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Surviving College: Booze, Drugs, & Neurobiology


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  • 1. Surviving College: Booze, Drugs, & Neurobiology Morgan Johnson Austin Travis County Integral Care October, 2013
  • 2. Commonly Abused Substances                Alcohol Cocaine/Crack Codeine (aka: “lean,” “sizzurp,” “drank”) Club Drugs (e.g., MDMA, Rohypnol) Dissociative Drugs (e.g., Ketamine, PCP) Ecstasy/MDMA (aka: “molly”) Heroin Inhalants (e.g., glue, nitrous oxide) LSD Marijuana Mescaline Methamphetamine Prescription Drugs (e.g., Xanax, Vicotin, Oxycotin) Psilocybin Mushrooms (aka: “magic mushrooms”) Synthetic Marijuana (aka: “kush,” “spice”)
  • 3. Cannabinoids  Marijuana  AKA: bud, bobo, chronic, dope, ganja, grass, green, hash, herb, killer, pot, reggie, reefer, weed  Acute Effects  Euphoria, relaxation, slowed reaction time, distorted sensory perception, impaired balance and coordination, increased heart rate and appetite, impaired learning and memory, anxiety, panic attacks, and psychosis  Health Risks  Cough, frequent respiratory infections, possible mental health decline, and addiction
  • 4. Is weed addictive or not?
  • 5. Abuse vs. Dependence  Abuse  Fail to fulfill major role obligations (work, school, family)  Use substances in situations that are physically hazardous  Legal problems  Continue use despite having recurrent interpersonal problems  Dependence  Tolerance  Withdrawal  Take substances in larger amount over longer period of time  Try to cut down but struggle
  • 6. Synthetic Marijuana  Also known as:  Kush  K2  Spice  Climax
  • 7. How is it made?  Plant material laced (i.e., sprayed) with synthetic cannabinoids that claim to mimic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.  First synthesized by US scientists (great job, guys…) attempting to create a way to test people for marijuana.
  • 8. Adverse Physiological Effects  Agitation  Anxiety  Nausea  Vomiting  Tachycardia  Elevated Blood Pressure  Tremor  Seizures  Hallucinations  Paranoid Behavior
  • 9. How is it marketed and sold?  False advertising  Packages labeled as “potpourri,” “herbal incense,” and/or “not for human consumption” to avoid FDA regulatory oversight and to mask the intended purpose  Marketed as a “legal” high for young people, sometimes as an alternative for those on
  • 10. Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011 (from Library of Congress;  12/8/2011—Passed House amended.  Extends the period for which the Attorney General may temporarily schedule a substance in Schedule I to avoid an imminent hazard to public safety to 2 yrs.  Amends the Controlled Substances Act to add as Schedule I controlled substances:  (1) any material, compound, mixture, or preparation which contains specified cannabimimetric agents (or the salts, isomers, or salts of isomers thereof); and  (2) specified additional hallucinogenic substances (or the salts, isomers, or salts of isomers thereof).
  • 11. So what exactly is the law in TX?  In Texas, “General Class Ban” on synthetic marijuana, a bill (SB 331) that was introduced in 2011.  Texas Controlled Substances Act (from  Every controlled substance group is classified into one of four penalty groups (PG-1, PG2, PG-3, and PG-4).  PG-1 results in the most serious criminal penalties  PG-4 results in the least serious criminal penalties  Synthetic marijuana is designated as PG-2-A  “any quantity of a synthetic compound that is a cannabinoid receptor agonist and mimics the effects of naturally occurring
  • 12. News Headline: “Teenage girl left brain damaged and paralyzed after smoking synthetic marijuana.” “Synthetic Awareness for Emily (S.A.F.E.) was founded by the family after Emily Bauer, 17, was stricken after smoking „potpourri.‟”
  • 13. Moving on to MDMA…
  • 14. MDMA  AKA: disco biscuits, E, ecstasy, Molly, roll, X  First made in Germany, 1912, as an appetite suppressant.  3-4 methylenedioxymethamphetami ne  MDMA is one of the drugs identified by the National Institute on Drug Abuse as an emerging trend in the US.  “Molly” refers to the pure crystalline powder form of MDMA, which is known as Ecstasy in pill form.  Acute Effects  energy, euphoria, dangerous body temperature changes, confusion, depression, and
  • 15. Effects of MDMA/Molly
  • 16. Effects of Molly on the Brain/Body  Acute: dehydration, tachycardia, pupil dilation, increased body temperature  Increases the activity of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine; primarily serotonin  Next day: lack of serotonin; depression  Long-term, it can damage serotonin-containing neurons, leading to lasting confusion and
  • 17. Commonly Abused Psychoactive Medications
  • 18. Depressants  e.g., barbiturates (“barbs”), Xanax (“downers”/“benzos”), sleep medications like Ambien  Intoxication Effects  Sedation/drowsiness, reduced anxiety, feelings of well-being, lowered inhibitions, slurred speech, poor concentration, confusion, dizziness, impaired coordination and memory  Health Risks  Lowered blood pressure, slowed breathing, tolerance, withdrawal (potentially life-threatening with barbs), addiction, increased risk of respiratory distress
  • 19. Opioids& Morphine Derivatives  e.g., Codeine (“lean”), Morphine, Methadone, Fentanyl  Intoxication Effects  Pain relief, euphoria, drowsiness, sedation, weakness, dizziness, nausea, impaired coordination, confusion, dry mouth, itching, sweating, clammy skin, constipation  Health Risks  Slowed or arrested breathing, lowered pulse and blood pressure, tolerance, addiction, unconsciousness, coma, death  Risk of death is increased with combined with alcohol or other CNS depressants
  • 20. Opioid Trends  Significant abuse potential  Deaths from prescription opioid medications now outnumber overdose deaths from all other drugs, including cocaine and heroin (  Abuse of Pain Relievers  e.g., Oxycodone (“Oxy”), Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Demerol
  • 21. Stimulants  Amphetamines  Significant abuse potential  Biphetamine, Dexedrine, Adderal  Acute Effects  Feelings of exhilaration, increased energy, mental alertness, rapid breathing, tremor, loss of coordination, irritability, anxiousness, restlessness/delirium, panic, paranoia, hallucinations, impulsive behavior, aggressiveness, tolerance, addiction  Health Risks  Weight loss, insomnia, cardiac or cardiovascular complications, stroke, seizures, and addiction.  Methylphenidate  Concerta, Ritalin  AKA: JIF, MPF, R-ball, Skippy, vitamin R, pineapple  Health Risks
  • 22. Alcohol
  • 23. Alcohol  Found in:  Liquor, beer, and wine  Acute effects  In low doses  Euphoria, mild stimulation, relaxation, lowered inhibitions  In higher doses  Drowsiness, slurred speech, nausea, emotional volatility, loss of coordination, visual distortions, impaired memory, sexual dysfunction, and loss of consciousness  Health Risks  Increased risk of injuries, violence, fetal damage (in pregnant women), depression, neurologic deficits, hypertension, liver and heart disease, addiction, and fatal overdose
  • 24. DWI Trends in Austin  Last 20 months: 11,503 drunken driving cases  47 fatal crashes in 2010, 13 fewer than the year before  Graph from
  • 25. What you need to know about drinking in college…
  • 26. For References & More Information:  NCSL Issues and Research- Civil and Criminal       Justice. “Synthetic Cannabinoid Enactments.” Updated 11.28.12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention— The National Institute on Drug Abuse— Federal Drug Administration— Texas Department of Public Safety Texas Gang Intelligence Index— 2011 National Survey of Drug Use and Health 2012 Monitoring the Future Study