Most of us know someone who is directly or indirectly affected by drugs. Most of us have questions and want answers. Most of us want to help. Knowledge is the best defense against drug abuse. Ignorance won’t protect us from its consequences. Informed choices can prevent health risks and save lives.
How do we recognize drug abuse? What can we do to protect those who are not informed enough to protect themselves? How can we help those who are addicted? Where can we get help for the user and for the family? The answers begin here. Different drugs have different symptoms.
Lets start with Heroin (smack, horse, mud, brown sugar, junk, black tar, big H, dope, skag) Heroin enters the brain quickly. It slows thinking, reactions, memory, and (the way you act and make decisions). Those who inject (sharing needles) it risk HIV, hepatitis B and C .These health problems can be passed on to sex partners and new borns. Tuberculosis, violence and crime are also linked to the use of heroin. Heroin is one of the top two drugs reported by medical examiners in drug abuse deaths. Heroin is highly addictive. Any method of heroin use-snorting, smoking, swallowing or injection, can cause immediate harm and lead to addiction.
Signs and symptoms of heroin use are: Euphoria, Drowsiness, Impaired mental functioning, Slowed respiration, Constricted pupils and Nausea.
Signs of overdose are:Shallow breathing, Pinpoint pupils, Clammy skin, Convulsions and Coma.
Facts about Club Drugs ( ecstacy; E, X, XCT, liquid ecstasy, liquid X, Grievous Bodily Harm, Georgia home boy, Ketamine;K, special K , ket, Vitamin K, kit kat, Rohypnol; roofies, R-2) “Club Drugs” refers to a variety of drugs often used at all night parties, clubs, raves and concerts. Club drugs can damage the neurons in your brain, impairing senses, memory, judgment and coordination. Different drugs have different effects. Common effects include loss of motor control, blurred vision and seizures. Ecstasy (and others) is stimulants that increase the heart rate and blood pressure and can lead to heart or kidney failure. Other Club drugs, like GHB, are depressants that can cause drowsiness, unconsciousness or breathing problems.
Club drugs like GHB and Rohypnol are used in “date rape” and other assaults, because they can render a person unconscious and immobilized. Rohypnol can cause amnesia. Users may not remember what they did or said under the effects of the drug. Club drugs can kill. Higher doses of club drugs can cause severe breathing problems, coma or death.
How can you tell if a friend is using Club drugs? If a person has one or more of the following sign, they may be using.
Problems remembering things they recently said or did. Loss of coordination, dizziness or fainting. Depression, Confusion, Sleep problems, Chills or sweating and Slurred speech.
What about Inhalants (glue, kick, bang, sniff, huff, poppers, whippets, Texas shoe shine)? Inhalants can cause irreversible physical and mental damage before you know what has happened. Inhalants starve your body of oxygen, cause the heart to beat irregularly and rapid, has caused loss of sense of smell, nausea, and nose bleeds and loss of muscle tone and strength. Inhalants can kill instantly. Users can die from suffocation, choking on their vomit, or heart attack. What are the signs to look for? Slurred speech, Drunk, dizzy or dazed appearance, Unusual breath odor, Chemical smell on clothing, Paint stains on body or face, Red eyes and Runny nose.
What can you do to help? Be a real friend. Save a life. Encourage him to stop and seek professional help. Convince him BEFORE someone has to call 911. Families, intervention through a counselor is important. Start with a school counselor and try to get the necessary help BEFORE the problem escalates into the legal system. Get your family involved. It is important that the user know the effects he is having on the family. It is important that they know the family wants to get involved. Early intervention can save a much more complicated and expensive intervention in the future.