DRUGS AND THEIR EFFECTS ON OUR TEENS Crystal Meth/Methamphetamine Drugs are a reality in our society that we try ignore – but we can’t escape from the fact that they are readily available to our teens (and everyone else!). As parents, knowledge of what is out there is crucial to being able to help our teens deal with this. Crystal meth, or methamphetamine, also called tik, speed or ice, is a highly addictive stimulant which can be snorted, injected or swallowed but is most commonly smoked. Locally it is sold in drinking straws which are placed in an ordinary light bulb referred to as a ‘lollipop’. This is heated and smoked. Effects of drug When smoked the drug’s effect on the brain is instantaneous. Short-term effects include increased activity, loss of appetite, decreased fatigue and a ravenous sexual appetite. It results in feelings of enhanced self-esteem. Long-term effects include heart attacks, damage to blood vessels, lung infections, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, lowered resistance to disease, weight loss, stroke, damage to organs and severe skin problems. Dangers Tolerance of the effects of crystal meth effects develops quickly. Users must take larger doses of the drug to attain the same pleasurable feeling, making the drug highly addictive. Any dose level can be extremely dangerous or even fatal due to the unpredictable nature of the drug. Cocaine Derived from the coca plant, cocaine is a powerful “upper” (stimulant) and, in large doses, a hallucinogen. This highly addictive substance is also known as coke, blow or snow. Physical symptoms Loss of appetite and weight insomnia, anxiety, runny nose, frequent sniffing and nose bleeds, loss of concentration. Effects of drug 20-30 minutes of euphoria, feeling of wellbeing and overconfidence, increased energy, hyperactivity, rapid pulse and dehydration. In larger doses it can lead to hallucinations, hyper-excitability, convulsions and even heart failure. Dangers One of the most highly addictive substances, cocaine rules the user’s life. Dangers include suicide from lows, dependence, criminal behaviour, impurities and other drugs “cut’ into cocaine, psychosis, damage to nasal tissue, heart attack, convulsions and fits, respiratory failure. Withdrawal Lethargy, increased cravings, depression and irritability, nausea and vomiting, fits, insomnia, muscle pain and weakness. Marijuana Also known as cannabis, pot, hashish, weed, gangster, Mary Jane, dagga, pot, ganja, hashish, gangster, chronic, grass. Usually sold in one gram rolled in a piece of newspaper – or a plastic bank packet (bankies). Often smoked with tobacco or mandrax as a ‘white pipe’. Can also be eaten or drunk. Physical symptoms Bloodshot eyes, sleepy, mood change, lack of motivation, increased appetite, dry mouth, nausea and coughing. Effects of drug Intoxication and light-headedness, euphoria and relaxation, talkativeness, heightened awareness, feelings of detachment, impaired concentration, short-term memory loss, depression. Dangers Harmful to the lungs, causing emphysema and cancer. Brain malfunction and impaired brain development in young people, anxiety and panic attacks, loss of fertility, possible psychological dependence, decreased sex drive, foetal abnormality, decreased resistance to infection. Withdrawal Restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, craving, aggression. Ecstasy From the methamphetamine family of stimulant drugs. Ecstasy is prevalent on the teenage clubbing scene. Called E or the love drug, it is available in tablets, which come in many colours and shapes, often imprinted with motifs and logos. Physical symptoms Decrease in co-ordination, decreased appetite, dilated pupils, sweating, dry mouth, thirst, dehydration, increased body temperature, blurred vision. Effects of drug It takes about an hour to take effect, with a “high” often lasting 8 hours or more. The drug induces feelings of joy, exhilaration, sensuality and mysticism. There is increased physical and emotional energy, decreased inhibitions. Heart rate and blood pressure increase dramatically. Dangers Dehydration, heat stroke, respiratory failure, liver damage, brain damage, paralysis and psychological disorders, delirium, coma. Prolonged regular use can lead to brain and liver damage, as with other synthetic stimulants. Withdrawal Psychologically addictive, depression, paranoia, anxiety, tolerance develops. Heroin The most dangerous and most addictive drug, it is also known as H, horse, smack or slag. “Thai white” is purer than brown street heroin. Most often heated on tinfoil and the smoke inhaled. Tolerance and addiction develop quickly. Physical symptoms Constricted pupils, constipation, loss of appetite and weight, sleepiness, decreased sex drive, slurred speech, impaired reflexes and co-ordination. Effects of drug Warmth and contentment – not unlike and orgasm. The high wears off quickly. Negative effects include impaired breathing, clouded mental functioning, vomiting, suppression of pain, mood swings. Dangers Severe addiction, exposure to diseases such as HIV/Aids and Hepatitus B and C, collapsed veins, bacterial infections, abcesses, infection of heart linings and valves, arthritis and rheumatological problems. Withdrawal (“Cold Turkey”) Withdrawal sets in quickly. Symptoms include sweating, vomiting, convulsions, stomach cramps, diarrhea, hallucinations, feelings of terror. Khat The most dangerous and most addictive drug, it is also known as H, horse, smack or slag. “Thai white” is purer than brown street heroin. Most often heated on tinfoil and the smoke inhaled. Tolerance and addiction develop quickly. Physical symptoms Constricted pupils, constipation, loss of appetite and weight, sleepiness, decreased sex drive, slurred speech, impaired reflexes and co-ordination. Effects of drug Warmth and contentment – not unlike and orgasm. The high wears off quickly. Negative effects include impaired breathing, clouded mental functioning, vomiting, suppression of pain, mood swings. Dangers Severe addiction, exposure to diseases such as HIV/Aids and Hepatitus B and C, collapsed veins, bacterial infections, abcesses, infection of heart linings and valves, arthritis and rheumatological problems. Withdrawal (“Cold Turkey”) Withdrawal sets in quickly. Symptoms include sweating, vomiting, convulsions, stomach cramps, diarrhea, hallucinations, feelings of terror. LSD A hallucinogen, causing psychological dependence. Sold as a white powder or embedded in paper, then swallowed, smoked or injected. Known as acid, sugar, candy, smarties, microdots, Supermans or Batmans. Physical symptoms Dizziness, nausea and vomiting, dilated pupils, hyperventilation, numbness, chills and shakiness, strong emotions — laughing and crying. Effects of drug Trip lasts 1 – 16 hours. Vivid hallucinations and delusions, sensory input distorts the passage of time. Sense of euphoria or anxiety, desperation or anger. Feelings of being outside the body, sensory crossover (smelling colours or seeing sounds, for example), increased blood pressure, heart rate, temperature. Dangers Cross-tolerance with other drugs, distortion of perception — accident, depression and anxiety, foetal abnormalities, suicidal tendencies, brain damage. A bad trip includes panic and perceptions of persecution. Withdrawal Few withdrawal symptoms although users may have scary flashbacks. Mandrax Depresses the central nervous system. Physical and psychological dependence develops. Sold as a white tablet and known as Titanic, buttons, mandrakes, Mandies, MZ, whites, MX, white pipe and Cremora. Usually crushed, mixed with dagga and smoked in a pipe or bottle-neck. Physical symptoms Constant headaches, stomach pains, decreased alertness and concentration, decreased co-ordination, pain-fully thin, gaunt, sallow face, red eyes and emotional instability. Effects of drug Immediate high can last up to 10 hours — feelings of calm and happiness. Nausea and vomiting, exhaustion, falling over and passing out, loss of weight. Dangers Often cut with harmful substances, rapid tolerance develops, convulsions, personality change, respiratory and circulatory failure leading to coma and death, impaired immune system. Withdrawal Headaches, stomach cramps and haemorrhage, cough, hallucinations, insomnia, convulsions, irritability and aggression. Source: SANCATeens and drugs, effect it has on your child Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.