Cocaine is commonly used as recreational drug that can be snorted, smoked, and injected. Cocaine is an addictive pain blocker made from the leaves of coca plants. These plants are most common and indigenous to the Andean highlands of South America. Cocaine may also be known as powder, ski, snow, blow, slopes, coca, and nose candy. It typically looks like a white crystalline powder or as an off-white chunky substance.
Crack gets its name from the crackling sound made when heated. Crack is the name for cocaine that has had hydrochloride removed, allowing it to be smoked. Smoking a substance is one of the quickest way to feel the effects, and with crack, these effects are instantaneous, just as with injected cocaine. The intense high and feelings associated with smoking are powerful but short-lived, leaving the user to want more. In most cases, those who inject or smoke cocaine have far greater risks of complications than individuals who snort it. Smokers will typically become compulsive crack users compared to those who snort. Smoking crack is directly associated with developing respiratory problems, such as shortness of breath, coughing, and lung trauma. Overdosing on crack or cocaine can lead to seizures, heart-failure, cerebral hemorrhage, stroke and respiratory failure.
Methamphetamine, also known as meth, crystal, chalk, and ice, is an extremely addictive drug that looks like a white, odorless, crystal powder. Methamphetamine is chemically similar to amphetamine. Methamphetamine can be taken orally, smoked, snorted, or dissolved in water or alcohol and injected. Smoking and injecting Methamphetamine is the quickest way for the drug to go to the brain, where it instantly creates a intense euphoric feeling. The powerful high is short lived, and so users often take repeated doses. Methamphetamine releases dopamine in the brain, which is associated with the feelings of pleasure, well-being, reward, motivation, and motor function. The repeated use of this drug easily leads to dependence and addiction.
Ecstasy and Molly are both popular slang terms for MDMA, often known as the token club drug. The drug is also known under other names, such as “E”, “XTC”, “X”, “Adam”, “hug”, “beans”, “clarity”, “lover’s speed”, and “love drug”. MDMA is similar to other stimulants, with a strong euphoric feeling. Unlike other drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, MDMA is completely man-made of chemicals. Other chemicals or substances may also be added or substituted to Ecstasy and Molly tablets, such as caffeine, amphetamines, PCP, or cocaine. As the drug is man-made, producers can add anything to the drug, thus its purity is always questionable. MDMA is taken in the form of a tablet, pill, or capsule and are often represented in various different colors.
MDMA takes only 15 minutes to enter the bloodstream and the brain. Already 45 minutes later, the MDMA “high” becomes apparent at its peak level, where users may feel extremely alert or hyper. Perception of time and other changes, such as sense of touch, is often experienced. Others may experience negative effects right away, and feel symptoms such as anxiety and agitation. Sweating, chills, dizziness, muscle tension, nausea, blurred vision, and increased heart rate and blood pressure and feelings of fainting may also occur. Other effects of MDMA become apparent in the days following, which often linger for days, or even a week (or longer for those using it often). These effects may include feeling of depression, sadness, anxiety, and memory difficulties.
MDMA is commonly associated with dehydration because of the hot, energy-filled environment it is typically used in. This can be a big problem, because MDMA interferes with the body’s ability to regulate its temperature, and thus cause overheating. Overheating can than lead to serious health risks, such as heart and kidney problems, and sometimes even death. In high doses, MDMA becomes even more dangerous, as high levels of the drug present in the bloodstream can increase the risk for seizures and affect the natural rhythm of the heart.
“Anabolic steroids” is the familiar name for synthetic variants of the male sex hormone testosterone. The proper term for these compounds is anabolic-androgenic steroids (abbreviated AAS)—“anabolic” referring to muscle-building and “androgenic” referring to increased male sexual characteristics.
Anabolic steroids can be legally prescribed to treat conditions resulting from steroid hormone deficiency, such as delayed puberty, as well as diseases that result in loss of lean muscle mass, such as cancer and AIDS. But some athletes, bodybuilders, and others abuse these drugs in an attempt to enhance performance and/or improve their physical appearance.
How Are Anabolic Steroids Abused?
Anabolic steroids are usually either taken orally or injected into the muscles, although some are applied to the skin as a cream or gel. Doses taken by abusers may be 10 to 100 times higher than doses prescribed to treat medical conditions.
Steroids are typically taken intermittently rather than continuously, both to avert unwanted side effects and to give the body’s hormonal system a periodic chance to recuperate. Continuous use of steroids can decrease the body’s responsiveness to the drugs (tolerance) as well as cause the body to stop producing its own testosterone; breaks in steroid use are believed to redress these issues. “Cycling” thus refers to a pattern of use in which steroids are taken for periods of weeks or months, after which use is stopped for a period of time and then restarted.
In addition, users often combine several different types of steroids and/or incorporate other steroidal or non-steroidal supplements in an attempt to maximize their effectiveness, a practice referred to as “stacking.”
How Do Anabolic Steroids Affect the Brain?
Anabolic steroids work very differently from other drugs of abuse, and they do not have the same acute effects on the brain. The most important difference is that steroids do not trigger rapid increases in the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for the rewarding “high” that drives the abuse of other substances.
However, long-term steroid use can affect some of the same brain pathways and chemicals—including dopamine, serotonin, and opioid systems—that are affected by other drugs, and thereby may have a significant impact on mood and behavior.
Abuse of anabolic steroids may lead to aggression and other psychiatric problems, for example. Although many users report feeling good about themselves while on steroids, extreme mood swings can also occur, including manic-like symptoms and anger (“roid rage”) that may lead to violence. Researchers have also observed that users may suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility.
“Spice” refers to a wide variety of herbal mixtures that produce experiences similar to marijuana (cannabis) and that are marketed as “safe,” legal alternatives to that drug. Sold under many names, including K2, fake weed, Yucatan Fire, Skunk, Moon Rocks, and others — and labeled “not for human consumption” — these products contain dried, shredded plant material and chemical additives that are responsible for their psychoactive (mind-altering) effects.
Labels on Spice products often claim that they contain “natural” psycho-active material taken from a variety of plants. Spice products do contain dried plant material, but chemical analyses show that their active ingredients aresynthetic (or designer) cannabinoid compounds.
For several years, Spice mixtures have been easy to purchase in head shops and gas stations and via the Internet. Because the chemicals used in Spice have a high potential for abuse and no medical benefit, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has designated the five active chemicals most frequently found in Spice as Schedule I controlled substances, making it illegal to sell, buy, or possess them. Manufacturers of Spice products attempt to evade these legal restrictions by substituting different chemicals in their mixtures, while the DEA continues to monitor the situation and evaluate the need for updating the list of banned cannabinoids.
Spice products are popular among young people; of the illicit drugs most used by high-school seniors, they are second only to marijuana. (They are more popular among boys than girls — in 2012, nearly twice as many male 12th graders reported past-year use of synthetic marijuana as females in the same age group.) Easy access and the misperception that Spice products are “natural” and therefore harmless have likely contributed to their popularity. Another selling point is that the chemicals used in Spice are not easily detected in standard drug tests.
How Is Spice Abused?
Some Spice products are sold as “incense,” but they more closely resemble potpourri. Like marijuana, Spice is abused mainly by smoking. Sometimes Spice is mixed with marijuana or is prepared as an herbal infusion for drinking.
How Does Spice Affect the Brain?
Spice users report experiences similar to those produced by marijuana—elevated mood, relaxation, and altered perception—and in some cases the effects are even stronger than those of marijuana. Some users report psychotic effects like extreme anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations.
So far, there have been no scientific studies of Spice’s effects on the human brain, but we do know that the cannabinoid compounds found in Spice products act on the same cell receptors as THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. Some of the compounds found in Spice, however, bind more strongly to those receptors, which could lead to a much more powerful and unpredictable effect. Because the chemical composition of many products sold as Spice is unknown, it is likely that some varieties also contain substances that could cause dramatically different effects than the user might expect.
What Are the Other Health Effects of Spice?
Spice abusers who have been taken to Poison Control Centers report symptoms that include rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion, and hallucinations. Spice can also raise blood pressure and cause reduced blood supply to the heart (myocardial ischemia), and in a few cases it has been associated with heart attacks. Regular users may experience withdrawal and addiction symptoms.
We still do not know all the ways Spice may affect human health or how toxic it may be, but one public health concern is that there may be harmful heavy metal residues in Spice mixtures. Without further analyses, it is difficult to determine whether this concern is justified.
Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive drug processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of certain varieties of poppy plants. It is typically sold as a white or brownish powder that is “cut” with sugars, starch, powdered milk, or quinine. Pure heroin is a white powder with a bitter taste that predominantly originates in South America and, to a lesser extent, from Southeast Asia, and dominates U.S. markets east of the Mississippi River.3 Highly pure heroin can be snorted or smoked and may be more appealing to new users because it eliminates the stigma associated with injection drug use. “Black tar” heroin is sticky like roofing tar or hard like coal and is predominantly produced in Mexico and sold in U.S. areas west of the Mississippi River.3 The dark color associated with black tar heroin results from crude processing methods that leave behind impurities. Impure heroin is usually dissolved, diluted, and injected into veins, muscles, or under the skin.
* Source www.drugabuse.gov