Morphine. -For many years morphine was the drug
of choice for the relief of pain. The street addict calls it
white stuff, M, hard stuff, morpho, untie, and Miss
Emma. Addicts use it when they have difficulty getting
heroin. Small doses produce euphoria. The bodys
tolerance for the drug
and physical dependence on it
Codeine. -More commonly abused in the form of
cough preparations, codeine is less addictive than
morphine or heroin. It is also less potent in inducing
euphoria. When withdrawal symptoms occur, they are
less severe than with more potent drugs.
Methadone. Methadone was invented by German
chemists in 1941 when the supply of morphine to
Germany ran low. It has many properties similar to those
of morphine-it relieves pain and produces physical and
psychological dependence. Methadone has one major
difference from morphine and heroinwhen methadone
is taken orally, under medical supervision, it prevents
withdrawal symptoms for approximately 24 hours.
STIMULANTS. -Stimulants are drugs that
stimulate the central nervous system. The most widely
known stimulant in this country is caffeine, an
ingredient of coffee, tea, cola, and other beverages.
Since the effects of caffeine are relatively mild, its use
is socially acceptable and not an abuse problem.
However, the use of the more potent synthetic stimulants
such as amphetamines, methyl phenidate, and
phenmetrazine can result in abuse problems. Stimulants
produce excitation, increased activity, and an ability to
go without sleep for extended periods.
The main trait of stimulant abusers is excessive
activity. They are irritable and argumentative, appear
extremely nervous, and have difficulty sitting. In some
cases, the pupils of their eyes will be dilated even in a
brightly lit place.
Stimulant abusers often go for long periods without
sleeping or eating and usually cannot resist letting others
know about it.
Cocaine. -Cocaine is a white or colorless crystalline
powder. Persons who abuse cocaine either inhale the
powder or inject it directly into the bloodstream. It can
induce euphoria, excitation, anxiety, a sense of
increased muscular strength, and talkativeness; it can
also reduce the feeling of fatigue. It causes the pupils to
become dilated and the heart rate and blood pressure to
increase. In larger doses, cocaine can produce fever,
vomiting, convulsions, hallucinations, and paranoid
delusions. An overdose can depress the heart and
breathing functions so much that death results.
Crack. -Crack is a relatively new form of cocaine.
Crack is a street cocaine mixed with baking soda and
water to remove impurities. It is about 50 to 60 percent
pure, while street cocaine is 20 to 40 percent pure. Users
can smoke crack without the fire hazard involved in
free-basing. Crack produces a feeling of euphoria more
quickly and with more intensity than cocaine snorted
into the nasal passages. The high comes in 4 to 6 seconds
versus 6 to 8 minutes from snorting.
Crack causes blood vessels to constrict and the heart
rate to rapidly increase, which leads to high blood
pressure. Those changes can cause the heart or arteries
to burst and can cause massive heart attacks.
In the brain, crack triggers the release of
neurotransmitters, causing the euphoric effect. Cocaine
blocks the reuse of the neurotransmitters by the brain,
thus leaving the brain in a depressed state. The more a
person gets high, the more their supply of
neurotransmitters is depleted, and the deeper the
depression that follows the euphoria. That rapidly
progresses to a psychological dependence on the drug
just for the person to feel normal.
One reaction to crack is called excited delirium. In
this state, a person becomes paranoid and starts shouting
and thrashing. The person also becomes violent, with
unexpected strength, often breaking mirrors, glass, and
other objects. The pupils in the eyes dilate. The body
also undergoes hyperthermia (overheating), causing the
person to disrobe to cool off. Such episodes last about
an hour. Sudden tranquility or a transition to a depressed
state may follow, which can lead to respiratory arrest
followed by death.
Amphetamines. Amphetamines are often called
or pep pills.
methamphetamine drugs provide help for various
disorders. They help overweight patients reduce their
appetites and provide relief for patients with narcolepsy,
a disorder characterized by an overwhelming need for
sleep. They also benefit selected patients with
aggressive psychiatric or neurological disorders.
Amphetamines have a drying effect on the mucous
membranes of the mouth and nose and cause bad breath
that is unidentifiable as to a specific odor such as onion,
garlic, or alcohol. Because of the dryness of mouth,
amphetamine abusers lick their lips to keep them moist.
That often results in chapped and reddened lips, which,
in severe cases, may become cracked and raw.
Abusers may rub and scratch their nose vigorously
and frequently to relieve the itching sensation caused by
dryness of the mucous membrane in the nose. They often