Drugs Information

A drug is a substance when taken alters the way the body function physically or psychologically.

Addiction is an acquired condition where an individual persistently pursues and obtains some form of reward at the expense of other important motivations or activities, which could lead to the detrimental of the person’s own mental or physical health. Addiction does not happen overnight; instead it requires repetitions of episodes of a drug/substance intake with each episode contributing to a progressive worsening of the condition. The speed or process that one can be addicted is determined by a wide array of factors such as: 

  • Types of addictive drugs used
  • Dosage or amount of drug taken per intake episode
  • The root of delivery: oral ingestion, smoking or intravenous injections
  • Psychological conditions at the time of drug intake
  • Age and gender of individual
  • Presence of underlying mental illness
  • History of traumatic life events
  • Generic make-up of the individual

Other biological factors that have not yet been clearly identified

Drug abuse is the use of illicit drugs or the abuse of prescribed or over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those which they are indicated or in quantities other than directed. It can also be viewed as a pattern of harmful use of any substance for mood altering purposes. 

Substance abuse is the use of a mood altering substance to the level of intoxication in an intermittent or repetitive way.  Usage increases an individual’s liability for morbidity and or mortality and is rarely associated with adverse consequence.  Substance abuse can be thought of as a carefully practiced and developed social skill. 

Stage 1: Experimenting 

Experimenting is defined as the voluntary use of drugs without experiencing any negative social or legal consequences.  For many, experimenting may occur once or several times as a way to “have fun” or even to help the individual cope with a problem.  For many, experimentation can occur without any desire to continue using the drug.  For others, it can start to become a problem when it moves into the next stage of addiction: Regular use.  

Stage 2: Regular use 

Some people will be able to enter the stage of regular use without developing a dependence or addiction.  These people will be able to stop the drug use on their own.  The problem with regular use is that the risk for substance abuse greatly increases during this stage. It also increases risky behaviours such as driving under the influence, unexplained violence, and symptoms of depression and anxiety.  

Stages 3: Abuse 

The line between regular use and risky use/abuse is a very thin one, but is usually defined as continued use of drugs in spite of severe social and legal consequences.  That which begun as a temporary form of escape can quickly lead to more serious problems.  This is the stage where the warning signs of addiction will begin to appear: craving, preoccupation with the drug, and symptoms of depression, irritability and fatigue if the drug is not used.  

Stage 4: Dependency 

The physical dependence on a drug is often intertwined with addiction.  Characteristics of dependence and drug addiction include withdrawal symptoms and compulsive use of the drug despite severe negative consequences to his or her relationships, physical and mental health, personal finances, job security and criminal record. 

  1. Alcohol
  2. Cannabis/Marijuana
  3. Cocaine
  4. Heroin
  5. Methamphetamine
  6. Nicotine
  7. Inhalants
  8. LSD
  9. OTC
  10. Ecstacy
  11. Other drugs
  12. Rohypnol
  13. Gamma hydroxyl butyric acid (GHB)
  14. Psilocybin
  15. Peyote
  16. Benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Ativan)
  17. HookaPipe 

Treatment on drug addiction is available, it’s important to seek help right away especially when one realises that they have reached a stage where they cannot stop using drugs on their own.  Addiction is a progressive illness that, if left untreated, only gets worse.  There are many forms of drug addiction treatment, including inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, 12-Step programs and holistic therapies. 

Stimulants are psychoactive drugs that increase activity in the brain.  These drugs temporarily increase alertness, mood and awareness. Some stimulants are legal and illegal, and are very addictive.  

These stimulants are also known as “uppers” due to their effects.  The most commonly used street drugs that fall within this category are cocaine and amphetamine.  These drugs make one feel energetic, all powerful and self-confident, while suppressing appetite and the need for sleep.  They come in different forms of pills, powder and liquid which are snorted, injected, swallowed or smoked. 

Drugs that are classed as stimulants include: 

  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Prescription drugs

Depressants are the kind of drugs that depress or slow down the central nervous system.  Heart rate, breathing and reaction time slows down.  Concentration, memory and fine motor skills are impaired. 

Depressants can be used as prescription medication, as illicit substances of recreational use or abuse.  The most commonly known legal depressant is alcohol whilst heroin is the most illegal drug.  Their effects vary depending on the amount taken for example Cannabis (dagga) is considered a depressant but in large amounts it can act like hallucinogen. 

Drugs classed as depressants are: 

  • Alcohol
  • Heroine
  • Cannabis (Dagga)
  • Benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Ativan)
  • Gamma hydroxyl butyric acid (GHB)
  • Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol)
  • Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens are substances that produce mind-altering effects; they have a significant effect on sensations, emotions, and perceptions of reality.  There are no legalised hallucinogens this type of drug is extremely dangerous and has unpredictable effects. 

Drugs classed as hallucinogens 

  • LSD
  • Psilocybin
  • PCP
  • Ketamine
  • Ecstasy (MDMA) and Cannabis when taken on high doses.