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Drug Addictions

Addiction can ruin a life and devastate any family member without distinction of age, gender, or social status. The addictive effect, especially of designer drugs, cause in the person who consumes a prompt dependence and brain structure damages, therefore severe alterations in mental and behavioral performance which can become permanent.

Drug Classification

Foremost, drugs are classified by legal and illegal. Among the first ones alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs are found, as well as certain domestic and industrial solvents. Regarding to the rest of them, are illegal. Addictive substances are classified according to their structure and chemical properties and the effects they produce in the central nervous system. A practical and easy to understand classification is by stimulant and depressant drugs. Alcohol, sedatives, narcotics, sedatives, cannabis and volatile solvents as well as barbiturates and benzodiazepines are known as depressants.

The group of narcotics includes opium, morphine, heroin, meperidine, codeine, diphenoxylate, fenatanyl, propoxyphene and methadone. Stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines, amphetamines, exert a blockade of inhibition or excitation in neurons in a direct way. They also have disastrous consequences that affect not only the one who suffers it but also those around him as domestic violence, divorce, employment loss, significant economic impact, loss of freedom, accidents, severe damages to health and secondary diseases which can lead to death.

We invite you to learn more about:

Marijuana
Cocaine
Methamphetamines
Hallucinogens / Mushrooms / LSD 
Opiates/ Heroine

 


Marijuana

History

Cannabis Sativa (scientific name of Marijuana) has accompanied human civilization since ancient times. Recent researches state that its usage started in China 5000 years ago for obtaining fibers and oil from its seeds. Its usage extended throughout commerce routes. Also Hindu, Greeks, Romans and Arabs used it mainly recreationally, in religious rites and for its possible therapeutic properties. Actually is the most consumed drug in the world, and its properties (both negative and positive) haven’t been deeply investigated.

Components

There are more than 400 active components in this plant, from which about 60 are cannabinoids, including THC, the substance that makes you feel “high”, and these interact with the cannabinoid receptors that our body has.

Effects

Deficiency in short-term memory

Sleepiness

Euphoria

State of passivity and indifference

Anxiety attacks

Acute psychotic episodes

Moderate abstinence syndrome

It is related to detonation of schizophrenia in early consumers, although this is not scientifically proven yet.

Dangerousness

It is very important to stand out the trivialization of cannabis among population, especially among children and youth. That is shown by some researches on the perception of this drugs among students. It is mistakenly believed that marijuana is totally harmless, but its effects can dig deep into a person who uses it to escape, turning him or her much more likely to continue with higher caliber substances. In Reencuentro Clinic we highly recommend relatives of a person who abuses this plant don’t hesitate to encourage him or her to build a healthier lifestyle in real contact with his surroundings.


Cocaine

History

Coca leaf (where cocaine is obtained) was widely used in Inca culture as a stimulant, appetite suppressor and energy saver. The coca bush (Erytroxylon Coca) is native to the Andes and its usage dates back to 5000 BC. It was also used for rituals, as a stimulant and anesthetic for surgeries. Cocaine emerged in 1859, when German scientific Albert Niemann isolated the main alkaloid from the plant.

Components

Cocaine is an alkaloid, which is found with other 14-17 within the same plant. It is a white colored and bitter taste crystalline compound. It penetrates the central nervous system through the bloodstream. It can be aspirated, injected, smoked, smeared and ingested. An intensified emission of dopamine neurotransmitter constitutes the foundations of the effects of cocaine. The crack, which is a mixture of cocaine, baking soda and ammonia, which appeared in the early 80`s, causes much more intense effects than the original base.

Effects

Insomnia

Depression

Irritability

Paranoia

Mental and nervous disorders

Hallucinations

Lack of appetite

Low sense of self-criticism and lucidity

Physical and mental deterioration

Cardiorespiratory disorders

Tendency to anger, aggression and violence.

Dangerousness

Cocaine is a highly addictive substance, which destroys dopamine receptors in the brain. This leads to the need of consuming larger amounts of drug to achieve the same effect. By ceasing drug dosing in a sick patient, depression symptoms appear because cocaine reduces the body’s sensitivity to dopamine, and it doesn’t respond to the normal amount produced by itself. Paranoia is also a typical condition of addicts, being that overstimulation can trigger excessive anxiety. Crack worsens physical and psychological problems already experienced with cocaine, causing instant death from respiratory complications.


Methamphetamines

History

Designer drug created in 1929, also known as “Meth” or “Speed”, which aimed to be an anorectic (appetite-suppressing substance), but it was never commercialized. In 1953 US government used it along with other substances in toxicological research, but it wasn’t until 1976 when psychoactive effects of MDMA were published. During the 80’s it got popularized, and it turned into the primordial drug of New Age movement.

Components

MDMA is a psychoactive substance created from modifying the chemical structure of natural products or substances used as medical drugs. Methamphetamine are readily synthesized by simple chemical methods from ephedrine

Effects

Increased body temperature, which turns the person susceptible to death by heat shock.

Body muscles tighten.

High levels of blood pressure.

Depression

High dependence

Psychotic episodes

Extreme paranoia

Hallucinations

Nervous system damage

Aggressiveness

Tachycardia

Arrhythmia

Blurred vision

Alterations in time and tactile perception

Dangerousness

High levels of dopamine and adrenaline in the brain without a chance to be reabsorbed by the body again, gravely threaten the proper functioning of all organs of the body, especially the circulatory system with arrhythmias, hypertension, convulsions and cardiovascular collapse. Heat strokes are fulminating if the substance is used and physical effort is performed, such as dance and shake for hours in “Raves”. This is a very dangerous drug that is widely used in a “recreational” way by millions of young people worldwide.


Hallucinogens

History

Hallucinogens are traditionally used in religious rituals and ceremonies in different cultures since centuries ago. These substances (natural or synthetic) provoke sensorial alterations that resemble episodes of “contact” with the supernatural because of the illusions they may cause. Today the spectrum of psychedelic substances ranges from those produced synthetically as LSD to those that can be found in nature as mushrooms and peyote.

Components

Many components of such drugs depend on the plant that contains it. LSD, for example, is produced synthetically, but can be found in rye fungus, or Psilocybin which is found in more than 200 kinds of fungi throughout the world

Effects

(They may vary depending on the substance)

Hallucinations, not only visual but also in space and time

Increased intensity of subjective perceptions

Anxiety Crisis,

Sometimes even panic attacks

De-realization

Depersonalization

High Blood Pressure

Sweating

Tremors

Synesthesia (see sounds, hear colors)

Dangerousness

Human beings have the need to know the world that surrounds us, both material and spiritual, this is why hallucinogens have accompanied mankind almost since its inception, as these substances simulated well that entry to the supernatural and ethereal world. However, the abuse of these substances depersonalizes the individual, and takes him away from his real purposes. The risks of using these compounds had not been fully investigated and vary depending on the user, their mood and their expectations as well as the context wher the drug is consumed. There are cases where a hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) develops which is the revival of psychoactive episodes after consumption, which can last from fractions of seconds to minutes; the effects range from visual hallucinations to “window syndrome” which is death from precipitation by believing that the person can fly. The HPPD may fade over time or remain in the person indefinitely.


Opiates

History

Opium poppy is another plant that has been used by mankind since 3500 BC for its analgesic and sedative properties, reaching all corners of the world; Portuguese sailors led it to India, and then to China, where it found a large market due to its highly addictive properties, there is talk of a 6000% increase of addicts in just 28 years since its arrival. The Spaniards brought the “Poppy” to Mexico, which was used as a sleep aid in cases of severe pain. In 1803 the German chemist F. W. Sertümer managed to isolate the morphine alkaloid, which became commercially available in 1827. Due to its highly addictive properties, is currently considered illegal in most countries.

Components

Opium is extracted from the Opium poppy plant, which has different alkaloid substances such as morphine and codeine, but there are also synthetic opium-based substances. Heroin is a semi-synthetic derivative of morphine, which is even more addictive than this, because it has larger access to the central nervous system.

Effects

Very brief pleasurable effect

Euphoria

Depression

Intense Serenity

Indifference to reality

Slurred speaking

High physical dependence

Irrational dependence causing criminal acts

Possible development of psychosis and status epilepticus

Development of bradycardia

Dangerousness

Opiates, especially heroin, are highly addictive and dangerous substances. The patient can’t discontinue the use of the substance because of his terrible dependence, since this drug causes many adverse conditions in the body when it is not consumed later, ranging from vomiting, tachycardia, fever, muscle cramps among others. The consecutive abuse triggers cardiovascular diseases such as phlebitis or arteritis, anaphylactic reactions and death from respiratory depression, coma and cardiopulmonary arrest. Besides it has side effects because of the low “purity” of the supplied drug which is sold in the streets, as it may be adulterated with other substances such as quinine, sugar, borax, barbiturates, or contaminated with fungi, bacteria and viruses. We can also add the possible infection with HIV or hepatitis by sharing needles when supplying the drug intravenously. We encourage to urgently treat this disease as early as possible as, with each passing day are more the accumulated dangers.