Be Smart! Don't Start!

Three Types of Drugs Pose a Dangerous Threat to Society

The Stopper: Depressants


-Depressants are drugs than inhibit the function of the central nervous system (CNS) and are among the most widely used drugs in the world.

-Depressants work by affecting the part of the brain that controls bodily functions such as breathing and heartbeat.

-The ability to slow down the brain makes them useful for treating anxiety and sleep disorders.

-On the other hand, they are extremely dangerous if abused.

Examples of Depressant Drugs: Alcohol, Heroin, Marijuana, Barbituates

Physiological effects of use: slurred speech, nausea, laziness of eyes, loss of inhibitions, dilated pupils, fatigue, fever, decreased body temperature and heart rate

Psychological effects of use: impaired memory and judgment, behavior similar to alcohol intoxication, depression, psychotic episodes


-In a study conducted by the USA Today over a four year period, antipsychotics (a type of depressant) were the prime suspects in 45 deaths caused by heart problems, choking, liver failure, and suicide.

-Each year, approximately 5,000 people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking.

-This includes about 1,900 deaths from car accidents, 1,600 homicides, 300 suicides, and hundreds of other deaths due to accidents like falls, burns, and drownings.


-Depressants are highly addictive and withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, sleeplessness, and seizures.

-Depressants are extremely dangerous if taken with alcohol and certain other drugs.

-Exceedingly large doses of depressants can stop breathing.


-The legal minimum age for the consumption of alcohol in the United States is 21.

-In the United States, possession of more than 100 grams of heroin is punishable with a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in a federal prison.

-On December 6, 2012, Washington officially became the first state to legalize marijuana, despite the fact that it remains illegal under federal law.

The Distorter: Hallucinogens


-Hallucinogens are drugs that distort the way you perceive reality. They can cause you to see, feel, and hear things that don't exist, making it hard to communicate or think clearly.

-Hallucinogens work by disrupting how nerve cells and the neurotransmitter serotonin interact throughout the brain and the spinal cord. By changing the normal healthy structure of serotonin in the body, hallucinogens twist and alter the way the brain processes senses, feelings, and visual information, loosening your grip on reality.

-All hallucinogens can cause flashbacks-feelings and thoughts that replay the effects of being on the drug weeks or even years after taking them.

Examples of Hallucinogenic Drugs: LSD, Mushrooms, Ketamine, PCP, Datura, Mescaline

Physiological effects of use: blurred vision, loss of coordination, irregular heartbeat, nausea and vomiting, increased body temperature, and sweating

Psychological effects of use: hallucinations and distorted perceptions, feelings of euphoria, disorganized thoughts, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, agitation


-LSD leads to approximately 5,000 emergency room visits per year

-Approximately 11% of high school seniors surveyed last year have ever used LSD

-LSD is the most powerful hallucinogenic drug. It is 100 times more potent than hallucinogenic mushrooms.


-Since all hallucinogens disturb the normal functioning of the brain, they put you at risk of developing long-term mental disorders.

-In the state of mind that results from hallucinogenic usage, it can be very easy to have a dangerous, or even fatal, accident.


-As of 2008, most well-known hallucinogens are illegal in Western Countries.

-In the United States, hallucinogens are classified as a schedule 1 drug.

-The test for these drugs is as follows: the drug currently has no accepted medical use, there is a lack of safety for the use of the drug under medical supervision, and the substance has a high potential for abuse.

The Accelerator: Stimulants


-As opposed to depressants, stimulants increase the activity of the brain.

-These drugs can temporarily elevate alertness, mood, and awareness.

-Although stimulants share many similar features, each have unique properties of action.

Examples of Stimulant Drugs: Amphetamines, Caffeine, Cocaine, Nicotine, Methamphetamine, Ritalin

Physiological Effects: dizziness, tremor, headache, flushed skin, excessive sweating, chest pains with palpitations, vomiting, abdominal cramps

Psychological Effects: agitation, hostility, panic, aggression, paranoia, hallucinations, suicidal or homicidal tendencies


-The production of ritalin and amphetamines in the United States has soared since 1990.

-Ritalin production quota increased from 1,768 kilograms in 1990 to 14,957 kilograms in 2000.

-Amphetamine production quota increased from 417 kilograms in 1990 to 9,007 kilograms in 2000.

-According to the United Nations, the United States produces and consumes about 85% of the world's ritalin.


-Stimulants, if abused, can be severely addictive.

-Addiction to Stimulants can quickly lead to medical, psychiatric, and psychosocial deterioration.

-Drug tolerance, sensitization, as well as withdrawal syndrome can occur.


-Although cocaine was legal in the United States during the 1800's, it has since been declared illegal because of its highly addictive properties.

-In recent years, due to the intense lobbying by consumer protection firms, the United States government has played an increased role in the regulation of nicotine products, such as cigarettes and tobacco.

-Prescription stimulants are used to treat some physical and psychological disorders, including ADHD and narcolepsy.

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