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«Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor Index Dealing with reality page 3 ...»

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Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp

Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor


Dealing with reality page 3

How do drugs affect your brain page 5

Photos of drugs page 7

Alcohol page 14

Bath Salts page 15 Cat page 16 Cocaine page 18 Crack Cocaine page 19 Dxm page 20 Ecstacy page 21 Ghb page 22 Hallucinogens page 23 Heroin page 24 Inhalants page 26 Ketamine page 28 Khat page 29 Lsd page 30 Mandrax page 31 Marijuana Dagga page 34 Meth page 36 Mushrooms page 37 Tik page 38 Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor Deal with reality – do not take drugs The more you know about how drugs work and the effect they can have on your body and mind, the more you will be able to protect yourself against them FACT 1: Different Drugs cause Different feelings and physical responses Caffeine, alcohol, dagga, heroin, ecstasy, mandrax and cocaine are all drugs but they have little else in common. Whereas caffeine and alcohol are legal drugs, drugs such as dagga, heroin, ecstasy, mandrax, and cocaine are illegal. Further, you could experience a very pleasant response to one drug, yet another drug could have a very frightening response – it could even kill you.

Drugs such as dagga and heroin are derived from plants. Others drugs such as ecstasy and mandrax are and man-made. Pure drugs are far more expensive than drugs mixed or “cut” with less expensive substances. Like any business the illicitdrug industry is profit-driven.

Therefore drug dealers use a variety of substances to cut drugs. Some of these substances may be more harmful than the drug itself. The drug you are offered tomorrow may look the same as the drug you were offered yesterday, but you can never be sure of what it contains.

The only way to be sure that you don’t ingest it is to avoid taking drugs!

Drugs can be swallowed (pills), smoked, inhaled or injected. You can never anticipate the effect that drugs will have on you. It is a mistake to think that experience increases your tolerance levels or that nothing will happen to you if you take a drug that you have used before. It is a well-known fact that seasoned drug addicts often die of overdoses Drug addiction seduces you into wanting more and different and stronger drugs, against your will and the natural tolerance of your body. No matter how good you may feel when using drugs, your body suffers. Drugs are dangerous. If you take drugs, you are at great risk of becoming addicted UPPERS (cocaine, ecstasy, speed, crack-cocaine) Uppers are designed to make you feel great. You make you feel alive, dynamic, and energized. Depending on your personal response to the drug, you could, however, also feel anxious, nervous and paranoid. You could even die. Uppers put a terrible strain on the heart.

Long-term use destroys your nerves, takes away your appetite and causes sleeplessness. You will end up taking a downer as your body suffers withdrawal symptoms when the drug wears off. You will feel depressed and, sometimes, suicidal.

DOWNERS (alcohol, dagga, heroin, mandrax) Downers make you feel relaxed or laid back. Unfortunately, you cannot control just how relaxed you will be. Long-term use of downers causes lethargy and makes it harder for you to do the things you need to do as a functional member of society. School children and Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor students who use these drugs find it hard study or complete assignments, and relationships inevitably suffer. Too much of a powerful downer like heroin causes the systems of the body to shut down, eventually leading to death.

HALLUCINOGENS (LSD, mescaline, mushrooms) These drugs cause powerful hallucinations or dreams in which your reality is changed. You cannot predict whether the dream will be enjoyable or be a hideous nightmare. A “bad trip” can haunt you for the rest of your life, with flashbacks occurring at any time.

FACT 2: Different People respond differently to the same drugs Drugs cause different reactions in different people. Never take a drug based on someone else’s reported experience of using that drug. Never persuade someone else to take a drug based on your own experience of using it.

FACT 3: The more drugs you take, the more you need The first time you take a drug, you will probably experience and exhilarating high. As your body gets used to the drug, you will need more and more of it to experience the same intense reaction. This increasing tolerance to a drug is actually a growing addiction. Addiction comes with a big price tag. The more drugs you want, the more money you need to “feed the habit”. Drugs are expensive and their effect on you makes it unlikely that you will be able to earn enough money to afford them. Some drug addicts turn to crime and other high-risk behaviour. Many are arrested and go to prison. Others turn to prostitution and live tragic and tainted lives, almost inevitably die young.

Some people take drugs for a while and then manage to escape before they become addicts or before irreparable harm are done. Do not rely on being one of those people – being strong is not enough to withstand the horrors of drug addiction. It is not weak people who become drug addicts, its drug addicts who become weak people. No addict takes that first drug believing that he or she will be addicted. All addicts start out believing that they could give up drugs any time they wanted to. Every addict is sad proof of how wrong that belief is.

FACT 4: Life is Tough Enough - Drugs only make it Tougher When you feel that you cannot cope with life’s challenges, you may feel tempted to take a drug to make you feel vibrant and confident, or to change your sense of reality – even if only for a short while. Instant gratification, a sense of peace, a wonderful trip, or a feeling of power – all these things you are promised by those who offer you drugs. Such persons often

describe the effects of drugs in glowing terms. But they do not tell you:

that you cannot control your response to a drug;

what a drug contains;

the more you like a drug, the more you will want it and that you will eventually become addicted;

when the drug wears off, reality will still be there with all the problems from which you were trying to escape;

Uppers make you need downers and a combination of the two can kill you; and drugs let you lose control, which, in turn, makes you more vulnerable to sexual or physical assault.

However tempting it may be, using drugs to take a break from reality will not make your problems disappear or make life better. If you feel that things are spiralling out of control and you are overwhelmed by problems, seek real help from someone who cares. People who Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor try to sell you drugs are not interested in your well-being.

You may have already used drugs and you may be scared of becoming addicted. But remember: No matter how much trouble you think you will be in if you ask for help, you will be in worse trouble if you do not.

SANCA is an organisation that has caring professionals who deal with drug abuse on a daily basis. If you need help or if you know of someone else who does, you can phone the following helpline SAPS Crime stop 08600 10111



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Build a people’s contract for a safe and secure South Africa!

A product of South African Police Service, Communication Planning, Research and Marketing. P/Bag X94, Pretoria, 0001. June 2003.

How do drugs work in the brain?

Drugs are chemicals. They work in the brain by tapping into the brain's communication system and interfering with the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information. Some drugs, such as marijuana and heroin, can activate neurons because their chemical structure mimics that of a natural neurotransmitter. This similarity in structure "fools" receptors and allows the drugs to lock onto and activate the nerve cells. Although these drugs mimic brain chemicals, they don't activate nerve cells in the same way as a natural neurotransmitter, and they lead to abnormal messages being transmitted through the network.

Other drugs, such as amphetamine or cocaine, can cause the nerve cells to release abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters or prevent the normal recycling of these brain chemicals, which is needed to shut off the signal between neurons. This disruption produces a greatly amplified message, ultimately disrupting communication channels. The difference in effect can be described as the difference between someone whispering into your ear and someone shouting into a microphone.

Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor How do drugs work in the brain to produce pleasure?

All drugs of abuse directly or indirectly target the brain's reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, cognition, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. The overstimulation of this system, which rewards our natural behaviors, produces the euphoric effects sought by people who abuse drugs and teaches them to repeat the behavior.

How does stimulation of the brain's pleasure circuit teach us to keep taking drugs?

Our brains are wired to ensure that we will repeat life-sustaining activities by associating those activities with pleasure or reward. Whenever this reward circuit is activated, the brain notes that something important is happening that needs to be remembered, and teaches us to do it again and again, without thinking about it. Because drugs of abuse stimulate the same circuit, we learn to abuse drugs in the same way.

Why are drugs more addictive than natural rewards?

When some drugs of abuse are taken, they can release 2 to 10 times the amount of dopamine that natural rewards do. In some cases, this occurs almost immediately (as when drugs are smoked or injected), and the effects can last much longer than those produced by natural rewards. The resulting effects on the brain's pleasure circuit dwarfs those produced by naturally rewarding behaviors such as eating. The effect of such a powerful reward strongly motivates people to take drugs again and again.

What happens to your brain if you keep taking drugs?

Just as we turn down the volume on a radio that is too loud, the brain adjusts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine (and other neurotransmitters) by producing less dopamine or by reducing the number of receptors that can receive and transmit signals. As a result, dopamine's impact on the reward circuit of a drug abusers brain can become abnormally low, and the ability to experience any pleasure is reduced. This is why the abuser eventually feels flat, lifeless, and depressed, and is unable to enjoy things that previously brought them pleasure. Now, they need to take drugs just to bring their dopamine function back up to normal. And, they must take larger amounts of the drug than they first did to create the dopamine high - an effect known as tolerance.

How does long-term drug taking affect brain circuits?

We know that the same sort of mechanisms involved in the development of tolerance can eventually lead to profound changes in neurons and brain circuits, with the potential to severely compromise the long-term health of the brain. For example, glutamate is another neurotransmitter that influences the reward circuit and the ability to learn. When the optimal concentration of glutamate is altered by drug abuse, the brain attempts to compensate for Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor this change, which can cause impairment in cognitive function. Similarly, long-term drug abuse can trigger adaptations in habit or nonconscious memory systems. Conditioning is one example of this type of learning, whereby environmental cues become associated with the drug experience and can trigger uncontrollable cravings if the individual is later exposed to these cues, even without the drug itself being available. This learned "reflex" is extremely robust and can emerge even after many years of abstinence.

What other brain changes occur with abuse?

Chronic exposure to drugs of abuse disrupts the way critical brain structures interact to control behavior - behavior specifically related to drug abuse. Just as continued abuse may lead to tolerance or the need for higher drug dosages to produce an effect, it may also lead to addiction, which can drive an abuser to seek out and take drugs compulsively. Drug addiction erodes a person's self-control and ability to make sound decisions, while sending intense impulses to take drugs.


Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor


FOUND CAT Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor



Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor


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Alcohol is a depressant that affects every part of your body. The damage it does now can impact the rest of your life..

AKA Drink, booze, brew, hooch, moonshine, beer What is it?

Alcohol is a depressant derived from the natural fermentation of fruits, vegetables and grains.

These are brewed and distilled into a wide range of beverages with various alcohol contents.

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