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Cocaine is an addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. Cocaine comes in two forms:
With repeated use, stimulants like cocaine can disrupt how the brain’s dopamine system works, reducing a person’s ability to feel pleasure from normal, everyday activities. Some effects include:
Cocaine can be deadly when taken in large doses or when mixed with other drugs or alcohol. Cocaine-related deaths often happen because the heart stops (cardiac arrest), then breathing stops. Using cocaine and drinking alcohol or using other drugs increases these dangers, including the risk of overdose.
After the "high" of the cocaine wears off, many people experience a "crash" and feel tired or sad for days. They also experience a strong craving to take cocaine again to try to feel better.
Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. Heroin can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance is known as black tar heroin.
People inject, sniff, snort, or smoke heroin. Some people mix heroin with crack cocaine, a practice called speedballing.
Heroin enters the brain rapidly and binds to opioid receptors on cells located in many areas, especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure and in controlling heart rate, sleeping, and breathing.
People who use heroin report feeling a "rush" (a surge of pleasure, or euphoria). However, there are other common effects, including:
People who use heroin over the long term may develop:
Hallucinogens are a diverse group of drugs that alter a person’s awareness of their surroundings as well as their own thoughts and feelings.
Classic hallucinogens can cause users to see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem real but do not exist. The effects generally begin within 20 to 90 minutes and can last as long as 12 hours in some cases (LSD) or as short as 15 minutes in others (synthetic DMT). Hallucinogen users refer to the experiences brought on by these drugs as "trips." If the experience is unpleasant, users sometimes call it a "bad trip."
Specific effects of hallucinogens include:
MDMA, short for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is most commonly known as Ecstasy or Molly. It is a laboratory-made drug that produces a “high” similar to the stimulants called amphetamines. It also produces psychedelic effects, similar to the hallucinogens mescaline and LSD.
The changes that take place in the brain with MDMA use affect the user in several ways. These include:
Withdrawal symptoms after regular (daily or almost daily) use of the drug is reduced or stopped, such as:
Rohypnol is a sedative medication in the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Rohypnol has been used as a date rape drug, and adolescents frequently use it to get high. Like all benzodiazepines, the use of Rohypnol can result in dramatically slowed brain activity. Rohypnol is extremely addictive, and signs of addiction include using larger amounts than intended, persistent failure to cut down or quit using, and continued use despite negative consequences.
If combined with alcohol as Rohypnol often is when used as a date rape drug blackouts may occur as well as stupor, respiratory depression, and death.
Harmful social and health effects may occur due to long-term Rohypnol abuse. Some of the long term effects of Rohypnol include:6
Opioids are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant. Opioids are often used as medicines because they contain chemicals that relax the body and can relieve pain. Opioids can also make people feel very relaxed and "high" - which is why they are sometimes used for non-medical reasons. This can be dangerous because opioids can be highly addictive, and overdoses and death are common.
What are common prescription opioids?
In the short term, opioids can relieve pain and make people feel relaxed and happy. However, opioids can also have harmful effects, including:
People addicted to an opioid medication who stop using the drug can have severe withdrawal symptoms that begin as early as a few hours after the drug was last taken. These symptoms include:
Prescription stimulants are medicines generally used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy—uncontrollable episodes of deep sleep. They increase alertness, attention, and energy.
People who use prescription stimulants report feeling a "rush" (euphoria) along with the following:
Withdrawal symptoms can include:
Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants are medicines that include sedatives, tranquilizers, and hypnotics. These drugs can slow brain activity, making them useful for treating anxiety, panic, acute stress reactions, and sleep disorders.
Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Crystal methamphetamine is a form of the drug that looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks.
People can take methamphetamine by:
Because the "high" from the drug both starts and fades quickly, people often take repeated doses in a "binge and crash" pattern. In some cases, people take methamphetamine in a form of binging known as a "run," giving up food and sleep while continuing to take the drug every few hours for up to several days.
Taking even small amounts of methamphetamine can result in many of the same health effects as those of other stimulants, such as cocaine or amphetamines. These include:
Long-term methamphetamine use has many other negative consequences, including: