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Facts

  • One out of every 10 people has an alcohol problem.
  • There are 17 million illegal drug users.
  • Almost 15 million people  who abuse prescription drugs are out there.
  • Approximately 68% of illegal drug users are employed either full-time or part-time. (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
  • Between 10% and 20% of our nation’s workers who die on the job test positive for alcohol or other drugs. (OSHA)
  • The highest rates of illicit drug use are reported in the field of construction, food preparation and waiters/waitresses.
  • Employees who frequently use illicit drugs take three times as many sick benefits as the average worker and are five times more likely to file a  workers’ compensation claim against their employer.

Alcohol

Alcohol in itself is not bad. However, the problem lies in the abuse of alcohol. People love to consume alcoholic beverages. Thus, millions of people worldwide fall into alcohol's enticing trap. These individuals are not necessarily alcoholics. Each year hundreds of thousands of people are injured or killed in alcohol-related automobile accidents. Sadly, many fatalities occur among those who were not drinking.

The death toll related to alcohol abuse is unimaginable. According to the National Council of Alcohol and Drug Dependency, 105,000 Americans are killed each year in alcohol-related crashes.

It is estimated that nearly 14 million of the American population are alcoholics.

Alcoholic beverages contain a substance called ethanol. This substance can potentially cause damage to the central nervous system. Those who drink in moderation do not have to concern themselves with this problem. Ethanol does not affect the body until a person reaches their tolerance level. When this occurs, a person's brain function slows and they may begin to giggle uncontrollably or feel sleepy. This is the time to stop drinking. Those who continue to drink will likely experience slurred speech, blurred vision, and poor coordination. The body has the ability to safely dissolve ethanol. However, during extreme drinking binges, the body cannot work fast enough, which may result in alcohol poisoning, coma, or death. Prolong alcohol abuse is responsible for brain cell loss, poor memory, depression, and violent behavior.

Marijuana

Studies of marijuana's mental effects show that the drug can impair or reduce short-term memory, alter sense of time, and reduce ability to do things which require concentration, swift reactions, and coordination, such as driving a car or operating machinery.

Long-term regular users of marijuana may become psychologically dependent. They may have a hard time limiting their use, they may need more of the drug to get the same effect, and they may develop problems with their jobs and personal relationships. The drug can become the most important aspect of their lives.

Scientists believe that marijuana can be especially harmful to the lungs because users often inhale the unfiltered smoke deeply and hold it in their lungs as long as possible. Therefore, the smoke is in contact with lung tissues for long periods of time, which irritates the lungs and damages the way they work. Marijuana smoke contains some of the same ingredients in tobacco smoke that can cause emphysema and cancer.

Marijuana smoke has been found to contain more cancer-causing agents than is found in tobacco smoke. Examination of human lung tissue that had been exposed to marijuana smoke over a long period of time in a laboratory showed cellular changes called metaplasia that are considered precancerous. In laboratory test, the tars from marijuana smoke have produced tumors when applied to animal skin. These studies suggest that it is likely that marijuana may cause cancer if used for a number of years.

Cocaine

The annual number of new cocaine users has generally increased over time. In 1975, there were 30,000 new users. The number increased from 300,000 in 1986 to 361,000 in 2000

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive drug of abuse. Once having tried cocaine, users cannot predict or control the extent to they will continue to use the drug.

Cocaine is a potent and dangerous. The short-term and long-term effects of cocaine are equally dangerous. The dangers of experiencing cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory failure is equal in both short and long term abuse.

Regular chronic (daily or heavy weekly) cocaine use will gradually collapse the septum, the thin membrane which divides the nostrils. The damage is irreversible.

Researchers have found that the human liver combines cocaine and alcohol to produce a third substance, cocaethylene, which intensifies cocaine’s euphoric effects. Cocaethylene is associated with a greater risk of sudden death than cocaine alone.

Crystal Methamphetamine

What are Meth Effects and Symptoms of using crystal meth?

Dizziness
Tachycardia
Convulsions
Sweating
Decreased appetite ( anorexia )
Euphoria (followed by depression)
Insomnia
Respiratory problems
Brain damage
Hyperthermia
Anger
Paranoia
Anxiety
Aggressiveness
Hostility
Tremors
Skin abscesses
Hallucinations

 

Meth Effects - Side Effects of using Crystal Meth

Meth effects include convulsions, dangerously high body temperature, stroke, cardiac arrhythmia, stomach cramps, and shaking. Chronic abuse can lead to psychotic behavior including intense paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations and out of control rages. Chronic users develop sores on their bodies from scratching imaginary bugs crawling on or under the skin. Long-term use may result in anxiety, insomnia and addiction. After methamphetamine use is stopped, several withdrawal symptoms can occur, including depression, anxiety, fatigue, paranoia, aggression and an intense craving for the drug. Meth use can cause severe gum damage and their related dental problems, known as meth mouth.

Meth Effects - Cardiovascular problems

Methamphetamine use causes increased heart rate and blood pressure. These include rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and irreversible, stroke-producing damage to small blood vessels in the brain. Chronic methamphetamine abuse can result in inflammation of the heart lining. Methamphetamine can cause a variety of cardiovascular problems including heart attacks, cardiovascular collapse and death.

Meth Effects - Physiological effects of Crystal meth

Short-term physiological effects include decreased appetite, increased stamina and physical energy, increased sexual drive and response, involuntary body movements, increased perspiration, hyperactivity, jitteriness, nausea, itchy, blotchy greasy skin, increased heart rate, irregular heart rate, increased blood pressure, and headaches. Long-term abuse or overdose effects can include tremor, restlessness, changed sleep patterns, poor skin condition, gastrointestinal narrowing and weakened immune system. Fatigue and depression can follow the excitement stage. Erectile dysfunction, heart problems, stroke, and liver, kidney and lung damage can result from prolonged use. If snorted, crystal methamphetamine leads to a deterioration of the lining of the nostrils.

Meth Effects - Psychological effects of Methamphetamine

Short-term psychological effects can include alertness, euphoria, increased concentration, rapid talking, increased confidence, increased social responsiveness, eye wiggles, hallucinations and loss of REM sleep the night. Long-term psychological effects can include insomnia, mental states resembling schizophrenia, aggressiveness and dependence with accompanying withdrawal symptoms, irritability, confusion and panic. Chronic use can lead to psychosis, causing delusions and paranoia. Methamphetamine is psychologically addictive and tolerance develops very quickly. Withdrawal is an unpleasant experience. This commonly leads chronic users to re-dose frequently.

Ecstasy

The effects of long-term damage are still being studied. Ecstasy, also known as MDMA, causes a rush of the brain chemical serotonin, which is responsible for regulating mood and memory at the most basic level. Because the serotonin is released in a flood, researchers fear neurons which aid in the transmitting of serotonin could be damaged due to overload.

Evidence is also mounting that regular use of the drug may cause long-term brain changes which may be linked to an increased risk of mental health problems, including chronic depression. Studies have already suggested that the drug is toxic to the neurones in the brain, and that it may kill cells which produce a vital mood chemical called seratonin.

The drug makes the body less able to control its temperature and water content, most often putting users at risk of overheating and dehydration.
Use of ecstasy can increase a person's heart rate and blood pressure
Ecstasy can cause tension in the jaw and an urge to chew and clench one's teeth.
For days after taking ecstasy, a person may feel depressed and slow.
Those who use ecstasy may have trouble with short-term memory and may find it hard to focus their thoughts.
Ecstasy users can't be sure how strong a dose of ecstasy is.
Ecstasy use carries added risks since other drugs may be mixed with ecstasy, sometimes without a user's knowledge.

Opiates

Opiates are made from the opium poppy.  Other similar drugs are made by chemists and are often called opioids.  The most common opiates or opioids include heroin, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone.

Concern about the abuse of prescription painkillers has risen dramatically in the U.S. Of particular concern is the abuse of pain medications containing opiates (also known as narcotic analgesics), marketed under such brand names as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Demerol, and Darvon. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), the incidence of emergency department (ED) visits related to narcotic analgesic abuse has been increasing in the U.S. since the mid-1990s, and more than doubled between 1994 and 2001.

Unfortunately, few will escape a physical addiction to an opiate painkiller if they take it regularly for any length of time, even if under the care of a doctor. Even worse, a number of those who are physically addicted to the drug will develop a psychological dependence upon their prescription opiate as well.

Like other depressants, opiates produce a tranquil and euphoric effect. Users who inject an opiate such as heroin may also experience a "rush" as the drug circulates through the body. Some users combine opiates with a stimulant such as cocaine. This is called "speed balling." The stimulant keeps the user from falling asleep; the opiate reduces the hyperactive effects often caused by stimulants.

Psychological dependence is probable with continued use of opiates. When a user becomes dependent, finding and using the drug becomes the main focus of life. Opiates induce tolerance: the need for more of the drug in order to produce the same effects.

The physical effects of opiates depend on the opiate used, its source, the dose and the method used. Opiates slow breathing, heart rate and brain activity. Opiates depress appetite, thirst and sexual desire. The body's tolerance to pain is increased. Potential contamination, using opiates in combination with other drugs, and using un-sterile needles all increase the danger of opiates. Use of un-sterile needles can lead to hepatitis, tetanus or AIDS.

PCP (phencyclidine)

PCP is classified as a hallucinogen and has many of the same effects as LSD, but can be much more dangerous. In the 1950's, PCP was investigated as an anesthetic, but due to its severe side effects, its development for human use was discontinued. PCP is known for inducing violent behavior and for inducing negative physical reactions such as seizures, coma, death. There is no way to predict who will have a bad reaction to the drug. Maybe this is because PCP has so many faces--it acts as a hallucinogen, stimulant, depressant, and anesthetic---all at the same time.

At low to moderate doses, PCP can cause distinct changes in body awareness, similar to those associated with alcohol intoxication. Other effects can include shallow breathing, flushing, profuse sweating, generalized numbness of the extremities and poor muscular coordination. Use of PCP among adolescents may interfere with hormones related to normal growth and development as well as with the learning process.

At high doses, PCP can cause hallucinations as well as seizures, coma, and death (though death more often results from accidental injury or suicide during PCP intoxication). Other effects that can occur at high doses are nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, flicking up and down of the eyes, drooling, loss of balance, and dizziness. High doses can also cause effects similar to symptoms of schizophrenia, such as delusions, paranoia, disordered thinking, a sensation of distance from one's environment, and catatonia. Speech is often sparse and garbled.

PCP has sedative effects, and interactions with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, can lead to coma or accidental overdose.

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