Marijuana users are difficult to recognize unless they are under the influence of the drug at the time of observation. Casual users may show none of the general symptoms. Marijuana does have a distinct odor and may be the same color or a bit greener than tobacco.
Note: There are few readily apparent symptoms. Abuse may be indicated by activities such as frequent visits to different physicians for prescriptions to treat "nervousness", "anxiety"," stress", etc.
As the name implies, depressants interact to depress the activities of the central nervous system. Depressants have three categories; hypnotics which induce sleep; sedatives which do not induce sleep but produce a relaxing effect to help one fall asleep, and tranquilizers, such as Valium and Xanax, which are used to alleviate anxiety, tension, and relax muscles. Depressants can be synthesized, or occur naturally in the plants such as belladonna and curare.
Synthetic depressants are derived from barbituric acid. Barbiturates were first is covered by German chemist Adolph Von Bayer. This 1864 discovery was named "barbiturate" by Bayer, after the patron saint of artillery officers, Saint Barbara. The first barbiturate "Veronal" was marketed in 1903. Phenobarbital was later introduced in 1912. Of the 2500 varieties of barbiturates known, roughly fifty of these are marketed for a variety of medicinal applications. Of the these fifty, only a little over a dozen are predominately used.
There are also non-barbiturate based depressants such as Methaqualone , Noludar, and Doriden. These have multi-properties such as sedative, anti convulsing, local anesthetic, and cough suppressant.
The effects of barbiturates are similar to alcohol, and range from very short to very long acting. The abuser can develop a high tolerance which creates the need for escalating dosages to maintain the desired high. Barbiturates also have a high potential for dependency.
Another danger of barbiturates is the potential for automatism. Automatism is the phenomenon where the abuser takes a barbiturate, forgets they have taken it, then takes another. This cycle can be repeated until the abuser overdoses.
Barbiturates also can have the effects of potentiation and synergism. This is were the effects of a combination between two or more depressants is greater than their proportionate amount. An example would be an abuser takes together depressant "A", which has effects normally last one hour, and depressant "B", which has effects normally lasting 3 hours. When taken together, the combined effects of "A" & "B" has the potential to last much longer than the anticipated 4 hours. Additionally, barbiturate "A"'s and barbiturate "B"'s normal effect on the user may be greatly enhanced as a result of the two drugs being taken together.
If the effects of barbiturates seem severe, the withdrawal aspects are even worse. The withdrawal from depressants, and especially barbiturates, is very hazardous and potentially lethal, sometimes taking from five to eight days. These withdrawal effects include delirium, hallucinations, anxiety, tremors, weakness, abdominal cramps, nausea, delirium, spatial and time disorientation, seizures, respiratory failure, heart failure, and finally death.
While there may be no readily apparent symptoms of analgesic abuse, it may be indicated by frequent visits to different physicians or dentists for prescriptions to treat pain of non-specific origin.
In cases where patient has chronic pain and abuse of medication is suspected, it may be indicated by amounts and frequency taken.
Inhalants are a common substance of abuse among teenagers. Their popularity is largely a matter of availability. Inhalants, which include certain glues, aerosols, and solvents, are easily and cheaply obtained at a local hardware store. But the most common source of inhalants are the abuser's own residence. Though it is illegal to breath inhalants, it is not illegal to possess or purchase them. The abuse of inhalants can have extreme health consequences to the abuser.
Commonly abused inhalants include a few types of model cement, cooking sprays, hair spray, deodorant, liquid paper, aerosol sprays, paint, paint thinner, gasoline and solvents. Inhalants are used by spraying, or pouring the inhalant onto a rag, which is placed into a bag or sack. The abuser then places the bag or sack over their face and breaths in the vapors emitted by the inhalant. This induces a short-lived light headed euphoric state in the abuser.
The effects of inhalant abuse can include severe headaches, nausea, fainting, accelerated heart beat, and vomiting. Side effects can include damage to lungs, liver, kidneys, bone marrow, and can cause suffocation, choking, anemia, and stroke.
Hallucinogenic drugs, which occur both naturally and in synthetic form, distort or disturb sensory input, sometimes to a great degree. Hallucinogens occur naturally in primarily two forms, peyote cactus and psilocybin mushrooms. Several chemical varieties have been synthesized, most notably LSD, MDA, STP, and PCP.
Hallucinogen usage reached a peak in the United States in the late 1960's, but declined shortly thereafter due to a broader awareness of the detrimental effects of usage. However, a disturbing trend indicating a resurgence in hallucinogen usage by high-school and college age persons nationwide has been acknowledged by law enforcement.
With the exception of PCP, all hallucinogens seem to share common effects of use. Any portion of sensory perceptions may be altered to varying degrees. Synesthesia, or the "seeing" of sounds, and the "hearing" of colors, is a common side effect of hallucinogen use. Depersonalization, acute anxiety, and acute depression resulting in suicide have also been noted as a result of hallucinogen use.
No firm evidence has come to light indicating possible physical addiction as a result of using this type of drug, though some psychological dependency cases have been noted.
Note: PCP drug has stimulant, depressant, hallucinogenic and analgesic effects. Which of these will be most pronounced is unpredictable and depends on users personality, psychological state and the setting at time of use.
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