LARG (LA Addiction/Recovery Guide)

drugaddictionbanner3

Facts

 

Crystal Meth

Crack/Cocaine

Weed (Marijuana)

Heroin

Molly

Oxycontin

Resources

 

crystal-meth2-150x150

Crystal meth, also known as crystal methamphetamine, and informally as ice, tina, or glass, is a colorless form of d-methamphetamine, a powerful synthetic stimulant which is highly addictive. This odorless substance is abused because it has a long-lasting euphoric effect on the user. Crystal meth is generally purer than powdered methamphetamine, and has a longer-lasting effect, as well as a more powerful physiological impact.
How is crystal meth taken? It is most commonly smoked in glass pipes, in much the same was as crack cocaine is taken
It may be injected
It can also be snorted
Some may swallow it
The user may also insert it into his/her anus or urethra (much less common)
Long-range damage In the long term, meth use can cause irreversible harm: increased heart rate and blood pressure; damaged blood vessels in the brain that can cause strokes or an irregular heartbeat that can, in turn, cause cardiovascular collapse or death; and liver, kidney and lung damage. Users may suffer brain damage, including memory loss and an increasing inability to grasp abstract thoughts. Those who recover are usually subject to memory gaps and extreme mood swings.

Back to Top

crack-150x150

Cocaine is a bitter, addictive pain blocker that is extracted from the leaves of Erythroxylon coca, also known as the coca scrub, a plant that comes from the Andean highlands in South America. Cocaine is the most powerful stimulant of natural origin.
Cocaine as a recreational drug.Today, cocaine is commonly used as a recreational drug. Recreational cocaine, often termed illicit cocaine, and informally known as “powder, snow, ski, soft, blow, slopes,coca, and nose candy,” is presented as a white crystalline powder or as an off-white chunky substance.

In powder form it is usually cocaine hydrochloride (C17H21NO4), which is then diluted with other substances, such as local anesthetic (lidocaine), sugars (lactose), inositol, and mannitol. By adulterating the cocaine in this way the seller can make more profits. Cocaine can be:
Snorted – inhaled through the nose. It enters the bloodstream via the nasal tissues.
Injected – where it is released directly into the bloodstream.
Smoking – cocaine is inhaled as vapor or smoke into the lungs, where it rapidly enters the bloodstream.
Crack

Crack is the street name for a type of cocaine that has had the hydrochloride removed, making it possible to smoke. When the mixture is heated it makes a crackling sound, hence the name. It is processed with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or ammonia and water, and heated to remove the hydrochloride. The crack smoker receives large doses of cocaine – the effect is virtually immediate, as with injected cocaine. The extremely intense feelings derived from smoking crack are short-lived. Overdosing on cocaine can lead to seizures, and life-threatening heart failure, cerebral hemorrhage, stroke and respiratory failure – even regular usage without overdosing raises the risk of detrimental health consequences (see paragraph below). There is no specific medication for cocaine overdose. Some studies have shown that those who inject or smoke cocaine have a greater risk of complications than individuals who snort it. Smokers will typically become compulsive cocaine users more rapidly than those who snort it. Smoking cocaine increases the risk of developing respiratory problems, such as shortness of breath, coughing, and lung trauma (including bleeding).
Long-term effects of Cocaine use:

Users take cocaine in “binges,” during which the cocaine is used repeatedly and at increasingly higher doses. This can lead to increased irritability, restlessness, panic attacks, and paranoia—even a full-blown psychosis, in which the individual loses touch with reality and experiences auditory hallucinations. With increasing dosages or frequency of use, the risk of adverse psychological or physiological effects increases. Different routes of cocaine administration can produce different adverse effects. Regularly snorting cocaine, for example, can lead to loss of sense of smell; nosebleeds; problems with swallowing; hoarseness; and an overall irritation of the nasal septum, which could result in a chronically inflamed, runny nose. Ingested cocaine can cause severe bowel gangrene, due to reduced blood flow. Persons who inject cocaine have puncture marks called “tracks,” most commonly in their forearms, and may experience allergic reactions, either to the drug or to some additive in street cocaine, which in severe cases can result in death. Many chronic cocaine users lose their appetite and experience significant weight loss and malnourishment. Back to Top

Marijuana-150x150

Weed (Marijuana)—often called pot, grass, reefer, weed, herb, Mary Jane, or MJ—is a greenish-gray mixture of the dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of Cannabis sativa—the hemp plant. Most users smoke marijuana in hand-rolled cigarettes called joints, among other names; some use pipes or water pipes called bongs. Marijuana cigars, or blunts, are also popular. To make blunts, users slice open cigars, remove some of the tobacco, and mix the remainder with marijuana. Weed causes the user to feel euphoric—or high—by acting on the brain’s reward system, which is made up of regions that govern the response to pleasurable things like sex and chocolate, as well as to most drugs of abuse. THC activates the reward system in the same way that nearly all drugs of abuse do: by stimulating brain cells to release the chemical dopamine.
Long Term Effect of Weed use:

Reduced resistance to common illnesses (colds, bronchitis, etc.)
Suppression of the immune system
Growth disorders
Increase of abnormally structured cells in the body
Reduction of male sex hormones
Rapid destruction of lung fibers and lesions (injuries) to the brain could be permanent
Reduced sexual capacity
Study difficulties: reduced ability to learn and retain information
Apathy, drowsiness, lack of motivation
Personality and mood changes
Inability to understand things clearly Back to Top

Heroin-006-150x150

Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive drug. It is both the most abused and the most rapidly acting of the opiates. Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of certain varieties of poppy plants. It is typically sold as a white or brownish powder or as the black sticky substance known on the streets as “black tar heroin.” Although purer heroin is becoming more common, most street heroin is “cut” with other drugs or with substances such as sugar, starch, powdered milk, or quinine. Street heroin also can be cut with strychnine or other poisons. Because heroin abusers do not know the actual strength of the drug or its true contents, they are at risk of overdose or death. Heroin also poses special problems because of the transmission of HIV and other diseases that can occur from sharing needles or other injection equipment.
Long Term Effects of Heroin use:

Addiction
Infectious diseases, for example, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C
Collapsed veins
Bacterial infections
Abscesses
Infection of heart lining and valves
Arthritis and other rheumatologic problems Back to Top

molly-2-0901-150x150

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), commonly referred to as ecstasy or molly, is a drug that is sold either as a pressed pill taken orally, or as a powder that is snorted or swallowed. MDMA’s effects resemble those of both stimulants and psychedelics. A typical dose of 100 to 125 mg lasts four to six hours. People who use MDMA describe themselves as feeling open, accepting, unafraid and connected to people around them. Typically used in social settings, especially among the rave and dance club cultures, MDMA’s effects are stimulated by visuals, sounds, smells and touch. Some people experience nausea at the outset, but after about forty-five minutes, most people report feelings of relaxation and clarity. MDMA causes dilation of the pupils and, often, sensitivity to light. People using MDMA experience heightened sensations and want to intensify these feelings by dancing, talking and touching.
Long Term Effects of Molly use:

We still don’t know whether MDMA causes long-term brain damage in humans, or whether the effects are reversible when someone stops using the drug. A study of animals showed that exposure to high doses of MDMA for 4 days produced brain damage that could still be seen 6 to 7 years later. The good news is that the researchers found that some of the nerve fibers grew back in the same places. But, we still don’t know if these new neurons work like the old ones. It’s like cutting off a branch of a fruit tree: The tree is still alive and can sprout a new limb near the site of the cut, but it may not bear as much fruit as the old one.  Back to Top

oxycontin-150x150

OxyContin is the brand name for a timed-release formula of oxycodone, a narcotic analgesic (medication that reduces pain). It’s used to relieve pain from injuries, arthritis, cancer, and other conditions. Oxycodone, a morphine-like drug, is found along with non-narcotic analgesics in a number of prescription drugs, such as Percodan (oxycodone and aspirin) and Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen). Street names for OxyContin include OC, Kicker, OxyCotton, and Hillbilly Heroin. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), oxycodone has been abused for more than 30 years. But with the introduction of OxyContin in 1996, there has been a marked escalation of abuse. It’s the high content of oxycodone that makes OxyContin popular on the street. People who abuse the drug crush the tablet and swallow or snort it, or dilute it in water and inject it. This destroys the time-release mechanism so that the user gets the full effects of the narcotic. Users compare the high to the euphoria of heroin. What makes OxyContin dangerous is not only that it’s addictive, it can also be lethal. It makes you feel you can tolerate more, but it can precipitate respiratory failure, especially when used with other drugs like alcohol or benzodiazepenes.
Long term effect of Oxycontin use:

The positive side effects of Oxycodone have caused many people to become addicted to it over the last 20 years. Oxycodone is only meant to be used for a few weeks at a time; using it for longer periods of time can cause serious health problems such as:
High levels of drug tolerance. Oxycodone is physically addicting, which means that your body needs higher amounts of the drug over time in order to experience the same effects. Thus, if you use Oxycodone for a long period of time, you’ll need higher doses of it, which puts you at greater risk for respiratory failure.
Respiratory distress. Since Oxycodone works by slowing down the respiratory and central nervous systems, you may experience respiratory distress if you take it for a long period of time or take higher doses of the drug. Symptoms of respiratory distress include difficulty breathing, lightheadedness and dizziness from lack of oxygen.
Physical dependence. After taking Oxycodone for a long period of time, users develop a physical need for the drug in order to function appropriately. Long-term Oxycodone users may feel physically ill if they don’t take the drug.
The long-term effects of Oxycodone use are increased physical illness and risk of death.  Back to Top

Resources

Van Ness Recovery House

House of Uhuru

Cri-Help Drug and Alcohol Treatment

Marijuana Anonymous

AA Meetings.com

Cocaine Anonymous

Sexaholics Anonymous Meetings

Pacifica House

Back to Top