What are drugs?
• A drug is something that affects your body. Drugs must
be able to pass through the body and into the brain;
interferes with brain’s neurotransmitters
• Not all drugs are illegal.
• Drugs like cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine are illegal.
Other drugs which are against the law include speed,
heroin, LSD and magic mushrooms.
• Many are legal like alcohol, headache tablets,
cigarettes and glue (inhalents).
• In certain countries legal drugs can only be given out
by doctors. Usually doctors give you a prescription to
take to the pharmacy.
• Drug addiction is voluntary
• Drugs that are legal are helpful, illegal drugs are
• Marijuana is not bad for you
• Combining drugs is not harmful
• Addicts can not recover
• Once detoxification ends, if the addict does not
return to drugs, changes in the pathways of the
brain will return to their normal state
• Driving is not affected by the influence of drugs
Types of Drugs
3 Main Types:
1. Depressants slow down, or depress, the functions of the central
nervous system . In moderate doses, depressants can make you feel
relaxed. In larger doses, depressants can cause unconsciousness by
reducing breathing and heart rate. A person's speech may become
slurred and their movements sluggish and uncoordinated.
These can include:
• opiates and opioids (heroin) , morphine, codeine, methadone and
• cannabis or marijuana;
• minor tranquillizers diazepam such as Valium, oxazepam (Serepax);
• some solvents and inhalants such as vapors from petrol, glue, chrome
paint and lighter fluid.
• Cannibas can cause health problems both physical and mental
• Tetrahydrocannibinal (THC) is its main active ingredient
• Some use cannibas for medical purposes; e.g. multiple sclerosis or glaucoma
• Use at a young age is linked to increased mental health problems such as
schizophrenia; psychiatric hospitalization may be necessary if heavily used
• Lowers motivation and lose interest in things
• Co-ordination and reactions slow down
• Effects asthma
• Can increase the heart rate and cause someone to have high blood pressure
• Might have hallucinations
• A small number of people that use cannabis go on to other drugs
• Use dates back to the Chinese in 2,700 b.c.
• Can be addictive; long term users become dependant
Types of Drugs
2. Stimulants speed up or stimulate the central nervous system
and can make the users feel more awake, alert or confident.
Stimulants increase heart rate, body temperature and blood
pressure. Other physical effects include reduced appetite,
dilated pupils, talkativeness, agitation and sleep disturbance.
• Nicotine in tobacco is a stimulant, despite smokers using it to
• Ephedrine, used in medicines for bronchitis, hay fever, asthma
• Amphetamines and methamphetamines, also known as 'speed',
'ice' and 'crystal meth'
• Cocaine, also known as 'coke' and 'snow';
• slimming tablets: e.g. Duromine and Tenuate;
Effects of Excessive Caffeine
• Stimulates your heart, respiratory system, and central nervous system.
• Makes your blood more `sludgy' by raising the level of fatty acids in the
blood and raises blood pressure
• Causes your stomach to produce more acid, irritates the stomach lining
• Stimulates the cortex of your brain heightening the intensity of mental
activity; temporary feeling of alertness. Those with high levels of anxiety
heightened alertness can produce unpleasant effects.
• Affects the length/quality of sleep. Heavy caffeine users suffer from
sleep-deprivation because their nervous system is too stimulated to
allow them deep, restful or prolonged sleep.
• Caffeine addiction which involves nervousness, irritability, agitation,
headaches or ringing in the ears.
• Causes blood sugar, or blood glucose, to be released from storage
through the effects of the adrenal hormones. Requires your pancreas to
Some Effects of Smoking
• One in two lifetime smokers will die from their habit. Half of these deaths will
occur in middle age.
• Tobacco smoke also contributes to a number of cancers.
• The mixture of nicotine and carbon monoxide in each cigarette you smoke
temporarily increases your heart rate and blood pressure, straining your heart and
blood vessels. This can cause heart attacks and stroke. It slows your blood flow,
cutting off oxygen to your feet and hands. Some smokers end up having their limbs
• Tar coats your lungs like soot in a chimney and causes cancer. A 20-a-day smoker
breathes in up to a full cup (210 g) of tar in a year.
• Changing to low-tar cigarettes does not help because smokers usually take deeper
puffs and hold the smoke in for longer, dragging the tar deeper into their lungs.
• Carbon monoxide robs your muscles, brain and body tissue of oxygen, making your
whole body and especially your heart work harder. Over time, your airways swell
up and let less air into your lungs.
• Lung cancer from smoking is caused by the tar in tobacco smoke. Men who smoke
are ten times more likely to die from lung cancer than non-smokers.
What can meth do to you??
Types of Drugs
3. Hallucinogenic drugs distort the user's perceptions of reality. The
main physical effects are dilation of pupils, loss of appetite,
increased activity, talking or laughing, jaw clenching, sweating and
sometimes stomach cramps or nausea. Drug effects can include a
sense of emotional and psychological euphoria and well-being.
Visual, auditory and tactile hallucinations may occur, causing users
to see or hear things that do not actually exist.
These drugs include:
• LSD, also known as 'trips', 'acid' and 'microdots';
• magic mushrooms (psilocybin), also known as 'mushies’ or
• ecstasy (MDMA/methylenedioxymethamphetamine), also known as
'E', 'XTC' and 'Eccies', produces a combination of hallucinogenic and
stimulant effects; and
• Ketamine, also known as 'K' and 'Special K'.
Why Do People Use Illegal Drugs?
• to fit in with a group of friends
• they might be curious
• just bored.
• Often to help the person escape from reality for a
• If a person is sad or upset, a drug can - temporarily -
make the person feel better or forget about problems.
But this escape lasts only until the drug wears off.
Drugs don't solve problems and using them often causes
other problems on top of the ones the person had in
the first place.
Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive
drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences to the individual
who is addicted and to those around them.
Drug addiction is a brain disease because the abuse of drugs leads to
changes in the structure and function of the brain.
No single factor can predict whether or not a person will become addicted
to drugs. Risk for addiction is influenced by a person’s biology, social
environment, and age or stage of development. The more risk factors an
individual has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to
Addiction and the Adolescent Brain
Signs Someone is Using Drugs
• lose interest in school
• change friends (to hang out with kids who use drugs)
• become moody, negative, cranky or worried all the time
• ask to be left alone a lot
• have trouble concentrating
• sleep a lot (maybe even in class)
• get in fights
• have red or puffy eyes
• lose or gain weight
• cough a lot
• have a runny nose all of the time
What You Can Do To Help
• The best thing to do is to tell an adult that you
trust; a parent, other relative, teacher, coach, or
• The person might need professional help to stop
using drugs. A grown-up can help the person
find the treatment he or she needs to stop using
• Kids can also help others is by choosing not to try
or use drugs. It's a good way for friends to stick
• Understanding drugs and why they are dangerous
is another good step for a kid to take.