When we are in a crucial time of combating substance use disorder and drug addiction in America, it could be useful to remind everyone of the key differences in different drug categories and which common drugs can qualify for these descriptions.
Needless to say, this is not a complete list of every known drug. Truthfully, there is a vast library of known chemical combinations that are utilized as either medical treatments or abused as a means of recreational intoxication. There are the more abstract medications that have no known recreational use, and there are many synthetics that can be far more complicated.
Still, plenty of drugs that we know of have been put into different classes. Here is a brief breakdown of the different drug categories and what drugs qualify.
Prescription Medical Drugs
First we will make a more solid distinction between medical drugs and recreational drugs. Sadly, prescription drug abuse has become a major problem in the country. The opioid crisis has been largely impacted by the abuse of drugs created for medical use. It is important to be aware of the dangers of prescription medical drugs.
Many medical drugs have side effects that make them appealing to people who don’t have a real medical reason to be prescribed these substances. Common medical drugs to be abused include:
The tragedy we have learned through the opioid crisis is that even though these drugs are typically prescribed for medical purposes, they can be extremely dangerous. That includes people who use them recreationally, and for those who are prescribed the medication because of the risk of physical dependence.
Some prescription drugs are more addictive than others, and many can be deadly when taken improperly or with other drugs, especially alcohol.
Recreational drugs are substances specifically used to achieve a desired feeling, or to get ‘high’. Most recreational drugs are illegal. Some legal drugs are recreational, and some recreational drugs are legalized in certain areas for medicinal purposes.
Recreational drugs are typically categorized into three main categories: depressants, stimulants and hallucinogens.
Depressants, which are also called ‘downers’ are drugs that depress activity in the body, meaning they slow down the messages sent to and from the brain. Examples of depressant drugs include:
- Opiates (such as heroin and morphine)
- Sedatives (such as Valium)
- Some glues, petrols and other solvents
An individual is at an even higher risk of overdose from depressant drugs when consuming different types of depressants at the same time. Large amounts of depressants can cause life-threatening respiratory issues and loss of consciousness.
Stimulant drugs are also known as ‘uppers’. The term refers to the way these drugs make someone feel ‘up’ or ‘alert’ by speeding up the messages sent to and from your brain. Examples of stimulants include:
- Amphetamines (such as speed or ice)
Some of the hazardous side effects of stimulant drugs include:
- Severe strain on the heart
- Increased body temperature
Combining different stimulant drugs, or using stimulants with depressant drugs can create even more strain on the heart and the body, which can cause major health problems or even death.
Hallucinogen drugs are psychoactive agents which can cause hallucinations, anomalies in perception, and other substantial subjective changes in thoughts, emotion, and consciousness. Examples of hallucinogens include:
- LSD (acid)
- ‘Magic’ mushrooms
- High doses of cannabis
Hallucinogen drugs do a number on the mind, and therefore they tend to make people experience things like:
- Risk taking behavior
Legal VS Illegal
One thing that we should always keep in mind is that a drug isn’t necessarily safe just because it is legal. Whether or not a drug is illegal, it can still pose a great deal of problems to different people for different reasons.
Consider alcohol. This is a legal substance, but it is still considered by many to be the most dangerous drug there is. That isn’t to say that it is as potent as drugs like heroin, but the danger rating comes from the fact that it is deadly, addictive AND highly accessible! For one, someone can get alcohol poisoning and die if they drink too much. Also, alcohol withdrawals can be some of the most dangerous there are. Add in the fact that it is extremely addictive, even more lethal when combined with other drugs, and can be purchased on pretty much every corner in America.
THAT is a dangerous drug.
Then, there are synthetic drugs. These substances can be ambiguous when it comes to being flat out illegal. For a while there were constantly news stories about new dangerous synthetic drugs being sold as “legal highs” that were making people deathly ill. In some cases, people did die.
Synthetic drugs can also fall into any of these categories, for example:
These drugs can be far more dangerous than others because of the often random chemical combinations they come in, being cooked in homemade labs with substances that have no clinical trials on human biology.
Drug and alcohol rehab programs are designed to put you in the best position to succeed with as many resources as possible, and it all starts with a healthy detox. Understanding the different drug categories may help you better understand the importance of a safe and effective treatment program. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
The most utilized drug treatment programs are 12-step fellowship programs
like Alcoholic Anonymous (AA), and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). However, there are many ways out there to achieve an optimal life in recovery. Some of these methods are very controversial. Even if they work for some people, the risks are often too high. Still, it is important to note that they are
other programs out there. Therefore, if you find that you are struggling with your treatment program
, it may be time to expand your support network. Do any of these programs appeal to you?
5 Controversial Addiction Treatments
- Moderation Management (MM)
Moderation Management aims to help those who are in the early stages of “problem drinking.” Those who go to meetings like MM are not usually “alcoholics” The program focuses on tackling behaviors and helping participants make lifestyle changes. As the name suggests, the emphasis is on moderation rather than be an abstinence-based program.
The Controversy? MM is not for everyone, and some people risk harm by trying to moderate their alcohol use, instead of focusing on an abstinent-only lifestyle. The organization is upfront in stating 30 percent of its members move on to abstinence-based programs. Even Audrey Kishline, one of the founder of Moderation Management left MM for abstinence-based programs like AA. Kishline made headlines when she was arrested driving blackout drunk and killing a 12-year old girl and her father. She served 3 ½ years in jail before being released. She admitted in a 2006 Dateline interview that she may have elevated the program as a way to “legitimize” her drinking behavior, and she says MM can work for someone “as long as they’re not truly an alcoholic.” Kishline was found dead in her Mother’s home on December 19th, 2014. Though it was never confirmed, it was widely believed to have been a suicide.
- SMART Recovery
Smart Recovery stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training. SMART is a worldwide support network known in the recovery community as the main alternative to AA. It is a four-point program based on abstinence. The ultimate goal of SMART is helping followers learn to lead a more balanced, structured life. It diverges from AA because it avoids the “powerless” ideology. Instead, techniques such as motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy are used.
The Controversy? The main controversy about SMART is the notion that addicts are not “powerless” over their addiction. This separates it from AA which emphasizes the powerless aspect in the first step. SMART recovery is about empowerment. Some criticisms of SMART are that the program is far too broad and deters other programs like AA. However, the organization states it is perfectly acceptable to use SMART alongside other sobriety aids, and even encourages it.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
EFT is known more commonly as “tapping.” This technique involves just that: tapping on a series of pressure points while talking through challenges you are facing— for example, an addictive urge. The technique has roots in Eastern acupressure and combines that knowledge with Western psychotherapy. Tapping can also address the root causes of addiction.
The Controversy? Some argue that it’s nonsense. Although small studies have shown very promising results, there is no science-based explanation on why or how the technique works. Some worry that people with serious mental condition will become over-reliant on the method. Still, the technique is mostly harmless, so it is worth a try.
Neurofeedback allows the ability for you to see your brain waves on a computer screen in real time. Thus, you can learn to alter certain brain rhythms through continuous feedback. This form of treatment has been used traditionally for PTSD, however now it is being used in rehab centers and some psychological clinics. Accumulating evidence supports its effectiveness for conditions like insomnia, anxiety and depression.
The Controversy? Too new. It’s only been around for a short time and only has recently been used for addiction treatment. The research on the effects remain mixed and only time will tell if this will become the next best treatment.
- Hallucinogens/ Psychedelics
Hallucinogens and psychedelics are the next methods that some researchers believe to be effective in treating addiction. Ibogaine is a psychedelic substance that’s illegal in the U.S. However, in other countries, it is used to treat addiction to opiates, alcohol, and other substances. Ibogaine is thought to work by dampening the brain’s reward pathway. It is found to be particularly effective in lessening the effects of withdrawal.
Hallucinogens like magic mushrooms and ayahuasca have been considered a potential treatment for drug addiction. Ayahuasca is a healing brew traditionally used by indigenous peoples in the Amazon. The thinking is the drug can affect the brain cell receptors that control addiction. On a more spiritual level, people report having a healing experience or spiritual awakening that they believe to clear them of their past struggles.
The Controversy? Well… they are drugs, for one, so that is considered quite the unorthodox treatment option for drug addiction. Furthermore, because they are illegal, it is difficult for scientific studies to be approved to validate their effectiveness. The research is still ongoing and remains misunderstood.
Did anything stand out to you? While 12-step fellowships work for many people, everyone is different. It is important to understand all your options and the risks associated with them. Ultimately, the greatest risk is not seeking help at all. Get help today. Do not wait. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Photo Via: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Hardy
Author: Justin Mckibben
I have to say that being a huge movie buff, and I’m the kind of guy who tries to remember every role my favorite actors/actresses play in. I highly anticipate the new Mad Max: Fury Road film starring the London talent turned Hollywood hero Tom Hardy, and as someone that follows the careers of actors and actresses I’m impressed with after they are able to grab my attention with just one intriguing role, I have become a huge fan of this guy. So when I first read about Tom Hardy speaking openly about his battles with drugs and his road to recovery it was something that makes him seem more human, and I might actually be a bigger fan for it.
Hard Man Hardy
Edward Thomas “Tom” Hardy is a 37 year old English actor from Hammersmith, London who made his feature film debut back in the day with Black Hawk Down in 2001. He since has been noted for countless amazing performances in some awesome titles including:
- Star Trek: Nemesis (yes.. he was the main villain)
- RocknRolla (appeared as Handsome Bob)
- Inception (a performance toe-to-toe with Dicaprio’s)
- Warrior (nuff said)
- Lawless (the big brother/soft spoken moonshine man)
- The Dark Knight Rises (duh… anything Batman is awesome)
And throughout his career he went from a much smaller size to a bulky brawler, getting him some serious notoriety as what he says Hollywood sees him as- a “hard man” on set, but that’s not who he thinks he is. This may be most noticeable in his role as the yoked-up mask-faced mercenary BANE from the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy.
So when Hardy recently talked about his troubles with drugs and how helpless he was in active addiction, I can’t help but imagine him saying (in my best possible Bane impersonation) “I was wondering what would break first, my mind… or my body!” Addiction struck in his mid-20’s, but it seems Hardy counts himself fortunate to have recovered before getting the chance to terrorize us in Gotham City.
In an interview with fellow former addict Kenny Ross, Hardy talked about how his had nearly fallen apart, along with his career due to drugs and alcohol. Despite his successful performance in Black Hawk Down, he quickly found himself in a downward spiral that landed him broken.
“I didn’t want anyone to know I was out of control, but I couldn’t hide it. Eventually, the body gives up. I was completely kaput. I was lucky I didn’t get hepatitis or AIDS.”
Hardy admitted that his troubles began at an early age of 13, when he was already experimenting with hallucinogens. Coming from an affluent home Hardy was kicked out of boarding schools for theft, and an addiction to crack cocaine and abusive relationship with alcohol quickly followed. Hardy was arrested for stealing a Mercedes and possessing a gun at 17, but somehow managed to get off without punishment. The years went on and his addiction was only growing, and he abused crack cocaine consistently. At one point he said:
“I would have sold my mother for a rock of crack”
While it didn’t get to the point his mom was on the auction block, it apparently got bad enough for Hardy to make a change.
“I did something particularly heinous that allowed me to wake up.
“I had to lose something. Sometimes you have to lose something that is worth more to you than your drinking.”
Then one day in 2003 he woke up in a puddle of his own blood and vomit on the streets of Soho, and after years of using and boozing he finally realized he needed help. Luckily for him, he was able to find it.
His Reaction to Recovery
Hardy may have become one of the “hard men” of Hollywood, but he is certainly able to admit his shortcomings and his faults. During an interview Hardy described his transition into recovery from despair and desperation, and how the message had stuck with him.
“I was told very clearly, ‘You go down that road, Tom, you won’t come back. That’s it. All you need to know.’ That message stayed with me clearly for the rest of my days. I am f–king lucky to be here.”
When he talks about his trip to rehab, his intentions going in, and the revelation he had while in treatment it is a very familiar story. This inspiration hits close to home remembering my own journey to treatment for addiction, and one thing I can honestly relate to is when he said:
“I went in thinking I’d do it for a little bit until I can go out and drink and people forgive me. But I did my 28 days, and after listening to people who had been through similar circumstances I realized I did have a problem.”
Hardy has now been sober since 2003, and he credits a lot of that to helping others in many ways to reach out. He has actively worked a 12 Step program, and admits that at times his work may be his substitution for his drinking and drugging, but he does his best to stay aware of what that element of his ambition could do. He is the first to admit he has the same potential to ruin it all today as he ever did, but he is grateful for his life today and for the opportunity to chase his dreams and raise his son.
While our new Mad Max may look like a bit of a bully in his movies, it appears as though he is anything but. As a loving father and active member of a fellowship who has dedicated himself to helping others and spreading the message, he seems to take his role in recovery very seriously, and isn’t afraid to talk about living in the fear. Sometimes we don’t see how our heroes are humans too. We all need a little help sometimes. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Mythology is something that has been around since the dawn of time. Humanity has been telling stories and embellishing facts for fantasy and entertainment, or making assumptions to rationalize or justify for entertainment purposes. When you add alcohol, the exaggerations only multiply, and people tend to believe these tall tales.
Here are 9 myths about alcohol you probably believe. You should probably do your homework before you trust these to keep you safe from a number of serious drinking problems, because there are plenty more alcohol misconceptions.
- Alcohol (like Absinthe) can make you hallucinate
FALSE- While this myth in regards to Absinthe has been around a long, long time and is probably one of the most believed myths, it is not true. Absinthe does not contain hallucinogens, it simply has a higher alcohol content. Earliest cases where this claim has been made are actually credited to alcoholism. You are more likely to get alcohol poisoning.
- Sucking on a penny will not fool a breathalyzer
FALSE- Some seem to believe that copper in a penny will fool a breathalyzer, but this is not the case. The same goes for:
These are also rumored to help you cheat a field sobriety test. Your best bet is don’t drink and drive.
- Alcohol helps you get to sleep
While drinking may make you unconscious faster, the actual alcohol keeps your mind from going into REM or Deep Sleep, which means if you drink before bedtime you sleep lighter and for less time. Next time you have sleeping problems try a glass of milk, probably better for you.
- It’s easy to remember what happened in a black-out
FALSE- According to studies, any memories that we seem to re-call after a night of real black-out drinking are not actually real memories. They are false memories are mind pieces together. So expecting to drink a night away and put it back together later is a bad idea, because it’s just your imagination.
- Drinking diet soda keeps you from getting drunk
FALSE- This one actually could not be farther from the truth! In fact, the chemicals in diet soda cause your body to absorb alcohol quicker, making you get drunker faster. Don’t expect diet soda to save you from your bad drinking habits.
- The order in which you ingest different kinds of alcohol will keep you from getting sick
FALSE- Some people swear that drinking liquor before beer keeps you safer from getting sick, but in reality regardless of what you switch to throughout the night, it does not matter.
- Different alcohols make you different kinds of drunk
FALSE- Some people say whiskey makes them angry, light liquor makes them happy, and beer makes them sad, or some other combination of emotions and alcohols. But the truth is, there is no evidence that shows any kind of alcohol causes a different kind of drunk. So don’t blame your problems on a certain brand of alcohol, because it’s all the same to a drunk.
- Eating keeps you from getting drunk
FALSE- While it is true that food does help with the absorption of alcohol, it does not restrict alcohol from going into the blood stream, it only delays it. The body will still get drunk even if you eat a big meal beforehand.
- You can cure a hangover by drinking more
FALSE- “Hair of the dog”, or drinking more after an evening of binge drinking, is not really as sound an idea as most would like to think. Some will swear it cures a hangover, but in actuality drinking more only prolongs the hangover, like picking a scab expecting it to heal quicker.
Despite the various false “facts” people may be providing you with in bars or at parties, it remains a powerful and deadly drug. YES, I said DRUG. Alcoholism is progressive, powerful, and can be fatal. Don’t believe the hype, try getting some help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135