Types and effects of drugs and drug abuse mortality rate. Reference

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An individual can become addicted to drugs even after using a drug for the first time, regardless of what kind of drug it is, Yevgeny Bryun, top substance abuse official at the Ministry of Health and Social Development, told RIA Novosti.

An individual can become addicted to drugs even after using a drug for the first time, regardless of what kind of drug it is, Yevgeny Bryun, top substance abuse official at the Ministry of Health and Social Development, told RIA Novosti.

Narcotic drugs are substances of synthetic or natural origin, medicines, and plants included in the list of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors, which are subject to control in the Russian Federation in accordance with Russian legislation and international treaties of the Russian Federation, including the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961.

Opiates are drugs that have a sedative, inhibitive effect. This group includes natural and synthetic morphine-like compounds. All natural opiate drugs are derived from the opium poppy. They bring about a state of euphoria, calm, and tranquility. Through their effect on metabolic processes, they lead to the rapid emergence of severe mental and physical dependence. Opiates are extremely disruptive to the body. Drug addiction caused by opiates is very difficult to treat. Opiates include: heroin, poppy straw, acetylated opium, raw opium and methadone.

Signs of use: a short state of euphoria, unusual drowsiness at times; slow, drawn out speech, often lagging behind the subject and direction of conversation; good-natured, compliant, obliging behavior to the point of complete submission; the desire to be left alone in silence and darkness regardless of the time of day; pallid skin; very narrow pupils that are unresponsive to changes in lighting; slowing heart rate and respiration, decrease in sensitivity to pain; loss of appetite, thirst, reflexes, and sexual desire.

Effects of using opiates: a huge risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis due to sharing syringes; liver damage due to the poor quality of the drugs, which may contain acetic anhydride, a substance used in their preparation; a sharp decline in immunity and, consequently, susceptibility to infectious diseases; vein diseases; tooth decay due to calcium metabolism disorders; impotence; decreased intelligence. There is a very high risk of overdose with severe consequences, including death.

Cannabis drugs. Hemp grows in regions that have a moderately warm climate. The farther south the plant is grown, the greater the narcotic effect drugs made of it will have. Active ingredients: cannabinoids. Effect: altered mental state. The characteristic smell of burnt grass lingers indoors for a long time. The smell also permeates clothing. The most common cannabis drugs are marijuana and hashish.

Signs of cannabis use: euphoria, a carefree feeling, lack of restraint, increased talkativeness; strong feeling of hunger and thirst, red eyes. A small dose results in: relaxation, the heightened perception of color and sounds, sensitivity to light due to highly dilated pupils. A large dose results in: lethargy, sluggishness, some users experience muddled speech, others display aggressiveness and unpremeditated actions; unrestrained excitement, poor coordination, abnormal perception of the size of objects and spatial relationships, hallucinations, unfounded fears and panic.

Effects of use: confusion, frustration, depression and a feeling of isolation; poor coordination, memory and mental abilities; delayed sexual development and maturation; taking a large dose of the drug can cause hallucinations and paranoia; psychological dependence, where smoking is an addiction rather than a pleasure; stimulation of simultaneous alcohol use and transition to heavier drugs; bronchitis, lung cancer.

Amphetamines are drugs that have a psychoactive, stimulant effect. This group includes synthetic substances containing amphetamine compounds. Most are injected intravenously. These drugs are derived from medicines containing ephedrine. In nature, ephedrine is found in a plant called Ephedra. The drug remains active from 2 to 12 hours.

It causes a psychological and physical dependence. Continued use requires a constant increase in the dose of the drug. The drugs cause an increase in temper, anger and aggression. Over time, undue anxiety and suspicion develop, in some cases leading to suicide attempts. Amphetamine addiction is periodic in nature:  periods of drug use alternate with clean, drug-free, periods. The duration of the latter diminish over time. The most common types of amphetamines include: ephedrone, pervitin, and ephedrine.

Signs of use: a feeling of serenity and euphoria, increased heart rate and high blood pressure; dilated pupils; excessive motor activity, a strong sense of sexual liberation, talkativeness, unproductive and monotonous activities, impaired sense of hunger and tiredness, insomnia.

Effects of amphetamine use: dizziness, headaches, blurred vision and severe sweating; heart attacks, strokes, nervous exhaustion; severe mental changes and irreversible changes in the cerebrum; lesions of the cardiovascular system and all internal organs; liver damage due to poor drug quality, as traces of iodine, permanganic acid, and red phosphorus, used in the preparation of the drug, are often present; risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis due to sharing syringes;  severe immunity decline, high risk of overdose with severe consequences including death.

Cocaine is a psycho stimulant of vegetable origin, derived from the leaves of the coca plant. Addiction to cocaine develops imperceptibly, but steadily. Cocaine anesthetizes the area between eyes and the chest, and the body becomes insensitive. There are two kinds of cocaine: cocaine and crack.

Signs of use: a short but intense feeling of euphoria and increased efficiency; it stimulates the central nervous system; rapid pulse and respiration, high blood pressure, sweating; dilated pupils, loss of appetite; excessive activity, excitement, anxiety, and insomnia.

Effects of use: arrhythmia, bleeding and other damage to the nasal cavity; damaged mucosa, loss of smell and taste; deafness; paranoid psychoses; hallucinations, aggression; death due to cardiac disorders (myocardial infarction) or respiratory arrest.

Hallucinogens are a group of psychedelic drugs that are heterogeneous by origin and chemical composition. They produce altered mental states, affecting feelings, thoughts, emotions and perceptions. These include: LSD, psilocin and psilocybin.

Signs of intoxication: rapid pulse, high blood pressure, dilated pupils, trembling hands, dry skin. Drug intoxication is accompanied by altered perception of reality. Hallucinogen users say that they see sounds and hear colors. They experience hallucinations, a strong feeling of happiness, and overexcitement; abnormal perception of the body, abnormal coordination of movements; loss of self-control.

Effects of use: irreversible changes in the brain structure, mental disorders of varying severity, up to the complete disintegration of the personality. Even a single use of LSD can lead to changes in the genetic code and irreversible brain damage. Mental disorders are indistinguishable from schizophrenia. The drug accumulates in the brain cells, where over prolonged periods of time it can have the same effect months later as it did immediately after being taken. Effects of the drug last for 2 to 12 hours. Psychological and physical dependencies develop.

Continued use requires a constant increase in dose, resulting in increased temper, anger, and aggression. Over time, undue anxiety and suspicion develop. Suicide attempts are possible.

Ecstasy is a common name for a group of synthetic amphetamine stimulants; they often have a hallucinogenic effect. The pills can be white, brown, pink, yellow or multi-colored, often with pictures on. Capsules contain about 150 mg of the drug. Ecstasy is an expensive drug, and usually ecstasy users move on to the regular use of heroin or amphetamines.

Signs of intoxication: the narcotic effect lasts from three to six hours. The central nervous system is aroused; the metabolic rate is heightened and increased stamina and physical strength are noted. People under the influence of ecstasy can withstand extreme emotional and physical stress, such as sleep deprivation, without feeling tired. There is a price to pay for this artificial physical stimulation: after the effect of the drug wears off, the user experiences a state of apathy, depression, extreme fatigue, and drowsiness. This condition can last for several days, as the body needs to restore the energy spent.

Effects of use: psychological dependency, depression, possible suicide attempts, physical and nervous exhaustion; damage to the nervous system, heart and liver; degeneration of internal organs; changes in the genetic code. Possible death from dehydration, overheating, and acute renal failure.

Hypnotics are a group of sedative (tranquilizers) and soporific substances found in regular medicines, usually pills (known as “wheels”) or capsules. There are many varieties of hypnotics. The most dangerous are derivatives of barbituric acid, but other medicines, more or less readily available in pharmacies, can also cause mental and physical dependency. Hypnotics are usually taken orally, but are sometimes injected. They result in strong physical and psychological addiction. Hypnotics are especially dangerous when taken with alcohol.

Signs of intoxication: confusion, slurred speech, clumsiness, poor coordination, disorientation similar to the effects of alcohol intoxication; aggressiveness, rudeness, irritability, depression.

Effects of use: persistent insomnia, brain damage clinically similar to epilepsy, psychoses, hallucinations and delusions of persecution; cardiac muscle dystrophy; liver damage; the risk of death from overdose and the abrupt cessation of large doses.

Inhalants are volatile substances with a narcotic effect. Inhalants are contained in household chemicals: dyes, solvents, glue, gasoline, hairspray and insect repellents. Inhalants by themselves are not drugs; they can only have an intoxicating effect if they are inhaled in very large amounts.
Signs of intoxication: hallucinations; inappropriate behavior, poor coordination.

Effects of use: sneezing, coughing, runny nose, nosebleeds, nausea, arrhythmia, chest pain, impeded coordination and balance; acute intoxication with psychoactive substances can be fatal; toxic liver damage within eight to ten months, irreversible brain damage; frequent and severe bouts of pneumonia; personality changes; delayed mental and psychological development.

Smoking blends (or smoking mixes) are composed of herbs and extracts. Herbs, found in any smoking mixture, are entheogens and have been known to mankind for a long time.

Expert studies show that the use of smoking narcotic blends causes mental disorders. Individuals who smoke find it difficult to concentrate and their ability to perceive the world is impaired.

Smoking these mixes causes individuals to start laughing for no reason and renders them unable to communicate with those around him. Such behavioral changes can last a long time. Gennady Onishchenko, the chief state sanitary doctor of the Russian Federation, notes that in addition to these temporary effects, smoking blends can also have a permanent effect on the user, who becomes a drug addict, chronically ill, who suffers severe disability.

Drug use statistics

As of February 2010, there were 550,000 officially registered drug users in Russia. Experts estimate that the number of drug users stands at 2.5 million, or almost two per cent of the country’s population. Almost 75,000 people annually try drugs for the first time, and 30,000 die from drug use. Specialized drug treatment facilities have registered 138,000 children and adolescents suffering from substance abuse disorders. Almost 90 percent of drug addicts use opiates of Afghan origin.

Russia ranks first in the world for heroin consumption; 21% of the world's heroin production and 5% of all opium-based drugs are consumed in Russia, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Prevention report, published in October 2009.

The reference has been prepared based on RIA Novosti and open source materials.

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