Drug Info: Therapeutic use. Treatment. Mental and Physiological Effects. Rehab.
Last modified: Thursday, 30. October 2008 - 5:13 pm
Entries are arranged alphabetically and follow a standardized format that allows to easily find information, and also facilitates comparisons of different drugs. Rubrics include:
• Official names, Street names: This section lists the alternate names for a substance, including brand names, generic names, and chemical names for drugs, as well as common “street” names for drugs and other substances.
• Drug classification: This section lists the type of drug and its classification and schedule by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, if applicable.
• Key terms: This is a mini-glossary of terms in the entry that may be unfamiliar to students.
• Overview: Historical background is included here, including the drug’s origin, development, and introduction to society. The current impact of the drug is discussed.
• Chemical/organic composition: This section includes discussion on the various compositions of the drug, if it is found in pure or altered forms, and whether or not it is often mixed with other substances or drugs.
• Ingestion methods: Availability of the drug or substance in different forms, for example, pill or powder, is discussed.
• Therapeutic use: This section describes the legitimate uses of the drug, including dosage information and conditions for which the drug is prescribed.
• Usage trends: Statistical data is provided on the national averages of usage and recent increases or declines in use. Information is broken down for age, ethnicity, and gender when available.
• Mental effects: The immediate, short-term, and long-term psychological effects of ingestion are discussed here.
• Physiological effects: This section summarizes the physical sensations found with drug use. Severe complications, overdose reactions, and special risk groups are included. Long-term physiological problems associated with drug use are discussed.
• Reactions with other drugs or substances: Substances or drugs that are frequently combined with the topic drug are listed, and the interaction of the two or more substances in the body are discussed.
• Treatment and rehabilitation: Different types of treatment and success rates are included here.
• Personal and social consequences: This section describes the impact of drug use on the user’s personal life, including friendships, family relationships, and job performance. Also included are discussions of the drug’s use on society as a whole, such as associated crime and violence.
• Legal consequences: Legal issues, including historical legality of the substance, are discussed here. Federal guidelines, regulations, and penalties are included.
• Law and order: Briefly describes current or historical legal issues and rulings.
• Fact or fiction?: Addresses common misconceptions about drug use.
• History notes: Mentions historical anecdotes relevant to the topic drug.
• In the news: Discusses the social implications and current debate over drug use.
Street names: Booze, hooch, juice, sauce, spirits
Drug classifications: Not classified, depressant
Alcohol acts as a depressant on the brain. Blood carries alcohol to the brain, where it acts on the body’s central nervous system to slow a person’s mental responses. There are a variety of Mental effects associated with alcohol consumption. The more immediate are: a lessening of inhibitions, mental relaxation, exaggerated emotional response to people and situations, extreme changes in behavior, and impaired judgment. Low doses of alcohol can cause the release of certain chemicals in the brain that can cause a sense of euphoria — a “high” that makes alcohol seem like a stimulant. Memory is sharpened and the ability to think creatively is strengthened, but when alcohol consumption increases, its sedative effects cause a loss of self-control and inhibition. A self-conscious individual becomes more confident; a shy person becomes more talkative. Alcohol also can cause people to become argumentative or emotionally withdrawn. Relationship problems can develop. Judgment is affected and risk-taking behaviors can result. People are known to do things under the influence of alcohol that they would never consider doing when sober. As alcohol consumption increases and levels of alcohol in the blood rise, the reflexes are slowed; memory loss and a sense of confusion can occur. Committing crimes or being the victim of a crime, domestic violence, child abuse, automobile accidents, homicide, and suicide are among the events related to the consumption of alcohol.
Official names: Caffeine
Street names: None
Drug classifications: Not scheduled, stimulant
Doubtlessly the most widely used drug today, caffeine is consumed daily by 90% of the world’s people. Evidence of its use exists as far back as the Stone Age, and today, children, teens, and adults everywhere ingest it in coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
Legend has it that the stimulant effect of the coffee bean was first noted by an Ethiopian shepherd guarding his flock, a thousand years ago. Sufi monks steeped the berries in hot water and found that the brew helped them stay awake for long nights of prayer. Meanwhile, written records show that, during the Tang dynasty, which lasted from the seventh to the tenth century, the Chinese were already steeping and consuming tea as a drink believed to lengthen life.
By the Middle Ages, coffee was a popular drink of Muslims. In fact, the word coffee is derived from the Arabic, qahweh (pronounced kahveh). It was the Turks, however, who controlled much of the world’s trade in coffee by the Middle Ages. The Turkish Empire, attempting to expand into Europe, laid siege to Vienna in 1683. The war failed, but the retreating Turks left behind 500 sacks of coffee beans, which an entrepreneur used to open the first coffeehouse in Vienna. Coffee use spread throughout Europe.
In 1675, King Charles II issued an order to close the coffeehouses that were already widespread throughout England, citing idleness as the chief complaint. Two days before the proclamation was to take effect, however, Charles backed down, fearing massive protests by coffee drinkers. Ironically, in the ensuing decades, the British came to prefer tea, probably due to the acquisition of its colony in India and the establishment of the tea trade there.
The social use of coffee then spread to America. By the eighteenth century, plantations devoted to the coffee plant were actively producing the bean in Indonesia and the West Indies.
Street names: Base, Bernice, blow, “C”, coke, dream, dust, flakes, nose candy, Peruvian marching powder, powder, rock, Stardust, snow, sugar, the devil’s dandruff, white lady
Drug classifications: Schedule II, stimulant
Types of cocaine
Cocaine was the first local anesthetic to be discovered and this is its only legal use in the United States. Cocaine is particularly effective as a local anesthetic because it numbs the site of application almost immediately and it minimizes bleeding. Typically a 1-4% solution is used clinically. This highly diluted solution does not have a psychoactive or changing effect on the brain.
While cocaine is still used for ear, nose, and throat surgery, Lidocaine, a synthetic derivative of cocaine, is the most widely used local anesthetic.
Cocaine is ingested in its mildest form by chewing coca leaves. Alkalines such as lime or ash are added to the leaves to release the cocaine alkaloid. In addition to cocaine, the leaves contain protein, minerals, vitamins, and over 14 alkaloids. Instead of experiencing a “rush” or a “high,” chewers first notice numbness of the mouth followed by alertness and a sense of well-being. The stimulant effect is about as potent as the caffeine in several cups of strong coffee. Regular coffee breaks in the United States is the social equivalent of regular coca leaf breaks in the mountains of South America. Chewing coca leaves is also part of the religious tradition. In addition to chewing coca leaves, the people also make the leaves into tea. Coca leaves are not smoked because the temperature needed to burn the leaves destroys the cocaine alkaloid before it can be inhaled.
Acetylcholine: A type of neurotransmitter. The pleasurable effects of nicotine are a direct result of nicotine binding to acetylcholine receptors in the brain.
Active ingredient: The chemical or substance in a compound known or believed to have a therapeutic effect.
Addiction: Physical dependence on a drug characterized by tolerance and withdrawal.
Adverse event: Term used to denote a side effect, or negative health consequence, reported after taking a certain substance. The event may or may not be linked to the substance.
Aftershock: Similar to a flashback with LSD, this is the reoccurrence of symptoms associated with taking PCP days, weeks, or months after taking the drug. This happens because PCP is stored in fatty cells in the body.
Alcoholism: A disease that results in chronic alcohol abuse. Alcoholism can cause early death from diseases of the brain, liver, and heart.
Alkaloid: Any organic agent isolated from plants that contains nitrogen and reacts with an acid to form a salt.
Amino acids: Organic molecules that make up proteins. The human body requires 20 amino acids to function properly. Essential amino acids are supplied by food and non-essential amino acids (including creatine) are produced within the body.
Amnesia: Loss of memory. Rohypnol users may forget events that occurred for up to eight hours immediately after taking the drug.
Amphetamine psychosis: A delusional state of mind caused by severe amphetamine abuse. Paranoia, hallucinations, and unfounded feelings of persecution are common features.
Amphetamines: A class of drugs frequently abused as a stimulant. Used medically to treat narcolepsy (a condition characterized by brief attacks of deep sleep) and as an appetite suppressant.
Anabolic effects: A drug-induced growth or thickening of the body’s nonreproductive tract tissues, such as muscle, bones, larynx, and vocal cords, and a decrease in body fat.
Anaerobic exercise: Exercise that isn’t fueled by oxygen intake (as aerobic exercise is). Anaerobic exercise is defined by short, vigorous, and frequent muscle contractions, and includes activities like sprinting and weight lifting.
Analgesic: A type of drug that alleviates pain without loss of consciousness.
Analog: Different form of a chemical or drug structurally related to the parent chemical or drug.
Androgenic effects: A drug’s effects on the growth of the male reproductive tract and the development of male secondary sexual characteristics
Anesthetic: An agent that produces a loss of sensation or consciousness.
Angina pectoris: A disease marked by spasmodic attacks of intense, suffocating chest pain due to insufficient blood flow to the heart.
Anorectics: Diet pills developed to replace amphetamines.
Anorexia: An eating disorder characterized by a refusal to maintain body weight at a minimal normal weight for age and height, an intense fear of gaining weight, and a distorted sense of self-image.
Antagonist: A drug that counteracts or blocks the effects of another drug.
Anthelminthic drugs: Drugs that rid the lower intestinal tract of parasitic worms.
Anticonvulsants: Drugs that relieve or prevent seizures.
Antioxidant: A substance that prevents oxidation and protects cells from free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that contain an odd number of electrons. They can cause tissue death and damage.
Antispasmodic: A substance or drug that relieves muscle spasms and/or cramps.
Anxiety disorders: A group of mental disorders or conditions characterized in part by chronic feelings of fear, excessive and obsessive worrying, restlessness, and panic attacks. Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and others.
Anxiolytic: A drug that decreases anxiety.
Aphasia: Partial or total loss of the ability to explain ideas or understand spoken or written language, resulting from damage to the brain caused by injury or disease.
Aphrodisiac: A substance or drug that increases sexual desire.
Ataxia: Loss of control of muscle coordination.
Atherosclerosis: A cardiovascular condition that causes arteries to narrow, or clog, with plaque build-up from excess blood cholesterol.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A
mental disorder characterized by persistent impulsive behavior, difficulty concentrating, and hyperactivity that causes lowered social, academic, or occupational functioning.
Ayahuasca: An intoxicating beverage made from Banis-teriopsis caapi plants, which contain DMT.
Bad trip: A negative LSD experience characterized by anxiety, panic, and despair, which can be extremely traumatic.
Bagging: Breathing mind-altering fumes from a substance sprayed or placed inside a plastic or paper bag, with the bag held tightly around the mouth.
Barbiturates: Highly habit-forming (addictive) sedative drugs chemically based on barbituric acid. Barbiturates are central nervous system depressants.
Benzodiazepines: A class of drugs developed in the 1960s as a safer alternative to barbiturates. Most frequently used as sleeping pills or antianxiety drugs.
Bhang: The mildest form of cannabis, used in India.
Body mass index (BMI): A measurement of body fat based on a person’s height and weight.
Bromide: A sedative compound made from the chemical element bromine.
Bronchitis: An acute inflammation of the bronchial tubes in the lungs.
Bulimia: An eating disorder characterized by binge eating and then excessive behavior (such as vomiting, laxative or diuretic abuse, or exercising excessively) to rid the body of the food eaten.
Bummer trip: Another term for a bad trip, this refers to negative experiences while taking a drug.
Buprenorphine: (Also known as Temgesic and Subutex.) New substances that have proven to reduce cravings associated with heroin withdrawal. May also be helpful in treating cocaine addiction.
Candy flipping: The practice of combining ecstasy with LSD, which is popular among young people who attend raves and dance clubs.
Cannabinoid: One of the approximately 60 chemical compounds found in Cannabis saliva.
Cannabis: Refers to all plant and/or drug forms of the Indian hemp plant, Cannabis saliva.
Carbon monoxide (CO): A gaseous byproduct of incomplete burning of tobacco. It replaces necessary oxygen being carried by the hemoglobin in the blood and is thought to contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease.
Carcinogens: Substances or agents that cause cancer.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: A procedure designed to restore normal breathing after the heart stops. It includes clearing air passages to the lungs, mouth-to-mouth artificial respiration, and heart massage by exerting pressure on the chest.
Cardiovascular system: The body system composed of the heart and blood vessels.
Cataplexy: An abrupt, total loss of muscle control spurred by an emotional event. Cataplexy frequently occurs along with narcolepsy.
Central nervous system (CNS): The part of the nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord to which sensory and motor information is transmitted, coordinating activity of the entire nervous system.
Cerebellum: A large part of the brain that controls muscle coordination and balance.
Cerebral cortex: The surface layer of gray matter in the front part of the brain that coordinates the senses and motor functions.
Charas: Concentrated cannabis resin, similar to hashish.
Chloral hydrate: A colorless compound used as a sedative.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): A general term to describe airflow obstruction due to emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Cirrhosis: A chronic liver disease that is caused by alcohol abuse, toxins, nutritional deficiency, or infection. A main symptom of cirrhosis is portal hypertension.
Clandestine laboratory: An illegal laboratory used to make designer drugs.
Clinical trial: A scientific experiment that tests the effect of a drug in humans.
Club drugs: Mostly synthetic, illicit substances found at raves and nightclubs. This group includes LSD, ecstasy, GHB, Rohypnol, ketamine, and methamphetamine.
Coca paste: An impure free-base cocaine made from coca leaves. It is used mainly in South America. Coca paste is smoked and is highly addictive.
Cocaethylene: A substance formed by the body when cocaine and alcohol are consumed together. Cocaethylene increases the chances of serious adverse reaction or sudden death from cocaine.
Cocaine bugs: Hallucinations that feel like bugs crawling under the skin, occurring in heavy or binge users of cocaine. This sensation can be so intense that users will scratch their skin or use a knife to attempt to remove the bugs.
Cocaine psychosis: A mental illness characterized by paranoia, disorientation, and severe depression. It is often the result of long-term cocaine abuse.
Coma: An abnormal state of depressed responsiveness with absence of response to stimuli.
Coining down: The experience of a drug wearing off.
Compensatory smoking: A practice by which smokers puff harder, deeper, and more frequently to obtain desired amounts of nicotine from fewer cigarettes or from low-nicotine cigarettes. Smokers may also hold the smoke in the lungs longer before exhaling and smoke the cigarette further down.
Congestive heart failure: A potentially fatal condition in which the heart loses its ability to pump an adequate volume of blood. As blood flow slows, fluid builds up in tissues throughout the body.
Cotinine: A breakdown product of nicotine that stays much longer in the blood than nicotine, and so can be used as a measurement of nicotine exposure, ETS exposure, or even nonsmoking compliance.
Crack cocaine: A highly addictive free-base cocaine that is smoked. Crack is made by combining powder cocaine and sodium bicarbonate.
Craving: A powerful, often uncontrollable desire.
Crystal meth (methamphetamine): A central nervous system stimulant that has emerged as a readily available alternative to MDMA at clubs and raves. Also known as “speed.”
Cyanide: Any of several chemical compounds that acts on the respiratory system and can quickly cause death.
Date rape: A sexual assault crime in which victims know the attackers and are drugged or otherwise coerced into a sexual situation against their will or without their knowledge.
Decoction: A tea or soup made from boiling herbs in water.
Delusions: False beliefs.
Dementia: A type of disease characterized by progressive loss of memory, learning, and thinking ability.
Dependence: A psychological compulsion to use a drug that is not linked to physical addiction.
Depersonalization: A feeling of detachment from one’s own body. People experiencing depersonalization might feel they are watching themselves from a distance.
Depression: A feeling of sadness and helplessness with little drive for communication or socialization with others.
Designer drugs: Drugs that are produced in an illegal laboratory and are chemically similar to a pharmaceutical drug.
Detox: An abbreviation for detoxification, it refers to ridding the body of the toxic effects of regular, excessive alcohol consumption. During detox, alcoholics often experience severe withdrawal symptoms including acute cravings for alcohol, delirium tremens, and convulsions.
Dietary supplement: A substance sold and marketed under the protection of the DSHEA. These substances are available without a prescription and are not subject to rigorous clinical testing.
Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA): Passed in 1994, this law allows manufacturers to sell dietary and nutritional supplements without federal regulation. According to this act, supplements can be regulated only after they are proven to be harmful to users.
Dissociative: A drug action that makes people feel cut off from themselves, their bodies, and reality.
Dissociative anesthetic: An anesthetic that produces an unresponsive state by chemically muting the ability of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the brain to process signals.
Distillation: A heat-dependent process used to produce alcoholic beverages, such as whiskey, rum, and vodka. In this process, a fermented mash (of grains, vegetables, or fruits) is heated in a boiler, causing the alcohol to evaporate. The alcohol vapors are then collected and cooled in a condenser to produce the beverage.
Doctor shopping: A practice in which an individual continually switches physicians so that he or she can get enough of a prescription drug to feed an addiction. This practice makes it difficult for physicians to track whether the patient has already been prescribed the same drug by another physician.
Dopamine: Neurotransmitter associated with the regulation of movement, emotional response, pleasure, and pain.
Drop: A common term used to describe the taking of LSD, as in “dropping acid.”
Dross: The residue remaining in the pipe after prepared opium has been smoked.
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.): A substance abuse education and prevention program.
DUI: Driving under the influence of alcohol.
Dusted: Being intoxicated on PCP.
Duster: Someone who regularly takes PCP.
Dusting: Adding PCP to another drug.
DXM (dextromethorphan): Easily synthesized dissociative psychedelic found in some cough medicines, used illicitly for its numbing and hallucinogenic properties.
Ecstasy: The street name for MDMA, an illegal club drug that is mildly hallucinogenic.
Edema: Water retention in the tissues that causes swelling.
Electrolyte: The salts that the body requires in its fluids to function properly. They can conduct electricity, and therefore are essential in nerve, muscle, and heart function.
Electrolyte imbalance: Improper proportions of acids, bases, salts, and fluids in the body. Electrolytes include the salts sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride chlorine.
Empathogen: Any substance that produces feelings of sympathy, closeness, acceptance, and peace with surrounding individuals.
Empathy: A feeling on connectedness and understanding with another person or people.
Emphysema: An irreversible, smoking-related disease in which damage of the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lung results in air being trapped and a reduced exchange of gases. The result is shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
Endocrine system: Organ system that produces hormones.
Endogenous: Produced within the body.
Endogenous opioids: Naturally occurring opioids in the body; includes three classes of neurotransmitters — the endorphins, enkephalins, and dynorphins.
Endorphins: Naturally produced chemicals in the brain that create feelings of happiness, euphoria, serenity, and fearlessness.
Enema: The injection of fluid into the rectum. Native Americans have used this method to ingest psilocybin.
Entheogen: A term from the Greek meaning “God-facilitating substance.” Some scholars prefer this term to hallucinogen when applied to plants such as the peyote cactus that are used in religious practices.
Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS): Also called passive or second-hand smoke, ETS is the combination of the smoke from smoldering tobacco together with exhaled smoke and is responsible for extensive health problems in smokers and nonsmokers alike.
Ergogenic: Something that increases work output.
Ergot: A fungus that grows on grains, particularly rye, that contains lysergic acid, a chemical used to make LSD.
Esophagus: The tube in the throat that carries food to the stomach.
Ethnomycologist: A person who studies the cultural uses of mushrooms.
Ethyl alcohol: C2H5OH; also called grain alcohol or ethanol. This is the only type of alcohol that is safe to drink. Other alcohols like methyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol are highly toxic and poisonous.
Euphoria: An exaggerated feeling of well being.
Exogenous: Produced by a source outside of the body.
Fetal alcohol syndrome: A pattern of birth defects, and learning and behavioral problems affecting individuals whose mothers consumed alcohol during pregnancy.
Flashback: The re-experiencing of a drug high without actually taking the drug. A flashback is usually limited to visual hallucinations and disturbances and can occur weeks, months, or years after taking the drug.
Flavonoids: Chemical compounds found in many herbal drugs. Flavonoids may help fight off infections and clear the body of harmful free radical molecules.
Fluntrazepam (Rohypnol): An overseas prescription sleeping aid that, in lower doses, gives users a feeling similar to alcohol intoxication; also used as a date rape drug.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA): The federal agency responsible for reviewing and regulating drugs and supplements.
Free base: The form of cocaine that can be smoked. There are three free-base forms of cocaine: coca paste made from processed coca leaves; crack (which is made with powder cocaine and sodium bicarbonate); and “free base” (which is made with powder cocaine, ammonia, and ether. This form is rarely used since crack was discovered). All free base is highly addictive.
Ganja: A moderately potent form of Indian cannabis, marked by a greater THC content than bhang.
GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate): Originally sold in health food stores as a growth hormone, a liquid nervous depressant touted for its ecstasy-like qualities. Banned by the FDA in 1990, the respiratory depression it can cause makes it among the most dangerous club drugs in circulation.
Glaucoma: A disease of the eye that can lead to blindness.
Half-life: The amount of time it takes for one half of a substance to be broken down or excreted. Nicotine has a short half-life; therefore, frequent tobacco intake is required to maintain desired nicotine levels in the blood.
Hallucination: The experience of seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling, or tasting something that is not really there.
Hallucinogens: A group of drugs that induces sensory distortions and hallucinations.
Hashish: Concentrated cannabis resin, similar to charas.
Hashish oil: The most potent form of cannabis resin, extracted by chemical solvent.
HDL: The type of cholesterol called high-density lipoprotein, which transfers excess cholesterol to the liver for removal.
Hemp: Cannabis plants that are grown for fiber; in nineteenth-century medicine, also referred to cannabis used medicinally.
Herb: Any plant used as a medicine, seasoning, or food: mint, thyme, basil, St. lohn’s wort, and sage are herbs.
Hit: A common term for a dose of LSD.
Hormone: Substance secreted by a gland into the bloodstream and carried to another part of the body, where it causes a physiological change.
HPPD: Short for “hallucinogen persisting perception disorder,” which is the medical term for flashbacks.
Huffing: Breathing mind-altering fumes from a cloth that has been soaked in a volatile substance and stuffed into the mouth.
Hypersensitivity: An exaggerated response to a given stimulus.
Hypertension: Long-term elevation of blood pressure; defined by two readings, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively, that are above the normal of 140 and 90 mm Hg. Hypertension risks damage to the blood vessels, and complications, including stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure.
Hypnotic: A drug that induces sleep by depressing the central nervous system.
Hypoxia: A condition in which too little oxygen reaches body tissues.
Impotence: The inability to achieve or maintain an erection.
Inborn error of metabolism: An inherited genetic defect present from birth that causes a deficiency in the body’s essential enzymes and impairs metabolism.
Inhalants: Legal household, industrial, medical, and office products that are volatile (vaporize or evaporate easily), producing chemical vapors. Abusers inhale concentrated amounts of these vapors, by various means, to alter their consciousness.
Intravenous drug: Any drug that is injected via a needle into the bloodstream.
Intubation: Putting a plastic tube into the lungs through the nose and throat to allow artificial respiration in a person unable to breathe independently.
Jet lag: Condition caused by traveling over several time zones in a short period of time.
Ketamine: An anesthetic abused for its mind-altering effects that is popular as an illicit club drug. It is sometimes used to facilitate sexual assault, or date rape.
LAAM (levo-alpha-acetylmethadol): Like methadone, LAAM is a synthetic opiate used to treat heroin addiction, blunting withdrawal for up to 72 hours.
LDL: The predominant type of blood cholesterol called low-density lipoprotein, which transports cholesterol throughout the body.
Lean body mass: The portion of the body such as muscle and organs that is devoid of fat and bone.
Lipids: A group of organic compounds consisting of fats and other substances.
LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide): A powerful chemical compound renowned for its hallucinogenic properties.
Lysergic acid: A naturally occurring chemical that is used to make LSD.
Marijuana: The dried leaves and flowers of female Cannabis saliva plants.
Master Settlement Agreement (MSA): A 1998 agreement between the States’ Attorneys General and the tobacco industry. Tobacco companies agreed to several changes in advertising and promotion in exchange for protection from further lawsuits. Companies also agreed to pay billions of dollars over 25 years to reimburse states for the cost of treating smoking-related illnesses.
Known as ecstasy, E and X, MDMA is the most popular of the “club drugs,” a synthetic stimulant with mild hallucinogenic properties.
Medulla: The lower portion of the brain stem.
Mescaline: A hallucinatory drug that is the chief active agent found in mescal buttons of the peyote plant.
Metabolism: The body’s ability to break down and process substances taken into the body.
Methadone (methadone hydrochloride): Like LA AM, a synthetic opiate used to treat heroin addiction. Methadone is non-intoxicating and blunts symptoms of withdrawal.
Methamphetamine (crystal): An amine derivative of amphetamine, used in the form of its crystalline hydrochloride as a central nervous system stimulant. It is often illicitly produced in secret labs.
Methylphenidate (Ritalin): A stimulant drug choice for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Morphine: The primary alkaloid chemical in opium, used as a drug to treat severe acute and chronic pain.
Naloxone: A short-acting narcotic antagonist that binds to opiate receptors and blocks them. Used to treat opiate overdose.
Naltrexone: A long-lasting narcotic antagonist that blocks opiate receptors. Used to treat heroin addiction.
Narcolepsy: A rare, chronic sleep disorder characterized by constant daytime fatigue and sudden attacks of sleep.
Narcotic: A natural or synthetic drug that has properties similar to opium or opium derivatives.
Neurons: Nerve cells found throughout the central nervous system. Neurons release neurotransmitters.
Neuropathic: Relating to a disease of the nerves.
Neurotransmitter: A substance released by one nerve cell that activates or inhibits a neighboring nerve cell.
Nicotine: An alkaloid derived from the tobacco plant that is responsible for smoking’s addictive effects; it is toxic at high doses but can be effective as a medicine at lower doses.
Nitric oxide: NO; a potentially toxic gas found both in the atmosphere and in the body in small amounts. In the body, nitric oxide helps to move oxygen to the tissues and transmit nerve impulses.
Nitroglycerine: A heavy, oily, explosive liquid used medicinally in tiny amounts to dilate blood vessels in treating angina pectoris.
NMDA receptor antagonist: A class of anesthetics that block particular neurotransmitters located in the brain’s cerebral cortex and hippocampus — regions responsible for memory, language, and motor control.
Noradrenaline: Chemical produced by the nervous system.
Opiate: A drug originating in the opium poppy, such as codeine and morphine.
Opioid: A drug, hormone, or other chemical substance having sedative or narcotic effects similar to those containing opium or its derivatives; a natural brain opiate.
Opioid receptors: A class of proteins on the surface of cells that bind with opioids, either endogenous or drugs. An opioid either activates (agonist) or prevents activation by another opioid (antagonist).
Opiophobia: The fear of patients becoming addicted to their narcotic pain medication.
Osteoporosis: A loss in total bone density that can be the result of a chronic calcium deficiency, early menopause, certain endocrine diseases, advanced age, endocrine diseases, certain medications, or other risk factors.
Overdose: The result of ingesting too much of a substance such as a drug either in one dose or over the course of time. Symptoms of drug overdose vary with the type of drug taken, and may include severe drowsiness or unconsciousness.
Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas, an essential part of both the endocrine and the digestive systems. The pancreas secretes juices that aid in digestion, and a number of hormones (including insulin).
Panic attacks: Sudden, repeated, paralyzing bouts of extreme fear and anxiety.
Paranoia: The presence of delusions of a persacutory nature, involving be hunted or harmed by another person.
Patent medicines: Medical remedies of doubtful value commonly sold in the 1800s and 1900s. Many patent medicines were herb-based, although they were often laced with alcohol, narcotics, and other drugs.
PCC (1-piperidinocyclohexanecarbonitrile): An unstable byproduct common to PCP’s illicit manufacture; when smoked, PCC releases hydrogen cyanide that is inhaled by the user.
PCP (phencyclidine): Also known as angel dust, a powerful and toxic synthetic chemical developed in home laboratories.
PCP organic mental disorder: A condition similar to schizophrenia that can occur as a result of taking PCP and last for weeks, months, or even a year. It is characterized by confusion, disordered thinking, paranoia, and speech problems.
Pelvic toning exercises: Exercises that focus on tightening the muscles of the pelvic floor to relieve urinary stress incontinence. Also known as Kegel or PC muscle exercises.
Peyote: A hallucinogenic cactus, usually L. williamsii from which mescaline is derived.
Phobia: The irrational fear of a specific object or situation that limits normal functioning.
Physical dependence: A condition that may occur after prolonged use of an opiate, but differing from addiction because the user is dependent on the drug for pain relief, rather than emotional or psychological relief.
Placebo effect: A psychological phenomenon noted by researchers in which patients who receive a phony medication feel better and report improvements in subjective symptoms such as pain or depression.
PMA (paramethoxyamphetamine): Highly toxic hallucinogenic compound linked to sudden collapse and seizures, structurally similar to MDMA and occasionally substituted as such.
Podarea: Raised, segmented cushion-part of the peyote cactus.
Polydrug use: Use of more than one drug.
Post-traumatic stress disorder: A mental disorder that can occur in those who have experienced a life threatening-situation. PTSD is characterized by nightmares and flashbacks, among other symptoms.
Powder cocaine (cocaine hydrochloride): A psychoactive substance derived from coca leaves. Powder cocaine is either snorted into the nose or mixed with water and injected into the veins. It is addictive when snorted and more so if injected.
Precursors: A substance or compound from which another substance is synthesized, or made.
Proof: A measure of the strength of an alcoholic beverage. The proof of an alcoholic beverage is twice the amount of its alcohol content. For example, 100 proof whiskey is 50% alcohol.
Psilocybe: A genus of mushroom that produces the bitter-tasting indole alkaloid psilocybin that causes hallucinations and other side effects. Sometimes Psilocybe mushrooms are referred to as psilocybin mushrooms.
Psychedelic: A term given to hallucinogenic drugs, like LSD, which implies that these drugs have the ability to access as-yet untapped potential of the mind.
Psychosis: A severe mental disorder characterized by the loss of the ability to distinguish what is objectively real from what is imaginary, frequently including hallucinations.
Psychotherapeutic drugs: Drugs used to relieve the symptoms of mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis.
Psychotherapeutics: Drugs that have an effect on brain function; often used to treat psychiatric disorders
Psychotherapy: The non-drug treatment of psychological disorders. It can be in the form of behavioral therapy (where the person is gradually exposed to their fears) or cognitive therapy (where people learn to control their unrealistic or negative thinking).
Psychotropic: A substance that affects a person’s ability to distinguish reality from the imaginary.
Rave: An all-night dance party that includes loud, pulsing “house” music and flashing lights. Many participants take hallucinogenic and other mind-altering drugs.
Rebound: Also known as discontinuation symptoms, these occur when the benzodiazepines are withdrawn. These symptoms are an aspect of withdrawal in which the patient develops anxiety, insomnia, or other serious emotional reactions that are more intense than before treatment with the drug was begun.
Receptor: A specialized part of a nerve cell that recognizes neurotransmitters and communicates with other nerve cells.
Recreational use: The casual and infrequent use of a drug or substance, often in social situations, for its pleasurable effects.
Relapse: Term used in substance abuse treatment and recovery that refers to an addict’s return to substance use following a period of abstinence or sobriety.
Respiratory depression: The slowing of a person’s breathing rate. Severe respiratory depression can cause a person to go into a coma or even stop breathing.
Reuptake: The process by which a nerve cell reabsorbs the chemical it had used to send a message to another nerve cell.
Rohypnol (fluntrazepam): An overseas prescription sleeping aid that, in lower doses, gives users a feeling similar to alcohol intoxication; also used as a date rape drug.
Rush: A surge of pleasure that rapidly follows administration of a drug.
Schizophrenia: A medical condition that falls under the category of psychotic disorders. People with schizophrenia suffer from a variety of symptoms, including confusion, disordered thinking, paranoia, hallucinations, emotional numbness, and speech problems.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): Type of depression that occurs during the fall and winter months.
Sedative: A drug that decreases CNS activity; a calming agent.
Seizures (epileptic fits): Bursts of abnormal electrical activity in the brain causing episodic symptoms, including coma or reduced level of awareness, flailing movements of arms and legs, and loss of control of bowels and bladder. Prolonged, untreated seizures may cause brain damage or even death.
Serotonin: An important neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates mood, appetite, sensory perception, and other central nervous system functions.
Shaman: A religious leader of a tribe who performs rituals of magic, divination, and healing, and acts as an intermediary between ordinary reality and the spirit world; a medicine man.
Smoker’s cough: Recurring cough experienced by smokers because damaged tiny hair-like structures (cilia) in airways cannot move mucus and debris up and out efficiently.
Sniffing or snorting: Inhaling intoxicating vapors, through the nose, from a volatile substance such as an anesthetic gas, industrial or household solvent, art supply, or aerosol propellant.
Snuff: A preparation of DMT-containing plants, which is smoked; also traditionally called cohoba, parica, and yopo.
Speedball: Also called “dynamite” or “whiz-bang,” a speedball is a combination of cocaine or methampetamine (stimulants) and heroin (a depressant). This combination increases the chances of serious adverse reactions and can be more toxic than either drug alone.
Stress: A disturbance in the body’s physiological equibrium, resulting from psychological or physical forces on a person.
Styptic: The contraction of a blood vessel or the containment of a hemorrhage.
Sudden sniffing death (SSD) syndrome: Fatal cardiac arrest that results, under certain conditions, after someone deeply inhales a volatile chemical for its intoxicating effects. Death occurs within minutes.
Sympathomimetic: A medication similar to amphetamine, but is less powerful and has less potential for addiction than amphetamine.
Synapse: The gap between communicating nerve cells.
Synergy: The effect from a combination of drugs which is greater than the addition of its individual effects.
Synesthesia: A chemical “cross-wiring” of the brain circuits often due to the use of hallucinogens that results in colors being felt or heard and sound being tasted or seen.
Synthetic opioid: An opioid drug produced from chemicals that are created in a laboratory.
Talk down: The process in which someone helps a person on drugs reconnect with reality by talking in soothing tones and helping distinguish reality from fantasy.
Tar/TPM: Total particulate matter. An all-purpose term for particle-phase constituents of tobacco smoke, many of which are carcinogenic (cancer-causing) or otherwise toxic.
Testosterone: A hormone produced in higher amounts in males that is responsible for male characteristics such as muscle-building, maintaining sexual organs, and causing hair growth and a deepening voice during puberty.
Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC): A group of cannabinoid compounds thought to cause most of the psychoactive reactions to marijuana use.
Thalamus: The central area of the brain below the cerebral lobes that relays messages from the spine to the forebrain.
Tic: A repetitive, involuntary spasm that increases in severity when it is purposefully surpressed. Tics may be motor (such as muscle contractions or eye blinking) or vocal.
Tincture: An extract of an herb made by soaking it in glycerine, alcohol, or vinegar for several weeks, then straining the liquid.
Tolerance: A condition in which higher and higher doses of a drug are needed to produce the original effect or high experienced.
Tourette’s syndrome: A chronic disorder involving multiple motor and/or vocal tics that cause distress or significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
Trichomes: Tuft of hairs in the center of the peyote cactus.
Trip: A common term for a drug experience.
Tryptophan: An amino acid that is widely distributed in proteins.
2C-B (Nexus): A synthetic hallucinogenic gaining wider illicit use as a stronger but shorter-lasting alternative to MDMA.
U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP): A non-profit organization that provides standards for prescription and over-the-counter drugs, nutritional and dietary supplements, and health care products. USP publishes its standards in the United States Pharmacopeia and the National Formulary (USP-NF), which are officially recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). USP also has a dietary supplement verification program (DSVP).
Urinary incontinence: Inability to retain urine in the bladder until the person chooses to empty it.
Withdrawal: A group of symptoms that may occur from suddenly stopping the use of a substance such as alcohol or other drugs after chronic or prolonged ingestion.