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
Author: Justin Mckibben
With drug abuse being a major issue facing the nation, education is extremely important. Any hope of winning the fight against rising overdose rates and the spread of drug-related illness and death starts with making sure we have as much information as possible to make a difference. On that note, explaining prescription drug abuse is critical because prescription drug abuse is a key contributor to the state of the country today.
If we want to help people avoid prescription drug abuse, or recognize the signs and know there is help, it is important to explain the reality and the risks.
What is prescription drug abuse?
Simply put- prescription drug abuse is one of two things.
- When someone takes a medication that is not their prescription
- If someone takes their own prescription in a way not intended by a doctor or for a different reason
When you take prescription drugs properly they are usually safe. It requires a trained health care clinician, such as a doctor or nurse, to determine if the benefits of taking the medication outweigh any risks for side effects. But when abused and taken in different amounts or for different purposes than as prescribed, they affect the brain and body in ways very similar to illicit drugs.
These drugs have a close relation to morphine, or the street drug heroin. Opioids are typically for pain management. Opioid addiction has become one of the biggest problems facing the country today. Drugs such as:
These drugs are also known as “downers”. You can divide the category can be up into:
Drugs such as Zyprexa, Seroquel and Haldol are meant to reduce symptoms of mental illness.
- Benzodiazepines (Benzos)
Prescription drugs like Xanax, Klonopin, Valium and Librium.
Amytal, Numbutal and Seconal are included in a class of depressants intended as sedatives or sleeping pills.
These kinds of prescription drugs are also called “uppers” or “smart drugs” because of the increase alertness, attention and energy. They also increase heart rate and respiration. Many of these medications are used to combat conditions such as ADHD, including:
Prescription drug abuse has become a big health issue because of the various health hazards. This risk is particularly true of abusing prescription pain medications.
Who abuses prescription drugs?
When asking who are most likely to abuse prescription drugs, the answer may vary depending on the substance. Some people end up participating in prescription drug abuse due to an injury or legitimate health reason, but the “high” they can experience may lead to more frequent use and ultimately a physical dependence.
Recent studies have indicated that prescription drug abuse impacts young adults most; specifically age 18 to 25. In regards to teens, after marijuana and alcohol, prescription drugs are the most common substances of abuse by Americans age 14 and older.
Prescription drug abuse is present across all demographics, relevant to every social and economic class. Many believe this rise has largely contributed to the heroin addiction epidemic and the overdose outbreak in the past few years.
Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment
The Palm Partners Treatment Program has a design for prescription drug abuse intended to address people of all walks of life who are suffering. Personalized recovery programs are meant to work with each individual’s circumstances and symptoms to create a blueprint for the future.
Some of the signs of addiction range in severity and can affect each people differently, especially depending on the specific prescription drug. Increased tolerance is a clear cut sign of progressive physical dependence. Some indicators of prescription drug addiction may be:
- Excessive sweating
- Swelling in the arms and legs
- Chronic constipation
- Respiratory distress
- Slurred speech
- Poor concentration
- High body temperature
- High blood pressure
Treatment for prescription drug addiction includes a detox period to help combat the uncomfortable symptoms of prescription drug addiction, as well as withdrawal.
For all those who are struggling with prescription drug abuse, or even abusing other drugs or medications, there is a massive community of recovery all over the country to help you get the care you need. Treatment for prescription drug abuse can be the first and most important step, so be sure to step up.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
The meaning of life isn’t spelled out for anyone, it doesn’t necessarily exist in terms of black and white or wrong and right… because the meaning of your life always depends on the design you give it, or the words and feelings you use to define it; often leaving shades of grey area between opinions and their oppositions. Our passion for personal truth is an integral aspect of the meaning of life, which is best discovered through genuinely living it and experiencing every second with fulfillment. So is it really so crazy to assume that drug abuse is stealing the meaning of life from us?
Here I want to look closely at stimulants, or ‘smart drugs’ which can positively alter how we experience activities, and when taken consistently narcotics of this nature might instill in us tolerance for a long-term circumstance by regularly creating an artificial sense of interest.
Torben Kjaersgaard recently published a paper called Enhancing Motivation by Use of Prescription Stimulants: The Ethics of Motivation Enhancement focused on a more personal concern: are these smart drugs corrupting our reasoning for the meaning of our lives?
His target substances were infamous smart drugs used to treat ADHD and wakefulness disorder-drugs such as Adderall and Modafinil. It is true these drugs give people with conditions like ADHD a cognitive boost, but abusing smart drugs has become pretty popular, so how many lives are being stolen by these pills designed for productivity?
Are They Helping?
When you look at the evidence, despite consistent claims contrary to the data, these ‘smart drugs’ have a questionable reputation, with mixed rates (at best) of actually enhancing the cognitive abilities of off-label (not prescribed) users.
In the case of drugs like Adderall and Ritalin, data from over 50 experiments testing the effects of these smart drugs on cognition among healthy, young adults found a barely even mixture of significant and insignificant results, with reason to believe many other insignificant results go unreported.
In the case of Modafinil, regarded as the more potent smart drug, little evidence exists that it has any significant cognitive effect on healthy participants. To the contrary, 2 recent studies determined Modafinil actually slows down the response time of users in certain tasks and hinders creative thinking.
So out of the house-hold names for smart drugs, it seems they are highly over-rated in recreational use. So why is it so many people insist they work when abused?
Most people surveyed actually point to a sense of urgency and artificial interest in an otherwise meaningless task at hand. If anything, these results aren’t showing improvement in recall or learning abilities, people just feel more driven. That boring project or grunt work becomes interesting, enjoyable, or even entrancing.
Smart Drugs Stealing Our Lives?
This is where we find Kjaersgaard’s question, which initially may sound more abstract:
What part of ourselves do we risk by using substances that enhance our interest in certain pursuits which we would otherwise find alienating, uninspiring and meaningless?
In a way Kjaersgaard is concerned about the impact of these drugs on our moods and motivations, and even questions if these drugs are cognitive enhancers at all.
Could we as a society end up leading deeply inauthentic lives, using willpower and interest contrived by pharmaceuticals just to get by in a life that otherwise means nothing to us?
Most sentiments expressed by users about the effects of smart drugs are in line with a group of research suggesting the impact of these drugs, if any at all, it’s largely subjective.
One study on the effects of Adderall failed to find cognitive enhancement effects, but what it did find was that users tended to believe their performance was enhanced compared to those given a placebo.
Similarly for Modafinil, evidence suggests the drug induces a subjective impression of better cognitive functioning without actually improving functionality.
So what does this mean?
It tells us it is safe to say smart drugs act on our moods and dispositions in a way that makes us feel up to the task at hand without actually making us more capable. We are NOT smarter, we are just motivated.
Coming full-circle, we look at this on a deeper level. A lack of motivation or inspiration in our life is symptomatic of a deeper problem: we are not truly fulfilled or happy with our lives!
So is it justifiable to use a smart drug, or really any drug at the end of the day, to chemically convince ourselves to accept a job or a study that does not fulfill us?
The lack of motivation for your job might be an intrinsic impulse created by our inner selves, alerting us to an alienation from our life’s true meaning. Living incongruity between who we are and what we do is sometimes a reality, but are smart drugs and narcotic stimulants just another way to make ourselves submissive to it?
Does drug abuse force us into a life we don’t want to live?
Using a pill to get by are we numbing ourselves to a simple sense our spirit is sending us… trying to tell us we are not happy, we are not complete, and we are not living how we want?
Some might say abusing smart drugs can be justified because the way the world works some of us have to commit to a deeply alienating job, so why not at least use something to enjoy it. But if our options are limited purely due to unjust socio-political forces don’t “motivation enhancing drugs” start to look more like “political complacence pills”.
Sounds like a page from a novel on a dystopian future ruled with political influence interfering with personal growth and discovery. This logic paints Adderall like a plot device derived from Aldous Huxley.
A world addicted to smart drugs doesn’t need to strive for a better world, it just artificially adapts itself to enjoy the otherwise unenjoyable and unjust in order to keep people in line.
It seems like stepping back to take all this in, abusing drugs is just a way we trap ourselves in a life that holds no meaning to us.
Addiction is like that, we numb ourselves to our circumstances for lack of a better world, but the truth is we have all the capacity in the world to change it. It is a cop-out to having to take responsibility for our own destinies and pursue our own fulfillment.
The truth behind it, or at least my truth… drugs don’t make a better world, we do.
Life is like everything else, it only has as much meaning as we give it.
In the fight against drugs and alcohol, people lose their lives every single day, using drugs trying to escape a life they probably find has lost its meaning not knowing there is something much greater waiting for them on the other side of recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, chose life, 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
Enough sleep? Really, is there even such a thing? I swear I could take nap right now, but I guess I’m here to work and stuff…
Some say a well spent day brings happy sleep, others say there ain’t no rest for the wicked. Well it seems to be a fact of our society today that nobody gets ‘enough’ sleep… nobody. The search for enough sleep is now a collective obsession, something that we talk about throughout the day and beg for first thing every morning. Snooze button is the new life-support.
But while some of us try to get home earlier and lay down quicker, others are relying on downers and stimulants to regulate their rest, and that is so much more dangerous than it is effective.
Health Risks of Insomnia
Sleep deficiency has all types of negative impacts on the world. It causes various problems such as:
- Fatal road accidents
- Costly drain on the workforce
- Struggling students at school
- Substance abuse
The list goes on and on, and while other issues like ADHD, obesity, and bad skin used to be attributed to diet, new studies suggest they might be due to insomnia. A recent study determined that weight gain might have less to do with what we eat, and more with the time of the day we eat it, which can be controlled by our sleep patterns.
We have almost taught ourselves into a tired existence sustained with coffee, energy drinks and prescription medication, and the insanity of insomnia is changing our world.
Under-Over of Average American Sleep
According to some experts the average full sleep-cycle these days
ranges from 70 to 120 minutes,
not eight hours, while we train our kids to sleep for long period of time. When considering the fact we are taught as children to sleep on a specific schedule, it becomes apparent that sleep as we know it is actually a learned, social habit more so than an innate biological function.
Sleep averages and habits are different around the world depending on the culture.
- In many Asian countries, co-sleeping among family members is the norm.
- In New Guinea, it’s common for men to sleep in male sleeping quarters; women and children are on their own.
- Mediterranean countries have workdays, meals and bedtimes that start later than the average American.
The household has another influence on our sleep. There are various aspects of our family and home lives that contribute to the struggle today, such as:
- Larger number of people live alone.
- Multi-generational families sharing a home have become a norm.
- Separately sleeping couples are increasingly common.
Naps Not Drugs
As mentioned before, it has become too common these days that we rely on medications, prescription or otherwise, to help us get the sleep we so desperately need. As a society we are openly accepting a life-style where we pump ourselves full of uppers in the morning (how much do we love our coffee… yes, yes we do) and a lot of us winding down with downers at night to help us get to sleep.
But this isn’t making the problem any better. Just like we trained ourselves to sleep 8 hours instead of 2 separate sleep periods, and just like we have trained ourselves to sleep different times for different shifts or different cultures, we are training ourselves to be exhausted and artificially energized, which is doing some serious damage to our bodies. That is especially true for the drug user who takes a stimulant in the morning and an opiate in the evening with the excuse that sleep is only obtainable that way.
How do we change this in the search for enough sleep? Well one thing we should definitely take into consideration is something most of us have known about since we were infants… nap time! Some experts say that we had it right with the ancient way of dispersing our sleep throughout the day, giving ourselves time between tasks and activities to recharge. Some suggest that instead of relying on a chemical conditioning to inappropriate sleep patterns, maybe we should try and find a way to rest over selves throughout the course of a day. I’ll advocate for that.
So maybe next time you want to pop a pill or buy a jumbo-amplified can of liquid poison energy, maybe just take a nap. As a matter of fact, as I yawn while writing this, just put your head on the keyboard at work and drift awayyydfhghgdkjghd.
All jokes aside, getting a healthy sleep regiment for yourself is important to your mental and physical health, and while it is relevant to note that our culture and our careers take a toll, it is still possible to give yourself some breathing room and rest. In active addiction this can be next to impossible, and if you get any sleep it’s definitely not quality sleep, but cut yourself a break and get the rest time you need to change. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
By Cheryl Steinberg
Go to the popular website urbandictionary.com and look up “Adderall;” the first definition is: “The only way to finish homework.”
As someone who was legitimately prescribed – and later misused and abused Adderall, in college, of course – I can totally see the draw to using what have become known as “study drugs.” There’s something to be said for the seemingly increased ability to focus on a task for an extended period of time. In my case, the “extended period of time” would be in the form of an all-nighter – or several all-nighters in a row – in order to get all my papers and cramming for exams done in a short period of time. Because I’m a major procrastinator.
Rampant abuse by college students of drugs like Adderall, Ritalin, Dexedrine, and Vyvanse is recently causing many institutions of higher learning to adopt stricter policies. However, students are doubtful that much will change.
Studies reveal that up to 35% of college students in America are taking stimulants like Adderall and Vyvanse that are not prescribed to them, in order to help them focus as well as to increase their productivity during finals.
Campuses Crackdown on ADHD Meds
Many colleges and universities are now cracking down by closely monitoring and regulating their prescriptions, The New York Times reports. Institutions like University of Alabama, Marist College, and Fresno State now require students with legitimate prescriptions for ADHD meds to sign contracts pledging that they will not misuse their prescriptions or share/sell their pills.
Marquette University is going a step further by having its clinicians call students’ parents to get medical histories and confirm their ADHD symptoms. And colleges like George Mason and William and Mary now prohibit their school clinicians from even prescribing stimulants altogether and instead must refer students to off-campus providers; in the case of the University of Vermont, they won’t even test students for ADHD.
“We get complaints that [we’re] making it hard to get treatment,” says Dr. Jon Porter, director of medical, counseling and psychiatry services at UVM. “There’s some truth to that. The counterweight is these prescriptions can be abused at a high rate, and we’re not willing to be a part of that and end up with kids sick or dead.”
Abuse of stimulants, which are, in fact, illegal without a prescription, can lead to a whole slew of unwanted and worrisome side effects – mostly psychological – that include anxiety, depression and even psychosis. Other serious consequences from stimulant abuse include damage to the heart, potential for cardiovascular failure or seizures.
In addition to these health concerns, misusing or abusing stimulants can lead to legal troubles. In one case, Harvard is currently being sued for medical malpractice by the father of Johnny Edwards. Johnny was diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Adderall by the university’s doctors after only one examination. Johnny committed suicide in 2007, apparently due to psychological side effects from the stimulant.
These new limitations have upset ADHD advocacy groups, who argue that such policy changes “create a culture of fear and stigma” around the disorder.
Chief executive of the advocacy group Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Ruth Hughes says that these kinds of rules are discriminatory and that schools that limit ADHD meds should then limit painkillers and other potentially abused medications, as well. Furthermore, Hughes argues that referring students to outside health providers for their prescriptions won’t effectively address the problem: “If a university is very concerned about stimulant abuse, I would think the worst thing they could do is to relinquish this responsibility to unknown community practitioners.”
Of course, the many college students who have grown accustomed to the easy access of these drugs are also displeased by the changes. Others don’t think the new policies will be effective. “I don’t think the new rules would stop me [from selling Adderall]” an anonymous Clark University student tells The Fix. “I’m already doing something I’m not supposed to do, and people are always asking for it. I don’t think that would change.”
Whether you have been legitimately prescribed stimulants or are taking them illicitly, if you feel that your use has gotten out of hand, help is available. Many people have been able to overcome their stimulant addiction and even return to school successfully and without the use of these powerful drugs. If you or someone you love is struggling with stimulant addiction or any other substance abuse disorder or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.