Drug Abuse Show
Art Alexakis and ITM's Andrea: He's Everclear about how drug use has messed with his life.
Description | Drugs and Their Effects
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Drugs and Their Effects

Marijuana (also Hash)

Short-term effects:

  • Sleepiness
  • Difficult keeping track of time, impaired or reduced short-term memory
  • Reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car
  • Increased heart rate
  • Potential cardiac dangers for those with pre-existing heart disease
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Decreased social inhibitions
  • Paranoia, hallucinations

Long-term effects:

  • Enhanced cancer risk
  • Decrease in testosterone levels for men; also lower sperm counts and difficulty having children
  • Increase in testosterone levels for women; also increased risk of infertility
  • Diminished or extinguished sexual pleasure
  • Psychological dependence requiring more of the drug to get the same effect

(Cocaine, Crack Cocaine)

Physical risks:

  • Increases in blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and body temperature
  • Heart attacks, strokes, and respiratory failure
  • Hepatitis or AIDS through shared needles
  • Brain seizures
  • Reduction of the body's ability to resist and combat infection

Psychological risks:

  • Violent, erratic, or paranoid behavior
  • Hallucinations and "coke bugs" - a sensation of imaginary insects crawling over the skin
  • Confusion, anxiety and depression, loss of interest in food or sex
  • "cocaine psychosis" - losing touch with reality, loss of interest in friends, family, sports, hobbies, and other activities

Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth), Amphetamines (Speed)


  • increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • increased wakefulness; insomnia
  • increased physical activity
  • decreased appetite
  • respiratory problems
  • extreme anorexia
  • hyperthermia, convulsions, and cardiovascular problems, which can lead to death
  • irritability, confusion, tremors
  • anxiety, paranoia, or violent behavior
  • can cause irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain, producing strokes

PCP (Angel Dust); LSD (Acid); Mescaline; Peyote; Mushrooms

Physical risks:

  • increased heart rate and blood pressure

  • sleeplessness and tremors
  • lack of muscular coordination
  • sparse, mangled and incoherent speech
  • decreased awareness of touch and pain that can result in self-inflicted injuries
  • convulsions
  • coma; heart and lung failure

Psychological risks:

  • a sense of distance and estrangement
  • depression, anxiety, and paranoia
  • violent behavior
  • confusion, suspicion, and loss of control
  • flashbacks
  • behavior similar to schizophrenic psychosis
  • catatonic syndrome whereby the user becomes mute, lethargic, disoriented, and makes meaningless repetitive movements

Inhalants - Chemicals found in consumer products such as aerosols and cleaning solvents.

Single-time use risks:

  • sudden death by asphyxia, suffocation, choking on vomit, careless behaviors in dangerous setting, cardiac arrest
  • visual hallucinations and severe mood swings
  • numbness and tingling of the hands and feet

Short-term effects:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Dizziness
  • headaches

Prolonged use risks:

  • Headache, muscle weakness, abdominal pain
  • Decrease or loss of sense of smell
  • Nausea and nosebleeds
  • Hepatitis
  • Violent behaviors
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Liver, lung, and kidney impairment
  • Irreversible brain damage
  • Nervous system damage
  • Dangerous chemical imbalances in the body
  • Involuntary passing of urine and feces