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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 bottom line Taken as directed for sicknesses and colds, DXM is a safe drug. Taken at high doses, it can damage your senses and can easily be deadly. In 2003, a 14-year-old boy in Colorado who abused DXM died when two cars hit him as he tried to cross a highway. Investigators believe that taking DXM affected the boy's depth perception and caused him to misjudge the distance and speed of the oncoming vehicles.

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Ecstasy has a rep for being a party drug. But side effects like tremors, teeth clenching and nausea, not to mention anxiety, depression and possible brain damage, will suck all the life out of any party, fast.

AKA Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor XTC, X, E, Adam, Eve, clarity, hug, beans, love drug, lovers' speed, peace, uppers, Molly What is it?

Ecstasy's medical name is MDMA (methylenedioxy-methamphetamine). It is a synthetic, mind-altering drug that acts both as a stimulant and a hallucinogenic. Research shows that many Ecstasy tablets contain a number of other drugs that can be dangerous when combined, including methamphetamine, ketamine, cocaine, DXM and the diet drug ephedrine.

The Risks Shortly after taking Ecstasy, you may feel confusion, depression and severe anxiety—but these effects can also show up days or weeks after taking the drug. Like any other stimulant, it will increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Physical effects of Ecstasy include tremors, teeth clenching, muscle cramps, nausea, faintness, chills, sweating and blurred vision.

Long term effects Ecstasy directly affects the brain chemical serotonin, and how your brain cells communicate with each other. Clinical studies show that Ecstasy can be harmful to your brain and can increase the risk of permanent problems with memory and learning. Also, taking too much Ecstasy can interfere with the body's ability to regulate its temperature. This can cause hyperthermia and can lead to liver, kidney and cardiovascular failure.

The bottom line The word is that Ecstasy lets you get in touch with all your senses. But what you might really "get in touch with" is the sensation of shaking, cramps, nausea, sweating and blurred visionnow, that doesn't really sound like fun. Also not fun, is the life-long damage Ecstasy can do to your brain.

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Once popular at raves and clubs, GHB can literally knock you out for life. Unconsciousness, seizures, coma and even death are what you risk when you use it.

AKA G, Georgia homeboy, grievous bodily harm, liquid ecstasy, soap, scoop, goop, liquid X Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor What is it?

GHB, or Gamma-hydroxybutyrate, is a depressant that affects the central nervous system. It first became popular as a club drug at all-night dance parties and raves. Sometimes people combine GHB with other drugs, like Ecstasy or alcohol, which can make it lethal.

The Risks GHB has very severe physical effects. These can range from vomiting, drowsiness and visual distortion, to unconsciousness, seizures, slowed heart rate and even death. Because GHB is generally taken in a liquid mixture, it's easy to take it without knowing it, and easy to take too much, which puts you in a vulnerable situation. Even at a low dose, the drug is extremely dangerous, but taken at a higher dose, or when combined with alcohol, GHB can lead to lung failure, coma and even death.

Long term effects There's nothing more long-term than death, which is what you risk by taking GHB at any point. And currently, there is no antidote available for GHB overdoses. Using GHB repeatedly can cause severe withdrawal symptoms, including insomnia, anxiety, tremors, increased heart rate and blood pressure.

The bottom line With GHB, the nickname "grievous bodily harm" is actually no joke. Coma and seizures can occur whenever you use GHB. Combined with other drugs or alcohol, its use can result in lung failure and death.

Hallucinogens Hallucinogens disrupt the normal functioning of your brain, making it hard to think, communicate and focus on reality. Psychosis, panic attacks and dangerous accidents are all possible risks of taking that one "trip."

What is it?

• Hallucinogens are drugs that distort the way you perceive reality. They can cause you to see, feel and hear things that don't exist, making it hard to communicate or think clearly. They can also cause rapid, intense emotional mood swings.

Hallucinogens work by disrupting how your nerve cells and the neurotransmitter Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor serotonin interact throughout the brain and spinal cord. By changing the normal, healthy structure of serotonin in the body, hallucinogens twist and alter the way your brain processes your senses, feelings and visual information. When you are unable to get a grip on reality, normal events and situations can take on an unreal and frightening quality.

The most common hallucinogens are:

LSD (AKA: Acid, blotter, cubes, microdot, yellow sunshine, blue heaven, Cid) — an odorless, colorless chemical that comes from ergot, a fungus that grows on grains.

Mushrooms (Psilocybin) (AKA: Simple Simon, shrooms, silly putty, sherms, musk, boomers) — psilocybin is the hallucinogenic chemical found in approximately 190 species of edible mushrooms.

Mescaline (AKA: Cactus, cactus buttons, cactus joint, mesc, mescal, mese, mezc, moon, musk, topi) — occurs naturally in certain types of cactus plants, including the peyote cactus.

The Risks Taking any hallucinogens can cause you to experience anxiety, fear and paranoia, sometimes verging on psychosis (a complete loss of contact with reality). In this state of mind, it can be very easy to have a dangerous, or even fatal, accident.

Long term effects Though more common with LSD, all hallucinogens can cause flashbacks—feelings and thoughts that replay the effects of being on the drug weeks or even years after taking them.

Since all hallucinogens disturb the normal functioning of the brain, they put you at risk of developing long-lasting psychoses or mental disorders.

The Bottom line The effects of hallucinogenic drugs are unpredictable. They depend on the amount taken and on your own unique personality and body chemistry. What is predictable is that when you hallucinate, you dramatically disturb the normal functioning of your brain. And this will always make you vulnerable to dangerous, or even fatal, accidents.

Heroin Downer Heroin is a powerful, addictive painkilling drug. It is one of the most-used, most-rapidly acting, and most addictive of the opiate family, which includes opium, morphine, and codeine. All opiates are derived from opium, a naturally occurring juice extracted from the seed pod of certain varieties of poppy (Papaver somniferum and Papaver setigerum). Heroin or "diacetylmorphine" is a semi-synthetic derivative of morphine Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor AKA Smack, horse, brown sugar, dope, H, junk, skag, skunk, white horse, China white, Mexican black tar What is it?

Heroin is an opiate and a highly addictive drug. It's produced from morphine, a naturally occurring substance that comes from the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant. People abuse heroin by injecting, snorting or smoking it. All three ways can cause the same level of addiction, as well as serious health problems.

Opium Poppies and Smack Production The opium poppy is native to the Middle East and Southeast Asia. It also grows in some regions of Central and South America. The substance that is turned into opium is found in the seed pod of the plant. It is cut open to extract a juice, which is used to make morphine. The morphine, which is a legal drug used to relieve pain, may be used to produce heroin.

The human brain has receptors that recognize opiates, like morphine. These receptors happen to be located in the portions of the brain that are associated with breathing, pain recognition and emotions. The reason they are present is the body produces natural pain-relieving substances called endorphins. They are produced when the body experiences certain kinds of

stimuli, including the following:

• Eating spicy foods, especially chili peppers

• Exercise (think "runner's high")

• Fear

• Having an orgasm

• Spending time in the sun

• Stress The Risks Heroin enters the brain very quickly. This effect makes it very addictive. And each time you use heroin, the more you need to get high. One of the greatest risks with this drug is how extremely easy it is to become dependent. It's estimated that almost one-fourth of the people who try heroin become addicted.

It's nearly impossible to know the actual strength or purity of heroin because it's often combined with toxic ingredients. This is one of the reasons why using heroin always carries Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor the risk of infection, overdose and death. Also, heroin often has additives that will not dissolve in the bloodstream. This can easily cause a blood clot to form and travel to the lungs, liver, heart or brain, which is instantly fatal.

Big H Use Heroin is increasingly used in dance clubs as a chill-out drug and has also recently become popular on the gay scene. It's relatively cheap and many smoke it to ease comedown from Ecstasy, speed or coke. Some users choose to smoke or snort smack because they have the mistaken idea that unless the drug is injected, they won't become addicted to it. No matter how someone ingests heroin, they are exposing themselves to a highly-addictive substance.

Brown Sugar Appearance Pure heroin is a white powder with a bitter taste. Street heroin comes in granule, powder, solution or pill forms and varies in colour from white to dark brown, thanks to additives or impurities left from the manufacturing process. The brown heroin that dominates the UK and Dutch market is insoluble in water and must be dissolved in acid, usually citric acid from lemons.

Black tar heroin is a form of the drug that looks similar to hashish. The name black tar is a misnomer, since the colour can range from brown to a true black. The colour of the product is affected by the steps used in processing the drug. This form of heroin is usually dissolved and diluted before being injected.

In the UK, heroin often resembles packet chicken soup. In fact, strictly speaking, it isn't heroin at all - true heroin is a hydrochloride salt, soluble in water. The brown H sold in the UK is diamorphine base - a product intended mainly for smoking, and is not soluble in water.

Injecting Junk Most regular users inject either intravenously (into a vein) or intramuscularly (into a muscle, usually the shoulder) after heating heroin powder in a little water. When this method is used, the individual will start to feel the effects of the drug, and feelings of euphoria followed by a deep sense of relaxation, in less than 10 minutes.

When a smack user wants to experience his or her "high" faster, he or she will decide to inject the drug directly into a vein. Mainlining heroin means that the high starts in seven or eight seconds. A person who has become addicted to heroin may shoot up several times a day.

Smoking or Snorting Horse An increasing number of people choose to smoke or snort lines of heroin, rather than inject.

When smoked, heroin is heated on foil and the vapour inhaled through a tube or rolled-up bank note. This is known as chasing the dragon Long term effects In a short amount of time, regular heroin use destroys the body. Common conditions that plague heroin users include infection of the heart lining and valves, liver disease, lung disease, hepatitis and HIV/AIDS, from needle use.

Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor The Bottom line It is a fast high, but it's one that can be instantly fatal. Also, the high risk of addiction should make you stop and think before ever giving it a try. One time could lead to a lifetime of chasing a high that can ruin your body and your life.

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Inhalants are simply toxic chemical vapors. Sniff, huff or inhale these chemicals and you can easily damage your brain — or shut it down forever.

AKA Laughing gas, poppers, snappers, whippets What is it?

Inhalants are highly toxic substances that produce dangerous chemical vapors. When inhaled, these chemicals can cause damaging, mind-altering effects and sudden death. The three main types of inhalants are: solvents, gases and nitrates. Inhalants can be found in a range of products, like paint thinners, glues, cleaning products, gases, lighter fluids and aerosol sprays.

The Risks Since the "high" feeling of inhalants lasts only a few minutes, people often use them over and over, which is extremely dangerous. "Sudden sniffing death" can happen to a completely healthy young person from a single session of inhalant use.

Inhalants produce effects similar to those of anesthesia. They slow the body down, produce a numbing feeling and can cause unconsciousness. Inhaling concentrated amounts of these chemicals can cause heart failure, suffocation, convulsions, seizures and coma.

Long term effects Inhalants go through the lungs and into the bloodstream, and are quickly distributed to the brain and other organs in the body. Ongoing exposure to inhalants can lead to brain or nerve damage that produces results similar to that of multiple sclerosis. Inhalants can also do damage to the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. Prolonged abuse can permanently affect thinking, movement, vision and hearing.

The bottom line Inhalants can be damaging to both your body and brain. The dangerous effects can be irreversible, and the truth is, when you inhale or "huff" one of these toxic chemicals, you can die instantly — even the very first time.

Compiled by HJ van Staden for SAPS Krugersdorp Basic Life Support Practitioner, Victim Support Trauma Counsellor Ketamine Upper, Hallucination Ketamine is an animal tranquilizer that can knock you out and leave you unconscious. This can make any activity a deadly experience.

AKA K, special K, vitamin K, cat valium What is it?

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