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SCoSA Promotes Substance Abuse Free Environments (SAFE)

Common Term

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.

Alcohol

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.
(www.alcoholism.about.com)

For more information, please visit www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/alalerts.htm.

Alcoholism

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)

Binge Drinking

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

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. (www.drugabuse.gov)

Cocaine

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

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

Domains

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)

(Ecstasy) MDMA

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. (www.drugabuse.gov)

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)

GHB
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 deaths. (www.drugabuse.gov)

Ketamine
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. (www.drugabuse.gov)

Rohypnol
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)

Effective Programs

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

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. (www.drugabuse.gov)

Inhalants

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

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

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 drug. (www.drugabuse.gov)

Methamphetamine

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," and "tina."

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)

Model Programs

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 effectiveness. (www.samhsa.gov)

Moderate Drinking

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" drinking.

Nicotine

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.

Protective Factors

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 (Phencyclidine)

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:

Opiods
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 (codeine).

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
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.

Risk Factors

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)

Science-Based Programs

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)

Substance Abuse

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 you.

Steroids (Anabolic-Androgenic)

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

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.
(http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa59.htm)

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