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(14) Drugs & Child’s

National Geographic Drugged High on Cocaine

DC14

What happens when someone abuses cough preparations?

Dextromethorphan (DMX) is a cough suppressant found in a variety of over-the-counter cold and cough medications. Like PCP and ketamine, dextromethorphan is adissociative anesthetic, meaning its effects can include hallucinations. These preparations are available without prescriptions. Psychological effects depend on the amount ingested. Symptoms of abuse include confusion, dizziness, double or blurred vision, slurred speech, impaired physical coordination, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, drowsiness, numbness of fingers and toes, and disorientation. Some users even experience plateaus ranging from mild distortions of color and sound to visual hallucinations and out-of-body, dissociative sensations and loss of motor control. I have treated a number of male adolescents with these problems; some have ingested as much as 240 mg daily. They have obtained DMX by shoplifting from drugstores. Serotonin is decreased by chronic abuse.

Addicts needed antidepressant treatment due to prominent depressive symptoms resulting from low serotonin levels. In addition to drug use, two of these youngsters also suffered from ADHD. They eventually ended up in longer term residential treatment programs.

Term:

Dissociative anesthetic - Drugs primarily used in surgical operations whose effects can include hallucinations.

 My friend’s daughter was seen huffing something at home. Should my friend be worried?

Definitely. Inhalants include solvents (such as varnish), glues, adhesives, aerosol propellants (cleaning fluid, spray paint, and correction fluid), paint thinners, and fuels (gasoline, kerosene, and lighter fluid). Symptoms of intoxication include dizziness, incoordination, unsteady gait, involuntary movement of the eyes, slurred speech, lethargy, psychomotor retardation, generalized muscle weakness, tremors, blurred vision, double vision that could be as severe as disorientation, stupor, or coma. These drugs can easily be accessed and are of low cost, making them ideal for abuse. They are very toxic, can affect the white matter (supportive tissues) part of the brain, and can result in irreversible damage manifested as lasting motor incoordination, memory impairment, and forgetfulness.

 What are the effects and dangers of club drugs?

Club drugs are a diverse group of psychoactive compounds that tend to be abused by teens and young adults at a nightclub, bar, rave, or trance scene. Raves are dance gatherings that continue for hours with repetitive and monotonous music where a cocktail of pills are given. Due to prolonged dancing and altered consciousness, individuals suffer from dehydration from lack of fluid intake. Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Rohypnol (flunitrazepam), ketamine, MDMA (ecstasy), and methamphetamines are some of the drugs in this group.

MDMA is a synthetic drug similar to methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. Rohypnol and GHB have been used as date rape drugs as they sedate unsuspecting victims. GHB, available in an odorless, colorless liquid form or as a white powder material, is taken orally and is frequently combined with alcohol. These increase the risk of unintentional overdose which can result in respiratory depression. In addition to being used to incapacitate individuals for the commission of sexual assault/rape, GHB is also sometimes used by bodybuilders for its alleged anabolic effects. Xyrem (sodium oxybate), a product that contains GHB, is an approved prescription drug for narcolepsy, a medical condition characterized by excessive sleepiness. Xyrem is also prescribed for cataplexy, which is a medical condition characterized by the sudden loss of muscle tone usually in response to extreme of emotions. A commonly experienced form of cataplexy is falling down with bouts of laughter or anger. Whereas GHB is a schedule I drug, Xyrem is a schedule II drug; however, diversion is subject to schedule I penalties. GHB is hard to detect because it is not routinely tested for during drug screens. The Project GHB has extensive information on this subject and has also identified a number of support groups and a list of providers who can offer treatment and counseling.

 Terms:

 Club drugs - A diverse group of psychoactive compounds that tend to be abused by teens and young adults at a nightclub, bar, rave, or trance scene.

Date rape drugs - Drugs used to sedate unsuspecting victims for purposes of sexual advances.

 What happens if humans use drugs meant for animals?

Ketamine, a tranquilizer used in animals, became popular in the 1980s. It is similar to reactions induced by PCP, such as dreamlike states and hallucinations. Ketamine is used to lace marijuana, and youngsters sometimes report a dreamlike and even paranoid experience that they would not otherwise routinely report. A recent study (Liao et al., 2010) provided direct evidence of damage to white matter brain in the frontal and temporoparietal (front and side) areas among chronic adult users. The degree of damage is correlated with the severity of drug use.

How is cocaine used?

 The medical uses of cocaine are now obsolete due to the development of more effective medications that have a lower or no potential for abuse. Cocaine is the most potent natural stimulant. It can be snorted, smoked, or injected. When combined with heroin and used by injection, it is called speed balling. The powder form is inhaled and thereby absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal tissues. Injection into the veins introduces the drug directly with immediate euphoric effects. Inhaling the vapor through the lungs is as rapid as via injection. Crack is a cocaine base that comes in a rock crystal that is heated to produce vapors, which are smoked. The term crack refers to the crackling sound produced by the rock as it is heated.

 Terms:

Speedballing - Injecting a combination of cocaine and heroin.

Crack - A cocaine base that comes in a rock crystal that is heated to produce vapors, which are smoked. The term crack refers to the crackling sound produced by the rock as it is heated.

 The term crack refers to the crackling sound produced by the rock as it is heated.

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