followed by this, you will enter into a drowsy state known as the ‘nod’ and your limbs and body will feel heavy. Heroin depresses the central nervous system. It can cause vomiting, sweating and itching. The long-term side effects are even worse! These include cravings for more heroin, restlessness, intense muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, cold flushes with goose bumps and involuntary kicking movements. It is a highly addictive drug and the risk of an overdose is extremely high as the dosage is difficult to estimate. Heroin abuse is associated with serious health conditions, fatal overdose, collapsed veins and infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS and hepatitis) if injected.
How drugs and alcohol effect families
If you chose to try drugs or alcohol, it won’t only affect you, it can affect everyone around you, including your friends, family and community. It can take a huge toll on your life as well as theirs. Your addiction can cause many different issues. You may act out by being violent or breaking the law and this can cause legal struggles and your acceptance you’re your community. Your parents may argue about how to deal with your drug abuse and this can lead to emotional struggles like separation and neglect. Your drug abuse might lead you to steal money from your family and friends and may put them in financial stress. So please remember, it is selfish to assume that drug or alcohol abuse can only affect yourself. An even better idea, be strong enough to say no!