Substance Dependency with drugs or drug addiction is a complex disease of the brain and body where the addict resorts to compulsive and uncontrollable use of substances despite serious health consequences. Just like alcoholism, it is a disease that results in inexplicable craving for the drug and the only treatment is to abstain completely. In short it is classified as a strong compulsion to source and use substances illegally or legally.

What are the commonly abused drugs?
In India, Marijuana and amphetamine-type stimulants (basic over the counter drugs) continue to top the list. Other widespread illicit drugs include nicotine (tobacco), cocaine, and heroin. The increasing prevalence of these drugs is largely due to the social acceptance surrounding them in India.

Amphetamine-type stimulants, or your basic over the counter medications, are very popular and highly addictive. They are cheap and easily accessible, making it hard for the government to regulate use. As the second most abused drugs in India, over the counter medications have sadly become a part of our culture.

Are women influenced by drugs?
Yes! Many would like to ignore it, some are shedding light on it; but the association between women and drug abuse is becoming an inconvenient reality in India.

When do most people slip into drug addiction?
The youth are most prone to initiate drug usage. Sadly, addiction commonly begins between the ages of 16 and 21.

TYPES OF DRUGS

HALLUCINOGENS

LSD

 

LSD, known as the world's most powerful hallucinogen, LSD is a potent mood-changing chemical. Also called acid, blotter and dots, the drug has been abused for its hallucinogenic properties since the 1960s.

Marijuana

 

Also known as ganja, pot, herb, grass, kif, weed, Mary Jane, reefer, skunk, chronic, boom, and gangster; Marijuana is a drug commonly abused throughout India.

Ecstasy

 

Ecstasy is the street name for the drug “methylenedioxymethamphetamine,” or MDMA for short, and takes the form of a pill. Feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth, and distortions in time have been reported by abusers soon after ingestion.

STIMULANTS

Cocaine

 

Commonly known as coke, flake snow, toot, blow, nose candy, liquid lady, speedball, crack, and rock.

Derived from the coca plant, cocaine is usually sold as a fine white powder (hydrocholride salt). The powder can be dissolved and injected into a vein, or kept dry and sniffed through the nose. Sniffing, also called blowing or snorting cocaine is the most popular method used. Pure cocaine is odourless. However, most cocaine is adulterated in some way or “cut” with different fillers.

Crack, the street form of cocaine, is processed into rock-like crystals that are heated to produce vapors. The vapors are then smoked. The drug was dubbed “crack” because of the crackling sound it makes when heated. Regardless of how you get cocaine into your body, the drug is dangerous–and addictive.

As a stimulant drug, cocaine increases the amount of dopamine (a chemical associated with pleasure) production in the brain. And causes excessive amounts of the chemical to build up. This build up of dopamine results in the euphoric effects of cocaine.

Signs of Cocaine Addiction:
• Fast speech or talkativeness
• Increased heart rate and blood pressure
• Dilated pupils
• Panic
• Runny or bloody nose
• Restlessness, irritability, sleeplessness
• Bouts of high energy followed by exhaustion

Nicotine

 

Nicotine, also referred to as snuff, spit tobacco, and chew; is a major cause for disease worldwide. Found in tobacco leaves, nicotine is typically abused by smoking, chewing, or sniffing.

Nicotine is found in chewing tobacco, cigarettes, nicotine gum, pipe tobacco, some insecticides, and beedis.

Nicotine addiction is currently held responsible for nearly five million deaths annually, and is the second leading cause of death in the world. Its intense addictive nature is projected to be the cause of up to ten million deaths per year by the year 2020.

Nicotine Symptoms:
• Headache
• Nausea
• Constipation or diarrhea
• Falling heart rate and blood pressure
• Fatigue, drowsiness, and insomnia
• Irritability
• Difficulty concentrating
• Anxiety
• Depression
• Increased hunger and caloric intake
• Increased desire for the taste of sweets
• Tobacco cravings

DEPRESSANTS

Heroin

 

Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seedpod 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 known as black tar heroin. Other common names for heroin include big H, horse, hell dust, and smack.

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.

Signs of Heroin Addiction
• Dry mouth
• Warm flushing of the skin
• Heavy feeling in the arms and legs
• Nausea and vomiting
• Severe itching
• Clouded mental functioning
• Going "on the nod," a back-and-forth state of being conscious and semiconscious

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

Tranquilizers

 

Tranquilizers are a unique and potentially dangerous class of drugs used to induce states of relaxation and feeling of artificial tranquility. Individuals struggling with mental health issues and frequent anxiety attacks often use tranquilizers to help "calm themselves down." These are addictive in nature and pose a high threat towards overdose and too much frequent use. Popular street names for the drug include downers, sleeping pills, candy, tranx, benzos, moggles, or bennies.

Addiction Symptoms:
• Increased sleepiness
• Shaky hands
• Difficulty concentrating
• Rapid heartbeat, irregular heart rate
• Irregular respiratory rates or depressed breathing
• Memory loss or confusion
• Dulled emotional responses
• Dizziness, Nausea

 

 

References:
http://www.addictionindia.org/
https://health.arizona.edu/
https://www.drugabuse.gov/
http://www.healthizen.com/
https://www.indiaparenting.com/
https://health.nytimes.com
https://www.webmd.com/
https://addictionsandrecovery.org/benzodiazepine.htm
https://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/signs-symptoms-tranquilizer-use.html
https://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/effects-of-tranquilizers.html
https://www.addictionhope.com/tranquilizers/
https://www.recovery.org/topics/find-the-best-residential-tranquilizer-recovery-center