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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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The Risks You may hear that it will loosen you up and help you relax. What you may not hear is that it can damage the part of your brain that controls coordination, memory, judgment and decision-making.1 Straight up, drinking makes you dumber—you may slur your words and lose coordination, and your reactions will become slower.

If you drink a lot and drink fast (binge drinking) you really put yourself in danger. With binge drinking, the depressant (or dumbing) effects of alcohol can overwhelm the body's defenses.

Unable to move and think clearly, you can do stupid, risky and reckless things that are unsafe, or even lethal. Each year, approximately 5,000 people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking. This includes about 1,900 deaths from car accidents, 1,600 homicides, 300 suicides, and hundreds of other deaths due to accidents like falls, burns and drowning.

Long term effects Alcohol travels through your bloodstream and damages your brain, stomach, liver, kidneys and muscles. As a teenager, your body is still developing, so damage done to it now will affect the rest of your life. Over time, drinking destroys your body and your looks, so all that work you've done to look good, keep strong and stay fit goes down the drain fast.

The bottom line Yes, it's legal for people 21 and older. One reason is that alcohol can have seriously dangerous, long-term impacts on a body and brain that are still developing. Also, statistics show that more teens are killed by alcohol than by all illegal drugs combined. Alcohol abuse also destroys your life and the people around you by the impact of your behavior. Most common cause of domestic violence

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Though the name may sound harmless, bath salts are a dangerous synthetic stimulant that carries the risk of easy overdose, hallucinations and even death.

AKA Brand names include Blizzard, Blue Silk, Charge+, Ivory Snow, Ivory Wave, Ocean Burst, Pure Ivory, Purple Wave, Snow Leopard, Stardust, Vanilla Sky, White Dove, White Knight and White Lightning What is it?

A synthetic, stimulant powder product that contains amphetamine-like chemicals, including mephedrone, which may have a high risk for overdose. Because the drug is new and some of the contents unknown, using it in any way is highly dangerous. Right now, bath salts are illegal in a growing number of U.S. states, as well as foreign countries like Canada, Australia and Great Britain.

The Risks Between January and February 2011, there were over 250 calls to U.S. poison centers related to bath salts. This is well over the 236 calls received for all of 2010. Bath salts are a dangerous drug whose full risks and effects are still unknown. What doctors at poison centers have reported is that bath salts can cause rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, chest pains, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia and delusions.

Long term effects Bath salts are a relatively new drug, so it's hard to know the full long-term effects, but they seem to have many similarities to methamphetamine (meth). Taking a lot of it for a long time can lead to emotional and physical "crash-like" feelings of depression, anxiety and intense cravings for more of the drug.

The bottom line Since it contains amphetamine-like chemicals, bath salts will always carry the risk of stroke, heart attack and sudden death. It may be legal in some states, but so is rat poison, and you probably wouldn't want to ingest that either.

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What is it A dangerous addictive drug that is cheap and easy to manufacture appears out of nowhere and creates a potential drug crisis. The drug is concocted from a "witches brew" of battery acid, Drano, and over-the- counter asthma medication, and can be manufactured in home kitchens.

It is South Africa's most recent drug threat -- methcathinone. Since 2001, this new drug has emerged as a cheap substitute for methamphetamine. Since it is so new, all of the risks have not yet been assessed. But lack of information about risks has not stopped its use in South Africa.

What is it made of

The ingredients used in various recipes for home-made methcathinone include:

• ephedrine or pseudoephedrine (found in some over-the-counter asthma and cold medications like Sinutab,Sudafed,Actifed, Sinumax, Flusent and other medication to dry up your nose) Ephedrine is similar in structure to amphetamine and methamphetamine. Chemically, it is an alkaloid. It works mainly by increasing the activity of noradrenaline on adrenergic receptors. It is most usually marketed in the hydrochloride and sulfate forms

• acetone (explosive paint solvent)

• muriatic acid (used in sandblasting and cleaning mortar off bricks)

• sulphuric acid (battery acid)

• lye (usually in the form of a crystal drain cleaner such as Drano, soap that eat fat)

• sodium dichromate or potassium dichromate

• sodium hydroxide

• toluene (explosive paint thinner) Problems Associated with Methcathinone Use While research on the long-term effects of methcathinone use is just beginning in the United States, anecdotal reports from users in treatment in this country, and from published research Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor In Russia, paint a similar picture. Chronic use of methcathinone produces a range of problems

typical of addiction to powerful stimulant drugs including:

• paranoia and delusions • hallucinations, including a sensation of bugs crawling under the skin • anxiety followed by depression • tremors and convulsions • anorexia, malnutrition, and weight loss • sweating, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance • stomach pains and nausea Nose bleeding and eventual destruction of nasal tissues and erosion of the nasal septum • elevated blood pressure and heart rate • body aches In addition, following a binge, users report a "crash" that often includes severe psychological depression, and suicide ideation. Anecdotal reports from patients in treatment facilities in Michigan and Wisconsin suggest that methcathinone is highly addictive, similar to crack cocaine, and some users report developing tolerance and withdrawal symptoms after just one incident of binging (six to ten days) on methcathinone. Addiction to methcathinone appears to be as difficult to treat as addiction to crack cocaine.

Data from Russia report that many methcathinone addicts suffer permanent brain damage and exhibit symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease. In extreme cases, deaths have been reported, and are related to heart failure, lethal overdoses, drug-related violence, and manufacturing accidents.

Effects of Methcathinone Intoxication The most common means of taking methcathinone is snorting (nasal insufflation). Other routes of administration include taking it by mouth (oral ingestion) mixed in a liquid such as coffee or soft drinks, intravenous injection, and smoking it either in a crack pipe or added to tobacco or marijuana cigarettes. Methcathinone is often used in binges lasting from two to six days, during which methcathinone is used repeatedly.

Effects of short term intoxication are similar to those produced by crack cocaine or methamphetamine: stimulation of heart rate and respiration; feeling of euphoria; loss of appetite; increased alertness; pupils may be dilated; body temperature may be slightly elevated. Acute intoxication at higher doses may also result in: insomnia, tremors and muscle twitching, fever, headaches, convulsions, irregular heart rate and respirations, anxiety, restlessness, paranoia, and hallucinations and delusions.

History of Methcathinone Methcathinone is a derivative of a naturally-occurring stimulant drug, cathinone, which is found in the "khat" plant, Cathula edulis, which is native to the horn of Africa and Southern Arabian Peninsula. It was first synthesized in Germany in 1928, and used in the Soviet Union as an anti-depressant during the 1930's and 1940's. Abuse of methcathinone, also known as "Ephedrone," "Jeff," or "Mulka," has been reported in the Soviet Union since the late 1960's.

In the mid-1950's, American pharmaceutical manufacturer Parke Davis & Company conducted preliminary studies on methcathinone to determine if it had any medicinal Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor potential. Although Parke Davis soon abandoned its methcathinone research, after determining that there were unacceptable safety risks and substantial side effects, their studies revealed that it had physiologic effects similar to amphetamine.

Methcathinone re-emerged in this country in 1989, when a University of Michigan student who was interning at Parke Davis stumbled across and stole samples of the drug and documentation of the manufacturing process. In 1990, associates of that student began manufacturing and selling the drug in clandestine laboratories in northern Michigan. Its use became popular in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 1990 and 1991, and quickly spread state-wide. As of 1995, methcathinone laboratories have been discovered in ten states, from Colorado through the Midwest. It has quickly become one of the biggest challenges faced by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Methcathinone was classified as a schedule I controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act on May 1, 1992, under the emergency scheduling procedure. The classification was made permanent effective October 15, 1993.

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Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that can be risky even the first time you use it. Common side effects include increased heart rate and blood pressure, but seizures, cardiac arrest and even death are a real risk with this drug.

AKA Blow, bump, C, candy, Charlie, coke, snow What is it?

Powder cocaine is a hydrochloride salt derived from the processed leaves of the coca plant.

"Crack" is a type of processed cocaine that is formed into a rock-like crystal.

The Risks You may hear that it will keep you wired and ready to party all night. What you may not hear is that even the first time you snort it or smoke it, your blood vessels constrict immediately.

This increases your heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. At first, this may make you sweaty and shaky, but seizures, cardiac arrest and even death are the real gamble you take when you use this drug.

Long term affects Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor Because it's so highly addictive, it's easy to get hooked, and the long-term effects can get really ugly. Prolonged cocaine snorting can cause scabs to form on your mucus membranes, damage your nasal septum (the thin wall that separates your left and right nostrils) and eventually make your nose collapse. Smoking cocaine or crack lets the drug reach your brain quickly, and the risk of addiction appears to be higher the faster the drug reaches the brain.

Smoke a lot of crack, and you can quickly become a new person—one who's aggressive, paranoid and anxious.

The bottom line Using cocaine or crack-even only once—is dangerous, and the more you use, the worse the effects are on your brain and heart. Continued use can make you depressed and agitated.

Cocaine-related deaths are often caused by cardiac arrest or seizures, followed by respiratory failure (meaning, you stop breathing)

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What is it Crack cocaine is a highly addictive and powerful stimulant that is derived from powdered cocaine using a simple conversion process. Crack emerged as a drug of abuse in the mids. It is abused because it produces an immediate high and because it is easy and inexpensive to produce--rendering it readily available and affordable.

How is it produced Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor Crack is produced by dissolving powdered cocaine in a mixture of water and ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). The mixture is boiled until a solid substance forms. The solid is removed from the liquid, dried, and then broken into the chunks (rocks) that are sold as crack cocaine What does it look like Crack typically is available as rocks. Crack rocks are white (or off-white) and vary in size and shape.

How is crack abused Crack is nearly always smoked. Smoking crack cocaine delivers large quantities of the drug to the lungs, producing an immediate and intense euphoric effect.

What is the risk Cocaine, in any form, is a powerfully addictive drug, and addiction seems to develop more quickly when the drug is smoked--as crack is--than snorted--as powdered cocaine typically is.

In addition to the usual risks associated with cocaine use (constricted blood vessels; increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure; and risk of cardiac arrest and seizure), crack users may experience acute respiratory problems, including coughing, shortness of breath, and lung trauma and bleeding. Crack cocaine smoking also can cause aggressive and paranoid behaviour.

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When taken as directed, DXM is a safe cold medicine. (To suppress) When taken at higher doses, DXM can be lethal.

Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor AKA Robotripping, robo, tussin, triple c, dex, skittles, velvet, drank What is it?

DXM (dextromethorphan) is a cough-suppressing ingredient in many OTC (over-the-counter) cold and cough medications. It's safe if you take it for a cold and as directed, but taking it at doses higher than the recommended amount can be lethal.

The Risks Some teens think abusing cold medicine is not a big deal and figure, "I'll just try it." But a single high dose of DXM can completely distort your vision, and make you dizzy, agitated and paranoid. Hallucinations are a side effect of DXM intoxication. And it can also affect your body. Taking large doses of DXM can make you vomit, lose your coordination and distort your sense of judgment.

Long term effects People who abuse DXM can develop a severe addictive dependence on the drug. Addiction always increases the risk of misjudgments and accidents. A DXM high can make simple activities—like driving, crossing the street or swimming-a deadly sport. In combination with alcohol or other drugs, DXM can lead to overdoses and death.

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