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Drug Abuse

Each year, about one-half million emergency room visits are drug related. Dependency on drugs, whether prescription or illegal, is dangerous because of the long-term physical and psychological effects. Drugs have disruptive effects on family and work and there are risks associated with sudden withdrawal. Illegal drugs are hazardous not only by their nature but also because of the risk of contamination with toxic or infectious substances. "Common Drugs of Abuse".

What is ALCOHOL? A chemical called ethanol, made from fruits and grains. Facts on Tap
What can happen to your body?

At First Long Term Risks
  • Lowers inhibitions.
  • Impairs judgment.
  • Heart beats faster and weaker.
  • Become clumsy and stagger.
  • Mood changes.
  • Feel sick to your stomach. Vomit.
  • Permanent heart, brain, and liver damage, including liver cancer.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Blackouts.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Toxic at high levels.

What is COCAINE/CRACK? Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug from the leaves of the coca plant that speeds up the body and the brain. The powdered, hydrochloride salt form of cocaine can be snorted or dissolved in water and injected. Crack is cocaine in a rock crystal form that can be heated and its vapors smoked. InfoFacts - Crack and Cocaine

What can happen to your body?

At First Long Term Risks
  • Heart beats faster. Blood pressure rises.
  • Body temperature rises.
  • Breathe faster.
  • Can’t sit still or sleep.
  • Become more alert.
  • Permanent lung damage.
  • Holes and ulcers inside the nose.
  • Personality changes
  • Violent behavior.
  • Paranoia.
  • Hallucinations.

What are DEPRESSANTS? Chemicals used to treat mental illness, which depress or slow down the nervous system. Although different classes of depressants work in unique ways, but all are designed to produce a drowsy or calming effect. Despite these beneficial effects for people suffering from anxiety or sleep disorders, barbiturates and benzodiazepines can be addictive and should be used only as prescribed.
InfoFacts - Prescription Drugs and Pain Medications

What can happen to your body?

At First Long Term Risks
  • Feel calm and sleepy.
  • Get confused and can’t concentrate.
  • Muscles relax.
  • Speech gets slurred.
  • Become clumsy and stagger.
  • Chest infections.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Deadly, if taken in high doses or mixed with alcohol or any medication that causes sleepiness.

What is ECSTACY? The street name for MDMA (methylenedioxy-methamphetamine), a stimulant and hallucinogen, is also known as X, E, STC, Adam, Clarity, Lover’s Speed, and Stacy. InfoFacts - MDMA (Ecstasy)

What can happen to your body?

At First Long Term Risks
  • Euphoria, empathy, trust, heightened energy and emotional warmth.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Increase in body temperature can cause heat stroke.
  • Dehydration.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Paranoia.
  • Memory loss.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • May permanently damage brain cells.

What is HEROIN? 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." InfoFacts - Heroin

What can happen to your body?

At First Long Term Risks
  • Heart beats slower.
  • Breathe slower.
  • Pupils shrink and eyes water.
  • Skin on face, neck and chest turns red.
  • Feel sick to your stomach. Vomit.
  • Lung damage
  • Lowers sex drive.
  • Disrupts menstrual periods.
  • Constipation.

What are INHALANTS? Inhalants are breathable chemical vapors that produce psychoactive (mind-altering) effects. A variety of products common in the home and in the workplace contain substances that can be inhaled, such as spray paints, glues, and cleaning fluids. InfoFacts - Inhalants

What can happen to your body?

At First Long Term Risks
  • Feel dizzy. Get bad headaches.
  • Speech gets slurred.
  • Sneeze, cough, get bloody noses.
  • Feel sick to your stomach.
  • Urinate and defecate with out control.
  • Permanent brain, lung, and kidney damage.
  • Tired feeling.
  • Weak muscles.
  • Skin turns blue.
  • Deadly when combined with alcohol or depressants.

What is LSD? LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is one of the major drugs making up the hallucinogen class. It is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. LSD, commonly referred to as “acid,” 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. InfoFacts - LSD

What can happen to your body?

At First Long Term Risks
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Body temperature rises, but you feel cold.
  • Loss of appetite and sleeplessness.
  • Bad trips – acute adverse reactions.
 Permanent mental problems.
 Hallucinations.
 Severe depression.
 Suicide.
 Flashbacks.

At First Long Term Risks

What is MARIJUANA? The dried leaves, flowers, and stems of the cannabis plant, which contains THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), usually smoked as a cigarette (joint, nail), or in a pipe (bong). 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.

InfoFacts - Marijuana
What can happen to your body?
At First Long Term Risks

  • Feel calm, relaxed, sleepy.
  • Can make everything seem funny.
  • Heart beats faster.
  • Reaction time slows down.
  • Throat, mouth and lips get dry.
  • Eyes get bloodshot. Eyesight blurs.
  • Can evoke paranoid feelings.  Lung damage and lung cancer.
  • Memory loss and shortened attention span.
  • Lowers ability to fight off colds & flu.
  • Apathetic syndrome.
  • Weight gain.
  • Breast growth in men.

What is METHAMPHETAMINE? Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant drug that strongly activates certain systems in the brain, speeding up the brain and the nervous system. 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." InfoFacts - Methamphetamine
What can happen to your body?
At First Long Term Risks
 Heart beats faster.
 Blood pressure rises.
 Become more alert.
 Difficulty sitting still and sleeping.
 Dry mouth and lips.
 Bad breath.  Permanent damage to neurotransmitters in the brain.
 Hallucinations.
 Mood changes.
 Severe depression.
 Weight loss.

What is PCP? A white crystalline powder with a distinctive bitter chemical taste that is readily soluble in water or alcohol. It is normally used in one of three ways: snorted, smoked, or ingested and sold on the street by such names as angel dust, ozone, wack, and rocket fuel. For smoking, PCP is often applied to a leafy material such as mint, parsley, oregano, or marijuana. InfoFacts - PCP (Phencyclidine)
What can happen to your body?
At First? Long Term Risks
 Heart beats faster, Blood pressure rises.
 Eyesight blurs.
 Hallucinations.
 Speech slurred or stopped.
 Body movements, sense of time slows.  Seizures, coma, and death.
 Permanent speech, brain, heart, and lung damage.
 Paranoia.
 Loss of memory.
 Flashbacks.

Alcohol, GHB, Ecstasy, Ketamine, Rohypnol, and LSD are classified as date rape or predatory drugs, as they are sometimes secretly given to another person to “prey” on them. Predators slip these drugs into drinks to cause weakness, unconsciousness, and amnesia for the purpose of committing a crime, usually sexual assault. NIDA - Club Drugs

 GHB (Gamma hydroxybutyrate) is an anabolic steroid that acts as a sedative, which is usually offered as a clear, salty liquid. Effects include:
o Relaxation, calm, and intoxication similar to alcohol.
o Dizziness, lack of coordination, mood swings.
o Vomiting, muscle spasms, headache.
o Withdrawal effects, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and sweating.
o Weakness, unconsciousness, and amnesia.
o Increased risk of sexual assault.
o Coma and seizures.
o Can be fatal, especially if mixed with alcohol or other drugs.

 KETAMINE (Ketamine hydrochloride) is an anesthetic for animals, better known Special K, Vitamin K, or Breakfast Cereal. Effects include:
o Dream-like state, out of body “near death experience”.
o Hallucinations and flashbacks.
o High blood pressure
o Nausea, impaired attention and memory.
o Slowed breathing and loss of consciousness
o Delirium and amnesia.
o Increased risk of sexual assault.

 ROHYPNOL (Flunitrazepam) is a sedative, which is often dissolved in carbonated drinks resulting in intoxication and relaxation. Effects include:
o Dizziness and nausea.
o Low blood pressure.
o Slurred speech, loss of judgment and motor control.
o Deep sedation, breathing distress, and loss of consciousness.
o Memory blackouts up to 24 hours.
o Increased risk of sexual assault.

What are STEROIDS? “Anabolic steroids" is the familiar name for synthetic substances related to the male sex hormones (androgens). Steroid abuse is generally motivated by a desire to improve athletic performance in sports and build muscle. InfoFacts - Steroids

What can happen to your body? At First? Long Term Risks

  • Acne & hair loss.
  • Mood changes and irritability.
  • Increased muscle growth.
  • Increased injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
  • Lower sex drive.  Heart Attacks.
  • Hepatitis & Liver Cancer.
  • Stunted Growth.
  • Testicles shrink, can’t get erections, become sterile.
  • Disrupts menstrual periods & ovulation.

Symptoms of drug addictions:

  • You crave the substance. The craving can feel as strong as the need for water.
  • You are often unable to stop using the substance.
  • You get withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the substance. The symptoms vary with the type drug of used. The symptoms go away if you drink alcohol or use the drug.
  • You need more and more alcohol or drugs to get high. This is known as developing a tolerance.


Drug users may require an intervention on the part of family and friends. The drug user may require hospitalization for detoxification. Follow-up outpatient programs (support groups, day care or residential) lasting weeks or months may be necessary to prevent a relapse.

Resource links:

  • ADAPT – Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team, Office of Substance Abuse Prevention, University Counseling Center (
  • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. (
  • National Institute of Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (
  • SAMHSA (
  •, A Service of the national Institute on Drug Abuse (
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (
  • U. S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (
  • Freevibe (

UND Student Health Services
McCannel Hall, Room 100
Box 9038
Grand Forks, ND 58202
Tel: 701.777.4500