We won’t tell you not to use drugs or get drunk. You made it into college or university, you’re smart. You know that the decision is yours and reading “don’t do drugs” won’t make a bit of difference. Our intention is to give you some knowledge. It’s up to you what you do with it. The one thing we will say is that it’s never “safe” to use hard drugs (e.g., cocaine, heroin, crack, crystal meth).

Common drugs and the risks involved

Drug: Ecstasy

(M, MDMA, Molly, E, X, XTC, Adam, hug, beans, clarity & the love drug)

What is it? Tablet, capsule or powder form. They may be printed with cartoon-like images or logos.

What does it do? May cause you to feel friendly, confident, and full of energy.

Negative Effects: Sweating, increased blood pressure and heart rate, anxiety or panic attacks, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting and convulsions.

Aftereffects: Confusion, irritability, anxiety, paranoia, depression, memory impairment, difficulty sleeping. May last days to weeks. Long term: Chronic fatigue; damage to the brain cells affecting learning and memory.

Dangers: Death from dehydration & overheating. Increased blood pressure and heart rate, kidney or heart failure, strokes and seizures. Possible jaundice & liver damage. People with high blood pressure, heart or liver problems, diabetes, and epilepsy are at higher risk. If you’re not aware of these medical conditions, ecstasy can trigger symptoms. Ingredients in ecstasy are very inconsistent and in some cases may contain a combo of undesirable drugs and substances which have been associated with many deaths.

Addictive? The more you take ecstasy, the less effect it may have. This may lead to increasing dosage seeking that original “high.”

 

Drug: Cocaine/Crack

(snow, lines, crack, bump, flake, rock, coke, blow)

What is it? Powder, liquid, crystals. Snorted, injected, or smoked in a glass pipe.

What does it do? Makes you feel alert, hyper and confident. Negative Effects: Psychosis, paranoia, anxiety, and seizures. Aftereffects: Major low, depressed, maybe suicidal, tired & hungry.

Dangers: Easy to overdose when mixed with other drugs or alcohol. Loss of smell & nose bleeds. Can hurt your lungs; lead to heart attack, psychosis, malnutrition. Crack catches on fire easily.

Addictive? Very addictive drug and is one of the hardest drugs to quit. Crack is the most highly addictive form of cocaine.

 

Drug: Crystal Meth Methamphetamine

(speed, fire, meth, chalk, ice, crystal)

What is it? White odorless powder or transparent flat crystals. Snorted, in pill form or injected. What does it do? An intense rush of energy. Confident and talkative.

Negative Effects: Increased heart rate, chest pain, nausea, aches, vomiting, diarrhea, dry mouth,

physical tension. Anxiety, impulsiveness, aggression, paranoia, hallucinations.

Aftereffects: Effects last 6-12 hours. Afterwards you may feel tired and depressed. Short and long-term psychosis including hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, and aggressive behaviour, damages brain cells affecting memory and movement.

Dangers: Increased heart rate and blood pressure. Possible seizures, high body temperature, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, stroke and death. Also, risk of infections from used needles.

Addictive? Tolerance builds up quickly, leading you to want more drugs to achieve that original “high.” Highly addictive.

 

Drug: Marijuana

(weed, pot, reefer, grass, dope, ganja, Mary Jane, hash, herb, Aunt Mary, skunk, boom, kif, gangster, chronic, blunt)

What is it? Product of hemp plant. Looks like leaves. Usually crushed or rolled into cigarettes or in a water pipe called a bong. Sometimes found in baked goods.

What does it do? Relaxed, mellow, and giddy.

Negative Effects: Slows reflexes impaired concentration, forgetfulness, distorted perception, and anxiety or panic attacks.

Aftereffects: Burnout, slow, unaware, memory problems and inability to concentrate.

Dangers: Cancer-producing chemicals in the smoke cause lung or neck cancer and infections. Bronchitis. Low sperm count, disrupted menstrual cycle, and possible psychosis. Some people think they are better drivers when they use marijuana, but your reflexes are actually too slow to react in a fast moving car, making it very dangerous.

Addictive? Daily use of marijuana can lead to long-term negative cognitive, social, and intellectual outcomes. Some people who are genetically at risk for schizophrenia can increase their risk for the disorder by using marjiuana regularly.

How to reduce your risks

  • Avoid using drugs like cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, and LSD. They can all cause permanent brain damage.
  • If you do use drugs like alcohol or marijuana, use them only in moderation and within the limits of the law.
  • People who pressure you to use drugs/alcohol when you don’t want to are not your friends. If you don’t want to use drugs and alcohol, don’t!
  • Never drive after drinking or using drugs and don’t get into a car with a driver who has been drinking or taking drugs.
  • If you are using drugs/alcohol more days than not, or if you are having financial, personal or school problems while using drugs/alcohol, you may have a problem. Remember that using drugs/alcohol decreases your inhibitions, so be cautious about engaging in risky behaviour. Get help before things get out of hand.

If you’re uncertain whether you have a problem, complete the CRAFFT Screening Tool.

If you respond ‘yes’ to 2 or more questions in Part B, you may be at risk for a substance problem and should see a trained health professional for further assessment.

Alcohol use

The effects of alcohol on your body vary, depending on your age, gender, weight, metabolism, tolerance, the type of alcohol consumed, and the number of drinks you’ve had. Alcohol is one of the most common drugs of addiction. Following the tips below and making an effort to drink responsibly can help prevent your drinking from becoming a problem. It is also important to know that addiction runs in families. If someone in your family has an addiction, you’ll need to be more careful about your drinking and you may even want to consider avoiding alcohol altogether.

Tips to keep in mind

Eat before drinking - Food slows down alcohol absorption.

Safe consumption - You should generally have no more than two drinks a day.

Know when to stop - If you are at a party and have had more than a few drinks and are starting to feel woozy, know when enough is enough and stop.

Stay safe - If you feel you’ve had too much and are about to pass out, get somewhere safe. You don’t want someone to take advantage of you.

If you’re on medication, don’t drink alcohol - Some prescription drugs or even over-the-counter drugs can be harmful, or even deadly, when mixed with alcohol.

Don’t drive - 4 Canadians are killed every day due to impaired driving. Approximately 190 Canadians are injured each day due to impaired driving. Call a cab or grab a ride with someone who hasn’t been drinking. (For more information visit: www.madd.ca.) In 2003, 50% of car accident fatalities among 20 - 25 year-olds were alcohol-related.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is incredibly common among college and university students. So common, in fact, that people are often unaware (or intentionally ignorant) of its potentially serious consequences. It’s considered by many to be a ‘rite of passage’ and research has found that binge drinking is more common than smoking among teenagers and young adults today.

What is binge drinking?

According to the Canadian Medical Association, if men have 5+ drinks and women have 4+ drinks on one occasion, it’s considered binge drinking. A 2008 Canadian survey found that 47% of 18-24 year old men and 29.3% of 18-24 year old women reported binge drinking.

Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal refers to symptoms someone may experience when they quit drinking after being a heavy drinker. Withdrawal symptoms may include:

Nervousness, Depression, Confusion, Shakiness, Headache, Agitation, Fatigue, Nausea, Fever, Inability to concentrate, Loss of appetite, Convulsions, Anxiety, Insomnia, Blackouts, Irritability, Rapid heart rate,Hallucinations, Rapid mood swings, Clammy skin

 

Treatment for drug/alcohol addiction

An effective treatment program will:

  • Address all aspects of the individual’s life, not just his or her drug addiction.
  • Assess the individual often to meet the person’s changing needs.
  • Allow adequate time for effective recovery.
  • Include family counselling and group support systems.
  • Include counselling and other behavioural therapies to teach healthy life skills.
  • Use motivational therapy emphasizing the individual’s readiness to change.
  • Include medications combined with therapy, if appropriate and necessary
  • Follow up.

For more information on drug and alcohol addiction, visit: www.camh.ca

Know the signs of alcohol poisoning & drug overdose

  • Inability to stand or walk
  • Chest pain
  • Heavy sweating
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Vomiting
  • Delusions/Hallucinations
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizure

Call 911: If you do not call 911, the victim may throw up and choke on his or her own vomit. It is not uncommon for someone with alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose to die or get brain damage.

 

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