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Drugs

 

 

Children who learn about the risks of drugs through discussions at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who do not get that critical message from their parents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To read items about drugs please click on ‘Drug Categories’ below:

 

Drug Categories

drugs-150x150

 

 

 

What is a drug ? Anything that alters the way you think, feel or act. Can be a natural substance or a synthetic one.

 

Use – Abuse – Misuse ??? ‘Use’ generally means taking the drug with the approval of a doctor or similar person. ‘Abuse’ and ‘Misuse’ are the same thing, describing use which is not approved by medicine or the law.

 

Are drugs illegal ? Some, like heroin or cannabis, are illegal but some, like alcohol or tobacco, are not. Increasingly we see people misusing substances one group of misusers are sportsmen and women looking to boost their performance. Many are young people trying drugs – and this can be for several reasons.

 

Dangerous ? They are all dangerous in some way, depending on how much you take and in what circumstances – and how healthy you are. Effects can range from discomfort all the way down to death. Trying them is like entering a lottery, but you don’t always win.

 

Is everybody at it ? Certainly not. Official surveys show that only a minority use, and then only briefly – with most doing no more than trying once or twice. But surveys like this are no comfort to you if someone you know is misusing drugs.

 

Am I bothered ? You should be. A user can die at first use – for example trying a strong drug, or even driving a car while ‘high’ – but those are dramatic peaks. Less dramatic, a user can lose their job, their relationships, their family relations, their health, their freedom to travel (visas) or simply their freedom (arrest, conviction etc).

 

Why do some people want drugs to be legal ?  Put simply, they want it because it suits their lifestyle, while people who argue in their support believe they are protecting a freedom for the users. And that’s the pinpoint – if you listen to the arguments, they are all about making things easier for the misuser – while the rest of us and society as a whole are ignored. Their arguments are, to be blunt, self-serving, or selfish.

 

Many parents know little about illegal drugs.  .  Here you will find some simple information to help you.  Remember the majority of young people do not use drugs – but as a parent you should know at least as much as your children.

 

Much of the information on the internet glamourizes drugs and much of it is not accurate.

  

There is an increasing market for new drugs – many are called ‘legal highs’ because as yet the laws surrounding this area are not clear and they are not included in the current legislation.  Some of these products are very dangerous and have resulted in fatalities.  Here are just a few names of some of these NSPs  (New Psychoactive Substances):

 

Molly,  Spice,  Krakom,  Mephedrone, BZP, BenzoFury, BromoDragonfly, Black Mamba, Clockwork Orange.

 

In the USA there is currently a huge problem with prescription drugs.  Many are obtained from the medicine cupboard at home or are swapped at parties between friends.  Young people seem to think if these drugs have been produced  by pharmaceutical companies and prescribed by doctors, they must be safe.

 

Of course this is patently untrue – quite a lot of medicines prescribed for very specific illnesses are dangerous if used by others or if exceeding the prescribed dose.  Parents are urged to safely dispose of no longer required medicines.  It is also wiser to not use ordinary household aerosol products which can be abused by those into abuse of volatile substances.

 

For more reliable information on illegal drugs you could use the following sites:

 

www.drugprevent.org.uk  and   www.thedrugswheel.com

 

Here is more detailed Information about some drugs,  legal or illegal.  The information is listed in the order in which young people are most likely to use the substance,  e.g.  Tobacco is usually the first drug tried, then alcohol,  cannabis etc.  

 

 

 

nicotine, cigs, fags, cigars

How is it Used?

Smoked in cigarettes or pipes.

Appearance:

Dried brown leaves

Related Paraphernalia:

cigarette packets, rolling papers, lighters,small  flat tin

Signs and Symptoms of Use

Smell of tobacco on clothes and person, stained teeth and finger tips

 

 

Alcohol. booze. alcopops

How is it Used?

Drunk in liquid form.

Appearance:

Liquid could be colourless like vodka, or brown like beer

Related Paraphernalia:

Bottles, cans

Signs and Symptoms of Use

Impaired judgement, poor co-ordination, uninhibited, at first merry then maudlin.

 

 

Cannabis     also called Marijuana, marijuana edibles

(street names:  Pot, blow, dope, grass, weed, hash, reefer, spliff, joint)

How is it Used?

Usually smoked with tobacco in a hand rolled cigarette.

Appearance:

Looks like dried herbs, or black or brown resin.   ‘Edibles’ are often packaged to look exactly

like genuine bars of chocolate or packets of sweets.

Related Paraphernalia:

Rolling papers (green pack), small plastic baggies, roach clips, pipes, bongs

Signs and Symptoms of Use

Sweet burnt smell,  loss of motivation,  red rimmed eyes,  slow reactions,

giggling,  memory lapses,  the ‘munchies’ (hungry – often for sweet things)

 

          • Marijuana Edibles

 

 

Marijuana Edibles have become much more prevalent since some States in the USA have legalised marijuana for recreational use.  The results of this misguided legislation have been shocking in Colorado and Washington.

 

Since the full implementation of Amendment 64 in 2014, when retail marijuana businesses began operating, adult use of marijuana has grown 104% higher than the national average.  Colorado rates were 51% higher than the national rates in 2011-2012.  Marijuana-related traffic deaths increased by 92% between 2010 – 2014 compared to an 8% increase in all traffic deaths during the same period. Marijuana-related emergency room visits in 2014 increased 29% while hospitalization increased 38%.  Marijuana is second only to alcohol as the most cited reason for admission into a substance use disorder (SUD) treatment facility.

 

Youth (ages 12 – 17) usage of marijuana in 2013-2014 increased 20% compared to 2011-2012 before legalization of recreational use.  Since legalization, youth usage in Colorado has grown approximately 74% higher than the national average.  There has also been an 8 fold increase in reported marijuana exposures for children under the age of 12 years old. Those exposure rates have tripled for children 0 – 5 years old since 2010.   College age adults (18 – 25 years old) in Colorado are also using marijuana at higher rates relative to the national average, 62% and 42% respectively.

 

Washington and Colorado appear to have some overlapping trends as a result of legalization of recreational marijuana. Vehicular fatalities for example are some of those factors. Since 2008, nearly 157 people have been killed due to impaired driving. The number of motorists who tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active chemical in marijuana increased from 65% in 2013 to 85% in 2014.  This contributed to the 48% rise in deadly crashes during that time.

 

Like Colorado, the number of young people under the age of 18 years old using the drug has grown as well. Ease of access for youth 17 years of age and younger has increased with every grade level.  The ease of access to marijuana with each grade level correlates with the growth of usage rates. Marijuana usage rates for 6th graders are relatively low (1%) and grow every year through 12th grade (27%). Marijuana incidents at primary and secondary schools increased by approximately 75% between 2012 – 2013.

 

While youth usage rates, specifically for marijuana, have increased by an average of approximately 3% every year since 2007, state funded substance use disorder (SUD) treatment rates for all other drugs have decreased.

 

The Washington State Poison and Drug Information Center tracks trends of all reported state poisonings, including for marijuana. In 2015, 272 cases of marijuana exposure were reported with 46% of those cases being paediatric. This approximately equates to a 54% increase since 2011.  Regardless of age, 77% of reported poisonings occurred in private residences. These rates were at a 16 year low in 2006 and have steadily increased since that time.

 

The production and sale of edibles have clearly been targeted at the youth market.  Very few adults would want to be seen buying and chewing, for example,  gummy bears.  These products are marketed to look like genuine items and could easily be mistaken at first glance for things you might buy at your local grocery store.  Currently there are few ‘headshops’ in the UK – but many items can be purchased online.  Here are a few examples:

 

edibles 1 edibles 2 edibles 3 edibles 4
Pop tarts = POT tarts  Peppermint = RELAXING MINTS  Orange Crush = Orange KUSH Kit Kat = KEEF KAT

Oreo = OEO

 

The biggest problem with marijuana edibles is the fact that they can, and have, caused deaths. A bar of marijuana infused chocolate states on the packaging in small letters that a ‘dose’ is one square;  however the results of eating one square take longer for the expected results to be noticed – and inexperienced users may then take another – and another piece.  Deaths have resulted.

 

The use of marijuana (known as cannabis in the UK) results in addiction for many users and of health and social problems.  The younger an individual is when they begin to use drugs the more likely they are to become dependent on the substance.  Thus if ‘Big Marijuana Business’ can sell their goods to young people by marketing strategies specifically designed to attract this population,  the more they are building their future customer base.

 

 

          • Designer Drugs

 

Adam eve, E’s, calis

How is it Used?

Swallowed,

Appearance:

tablets, capsules

Related Paraphernalia:

none

Signs and Symptoms of Use

euphoria, high energy, ‘touchy’, feeling of affection and bonding to others, occasional, Hallucinations, tired after use, usually used in groups at raves

 

 

          • Inhalants

 

Name:  Inhalants.  Gas

How is it Used?

Inhaled, sniffed often with use of plastic bag,

Appearance:

Any chemical which produces mind-altering vapours,  aerosol can products, etc.

Related Paraphernalia:

empty spray cans, tubes of glue, baggies, aerosols, cleaning rags

Signs and Symptoms of Use

Bad breath, impaired vision, memory and thought disturbances, violent behaviour

 

 

Ecstasy, Adam eve, E’s, calis

How is it Used?

Swallowed,

Appearance:

tablets, capsules

Related Paraphernalia:

none

Signs and Symptoms of Use

euphoria, high energy, ‘touchy’, feeling of affection and bonding

to others, occasional Hallucinations, tired after use, usually used in groups at raves

 

 

Amphetamines,  speed,  uppers, dexies, crystal, whizz

How is it Used?

swallowed as pill or capsules, or injected.

Appearance:

variety of pills, tablets, capsules

Related Paraphernalia:

syringes, needles

Signs and Symptoms of Use

Over activity, talkativeness, dilated pupils, irritability, nervousness, needle marks, not hungry, depression on come down

So called ‘legal highs’  are also known as NPS’s – or New Psychoactive Substances.  Most have had very limited or no testing on humans so all the risks of taking them are not yet known for certain.  Some have caused paranoia, psychosis, seizures and deaths.  Young people tend to take these as they are readily available, do not always appear on the list of banned drugs – hence ‘legal highs ‘, – and they believe them to be less dangerous than the substances they mimic.  It is still a minority of young people who use these drugs – they are often associated more with rural areas – possibly because they can be bought online, with the clubs scene and amongst the gay community.

 

‘Legal highs’ can be classified into three broad categories based on the psychoactive effects they exert:

 

         *        ‘Spice’ products and synthetic cannabinoids (so-called ‘downers’ or                       sedatives)

         *        Stimulants

         *        Hallucinogens or psychedelics

 There are a large and increasing number of ‘legal highs’ in the UK, and the Government estimates that one new ‘legal high’ comes onto the market every week. Some ‘legal highs’ are known by their brand name. Many brand names or street names are similar to the names of illegal drugs (e.g. “XTC”, “K-Kane”, “Snow Blow”,  “Speedway”) to give the consumer an indication of what effects they have, and many are sold in packaging with symbols that refer to illegal drugs.

There has also been a rise in the abuse of prescription drugs – though this has been much more prevalent in the USA rather than the UK. However, drug use amongst 11 – 15 year olds has been falling since a peak in 2003 and one of the most popular NPS drugs – mephedrone (or meow meow) was made illegal in 2010  when it had reached 4.4% of drug users – but in the 2014 Crime Survey for England and Wales it had fallen to 1.9%.

 

Generic risk factors for users include unstable home environments, petty offending, truanting from school or college;  prevention approaches include stable home and school lives and  good social networking.  Young people below the age of 15 are much less likely to use these substances. It is very important that young people know of the very real dangers from using NPS’s.  There have been many deaths and severe reactions leading to long term health problems. In Russia in 2014, there were reports of dozens of deaths from the use of Spice; whilst in the UK there were 18 deaths from the use of 4-M-4-MAR (also known as 4,4′-DMAR. and 4-methyl-euphoria).

 

Remember many of these ‘designer drugs’ are made to mimic the effects of older drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy etc.  Some are stimulants, some sedative types, some hallucinogenic.  The names and actual chemical content of these substances change quickly – but here is a list of just some of the drugs sold in recent years and used all over the world.  Those underlined have been the most prevalent.

 

Mephedrone, Spice, Clockwork Orange, Black Mamba,  Bath Salts, Benzo Fury,  MDA1, Bromo Dragonfly, methoxetamine (also known as mexxy or MXE), DXM,Annihilation,Aztec Gold, Pump- it Powder

Flakka (sometimes called gravel),  Kratom, Moon Rocks, Molly,MDMA, RelaxMax or Zannie, Phenazepan, Sizzurp/Purple Drank, Lean, Hyocine, Scopoderm.

25i, Phenethylamines (also known as Smiles and N-bomb, 2c-I-NBOMe, DOB, Dime),Gabapentin (this is an approved drug for treatment of epilepsy), doxylam, PMA, PMMA, (also known as Pink McDonald’s, Einsteins, E=MC2),  2CB(also known as bromo, nexus), O-desmethyltramadol (known as Krypton).

 

Weed Candy  –  see information on marijuana edibles.

 

 

How is it Used?

Tablets, or capsules – could be injected

Appearance:

Pills, small squares of paper impregnated with graphic, gels

Related Paraphernalia:

Blotter papers, ‘window panes’, tin foil

Signs and Symptoms of Use

Dilated pupils, illusions, hallucinations,disorientation, flashbacks

Name:

PCP,  Angel dust, supergrass, killerweed,

How is it Used?

 Tablets,Smoked, snorted, tablets crushed and injected,

Appearance:

 White powder or tablet

Related Paraphernalia:

Tin foil

Signs and Symptoms of Use

Slurred speech, blurred vision, lack of coordination, confusion, violence, ‘bad trips’

 

 

Cocaine, Coke, snow, toot (and others)

How is it Used?

Injected, inhaled, swallowed or smoked

Appearance:

White odourless powder, tastes bitter if on tongue,

Related Paraphernalia:

Straws, razor blade, glassy surface,

Signs and Symptoms of Use

Restlessness, dilated pupils, talkativeness, euphoria, oily skin, lots of energy,

short high then depression.

 

Crack cocaine, Rock

How is it Used?

crumbled and smoked in a joint or a pipe

Appearance:

Beige colour, pea shaped pellets often in vials or small plastic bags

Related Paraphernalia:

Pipe,  glass vials

Signs and Symptoms of Use

Same as cocaine but swifter and more intense.

 

 

Heroin,  gear, junk, smack, horse

How is it Used?

Injected, smoked or snorted (‘chasing the dragon’)

Appearance:

White or brown powder, tablets or capsules

Related Paraphernalia:

Syringe, needles, spoon, medicine dropper, tinfoil, armbands or ties.

Signs and Symptoms of Use

lethargy, loss of skin colour, needles and track marks, pin prick pupils, bad coordination

‘nodding’ (gauching out)

 

 

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