2021-22 Student Handbook and Wellness Guide

Drug Use and Abuse

Many people use and abuse drugs and don't realize it. They don't think that foods and drinks contain drugs. We have all, at one time or another, used and abused drugs. Here is some information on different drugs you may encounter. If you determine you have a drug dependency problem or just want more information, please contact a Wellness Counselor.

Aspirin: This is one of the most commonly abused drugs. It is also, however, one of the most useful medicines. It has three functions:
(1) analgesia (pain relieving);
(2) anti-inflammatory (reduces redness and swelling); and
(3) antipyretic (reduces fever).
With the exception of those few people who are allergic to it, two aspirins every six hours are safe for nearly everyone. Aspirin is useful for most headaches, fevers, minor injuries and illnesses. Aspirin should be avoided if you have the flu or chicken pox. Aspirin may contribute to Reye's Syndrome during these illnesses.
Caffeine: The users of cola drinks, coffee, tea, and chocolate don't think they are taking drugs, but all these beverages contain caffeine, a drug, which is sometimes prescribed medically. Those who overuse drinks containing caffeine use drugs in the truest sense, and some are addicted.
Tobacco: Tobacco is addictive due to its content of nicotine. Nicotine decreases blood flow to vital organs which contributes to disease of these organs. Seven known carcinogens, over 1,000 chemicals, and many toxic gases enter your bloodstream each time you light up. Smoking is the number‐one voluntary health risk. Tobacco abuse increases your risk of chronic bronchitis, emphysema, upper respiratory and lung infections, and coronary artery and cardiovascular disease. It is a leading risk factor for cancer of the larynx, lung, mouth, throat, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, and bladder. It has recently been shown to increase women's risk of cancer of the cervix. A new form of tobacco abuse smokeless tobacco - is just as dangerous and addicting as smoking. The greatest risk is oral cancer, but it also causes dental problems-tooth decay, bad breath, discolored teeth, and gum disease.
Alcohol: Although alcohol is legal, it is a potentially lethal drug and can be addictive. See section on Alcohol.
Marijuana: Marijuana is a dangerous and illegal drug. It damages the lungs in the same way as cigarette smoke, causes chest pain because of increased heart rate, reduces short-term memory, and affects the reproductive system of males and females. Its chronic use is associated with "amotivational syndrome,"‐loss of motivation and interest in school, work, and friends. Marijuana also interferes with coordination, reactions, and judgment. Marijuana is psychologically addictive.
Stimulants: The amphetamines (bennies, dexies, speed), methamphetamines (ice, crystal), and cocaine (coke, blow, flake, snow, crack, rock) fall into this class of drug. These drugs are not harmless. They raise blood pressure and respirations. Sudden death due to cardiac arrhythmias or stroke can occur at anytime, even with the first use. Users of stimulants build up tolerance so that more and more of the drug is needed to get the same effect. These drugs can by psychologically and physically addictive.
Narcotics: This class of drugs includes opium, morphine, codeine, and heroin. These drugs are addictive. They are used medically to alleviate pain; but even in this case, must be used cautiously because of the tendency to produce addiction.
Sedatives: Barbiturates like Phenobarbital are the main drugs in the sedative class. As with virtually all classes of drugs, these have definite medical value. They are, however, physically addictive. Sudden withdrawal from Phenobarbital can cause severe problems including convulsions, just as sudden withdrawal from alcohol can produce delirium tremens (DT's) and convulsions in an alcoholic.
Psychedelic Drugs: The major psychedelics are Mescaline, Psilocybin, and LSD. These drugs increase pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature. They also cause chills, nausea, irregular breathing, confusion, and hallucinations. Frequent users can have flashbacks without taking additional drugs. There is also evidence that LSD can cause permanent genetic damage. Psychedelic drugs are very unpredictable. One "trip" may be good and another may be disastrous. There is a great danger of bodily injury to self and others.