Illegal drugs are defined in terms of their chemical formulas. To circumvent these legal restrictions, underground chemists modify the molecular structure of certain illegal drugs to produce analogs known as designer drugs. These drugs can be several hundred times stronger than the drugs they are designed to imitate. The narcotic analogs can cause symptoms such as those seen in Parkinson's disease--uncontrollable tremors, drooling, impaired speech, paralysis, and irreversible brain damage.
Analogs of amphetamines and methamphetamines cause nausea, blurred vision, chills or sweating, and faintness. Psychological effects include anxiety, depression, and paranoia.
As little as one dose can cause brain damage. The analogs of phencyclidine cause illusions, hallucinations, and impaired perception.
Anabolic steroids are often misused in an attempt to artificially induce increases in muscle strength or bulk. Serious health consequences may result from use of even small amounts of anabolic steroids, including problems such as: liver dysfunction, cysts, and tumors; high blood pressure and changes in blood chemistry; hardening of the arteries; weakness in heart muscle tissue; and cancer of the breast, prostate, and bladder.
Males may suffer from premature baldness, decreased testicle size and function, lower sperm count, decreased sex drive or impotence, and breast enlargement. Females may suffer from masculinization, decreased breast size, decreased sex drive, and unwanted body hair. Steroid use by adolescents may cause premature stoppage of bone growth resulting in smaller, shorter body size. Other side effects include acne, decreased immune system response, aggressiveness, and personality changes.
Chronic use of nicotine, through smoking, chewing, or snuff dipping, causes more deaths and disability than all other forms of drug abuse combined. Nearly one-fourth of all deaths in the United States are attributed to abuse of nicotine. The Surgeon General has determined that nicotine is as addictive as heroin or cocaine.
Cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, emphysema, and other chronic respiratory diseases; heart attacks and other circulatory problems; high blood pressure; stroke; cancers of the mouth, throat, stomach, bladder, and liver; ulcers and other digestive disorders; and a wide range of other conditions including increased dental cavities. There is no safe level of nicotine use. Recent government reports confirm that breathing other people's cigarette smoke causes thousands of additional deaths per year in nonsmokers. Smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco and snuff) use causes changes in the mouth, including sores that do not heal, erosion of gum tissue, increases in dental problems, leukoplakia, and oral cancers. The nicotine in smokeless tobacco causes heart attacks and other circulatory problems, high blood pressure, stroke, and digestive disorders. There is no safe level of nicotine use.
Narcotics initially produce a feeling of euphoria that often is followed by drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. Users also may experience constricted pupils, watery eyes, and itching. An overdose may produce slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma, and possibly death.
Tolerance to narcotics develops rapidly, and dependence is likely. The use of blood contaminated needles may result in diseases such as AIDS, endocarditis, and hepatitis. Addiction in pregnant women can lead to premature, stillborn, or addicted infants who experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
Stimulants can cause increased heart and respiratory rates, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils, and decreased appetite. In addition, users may experience sweating, headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, sleeplessness, and anxiety. Extremely high doses can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, loss of coordination, and even physical collapse. An amphetamine injection creates a sudden increase in blood pressure that can result in stroke, very high fever, or heart failure.
In addition to the physical effects, users reported feeling restless, anxious, and moody. Higher doses intensify the effects. Persons who use large amounts of amphetamines over a long period of time can develop an amphetamine psychosis that includes hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. These symptoms usually disappear when drug use ceases.
The effects of depressants are in many ways similar to the effects of alcohol. Small amounts can produce calmness and relaxed muscles, but somewhat larger doses can cause slurred speech, staggering gait, and altered perception. Very large doses can cause respiratory depression, coma, and death. The combination of depressants and alcohol can multiply the effects of the drugs, thereby multiplying the risks.
The use of depressants can cause both physical and psychological dependence. Regular use over time may result in a tolerance to the drug, leading the user to increase the quantity consumed. When regular users suddenly stop taking large doses, they may develop withdrawal symptoms ranging from restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety to convulsions and death.
Aside from alcohol, there are several drugs that can also cause severe damage to your body.
We ask that you read and become familiar with these drugs so that you can make an informed decision. Again, Ball State does not tolerate drug use of any kind.
The follow information was adapted in part from U. S. Department of Education, Schools Without Drugs, 1987.
Marijuana, Hashish, and Hash Oil:
All forms of marijuana have negative physical and mental effects. Several regularly observed effects of marijuana are a substantial increase in the heart rate, bloodshot eyes, a dry mouth and throat, and increased appetite.
Use of marijuana may impair or reduce short-term memory and comprehension, alter sense of time, and reduce the ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car. Research also shows that students do not retain knowledge when they are "high." Motivation and cognition may be altered, making the acquisition of new information difficult. Marijuana can also produce paranoia and psychosis.
Because users often inhale the unfiltered smoke deeply and then hold it in their lungs as long as possible, marijuana is damaging to the lungs and pulmonary system. Marijuana smoke contains more cancer-causing agents than tobacco. Long-term users of marijuana may develop psychological dependence and require more of the drug to get the same effect. The drug can become the center of their lives.
Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system. Its immediate effects include dilated pupils and elevated blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature. Occasional use can cause a stuffy or runny nose while chronic use can ulcerate the mucous membrane of the nose.
Injecting cocaine with un-sterile equipment is known to transmit the virus that causes AIDS, hepatitis, and other diseases. Preparation of freebase, which involves the use of volatile solvents, can result in death or injury from fire or explosion. Cocaine can produce psychological and physical dependency, a feeling that the user cannot function without the drug. In addition, tolerance develops rapidly. Crack or freebase rock is extremely addictive, and its effects are felt within 10 seconds. The physical effects include dilated pupils, increased pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, tactile hallucinations, paranoia, and seizures. The use of cocaine can cause death by disrupting the brain's control of the heart and respiration.
Phencyclidine (PCP) interrupts the functions of the neocortex, the section of the brain that controls the intellect and keeps instincts in check. Because the drug blocks pain receptors, violent PCP episodes may result in self-inflicted injuries. The effects of PCP vary, but users frequently report a sense of distance and estrangement. Time and body movements are slowed down. Muscular coordination worsens and senses are dulled. Speech is blocked and incoherent.
Chronic users of PCP report persistent memory problems and speech difficulties. Some of these effects may last six months to a year following prolonged daily use. Mood disorders--depression, anxiety, and violent behavior--also occur. In later stages of chronic use, users often exhibit paranoid and violent behavior and experience hallucinations. Large doses may produce convulsions and coma, heart and lung failure, or ruptured blood vessels in the brain. Lysergic acid (LSD), mescaline, and psilocybin cause illusions and hallucinations. The physical effects may include dilated pupils, elevated body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and tremors.
Sensations and feelings may change rapidly. It is common to have a bad psychological reaction to LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin. The user may experience panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety, and loss of control. Delayed effects or flashbacks can occur even after use has ceased.