(The following material
has been adapted from a course outline by J. Kris Leppien-Christensen,
Addiction: Compulsion and a craving
to use alcohol or other drugs regardless of negative or adverse
consequences. Addiction is characterized by psychological
dependence and often physical dependence. Loss of control
is also a characteristic of addiction.
Chemical Dependency: A term used to
describe addiction to alcohol and/or other drugs and to differentiate
this type of addiction from non-chemical addiction (e.g.,
Dependence: A recurrent or ongoing
need to use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. Psychological
dependence is the need to use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
to think, feel, or function normally. Physical dependence
exists when tissues of the body require the presence of alcohol,
tobacco, or other drugs to function normally.
Intoxication: State of being under
the influence of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs so that
thinking, feeling, and/or behavior are affected. "High"
is a slang word for intoxication.
Substance Abuse: The continued use
of alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drugs in spite of adverse
consequences in one or more areas of an individual's life.
Tolerance: Requirement for increasing
doses or quantities of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs in
order to create the same effects as was obtained from the
original dose. Tolerance results from physical or psychological
adaptation of the individual. Cross tolerance refers to accompanying
tolerance to other drugs from the same pharmacological groups.
Reverse tolerance refers to a condition in which smaller quantities
of a drug produce the same effects as did previous large doses.
Withdrawal: Physical and psychological
effects that occur when drug-dependent individuals discontinue
using alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
Routes of Administration
Inhalation: Takes 7-10 seconds for
the drug to reach the brain and begin to have its effects.
Drugs that are usually inhaled include cigarettes, marijuana,
and freebase cocaine.
Injection: The drug enters the bloodstream
intravenously, which will take the drug about 15-30 seconds
to be absorbed. When injected intramuscularly, the drug takes
about three to five minutes to be absorbed. If injected subcutaneously,
the drug takes about three to five minutes to be absorbed.
Most likely method to lead to an overdose because drug users
often do not know the purity of the drugs they are using.
Drugs that can be injected include cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines.
Mucosal Absorption: Done by snorting
the drug, placing it under the tongue, chewing it, or placing
it in the rectum or vagina. Bypasses the body's digestive
system and therefore the effects are more intense and occur
more rapidly than oral ingestion. Drugs that are usually absorbed
include chewing tobacco, cocaine, and heroin.
Oral Ingestion: The effects usually
take between 20 and 30 minutes to have an effect. Alcohol,
pills, and tablets are usually taken orally.
Contact & Transdermal Absorption:
Done through the use of skin creams, ointments, eye drops,
and adhesive patches. The method may take two days for the
drug to have its effect. LSD is one example as is nicotine.
Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants
Alcohol: The oldest and most widely
used psychoactive substance (any substance that directly alters
the normal functioning of the central nervous system).
Sedative Hypnotics: Sedatives calm
and relax. Hypnotics induce sleep. Types
Include benzodiazepines (e.g., Valium, Rohypnol, and Xanax)
as well as GHP and GBL.
Opiates: Developed for the treatment
of acute pain, cough, diarrhea, and other illnesses. Examples
include heroin, morphine, codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin) and
methadone. Heroin is the most abused and the most rapidly
acting of the opiates. Methadone is a synthetic opioid used
to treat heroin addiction.
Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulants
Nicotine: One of the most used CNS
stimulants, which has the highest potential for addiction,
tolerance, and dependence. It is both a sedative and a stimulant
of the CNS.
Cocaine: A powerfully addictive substance
that directly affects the brain. Crack cocaine
is the street name given to the freebase form of cocaine that
has been processed from the powdered from into a smokeable
substance. The term "crack" was derived from the
"crackling" sound heard when the mixture is smoked.
Amphetamines: The effects are similar
to cocaine, but the "high" onset is slower and the
duration of the drug's effect is longer. Methedrine (methamphetamine)
is a highly addictive drug.
Nonamphetamine Stimulants: These include
ritalin, ephedra/ephedrine, and, of course, caffeine, the
most common stimulant in the world.
Hallucinogens: Also referred to as
psychedelics because they can distort perception, thought,
and mood by inducing illusions and hallucinations. Examples
include PCP, LSD, peyote, MDMA, ketamine (Special K).
Cannabinols: These include marijuana
Steroids: Often used medically for
testosterone replacement, treatment of muscle loss, blood
anemia, and endometriosis.
Inhalants: Inhalants are volatile substances
that produce chemical vapors that can be inhaled to induce
a psychoactive, or mind-altering, effect. They are usually
chemicals that can be purchased legally and are normally used
for practical purposes.
Gateway Drugs: Drugs whose use typically
precedes the use of illicit drugs such as heroin, cocaine,
and LSD. Gateway drugs serve to initiate the beginner into
the culture of drug use. Children who begin using alcohol
in late elementary and junior high school are more likely
to use illicit drugs. Examples include, tobacco, alcohol,
marijuana and inhalants.
Special Note on Alcohol and Tobacco:
Alcohol and tobacco cause more health and related problems
than do other drugs and more people die from related problems
with these substances than from all illicit drug use combined.