and Drug Guide
Drug Fact Sheet
word "substance" can refer to a drug of abuse, a
medication, or a toxin. "Polysubstance"
Abuse/Dependence means that a person abuses or depends
upon more than one substance, with one usually being that
person's favorite or "drug of choice." It
is important to note that we are not only referring to
illegal drugs; over the counter or prescription drugs are
often abused as well.
The more commonly abused drugs today are cocaine,
marijuana, inhalants, and heroin. Substance exposure
that can cause substance related disorders include heavy
metals (e.g., lead, rat poison containing strychnine,
certain pesticides, nerve gas, antifreeze, carbon dioxide,
and carbon monoxide). The medications, both
prescriptive and over the counter, that may cause
substance related disorders include anesthetics,
analgesics, anticonvulsants, antihistamines, blood
pressure and heart medication, and muscle relaxants.
are many ways that drugs get classified, many psychologists and
other mental health professionals group them into 12
general categories based on their effect. Many of the drugs discussed on
this page can be prescribed and monitored by a physician
and when used appropriately can have positive rather than
and Street Names: beer, wine, whiskey,
of Ingestion: Taken orally
Benefits: Considered a central
nervous system depressant. Alcohol use causes
false self confidence, sense of belonging, and
lowering of inhibition
Detriments: Can result in vitamin
deficiencies, memory disturbances or loss, liver
damage, hallucinations (if physically dependent, it
often occurs within 48 hours of abstaining from
alcohol), hypertension, pancreatitis, and heart
problems. Has also been linked to Fetal Alcohol
and amphetamine like substances
and Street Names: speed (black
beauties, pink hearts, diet pills)
of Ingestion: Can be taken orally or
Benefits: These are stimulants and
decrease the need for sleep and food, and produce
feelings similar to cocaine.
Detriments: Low dosages can cause
increased breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure, and
dilated pupils. Moderate dosages cause dry mouth,
fever, sweating, headache, blurred vision, dizziness,
diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite.
dosages can cause very rapid and irregular heart beat,
tremors, loss of coordination, and physical collapse.
injected, a rapid increase in blood pressure can occur
which can cause sudden death due to stroke, very high
fever, and/or heart failure. Other long term
effects include brain damage resulting in speech and
thought disturbances, skin disorders, ulcers,
malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies, depression,
hallucinations, and violent behavior.
and Street Names: coffee, tea, soda,
of Ingestion: Taken orally
Benefits: Results in energy and
Detriments: Can cause agitation,
hypertension (leading to possible cardiac conditions),
and Street Names: marijuana (pot, weed,
grass) and hashish (e.g., hash)
of Ingestion: Typically smoked, but can
Benefits: Produces feelings of
happiness, calmness, sleepiness, increased appetite,
decreased pain and certain types of nausea (i.e., nausea
resulting from chemotherapy), and increased sensations.
Detriments: Can result in splitting in
consciousness (i.e., feelings of observing oneself),
anxiety, mood swings, amnesia, paranoia, respiratory
disorders (similar to nicotine products).
and Street Names: powder cocaine
(snort, toot, snow), freebase cocaine, crack , and rock
of Ingestion: used by
sniffing/snorting, smoking, or injecting
Benefits: It is a short acting central
nervous system stimulant. It produces feelings of
happiness, increased energy, alertness, sensory
awareness and self-esteem. It also reduces the
need for sleep and food.
Detriments: Cocaine and crack constrict
the heart's blood vessels making it work harder and
faster to move blood through the body. This can
trigger chest pain or a heart attack, or it may beat so
irregularly that it may actually stop. Cocaine, in
all forms, has been associated with sudden heart attacks
in people under the age of 30, some of whom used the
drug for the first time. It can cause brain
seizures, violent, erratic, or paranoid behavior,
anxiety, and hallucinations.
long term effects include chronic nose bleed and runny
nose, chronic sore throat, exhaustion/chronic fatigue,
sleep difficulties, headaches, respiratory ailments,
vitamin deficiencies, chronic nausea/vomiting, dangerous
weight loss, and miscarriage/birth defects
and Street Names: acid, LSD, Mescaline
(Mesc), and Mushrooms (shrooms)
of Ingestion: Taken orally or injected
Benefits: Hallucinogens can cause
visions (visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations),
altered perception of reality, mood, and thinking.
Detriments: Can result in flashbacks
(alterations such as above after drug is out of system),
flashes and/or trails in front of the eyes, very
frightening and realistic hallucinations (often referred
to as a bad trip).
and Street Names: paints, fuel, glue,
of Ingestion: Inhaled
Benefits: Produces feelings of
euphoria, excitement, and sensations of floating.
Detriments: Can result in dizziness,
slurred speech, brain damage, respiratory disorders,
seizures, and death.
and Street Names: cigarettes, cigars,
chewing tobacco (chew), and dipping tobacco (dip)
of Ingestion: Smoked, chewed, or dipped
Benefits: Can produce feelings of
calmness and energy, increases metabolism.
Detriments: Linked with respiratory
problems such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and
cancer. Can also result in hypertension, cardiac
disease, and low birth weight babies.
and Street Names: morphine, heroin,
codeine, and methadone
of Ingestion: Snorted, smoked, or
Benefits: It is considered a central
nervous system depressant and causes calmness and a
sense of well being.
Detriments: Opiod intoxication includes
slurred speech, altered mood, drowsiness, impaired
memory and/or attention.
results in death due to the fact that it is a
respiratory (it slows down your breathing).
and Street Names: (PCP)
of Ingestion: Smoked or taken orally
Benefits: Considered a hallucinogen
Detriments: Users are often
noncommunicative, appear oblivious, have active
fantasies (believing they fly), distortion in time,
space, and body image, and can produce auditory
hypnotics, and anxiolytics
and Street Names: barbital or amytal,
pentobarbital, nembutal, secobarbital [seconal],
methaqualone [quaaludes] (ludes), valium, and librium
of Ingestion: Taken orally or
Benefits: Induce mental calmness,
hypnotics induce sleep, and anxiolytics reduce anxiety.
Detriments: Can cause problems with
concentration and speech, poor judgment, mood swings,
paranoia, disinhibition of sexual and aggressive
impulses. Some of these drugs (e.g., quaaludes)
cause dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, chills, and
can result in delirium, convulsions, and death.
Valium (and other benzodiazepines) can cause hostile or
aggressive behavior, nausea, sweating, and convulsions.
(not one of the
eleven categories, but worth learning about)
are hormones which stimulate growth and accelerate
weight gain. Anabolic steroids are man made
versions of the male hormone testosterone.
drug can lower the muscle recovery time from training
and over all fatigue, can produce surges in self esteem,
increased energy and sex drive, increased appetite, and
a greater tolerance for pain.
women, steroid use can produce the growth of facial and
body hair, deepening of the voice, menstrual
irregularities, and enlargement of the clitoris.
men, testosterone is converted to estradiol, a female
hormone, often leading to an enlargement of the breasts
and a decreased sperm production. Possible long
term effects include impotence, atrophy of the testes,
violent acne and early baldness, high blood pressure and
increased risk of heart disease, liver tumors and
failure of liver function, stunted growth and permanent
short stature in children and teenagers, mood changes,
agitation, aggressiveness, anger, and an inability to