The information contained in this section is to familiarize you
with common terms used throughout this website. It is not a comprehensive
list of terms or complete descriptions for each term. We included
the sources used and advise you visit them for more information.
Other sources may present different information than the one presented
in this section.
The fluid essence or pure spirit obtained by distillation. Pure
spirit of wine; pure or highly rectified spirit (called also ethyl
alcohol); the spirituous or intoxicating element of fermented or
distilled liquors, or more loosely a liquid containing it in considerable
quantity; any of a series of volatile hydroxyl compounds that are
made from hydrocarbons by distillation. It is extracted by simple
distillation from various vegetable juices and infusions of a saccharine
nature, which have undergone vinous fermentation. (www.askjeeves.com)
Alcohol is considered the gateway or portal to other drugs. Many
of our middle and high school students report alcohol use. They
say that our community and social norms are favorable for alcohol
use. Here are some facts on alcohol from www.freevibe.com:
Alcohol affects your brain. Drinking
alcohol leads to a loss of coordination, poor judgment, slowed reflexes,
distorted vision, memory lapses, and even blackouts.
Alcohol affects your body. Alcohol
can damage every organ in your body. It is absorbed directly into
your bloodstream and can increase your risk for a variety of life-threatening
diseases, including cancer.
Alcohol affects your self-control.
Alcohol depresses your central nervous system, lowers your inhibitions,
and impairs your judgment. Drinking can lead to risky behaviors,
including having unprotected sex. This may expose you to HIV/AIDS
and other sexually transmitted diseases or cause unwanted pregnancy.
Alcohol can kill you. Drinking large
amounts of alcohol can lead to coma or even death. Also, in 1998,
35.8 percent of traffic deaths of 15- to 20-year-olds were alcohol-related.
Alcohol can hurt you--even if you're not the
one drinking. If you're around people who are drinking, you
have an increased risk of being seriously injured, involved in car
crashes, or affected by violence. At the very least, you may have
to deal with people who are sick, out of control, or unable to take
care of themselves.
Some common drinking misconceptions, myths, are:
MYTH #1: Eating a big meal before you drink
will keep you sober.
FACT: Drinking on a full stomach will only delay the absorption
of alcohol into the bloodstream, not prevent it. Eating before you
drink is not a defense against getting drunk.
MYTH #2: Beer is less intoxicating than other
types of alcoholic beverage.
FACT: One 12-ounce can of beer, one 4-ounce glass of wine or one
normal mixed drink or cocktail are all equally intoxicating.
MYTH #3: Cold Showers, fresh air or hot coffee
help sober a person.
FACT: Only time will remove alcohol from the system. It takes the
body approximately one hour to eliminate the alcohol in one drink.
An old saying goes, "give a drunk a cup of coffee and all you
have is a wide-awake drunk.
For more information, please visit www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/alalerts.htm.
Alcoholism, also known as "alcohol dependence," is a disease
that includes alcohol craving, impaired control, physical dependence,
tolerance, and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related
problems, such as losing a job, being suspended from school, or getting
into trouble with the law. (www.alcoholism.about.com)
Like many other diseases, alcoholism is chronic, meaning that it
lasts a person's lifetime; it usually follows a predictable course;
and it has symptoms. The risk for developing alcoholism is influenced
both by a person's genes and by his or her lifestyle. Research shows
that the risk for developing alcoholism does indeed run in families.
The genes a person inherits partially explain this pattern, but
lifestyle is also a factor. Currently, researchers are working to
discover the actual genes that put people at risk for alcoholism.
Your friends, the amount of stress in your life, and how readily
available alcohol is also are factors that may increase your risk
for alcoholism. But remember: Risk is not destiny. Just because
alcoholism tends to run in families does not mean that a child of
an alcoholic parent will automatically become an alcoholic too.
Some people develop alcoholism even though no one in their family
has a drinking problem. By the same token, not all children of alcoholic
families get into trouble with alcohol. Knowing you are at risk
is important, though, because then you can take steps to protect
yourself from developing problems with alcohol.
Although alcoholism cannot be cured at this time, it can be treated.
Treatment programs use both counseling and medications to help a
person stop drinking. Some people relapse, return to drinking, while
on recovery. To guard against a relapse, an alcoholic must continue
to avoid all alcoholic beverages. Most alcoholics need help to recover
from their disease. With support and treatment, many people are
able to stop drinking and rebuild their lives. “Recovery is
a Rocky Road” (www.niaaa.nih.gov)
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,
an overwhelming majority of college students (88 percent), including
those under the legal drinking age, have used alcohol. Binge drinking
is having 5 or more alcoholic drinks (beer, wine, mixed drinks,
etc.) in a row at one sitting. Although more pervasive in college,
binge drinking occurs at middle and schools. Please refer to the
survey results for our local middle and high school students under
the LOCAL DATA section.
“Getting drunk doesn't need to be a rite of passage, and
hangovers aren't a prerequisite for graduation.” Donna E.
Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services. (www.niaaa.nih.gov)
Club Drugs include Alcohol, LSD (Acid), MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB, GBL,
Ketamine (Special-K), Fentanyl, Rohypnol, amphetamines and methamphetamine.
MDMA (ecstasy), Rohypnol, GHB, and ketamine are among the drugs
used by teens and young adults who are part of a nightclub, bar,
rave, or trance scene. Raves and trance events are generally night-long
dances, often held in warehouses. Many who attend raves and trances
do not use drugs, but those who do may be attracted to their generally
low cost, and to the intoxicating highs that are said to deepen
the rave or trance experience. Current science, however, is showing
changes to critical parts of the brain from use of these drugs.
Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that directly affects
the brain. It was 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.
There are basically two chemical forms of cocaine: the hydrochloride
salt and the “freebase.” The hydrochloride salt, or
powdered form of cocaine, dissolves in water and, when abused, can
be taken intravenously (by vein) or intranasally (in the nose).
Freebase refers to a compound that has not been neutralized by an
acid to make the hydrochloride salt. The freebase form of cocaine
is smokable. Cocaine is generally sold on the street as a fine,
white, crystalline powder, known as “coke,” “C,”
“snow,” “flake,” or “blow.”
Street dealers generally dilute it with such inert substances as
cornstarch, talcum powder, and/or sugar, or with such active drugs
as procaine (a chemically related local anesthetic) or with such
other stimulants as amphetamines. (www.drugabuse.gov)
Communities That Care® (CTC)
The Communities That Care (CTC) process is an operating system
that provides research-based tools to help communities mobilize
to promote the positive development of children and youth and to
prevent adolescent problem behaviors that impede positive development
including substance abuse, delinquency, teen pregnancy, school dropout,
and violence. The CTC process was developed by David Hawkins, Ph.D.
and Richard Catalano, Ph.D. to help communities plan, implement,
and evaluate proven-effective prevention programs to meet their
particular needs. These programs can address some or all focus areas
- family, school, community-based youth, and community. The full
CTC process is based on the public health model and includes five
phases. For more details, please visit http://casat.unr.edu/bestpractices.
Crack is the street name given to a freebase form of cocaine that
has been processed from the powdered cocaine hydrochloride form
to a smokable substance. The term “crack” refers to
the crackling sound heard when the mixture is smoked. Crack cocaine
is processed with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and
water, and heated to remove the hydrochloride.
Because crack is smoked, the user experiences a high in less than
10 seconds. This rather immediate and euphoric effect is one of
the reasons that crack became enormously popular in the mid 1980s.
Another reason is that crack is inexpensive both to produce and
to buy. Crack cocaine remains a serious problem in the United States.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimated the
number of current crack users to be about 567,000 in 2002. (www.drugabuse.gov)
Development Services Group (DSG) Model
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's Model
Programs Guide (MPG) utilizes the Development Services Group (DSG)
Model to assist practitioners and communities in implementing evidence-based
prevention and intervention programs that can make a difference
in the lives of children and communities . The MPG database of evidence-based
programs covers the entire continuum of youth services from prevention
through sanctions to reentry. The MPG can be used to assist juvenile
justice practitioners, administrators, and researchers to enhance
accountability, ensure public safety, and reduce recidivism. The
MPG is an easy-to-use tool that offers the first and only database
of scientifically-proven programs across the spectrum of youth services.
For more details, please visit http://www.dsgonline.com/mpg_index.htm
SAMHSA/CSAP's conceptual framework of substance abuse prevention
consists of six life domains: individual; family; peer; school;
community, including the workplace; and society. These domains interact,
with the individual at the core of the framework, primarily through
an individual's risk and protective factors. (www.samhsa.gov)
MDMA (3-4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a synthetic, psychoactive
drug chemically similar to the stimulant methamphetamine and the
hallucinogen mescaline. Street names for MDMA include “ecstasy,”
“XTC,” and “hug drug.” Drug use data sources
for 21 metropolitan areas nationwide indicate that MDMA, once used
primarily as a club drug, is being used in a number of other social
settings. In high doses, MDMA can interfere with the body’s
ability to regulate temperature. This can lead to a sharp increase
in body temperature (hyperthermia), resulting in liver, kidney,
and cardiovascular system failure. Because MDMA can interfere with
its own metabolism (breakdown within the body), potentially harmful
levels can be reached by repeated drug use within short intervals.
Research in humans suggests that chronic MDMA use can lead to changes
in brain function, affecting cognitive tasks and memory. MDMA can
also lead to symptoms of depression several days after its use.
These symptoms may occur because of MDMA’s effects on neurons
that use the chemical serotonin to communicate with other neurons.
The serotonin system plays an important role in regulating mood,
aggression, sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity to pain. In
addition, users of MDMA face many of the same risks as users of
other stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines.
Other drugs chemically similar to MDMA, such as MDA (methylenedioxyamphetamine,
the parent drug of MDMA) and PMA (paramethoxyamphetamine, associated
with fatalities in the U.S. and Australia) are sometimes sold as
ecstasy. These drugs can be neurotoxic or create additional health
risks to the user. Also, ecstasy tablets may contain other substances
in addition to MDMA, such as ephedrine (a stimulant); dextromethorphan
(DXM, a cough suppressant that has PCP-like effects at high doses);
ketamine (an anesthetic used mostly by veterinarians that also has
PCP-like effects); caffeine; cocaine; and methamphetamine. While
the combination of MDMA with one or more of these drugs may be inherently
dangerous, users might also combine them with substances such as
marijuana and alcohol, putting themselves at further physical risk.
GHB, Ketamine, and Rohypnol
GHB and Rohypnol are predominantly central nervous system depressants.
Because they are often colorless, tasteless, and odorless, they
can be added to beverages and ingested unknowingly. These drugs
emerged a few years ago as “date rape” drugs. Because
of concern about their abuse, Congress passed the “Drug-Induced
Rape Prevention and Punishment Act of 1996” in October 1996.
This legislation increased Federal penalties for use of any controlled
substance to aid in sexual assault. (www.drugabuse.gov)
Since about 1990,
GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) has been abused in the U.S. for its
euphoric, sedative, and anabolic (body building) effects. It is
a central nervous system depressant that was widely available over-the-counter
in health food stores during the 1980s and until 1992. It was purchased
largely by body builders to aid in fat reduction and muscle building.
Street names include “liquid ecstasy,” “soap,”
“easy lay,” “vita-G,” and “Georgia
home boy.” Coma and seizures can occur following abuse of
GHB. Combining use with other drugs such as alcohol can result in
nausea and breathing difficulties. GHB may also produce withdrawal
effects, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating. GHB
and two of its precursors, gamma butyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4 butanediol
(BD) have been involved in poisonings, overdoses, date rapes, and
Ketamine is an anesthetic that has been approved for both human
and animal use in medical settings since 1970; about 90 percent
of the ketamine legally sold is intended for veterinary use. It
can be injected or snorted. Ketamine is also known as “special
K” or “vitamin K.” Certain doses of ketamine can
cause dream-like states and hallucinations. In high doses, ketamine
can cause delirium, amnesia, impaired motor function, high blood
pressure, depression, and potentially fatal respiratory problems.
Rohypnol, a trade name for flunitrazepam, belongs to a class of
drugs known as benzodiazepines. When mixed with alcohol, Rohypnol
can incapacitate victims and prevent them from resisting sexual
assault. It can produce “anterograde amnesia,” which
means individuals may not remember events they experienced while
under the effects of the drug. Also, Rohypnol may be lethal when
mixed with alcohol and/or other depressants. Rohypnol is not approved
for use in the United States, and its importation is banned. Illicit
use of Rohypnol started appearing in the U.S. in the early 1990s,
where it became known as “rophies,” “roofies,”
“roach,” and “rope.” Abuse of two other
similar drugs appears to have replaced Rohypnol abuse in some regions
of the country. These are clonazepam, marketed in the U.S. as Klonopin
and in Mexico as Rivotril, and alprazolam, marketed as Xanax. Rohypnol,
however, continues to be a problem among treatment admissions in
Texas along the Mexican border. (www.drugabuse.gov)
Programs which are well-implemented, well-evaluated, and produce
consistently positive patterns of results (across domains and/or
replications). Developers of Effective Programs have yet to agree
to work with SAMHSA/CSAP to support broad-based dissemination of
their program. (www.samhsa.gov)
Heroin is an addictive drug, and its use is a serious problem in
America. Recent studies suggest a shift from injecting heroin to
snorting or smoking because of increased purity and the misconception
that these forms are safer. Heroin is processed from morphine, a
naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the
Asian poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder.
Street names for heroin include "smack," "H,"
"skag," and "junk." Other names may refer to
types of heroin produced in a specific geographical area, such as
"Mexican black tar."
Heroin abuse is associated with serious health conditions that
could lead to death. The short-term effects of heroin abuse appear
soon after a single dose and disappear in a few hours. After an
injection of heroin, the user reports feeling a surge of euphoria
("rush") accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, a
dry mouth, and heavy extremities. Following this initial euphoria,
the user goes "on the nod," an alternately wakeful and
drowsy state. Mental functioning becomes clouded due to the depression
of the central nervous system. Long-term effects of heroin appear
after repeated use for some period of time. Chronic users may develop
collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses,
cellulitis, and liver disease. Pulmonary complications, including
various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health condition
of the abuser, as well as from heroin's depressing effects on respiration.
Inhalants are breathable chemical vapors that produce psychoactive
(mind-altering) effects. A variety of products commonplace in the
home and in the workplace contain substances that can be inhaled.
Many people do not think of these products, such as spray paints,
glues, and cleaning fluids, as drugs because they were never meant
to be used to achieve an intoxicating effect. Yet, young children
and adolescents can easily obtain them and are among those most
likely to abuse these extremely toxic substances. Parents should
monitor household products closely to prevent accidental inhalation
by very young children. Inhalants fall into the following categories:
solvents, gases, and nitrites.
Although they differ in makeup, nearly all abused inhalants produce
short-term effects similar to anesthetics, which act to slow down
the body’s functions. When inhaled via the nose or mouth into
the lungs in sufficient concentrations, inhalants can cause intoxicating
effects. Intoxication usually lasts only a few minutes. However,
sometimes users extend this effect for several hours by breathing
in inhalants repeatedly. Sniffing highly concentrated amounts of
the chemicals in solvents or aerosol sprays can directly induce
heart failure and death within minutes of a session of prolonged
use. This syndrome, known as “sudden sniffing death,”
can result from a single session of inhalant use by an otherwise
healthy young person. Sudden sniffing death is particularly associated
with the abuse of butane, propane, and chemicals in aerosols. Deliberately
inhaling from a paper or plastic bag or in a closed area greatly
increases the chances of suffocation. Chronic abuse of solvents
can cause severe, long-term damage to the brain, the liver, and
the kidneys. Please visit www.drugabuse.gov
for more information on this and the harmful irreversible effects
that may be caused by abuse of specific solvents.
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. It is commonly referred to as “acid,”
and it 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. The effects of LSD are unpredictable.
Sensations may seem to “cross over,” giving the user
the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds. These changes can
be frightening and can cause panic. LSD users may manifest persisting
symptoms that resemble the symptoms of schizophrenia and depression.
LSD is not considered an addictive drug since it does not produce
compulsive drug-seeking behavior, as do cocaine, amphetamine, heroin,
alcohol, and nicotine. However, like many of the addictive drugs,
LSD produces tolerance, so some users who take the drug repeatedly
must take progressively higher doses to achieve the state of intoxication
that they had previously achieved. This is an extremely dangerous
practice, given the unpredictability of the drug. (www.drugabuse.gov)
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.
A dry, shredded green/brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves
of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, it usually is smoked as a cigarette
(joint, nail), or in a pipe (bong). It also is smoked in blunts,
which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled
with marijuana, often in combination with another drug. Use also
might include mixing marijuana in food or brewing it as a tea. As
a more concentrated, resinous form it is called hashish and, as
a sticky black liquid, hash oil. Marijuana smoke has a pungent and
distinctive, usually sweet-and-sour odor. There are countless street
terms for marijuana including pot, herb, weed, grass, widow, ganja,
and hash, as well as terms derived from trademarked varieties of
cannabis, such as Bubble Gum®, Northern Lights®, Juicy Fruit®,
Afghani #1®, and a number of Skunk varieties. The main active
chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). The
membranes of certain nerve cells in the brain contain protein receptors
that bind to THC. Once securely in place, THC kicks off a series
of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the high that users
experience when they smoke marijuana. Marijuana not only affects
the brain, heart, but has other health effects. Long-term marijuana
use can lead to addiction for some people; that is, they use the
drug compulsively even though it interferes with family, school,
work, and recreational activities. Drug craving and withdrawal symptoms
can make it hard for long-term marijuana smokers to stop using the
drug. People trying to quit report irritability, sleeplessness,
and anxiety. They also display increased aggression on psychological
tests, peaking approximately one week after the last use of the
Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant drug that strongly activates
certain systems in the brain. It is closely related chemically to
amphetamine, but the central nervous system effects of methamphetamine
are greater. Both drugs have some limited therapeutic uses, primarily
in the treatment of obesity. Methamphetamine is made in illegal
laboratories and has a high potential for abuse and addiction. Street
methamphetamine is referred to by many names, such as "speed,"
"meth," and "chalk." Methamphetamine hydrochloride,
clear chunky crystals resembling ice, which can be inhaled by smoking,
is referred to as "ice," "crystal," "glass,"
Methamphetamine is taken orally or intranasally (snorting the powder),
by intravenous injection, and by smoking. Immediately after smoking
or intravenous injection, the methamphetamine user experiences an
intense sensation, called a "rush" or "flash,"
that lasts only a few minutes and is described as extremely pleasurable.
Oral or intranasal use produces euphoria—a high, but not a
rush. Users may become addicted quickly, and use it with increasing
frequency and in increasing doses. This drug releases high levels
of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which stimulates brain cells,
enhancing mood and body movement. It also appears to have a neurotoxic
effect, damaging brain cells that contain dopamine and serotonin,
another neurotransmitter. Over time, methamphetamine appears to
cause reduced levels of dopamine, which can result in symptoms like
those of Parkinson's disease, a severe movement disorder. (www.drugabuse.gov)
Well-implemented, well-evaluated programs whose developers have
agreed to participate in SAMHSA/CSAP's dissemination efforts and
to provide training and technical assistance to practitioners who
wish to adopt/adapt their programs. Ensuring that programs are implemented
with reasonable fidelity maximizes the probability for repeated
Moderate drinking is difficult to define because it means different
things to different people. The term is often confused with "social
drinking," which refers to drinking patterns that are accepted
by the society in which they occur. However, social drinking is
not necessarily free of problems. Moderate drinking may be defined
as drinking that does not generally cause problems, either for the
drinker or for society. Since there are clearly both benefits and
risks associated with lower levels of drinking, please visit www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa16.htm
to explore potentially positive and adverse effects of "moderate"
Nicotine is the drug in tobacco leaves and it is highly addictive.
A drop of pure nicotine would kill a person—in fact; nicotine
can be used as a pesticide on crops. Nicotine provides an almost
immediate “kick” because it causes a discharge of epinephrine
from the adrenal cortex. This stimulates the central nervous system,
and other endocrine glands, which causes a sudden release of glucose.
Stimulation is then followed by depression and fatigue, leading
the abuser to seek more nicotine. Nicotine is absorbed readily from
tobacco smoke in the lungs, and it does not matter whether the tobacco
smoke is from cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Nicotine also is absorbed
readily when tobacco is chewed. With regular use of tobacco, levels
of nicotine accumulate in the body during the day and persist overnight.
Thus, daily smokers or chewers are exposed to the effects of nicotine
for 24 hours each day. Research has shown that nicotine, like cocaine,
heroin, and marijuana, increases the level of the neurotransmitter
dopamine, which affects the brain pathways that control reward and
pleasure. Addiction to nicotine results in withdrawal symptoms when
a person tries to stop smoking.
Converse to risk factors, protective factors can increase a child's
resilience to substance abuse, since they act as buffers to initiating
or continuing substance use. The literature on protective factors
and resilience is more diffuse than that for risk factors, and there
is less clarity about which factors are most important in the prevention
of substance abuse. Nevertheless, a growing consensus exists that
in the major domains of youth development, certain protective factors
are critically important. (www.samhsa.gov)
PCP is a white crystalline powder that is readily soluble in water
or alcohol. It has a distinctive bitter chemical taste. PCP can
be mixed easily with dyes and turns up on the illicit drug market
in a variety of tablets, capsules, and colored powders. It is normally
used in one of three ways: snorted, smoked, or ingested. For smoking,
PCP is often applied to a leafy material such as mint, parsley,
oregano, or marijuana. PCP (phencyclidine) was developed in the
1950s as an intravenous anesthetic. Its use in humans was discontinued
in 1965, because patients often became agitated, delusional, and
irrational while recovering from its anesthetic effects. PCP is
illegally manufactured in laboratories and is sold on the street
by such names as angel dust, ozone, wack, and rocket fuel. Killer
joints and crystal supergrass are names that refer to PCP combined
with marijuana. The variety of street names for PCP reflects its
bizarre and volatile effects.
PCP is addictive - its repeated use can lead to craving and compulsive
PCP-seeking behavior. After using PCP once, many people will not
knowingly use it again. Others attribute their continued use to
feelings of strength, power, invulnerability, and a numbing effect
on the mind. Many PCP users are brought to emergency rooms because
of overdose or because of the drug's unpleasant psychological effects.
This drug has health and physiological effects at low to moderate
doses, and could cause death at high doses. High doses can cause
symptoms that mimic schizophrenia, such as delusions, hallucinations,
paranoia, disordered thinking, a sensation of distance from one's
environment, and catatonia. People who use PCP for long periods
report memory loss, difficulties with speech and thinking, depression,
and weight loss. These symptoms can persist up to a year after stopping
PCP use. Mood disorders also have been reported. PCP has sedative
effects, and interactions with other central nervous system depressants,
such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, can lead to coma. (www.drugabuse.gov)
Prescription Drugs (and Over-the-Counter Medications) Abuse
Prescription medications such as pain relievers, tranquilizers,
stimulants, and sedatives are very useful treatment tools but sometimes
people do not take them as directed and may become addicted. Most
people who take prescription medications use them responsibly. However,
the inappropriate or nonmedical use of prescription medications
is a serious public health concern. Nonmedical use of prescription
medications like opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants,
and stimulants can lead to abuse and addiction, characterized by
compulsive drug seeking and use.
While many prescription medications can be abused or misused, these
three classes are most commonly abused:
Opioids are commonly prescribed because of their effective analgesic,
or pain relieving, properties. Many studies have shown that properly
managed medical use of opioid analgesic compounds is safe and rarely
causes addiction, which is defined as compulsive, often uncontrollable
use. Taken exactly as prescribed, opioids can be used to manage
pain effectively. Among the compounds that fall within this class—sometimes
referred to as narcotics—are morphine, codeine, and related
medications. Morphine is often used before or after surgery to alleviate
severe pain. Codeine is used for milder pain. Other examples of
opioids that can be prescribed to alleviate pain include oxycodone
(OxyContin—an oral, controlled release form of the drug);
propoxyphene (Darvon); hydrocodone (Vicodin); hydromorphone (Dilaudid);
and meperidine (Demerol), which is used less often because of side
effects. In addition to their effective pain relieving properties,
some of these medications can be used to relieve severe diarrhea
(Lomotil, for example, which is diphenoxylate) or severe coughs
Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants
CNS depressants slow normal brain function. In higher doses, some
CNS depressants can become general anesthetics. Tranquilizers and
sedatives are examples of CNS depressants. They can be divided into
two groups, based on their chemistry and pharmacology: Barbiturates,
such as mephobarbital (Mebaral) and pentobarbitalsodium (Nembutal),
which are used to treat anxiety, tension, and sleep disorders; and
Benzodiazepines, such as diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide HCl
(Librium), and alprazolam (Xanax), which can be prescribed to treat
anxiety, acute stress reactions, and panic attacks. Benzodiazepines
that have a more sedating effect, such as estazolam (ProSom), can
be prescribed for short-term treatment of sleep disorders.
Stimulants increase alertness, attention, and energy, which are
accompanied by increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration.
Historically, stimulants were used to treat asthma and other respiratory
problems, obesity, neurological disorders, and a variety of other
ailments. As their potential for abuse and addiction became apparent,
the use of stimulants began to wane. Now, stimulants are prescribed
for treating only a few health conditions, including narcolepsy,
attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depression
that has not responded to other treatments. For more information,
please visit www.drugabuse.gov.
All young people are exposed to risk factors, which can place them
at greater than average risk for substance use. Risks vary considerably
according to an individual's age, psychosocial development, ethnic/cultural
identity, and environment. However, the impact of any single risk
factor may change over time with the development of the child or
changes in his or her environment. (www.samhsa.gov)
Programs which have been reviewed by experts in the field according
to accepted standards of empirical research. Science-based programs
are conceptually sound and internally consistent, have sound research
methodology, and can prove that effects are clearly linked to the
program itself and not to extraneous events. Results from science-based
programs may be positive, neutral, or negative. (www.samhsa.gov)
According to www.nationalyouth.com/substanceabuse.html,
“Substance Abuse” is the continued use of alcohol or
other drugs even while knowing that the continued use is creating
problems socially, physically, or psychologically. There are three
categories of substance abuse: use (occasional), abuse (continued),
and dependence (increased frequency, persistent desire, long periods
of time…) In the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, “First
you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes
Buying "bulk" is never a good deal when it comes to these
substances, which can cause guys to grow breasts and girls to grow
beards along with more life-threatening effects. “Anabolic
Steroids" is the familiar name for synthetic substances related
to the male sex hormones (androgens). They promote the growth of
skeletal muscle (anabolic effects) and the development of male sexual
characteristics (androgenic effects), and also have some other effects.
Developed in the late 1930s to treat a condition in which the testes
do not produce sufficient testosterone for normal growth, development,
and sexual functioning, today they are used for other purposes.
The primary medical uses of these compounds are to treat delayed
puberty, some types of impotence, and wasting of the body caused
by HIV infection or other diseases. Few data exist on the extent
of steroid abuse by adults. It has been estimated that hundreds
of thousands of people aged 18 and older abuse anabolic steroids
at least once a year. Evidence from 1998-1999 suggests that steroid
abuse among adolescents is on the rise. Among both adolescents and
adults, steroid abuse is higher among males than females. However,
steroid abuse is growing most rapidly among young women. (www.drugabuse.gov)
Underage drinking refers to the consumption of alcohol by persons
less than 21 years of age. Apart from being illegal, underage drinking
poses a high risk to both the individual and society. For example,
the rate of alcohol–related traffic crashes is greater for
drivers ages 16 to 20 than for drivers age 21 and older. Adolescents
also are vulnerable to alcohol–induced brain damage, which
could contribute to poor performance at school or work. In addition,
youthful drinking is associated with an increased likelihood of
developing alcohol abuse or dependence later in life. Early intervention
is essential to prevent the development of serious alcohol problems
among youth between the ages of 12 and 20. Some of the most harmful
consequences of underage drinking are: drinking and driving, suicide,
sexual assault, and high-risk sexual behavior.