What Is Drugs?

Drug is a substance in form of chemical or herbal which has physiological effect. In other words, drug is anything when taken changes the physic logical functions of the body.

Drug causes positive effect when used to treat or prevent an illness, and causes negative effect when used contrary to its purpose.


Drugs can be abused by;-

1.self prescription

2.excessive usage

3.unregulated usage etc

Both licit and illicit drugs can be abused and can lead to addiction.


Drug addiction can be defined as a chronic,brain relapsing disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences .it is considered a brain disease because drugs changes the brain structure and how it works. It distrups the normal,healthy functioning of the underlying organ,have serious harmful effects.                              

   if left untreated , canlast a life time.

            What guardians need to know about drugs

Most commonly used drugs and their effects for many people, the term “drug” tends to suggest illegal activity.

However, the use of tobacco and alcohol is legal for people over the

age of 18 or 19 (depending on the province), and medicines are legal

when prescribed or available over the counter.

Alcohol and tobacco are the drugs that young people are most likely

to try, and cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug.

The short-term and long-term effects of these drugs are described

in the chart below.

Alcohol (depressant)

The term “alcohol” refers to substances made by fermenting or distilling grains or fruits; for example, wine, beer and hard liquor. Alcohol is the most popular drug in most provinces of Canada.

short-term effects may include

· depresses the central nervous system (CNS)

· relaxation and feelings of well-being, but in some cases depression and anger

· increased activity and decreased inhibition

· drowsiness, dizziness, slurred speech and loss of coordination and concentration

· in extreme cases, loss of consciousness and even death long-term effects may include

· damage to the stomach lining, ulcers, decreased appetite and malnutrition

· liver damage, cirrhosis of the liver

· blackouts (periods when the person is conscious and functioning but is later unable to recall what they did or said)

· brain damage that causes problems with memory, judgment and abstract thinking

· increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke

· impotence in men and infertility in women

· cancer of the mouth and throat, as well as other types of cancer

· heavy use can lead to dependence.

Tobacco (stimulant) is usually smoked but can also be chewed.

short-term effects may include

· stimulates the central nervous system


· feelings of pleasure, stimulation and relaxation

· increased heartbeat, blood pressure and blood sugar

· irritations of the throat and lungs (coughing)

· reduced appetite and endurance long-term effects may include

· heart disease, strokes, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and aneurysms

· cancer of the lung, throat, stomach,bladder, kidney and pancreas

· physical and psychological addiction with significant withdrawal symptoms

Cannabis (marihuana) is the most widely used illegal drug in Canada. It is a mood-altering drug that comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. People use it in three forms:

marihuana (the dried and ground bud of the plant), hash or hashish oil/weed oil.

The cannabis high comes from the chemical THC. The cannabis that was smoked in the sixties and seventies was much less potent than it is today. With the improvement in horticulture and growing techniques, the concentration of THC in cannabis today has increased substantially.

short-term effects may include

· feelings of calmness and relaxation, as well as clumsiness and slowed-down reactions, drowsiness

· giddiness, talkativeness or quiet seriousness

· heightened senses

· forgetfulness and reduced ability to concentrate

· distorted sense of space and time

· increased heart rate and changes in blood pressure

· increased appetite

· anxiety, occasionally panic attacks and/ or paranoia (suspicious feelings)

long-term effects may include:

· decreased motivation and interest, as well as difficulties with memory and


· chronic coughing and lung infections

· cancer (As a result of the heavy use of pesticides and fertilizer in indoor

grow-ops, the tar in cannabis smoke contains much higher amounts of

cancer-producing agents than tar in tobacco smoke.)

· psychological and physical dependence can occur among heavy or regular users.


Other illegal drugs, such as those described in the chart below,

are much less commonly used by young people in Canada.

short-term effects may include

· stimulates the central nervous system


· feelings of well-being, increased alertness and energy

· increased heart rate and breathing rate,

increased body temperature

· “twitching,” teeth grinding and obsession with performing repetitive tasks such as cleaning, hand-washing or assembling and disassembling objects

· irritability, insomnia, confusion, hallucinations,anxiety, paranoia (suspicious feelings) and increased aggression long-term effects may include

· loss of muscle control with symptoms similar to Parkinson’s Disease

· severe paranoia (suspicious feelings) and severe depression

· black teeth and gums, ashen skin and repellent body odour

Amphetami nes and methamphetami nes (stimulants) Amphetamines are a large group of stimulant drugs. They can be powders (ranging in colour from white to brown, or even purple), pills or liquids. Amphetamines stimulate the central nervous system. Their effects are similar; however, the intensity will vary with the drug and the manner in which it is taken.

Methamphetamine is a powerful member of the amphetamine family that comes in many different formulations dating back to the late 1880s. The popularity of methamphetamine has come and gone over the years. Recently a new form of methamphetamine has emerged worldwide. Although it is the same drug, it is now

much more potent. Methamphetamine comes in powder or crystal form. Crystal meth,a colourless crystalline solid, is a form of methamphetamine that is mostly smoked.

Methamphetamine is highly addictive. Addiction to methamphetamine is treatable, although it can be a long process and relapse is common.


The most commonly used club drugs at the time of publication are ketamine (Special K), GHB, methamphetamine and ecstasy. It is important to know that the so-called club drugs are not just confined to the dance club scene. The dangers of these drugs include a strong likelihood that they have not been properly manufactured, and in the case of GHB and ecstasy, the fact that they cannot be safely used in combination with alcohol.

Ketamine is used as an anesthetic in medicine and by veterinarians as a tranquillizer on large animals. It is similar to PCP (angel dust) and creates a dissociative effect, causing the user to experience loss of identity and distorted perception of time. The user can also suffer from hallucinations and exhibit psychotic behaviour.

short-term effects may include

· feelings of relaxation and sedation

· at higher doses, distorted perceptions, confusion and blackouts

long-term effects may include

· addiction

· (in high doses) delirium, amnesia, high blood pressure, depression and

breathing problems

· becoming withdrawn, paranoid and very uncoordinated GHB, a sedative hypnotic originally developed as a sleep aid, is an odourless and colourless

liquid mixed in water or provided in the form of a white powder. Effects are felt in about 10 to 20 minutes and can last up to four hours. GHB makes the user feel very drunk but is out of the system in 24 to 48 hours.

short-term effects may include

· feelings of relaxation and happiness, and increased sociability (similar to the effects of alcohol) long-term effects may include

· (in high doses) dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, loss of consciousness, loss of reflexes, impaired breathing and even death

· physical dependence

· withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, tremors and sweating


“E,” as it is known, is almost always found in tablet form and is taken orally. Ecstasy has a euphoric effect and raises the energy level of the user, which makes it attractive to the dance culture. It also has some hallucinogenic effects. Ecstasy is sold in coloured tablets that are usually imprinted with some form of caricature or logo. This is a marketing technique used to attract youth. Unfortunately, users may mistakenly view these drugs as being safe because they come in the form of pills or tablets. It is very rare to find a pure ecstasy tablet for sale. It is more common to see other less expensive drugs such as methamphetamine,

ketamine or GHB contained in a single tablet. This places the user at risk of a potentially dangerous drug interaction.

short-term effects may include

· feelings of euphoria, pleasure, empathy and sociability, but also confusion, depression, sleep problems, anxiety and panic attacks

· blurred vision, nausea, muscle tension, teeth grinding

· faintness, chills, sweating; increased heart rate and blood pressure, elevated body temperature

· (in high doses) distortions in perception, thinking and memory,as well as hallucinations

· death from dehydration and

hypothermia in the context of raves or dances long-term effects may include

· weight loss

· irreversible brain damage with symptoms similar to the early onset

of Alzheimer’s disease · flashbacks, paranoia (suspicious feelings), depression and psychosis (severe mental illness)

· liver damage

Haluci noge ns Hallucinogens, the best known of which is LSD, are drugs that act on the central nervous system to greatly affect the way one feels and thinks. These drugs typically take the form of tablets or capsules containing powder of any colour but can also be in the form of magic mushrooms (psilocybin).

short-term effects may include

· mood swings from euphoria to sadness or fear, and back again changes to the senses (the way you see, hear, taste and touch) and hallucinations (at higher doses)

· increased heartbeat and blood pressure, dizziness, upset stomach, numbness of the mouth, nausea, anxiety and shivering long-term effects may include

· flashbacks

· psychosis (severe mental illness) in vulnerable users

· possible psychological dependence in chronic users

Solvents/Inhala nts Common household products such as quick-drying glues, gasoline, nail polish remover, paint thinner and cleaning fluids contain solvents that are commonly abused. Gas propellants in aerosol products like hairsprays and air fresheners are also inhaled.

short-term effects may include

· euphoria, dizziness, numbness and weightlessness

· decreased motor coordination, muscle weakness, slowed reflexes, impaired judgment, visual impairment, ringing in the ears

· bloodshot, watery eyes

· increased heart rate, irregular heartbeat, headaches

· sneezing, coughing, nasal inflammation, respiratory depression, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea

· (if inhaled for a long period of time)

coma or seizures, unconsciousness and brain damage

· death from asphyxiation (suffocation) long-term effects may include

· psychological problems such as apathy, mood swings, depression and paranoia (suspicious feelings)

· blood abnormalities and damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs and heart


Cocaine is a fine, white crystalline powder, often diluted with other substances, that is sniffed, smoked or sometimes injected. It comes in two forms: 1) cocaine hydrochloride a drug that is sniffed in powder form, and 2) crack cocaine, a cocaine-based substance that is smoked.

short-term effects may include

· a sense of excitement, extra energy and confidence, and an elevated tolerance for pain

· decreased appetite, dilated pupils, sweating and paleness

· increased heartbeat and breathing long-term effects may include

· chronic snorting causes runny or bleeding noses and holes in the barrier

separating the nostrils

· depression, restlessness, sleeping, eating and sexual problems

· chronic, heavy cocaine use can cause severe psychiatric disorders

Heroin (depressant) Heroin is a drug derived from morphine, which is derived from the opium poppy.

It is most often injected but can also be sniffed, smoked or swallowed.

short-term effects may include

· an intense feeling of well-being or euphoria, numbness and pain relief

· nausea, vomiting and severe itching

· “nodding” or alternating between a wakeful and drowsy state

· overdose is a common cause of death long-term effects may include

· collapsed veins and risk of contracting hepatitis, HIV and other infections from the use of needles

· malnutrition, chronic constipation

· addiction can lead to serious personal problems often involving crime, theft and poverty