rapid movement of the eyeballs with the pupils appearing normal, rapid shallow breathing, and possible shock and coma.
This group of drugs exhibits the same depressant (downer) action as the barbiturates. The more commonly known drugs within this group include Librium, Valium, Doriden, Miltown, Equanil, and Quaalude. Although there is a possibility of overdose and physical addiction, it is not nearly as great as with the barbiturate drugs and requires larger doses taken over a longer period of time. These drugs are widely used in clinical practice because they are considered to have a wide margin of safety.
The stimulants (uppers) directly affect the central nervous system by increasing mental alertness and combating drowsiness and fatigue. One group of stimulants, called amphetamines, is legitimately used in the treatment of conditions such as mild depression, obesity, and narcolepsy (sleeping sickness).
The amphetamines, known as speed by the abuser, are the most commonly abused stimulants and include such drugs as Benzedrine, Dexedrine, Dexamyl, Desoxyn, Methedrine, and Syndrox. Stimulants may be abused by taking them orally as capsules or tablets, snorting them through the nose, or injecting them into the veins for an immediate and more intense effect.
Physical symptoms of amphetamine abuse include hyperactivity, increased respiration, dilated pupils, increased alertness, sweating, elevated temperature, depressed appetite, and convulsions.
The comedown from amphetamine abuse is so unpleasant that the temptation to take repeated doses is overwhelming and sometimes results in the abuser going on speed runs, which can last up to a week. Then the abuser may sleep several days before awaking depressed, lethargic, and extremely hungry.
Large quantities of amphetamines are physically addicting, and even small amounts can result in psychological dependence. Tolerance to high doses develops, and withdrawal symptoms occur. During the depression state associated with withdrawal, suicide attempts are not uncommon.
Cocaine, although classified as a narcotic, acts as a stimulant and is commonly abused. It is relatively ineffective when taken orally; therefore the abuser either injects it into the vein or snorts it through the nose. Its effect is much shorter than that of amphetamines, and occasionally the abuser may inject or snort cocaine every few minutes in an attempt to maintain a constant stimulation and prevent depression experienced during withdrawal (comedown). Overdose is very possible, often resulting in convulsion and death.
The physical symptoms observed in the cocaine abuser will be the same as those observed in the amphetamine abuser.
The group of drugs that affect the central nervous system by altering the users perception of self and environment are commonly known as hallucinogens. Included within this group are lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mescaline, dimethoxymethylamphetamine (STP), phenicyclidine (PCP), and psilocybin. They appear in several forms: crystals, powders, and liquids.
The symptoms of hallucinogenic drugs include dilated pupils, flushed face, increased heartbeat, and a chilled feeling. In addition, the person may display a distorted sense of time and self, show emotions ranging from ecstasy to horror, and experience changes in visual depth perception.
Although no known deaths have resulted from the drugs directly, hallucinogen-intoxicated persons have been known to jump from windows, walk in front of automobiles, or injure themselves in other ways because of the vivid but unreal perception of their environment.
Even though no longer under the direct influence of a hallucinogenic drug, a person who has formerly used one of the drugs may experience a spontaneous recurrence (flashback) of some aspect of the drug experience. The most common type of flashback is the recurrence of perceptual distortion, but disturbing emotion or panic have also occurred. Flashback may be experienced by heavy or occasional users of the hallucinogenic drugs, and its frequency is unpredictable and its cause unknown.
Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana, is widely abused and can best be classified as a mild hallucinogen. The most common physical appearance of marijuana is as ground dried leaves, and the most common method of consumption is by smoking. After a single inhaled