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Section II–Playing It Safe - Drugs & Drug Safety

HealthyLife® Students' Self-Care Guide

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 Section II–Playing It Safe

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Drugs & Drug Safety

After alcohol, the most common drugs used on college campuses are tobacco
(see “Don’t Use Tobacco Products” ) and marijuana.
Other drugs used are amphetamines (uppers); barbiturates (downers);
hallucinogens, such as LSD; inhalants; and narcotics, such as cocaine. On
the increase is the use of substances known collectively as “club drugs.”
These are used at all-night dance parties, such as “raves” or “trances,”
dance clubs, and bars. Examples are MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB, Rohypnol, Ketamine,
methamphetamine, and LSD.

The safest use of drugs is no use of drugs!

Drug Chart

Drug Name(s) Dangers of Use

This drug is also called blow, crack, crank, “C”, coke, nose candy,
rock, and white girl.

Increases pulse rate and blood pressure.
Causes insomnia, irritability, and paranoia. Can result in severe
depression, convulsions, heart attack, lung damage, hallucinations,
brain damage, risk of infection (hepatitis, HIV from using contaminated
needles), coma, and death.

Depressants. Examples
are alcohol, barbiturates, sedatives, tranquilizers, downers, ludes,
reds, and yellow jackets.

Causes drowsiness, slurred speech,
drunkenness, memory loss, sudden mood shifts, depression, and lack of
coordination. Can result in shallow breathing, dilated pupils, clammy
skin, weak pulse, coma, and death.

Ecstasy. This is MDMA.
Other names are Adam, Clarity, Lover’s Speed, and K.
Euphoric state initially, but depression can occur
after taking the drug. Also carries the risk of a heat stroke from lack
of fluids and sweating from dancing too long, especially in the hot
environment of a club. May lead to a heart attack, seizure, and stroke.
GHB and GLB (a
similar drug that turns into GHB in the body). Other names are: Grievous
Bodily Harm; Liquid Ecstacy, Liquid Sex, Georgia Home Boy, and Scoop.
date rape drug that results in nausea, vomiting, a feeling of
intoxication, and amnesia-like symptoms. The drug slows the heartbeat,
reduces blood pressure, and can cause the user’s breathing to stop.
Overdose results in unconsciousness, coma, and eventual death. There is
little difference in the dose that can get someone high and one that can
cause death.
Inhalants. Examples are
vapors from: Solvents, such as gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, nail
polish remover; aerosols, such as hair sprays, vegetable cooking sprays;
anesthetics, such as ether, chloroform, nitrous oxide (laughing gas);
and spray paints, especially gold and silver.
Slow heart rate, breathing and brain activity.
Headaches, dizziness, nausea, lack of coordination, slurred speech,
blurred vision. Can result in suffocation, heart failure,
unconsciousness, seizures, brain damage, and even death.
Ketamine. This drug is
also called: Special K, K, Vitamin K, and Cat Valiums.
dream-like states and hallucinations. Can cause delirium, amnesia,
impaired motor functions, high blood pressure, depression, and breathing
problems, that can result in death.
LSD. This is also called
acid, bloomers, and yellow sunshines.
Causes hallucinations, dilated pupils, increased heart
rate and blood pressure, sweating, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and
tremors. Nausea, weakness, numbness or trembling are common. Long term
use can cause persistent psychosis and what used to be called
“flashbacks” – re-experiencing symptoms of past hallucinogen use even
though not taking the drug at the present time.
Marijuana. This is also
called pot, grass, reefer, herb, jay, joint, smoke, weed, and AMP
(marijuana with formaldehyde).
Can result in feelings of panic, impaired short term
memory, decreased ability to concentrate, fatigue, paranoia, and
possible psychosis. Also causes lung damage.
This drug is also called speed, ice, chalk, meth, crack, fire, and
Can result in memory loss, agitation, aggression, and
violent or psychotic behavior and potential cardiac and neurological
damage. Can contribute to higher rates of transmission of hepatitis and
HIV, if injected. Can result in heart attacks, seizures, and death from
Rohypnol. This is also
called R-2, Rib, Roofies, Rope, and Forget-Me Pill.
Common date rape drug. Used in sexual assaults.
Results in decreased blood pressure, drowsiness, visual disturbances,
confusion, nausea, and vomiting. When mixed with alcohol or other drugs,
this clear, odorless, and tasteless drug can cause death.  

Signs of a Drug

Signs of an overdose depend on the type of drug used. Call 9-1-1 or get
emergency care for one or more of the following:

  • Unconsciousness. This means the person is hard to rouse and can’t be
    made aware of his or her surroundings. This can be brief, such as with
    fainting or blacking out. It can put a person into a coma.
  • No breathing or slow and shallow breathing. This means 10 or fewer
    breaths per minute or time lapses of more than 8 seconds between breaths.
  • Slow pulse rate (40 or fewer beats per minute)
  • Suicidal gestures
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Sudden hostile personality or violent behavior
  • Very rapid pulse rate (140 or more beats per minute) and/or extreme
    anxiety or paranoia

For Information, Contact:

Emergency Medical Service (Call 9-1-1) if you suspect alcohol
poisoning or a drug overdose

Your school’s Student Health Service, Student Counseling Service, or
Alcohol and other Drug Program

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Helpline
800.ALCOHOL (252.6465)  •

Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters (includes Alateen)
888.4AL.ANON (425.2666)  •

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)  •

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
National Drug Treatment Referral Routing Service

800.662.HELP (4357)

Facts on Tap Web site  •

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
818.773.9999  •

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Information (NCADI)
800.729.6686  •

Penalties for Drug Use

Be aware of the penalties
your school and law enforcement authorities can and will take if you
possess, use, make, and/or distribute alcohol or illicit drugs. Penalties
vary, based on your school’s policy and on the laws that govern certain
substances. Penalties your school may take range from verbal or written
reprimands to suspension or expulsion from the school. You can be fined
and/or put in prison for prosecution of a misdemeanor or felony, depending
on the nature of the offense. For example, conviction of possessing or using
cocaine, heroin, or even GHB could put you in prison for up to 20 years. If
you give GHB to someone else and that person dies, you could be convicted of
manslaughter. If you are of legal drinking age and give alcohol to a minor
and it causes death, you could be convicted of a felony that carries a 10
year prison sentence.

6th edition. American Institute for Preventive Medicine
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December 08, 2005