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Chapter2

Drink’n & Drug’n

MARIJUANA

Some define marijuana as a relatively harmless drug that leads to the use of other dangerous and illegal drugs. As far as marijuana leading to other drug use, that may be debatable. However, the most significant fact is that the main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol). This chemical causes short-term problems with memory, learning, loss of coordination, distorted perception, as well as difficulty in thinking and problem solving. The greater danger in this, is the fact that doctor’s, scientist and researchers have determined that the human brain, the

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most vital organ in our bodies, is not fully developed until a person has reached his twenties. According to NIDA,(National Institute of Drug Abuse), marijuana smoke contains some of the same, and sometimes even more, of the cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke.

BLACK MAMBA(Spice, K2)

Having only been around since the mid nineteen- nineties, synthetic marijuana, which is usually sold as incense, has become more popular, but research is showing that it’s not a safe drug of choice. In March of 2011, the DEA issued a statement that prohibited the production, possession, and sale of any of the five different chemicals that are used to produce fake marijuana. The short term effects of this drug can include trouble breathing, heart palpitations, panic attacks, hallucinations

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and vomiting. There have been many instances where this drug has caused seizures. Also, two reported cases of suicide as well as two that have resulted from hallucinations made the headlines recently. Abusing this drug has the potential to cause psychotic disorders as well. Another danger is that these synthetic marijuana substitutes are not produced in a controlled environment; their purity and dosage are not regulated or consistent. Since this drug hasn’t been around long enough to uncover its long term health effects, it would be wise to avoid it altogether.

NICOTINE

How many of you have parents, older siblings or friends who smoke cigarettes, yet they tell you all the time, “I better not catch you smoking?”I’m sure many of you know people who do things that they tell you not to do.

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However, when it comes to smoking cigarettes, you must know that the message is more important than the messenger. The message that you should take from this is that even though these same adults know that smoking cigarettes brings forth deadly health risks, the nicotine in the tobacco is so addictive that at the present time, their addiction to the nicotine far outweighs their need to quit; which is why they so desperately urge you not to start. Your swiftest way to failure is doing things simply because others do them. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Tobacco use kills 440,000 Americans each year, with one in five U.S. deaths the result of smoking.

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Each cigarette contains about 10 milligrams of Nicotine which is the chemical in tobacco that

is addictive. Nicotine is only one of

4000

chemicals, many of them poisonous, found in the smoke of tobacco products. The overall rates for death from Cancer are twice as high among smokers as non smokers.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, between 1964 and 2004, more than 12
According to the
National Institute
of Drug Abuse,
between 1964
and 2004, more
than 12 million
Americans died
prematurely from
smoking, and
another 25
million U.S.
smokers alive
today will most
likely die of a
smoking-related
illness.

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Smoking is also associated with cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, cervix, kidney, bladder, and acute myeloid leukemia. In addition to cancer, another chemical found in tobacco is Tarthat. Tarthat causes lung diseases such as emphysema which is the destruction of your lungs and chronic bronchitis which is an inflammation of the airways in the lungs thus making it difficult for you to breathe. Have you ever known or seen someone having to carry around an oxygen tank to help with their breathing? Carbon Monoxide, another chemical produced by the tobacco smoke causes heart problems, including stroke, heart attack, vascular disease, and aneurysm. Smoking causes coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States: cigarette smokers are 2–4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers. Tobacco abuse harms every organ in the body. It has even been conclusively

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linked to leukemia, cataracts, and pneumonia. Also, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it’s not just the smokers who are affected. Non-smokers are exposed to “second-hand smoke,” which comes from both the smoke that a smoker exhales and from the smoke floating from the end of a cigarette, cigar, or pipe. Inhaling second-hand smoke increases a person’s risk of developing heart disease by 25 to 30 percent and lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent. In fact, secondhand smoke is estimated to contribute to as many as 40,000 deaths related to heart disease and about 3,000 lung cancer deaths per year among non- smokers.

So the next time someone tells you “never smoke cigarettes,” don’t worry about whether they smoke or not, just listen to the message.

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ALCOHOL

I remember back in my teenage years, how now and then, me and my friends would put all of our money together and head off to the nearest liquor store in search of an irresponsible adult willing to purchase alcohol for us. We would loiter at the side of the store then rush to the patrons walking up to the door. If we were a few dollars short, we had no problem asking someone. With liquor in hand, we would journey to the nearby park, pour as much liquor down our throats as we could handle then act as stupid as possible as we fell under the influence of our drink. For me, it was mostly for show because thankfully, I couldn’t stand the taste of alcohol and have always disliked the way it made me feel. To this day I seldom drink it. At this time of our lives though, this all seemed fun. However, one of the first times me and my friends sat down and got drunk together, I found out how dangerous it can be under the influence.

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On this night, after all of the liquor was gone, we decided that we didn’t want to stop just because we didn’t have any more money. We figured that it was time to get paid. In our drunken ignorance, we concluded that we would simply go and take someone’s money. Just a few blocks away was a local bar. Often, we had noticed as the night went on, men drunk on alcohol stumbled outside unable to find their car keys or their cars. That was our plan, wait until a drunk stumbled out of the bar than jump him until he turned over his wallet. As the four of us hid just to the side of the bar patiently waiting for our victim, an older bearded man stumbled out of the bar. Nervously, we rushed and pushed him to the ground. While my friends held him down, I frantically searched for a wallet, but couldn’t find it while the man pleaded with us to stop. As soon as we caught the attention of someone looking at the commotion in the doorway, I felt something crumbled up in his pocket, snatched it out and took off running with

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my friends on my heels. We ran as fast as we could run, all the way to another friend’s house. Once I caught my breath, I pulled the crumpled bills out of my pocket. After getting drunk, then risking our lives on going to prison for a robbery or even a murder, the total of our heist was fourteen dollars. I’m positive that on this day, if not for the influence of alcohol in our systems, we would not have thought of doing anything like this for money.

Can you imagine being a forty-year old man so addicted to alcohol that you stand in front of liquor stores asking for change to buy liquor?

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Unfortunately for some, drinking as a youth is the easiest way to a lifelong addiction to it.

As a result of a couple of my old buddies addiction to alcohol that started when they were just teens, you can still find them at the liquor store panhandling for change to buy alcohol. This is just one of the risks you face when you choose to consume

Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop
Young people
who begin
drinking before
age 15 are four
times more
likely to develop
alcoholism than
those who begin
drinking at 21.
(Grant,B. and
Dawson, D.)
Journal of
Substance
Abuse, Vol. 9,
Jan. 1998.

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alcohol as a youth. Even though alcohol is considered a legal substance and the law allows the sales and consumption of it to those over the age of twenty one, it may be the most deadly when abused. From television commercials to popular music, we are constantly bombarded with the deceptive message that drinking alcohol somehow means happy times and great health. Haven’t you noticed in television commercials where alcohol is being advertised, everyone is nice looking, in terrific shape and having a fabulous time? What if these same advertisers told you the truth about the possible consequences of using too much alcohol, such as, how it can actually make you look much older than you are, and how it’s not truly appropriate for your health because drinking it can lead to cirrhosis of the liver which prevents it from filtering deadly toxins out of your body. What if they told you the truth about leaving that fun party under the influence of alcohol

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and your chances of being pulled over by the police and charged with a D.U.I.,(driving under the influence)? How about if they told you the chances of you being killed in a car wreck would be very high when you drink too much? If the alcohol companies told you everything, you might be less likely to buy it.

Not only those who sell alcohol want you to believe in the magical powers alcohol has to make your lives better, but the entertainment industries as well glorify a lifestyle of drinking and partying without telling you the truths and the risks that come with drinking too much. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism have for years, just like now, been a common problem that has affected millions of people, rich and poor of all ethnicities and socioeconomic classes. Alcohol abuse means drinking more alcohol than is socially, physiologically or physically healthy. Alcoholism is a long term condition in which drinking too much eventually leads to poor health, family

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problems, job and loss of career. Alcohol abuse has often resulted in violent acts, car accidents, suicide, sexual promiscuit y and even sudden

death. Those who become dependent and abuse alcohol will often neglect their personal appearance, miss work or other responsibilities, become defensive with family members

A symptom of Cirrhosis, a disease that can be caused by alcohol abuse, is bleeding
A symptom of
Cirrhosis, a
disease that
can be caused
by alcohol
abuse, is
bleeding in the
intestines
resulting in
vomiting
blood, passing
stool that is
black and
dizziness or
fainting.

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and even go through violent mood swings. When you start drinking alcohol heavily your nutritional status and health are immediately affected. Alcohol interferes with the metabolism of most vitamins and the absorption of many nutrients. Vitamin B deficiency can cause loss of memory and confusion. Continued abuse of alcohol eventually leads to serious health problems. High fat levels in the blood, high blood pressure, disease of the coronary arteries and damage to the heart muscle can occur. Other potential health hazards like an inflamed pancreas and ulcers in the stomach and intestine can occur when you become an alcoholic. You also risk acquiring the deadly disease cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is when the alcohol has damaged the liver in your body so severely that it ceases to function normally. No longer can your liver filter out the many deadly toxins the body produces. When this happens, your mind can be affected as well. You can become

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drowsy, confused and even fall into a coma. Your only chance for survival at this point is to undergo a liver transplant. Once addicted to alcohol, the worst part may be what happens when a person suddenly stops drinking. It is called alcohol withdrawal syndrome or (Delirium Tremens) the DT’s and the symptoms are extreme body tremors called the shakes, nausea, sweating and sometimes hallucinations. In some cases, if this is not treated fast enough the result may be death. Young people you must know that the more you drink at this time of your lives the easier it will be for you to become addicted to it. Once you become addicted to alcohol, the craving for it can be as strong as the need for food and water.

METHAMPHETAMINE BY D. Urban

By now it has become apparent that all of you have heard of the drug Crystal Meth. A drug full of heartache and pain. From my own personal experience, I

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have lost my kids, gotten my ex-wife hooked on it and have had the State’s drug task force watching my house due to the meth lab that was inside. One day, this guy I knew who I had been doing business with came over to the house for one of our usual meth parties. I had just cooked a batch and sold this guy sixty dollars worth of it. He disappeared into the garage to go get high, and I didn’t think anything else about it. Thirty minutes later, he stepped out of the garage to go use the bathroom. Suddenly he rushed back out of the bathroom and back into the garage while we stood watch. He had already been up for about four days straight and was to the point of paranoia, a side effect that accompanies the use of this drug. He abruptly rushed back out of the garage then out of the house while screaming, I’ll be back and when I do ya’ll better have my stuff!” We didn’t know what he was talking about, and we thought he would just go home and try to sleep it off, boy

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were we wrong because approximately twenty minutes later he was back pounding his fists on the front door. We hesitantly let him back inside, and the first thing that blasted out his mouth was, “where is my dope at!” I hadn’t yet noticed the AK-47 assault rifle with the Banana clip he was holding behind his back until he forced his way through the front door. At that point, the first thing I thought was that I was getting ready to die. The next thing that was blasting was the bullets out of the automatic riffle’s barrel into walls and ceilings. All I could do was take off running into the kitchen, out the back door and all the way to the park. I stood watch looking back at the house from a distance when suddenly he burst out the front door running down the block in the other direction without the automatic weapon he had brought into the house. As I stood watching the front door, I was thinking of how my friends must be lying dead covered in blood lying on the floor full of bullet holes. I continued

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staring when the two of them suddenly stepped outside on the front porch looking dazed and confused. I took a deep breath of relief and hesitantly moved back to the house. A few hours later, this same guy came back over to the house as if none of any of that had even happened. We had discarded the gun and he didn’t even ask about it. All he wanted to do is score some more dope. Following this incident, I told myself that I would quit using meth, but that only lasted for a few weeks. Soon after this incident, my uncle and one of his friends came through. He told me that his friend just wanted to go into the bathroom and take a shower to get cleaned up, so I said, “no problem.” We all moved into another room to get high. About thirty minutes had gone by before we wondered what happened to his friend. Then the wait turned into an hour. Finally, my uncle went to the bathroom door and knocked to see if he was alright. No answer. My uncle knocked harder this

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time, but still no answer. So my uncle thought we’d better kick the door in. Boom! My uncle pushed his shoulder into the door, and it fell inside the bathroom on top of my uncle’s friends limp body with a needle pierced inside of his arm with blood trickling out. I lifted the door off of him and saw that he was lying there unconscious. My uncle touched his arm to check for a pulse, and there was none. We started to panic. Here we were, high ourselves on meth. We had all the ingredients for cooking meth in the house, plus we had just cooked up a new batch of it. Here in Colorado that was worth at least, twenty years in prison. We knew that we couldn’t call the police. We lifted his body out of the bathroom. I went and grabbed the car keys so that I could pull the truck up as close to the front door as possible. Meanwhile, my uncle carried his friend’s lifeless body out of the house draped over his shoulders. He tossed him into the back of the truck

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and jumped into the driver’s seat while I moved over. My uncle hit the gas and sped to the local park. We rushed to the back of the truck, pulled his friend out and carried him over to the park bench. We left him there then drove to a pay phone to dial 911. Making a long story short, my uncle’s friend didn’t die that day. The local paramedics made it in time to save his life. However, it has been hard for me to forgive myself for having done this. Ultimately, the moral of this story is that if you have anything to do with meth, you’d better put an end to it immediately. You risk becoming addicted to it. You risk going to prison for a long time just for having it in your possession, and most importantly you risk death.

This was a story from someone I met years ago. As you can see, his use of this drug could have easily ended tragically.

Methamphetamine is a powerfully addictive central nervous system

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stimulant and illegal drug, which is smoked, snorted or injected into the blood stream by needle. Methamphetamine can actually be prescribed by a doctor though its medical uses are limited and only prescribed in small dosages. Most of the meth used in America is made in small, illegal and extremely dangerous labs concealed in houses throughout the country. Due to the volatile and lethal nature of the chemicals during the process of making it, the neighborhoods and the environment become endangered. The way meth works in the brain is that it increases the release of dopamine and blocks its return throwing off the normal cycle. Chronic use of this drug will significantly change how the brain functions. Meth comes in three basic forms. One form is in a white, odorless powder readily soluble in alcohol or water and is usually injected into the blood by needle. Another form of this drug is in a usually yellow rock which is smoked through a

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According to Crystal Meth Addiction.org, some of the chemicals used in making meth include, rubbing
According to
Crystal Meth
Addiction.org,
some of the
chemicals used
in making meth
include, rubbing
alcohol, battery
acid, camera
batteries, camp
stove fuel, and
drain cleaner.

glass pipe. The other form of this drug is small crystals, which are also smoked through a glass pipe. In the short term, meth

can cause addiction, altered judgment, unwanted aggression, violence and other psychotic behavior. Mood changes, as well as mind changes such as depression, anxiety and temporary euphoria are also experienced. The long term effects of using this drug are extreme weight loss, damage to blood

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vessels in the brain, increased heart rate and blood pressure, strokes, cardiovascular collapse and even sudden death. Other effects of this drug are degeneration of brain tissue reminiscent of what you get from Alzheimer's and meth mouth, when your teeth rot and fall out. It can also cause long-lasting behavioral changes even in people who only use it once or twice. Again, with drug addiction you risk a life of abuse, physical and mental, poverty, crime, violence, disease, and sudden death.

PCP :(the wet)

Antron Singleton, born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1976, was an up and coming rapper who moved to California’s Bay area to become nationally recognized. Better known by his stage name, ‘Big Lurch,’ he was eventually noticed and invited to rap on the albums of other well known California rap artist.

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Unfortunately, in the year 2000, he was involved in a serious car accident which left him with a broken neck. When he was released from the hospital, he had trouble walking and was still in serious pain. The only way that he knew how to deal with his discomfort was to medicate himself. Regrettably, he would choose a substance more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. In the afternoon of April 10, 2002, in Los Angeles, California, police found Big Lurchin the street looking up and hollering at the skies. He was also naked with blood covering parts of his body. It seems earlier that day, one of his girlfriends was found at home, with her chest torn wide open and her lungs ripped out of her body. Bite marks were found on her lungs and face. A piece of a sharp knife was also found in her shoulder blade. Antron Singleton was charged with her murder. While in police custody, a medical evaluation revealed that he had human body parts in his stomach that

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weren’t his. It was also later discovered that the evening before the murder he had been smoking PCP. He was eventually handed down a life sentence in prison.

PCP or as some call it, ‘angel dust’ or ‘the wet’, is a bitter-tasting, white crystalline powder that is easy to dissolve in water or alcohol. PCP may be dyed various colors and often is sold as a tablet, capsule, liquid, or powder. Users snort PCP powder, swallow tablets and capsules, or smoke the drug by applying it (in powder form) to a leafy substance such as marijuana, mint, parsley, or oregano. In addition, users dip marijuana or tobacco cigarettes in liquid PCP and smoke them. The physical effects of PCP in small doses causes sedation, numbness of the extremities, loss of muscle coordination, and dizziness. Users tend to have a blank stare or experience involuntary rapid eye movements accompanied by blurred or

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double vision. Users may also experience flushing, profuse sweating, nausea, vomiting and an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate. In larger doses, PCP's painkilling and anesthetic qualities are prevalent. There is a significant drop in blood pressure, breathing and heart rate. Users appear drunk because they are so uncoordinated. They may experience shivering, increased salivation, watery eyes, loss of balance, dizziness, muscular rigidity, and exhibit repetitive movements such as rocking back and forth. Their speech is often confused and their vision may be distorted. For the next few hours, thinking, remembering, and making decisions can be very difficult. At high doses, PCP users become extremely agitated which is commonly followed by seizures or coma. The coma can last for a few days to several weeks. These symptoms mimic the agitation, delusions and mental confusion exhibited by individuals suffering from

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schizophrenia. Massive PCP overdoses can kill. PCP is extremely dangerous because it often leaves users out of touch with reality, violent, confused and even wanting to commit suicide. People have been known to jump off of buildings and run through traffic on busy highways after using this drug. If you choose to use this drug you may suffer the same fate as ‘Big Lurch’ and his friend.

HEROIN

When I was a kid, I had the most secret crush on one of my friend’s mothers. She was a beautiful lady who was personable and always showered me with compliments then pinched my cheeks. Most times, I went over to his house hoping to see her. Often, she wasn’t there, but when she did come home she would usually arrive in an expensive car placing a kiss on the cheek of the driver and leaving me jealous. Back then, we

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didn’t think much of it because lots of men wanted to be with her. However, what I also remember was visiting my friend and walking through the living room while she was sitting on the couch, fully clothed and bent over sleeping with her eyes open, or so I thought back then. I also didn’t understand why she would always have to rush to the bathroom and throw up in the toilet. I assumed it was something she ate. We wouldn’t learn until years later that back when we were kids, my friend’s mother had a heroin habit to support and all of those men she was spending time with were paying for it. She had begun using heroin as a teenager in the 1970s when heroin use, especially in the inner cities was at its blistering peak. She had for years stopped using as her kids grew older than suddenly she picked back up where she left off. Over the next ten years, sadly, we watched as she went from looking like a

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queen in a beauty pageant to an elderly and sick woman. Tragically, in 1996 after years of abusing heroin and the lifestyle that accompanies it, she contracted the HIV virus (human immunodeficiency virus) which led to her succumbing to AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).

Heroin is another dangerous drug much like Cocaine and Alcohol that has for years damaged the essence of many communities across America by contributing to poverty, crime and violence. Heroin is especially dangerous because most who try this drug become addicted the first time they use it. Even those who don’t become addicted on their first use will most certainly become addicted with continued use. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, heroin is one of the most commonly abused and highly addictive substances.

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In recent times, heroin use has declined, however, those who choose to experiment with this drug now include a large number of school age children and suburban teens. Heroin is an opiate drug that is synthesized from morphine which is a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. This drug usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black, sticky substance known as “black tar heroin.” Heroin can be sniffed and smoked but is most commonly injected into the body by a needle. When heroin is injected into the body, users experience a sudden surge of euphoria followed by a flushing of the skin, dry mouth and a heavy feeling in the extremities, which may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and severe itching. As the effect of the drug continues to take control users also fall into a state of drowsiness for several hours.

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One of the dangers of heroin is that when it reaches your brain, it immediately alters its automatic processes critical for life such as breathing and blood pressure. Frequently, overdoses occur because of the suppression of respiration. According to The National Institute of Drug Abuse, the long term effects from Heroin abuse can include scarred and collapsed veins for users who inject it, bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves, abscesses (boils) and other soft-tissue infections, and liver or kidney disease. Lung complications (including various types of pneumonia and tuberculosis) may result from the poor health condition of the abuser as well as from heroin's depressing effects on respiration. Many of the additives in street heroin may include substances that do not readily dissolve and result in clogging the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain. This can cause infection or even death of small patches of cells in vital organs. Immune reactions

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to these or other contaminants can cause arthritis or other rheumatologic problems. Chronic use of heroin leads to a user’s body becoming physically dependant on it. If a chronic user goes without or tries to quit, suddenly the user may experience severe symptoms of withdrawal. These symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes, bone pain and insomnia. Some people experience these withdrawals for several days while others may experience these symptoms for months after quitting. One of the most deadly risks for users who inject heroin is acquiring an infectious disease such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C. This can occur simply by sharing needles with each other. This also leads to the potential of passing the infections around to others such as family members and others in the community. Heroin use can lead to crime, violence, bad health, prostitution, prison and sudden death. When it comes to heroin, you must remember that most people are addicted

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the first time they use this drug and once addicted, many are not able to stop until they go to prison or die.

COCAINE

In the summer of 1986, a chiseled and athletic, first team All-American college basketball player, had just realized his dreams; being drafted number one by the Boston Celtics, one of the most successful professional basketball organizations of all time. While in college, the young man, with his extraordinary leaping ability, was considered a dominant player and one of the best who ever played college basketball. Some have said that the only player who was ever as talented as him was Michael Jordan. The day after he was drafted by the Boston Celtics, he and his father attended an NBA club draft acceptance and product endorsement signing ceremony with the Celtics' coaches and

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management. There, he signed a three million dollar shoe contract with Reebok. The sky seemed to be the limit for this young man, and many in the sports world couldn’t wait to watch him go up against the all-stars in the N.B.A. Ultimately, none of this would matter. Early in the morning, and just hours after signing his deal with Reebok, the young man returned to his dorm after visiting friends. A few hours later, another man would make a 911 call to the Prince George's County emergency services telling them that the young man was now unconscious and not breathing. Sadly, on June 19, 1986, at 8:55 a.m., after several futile attempts by doctor’s of the hospital’s emergency department to restore his breathing, Len Bias, the young man who had just realized all of his dreams hours earlier, was now pronounced dead. The cause of death; cardiac arrhythmia induced by a cocaine overdose.

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Back in the mid nineteen-eighties, many of this countries metro areas were flooded with the cheap and easily accessible form of cocaine called crack. Nobody knew back then the devastating consequences this drug would bring upon whole families and communities. To this day, many are still suffering from the horrible effects of cocaine, especially the children. If it wasn’t for this drug we would have had thousands more doctors, teachers, scientist and leaders within our communities. Being young and curious though, many fell victim to it. Personally, I have witnessed two brothers in a shootout over which one of them would sell cocaine to their own mother. I knew a young women so addicted to it that she performed a sexual act with an animal to get more. I have seen a guy beating up his own grandfather to give him money to buy this drug. At one time, there was a lady in our neighborhood who would offer her eleven

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year old daughter to drug dealers so she could use more of it. My past involvement with this drug is the sole reason I have experienced years of being in the clutches of the criminal justice system and how I know what life in prison is truly like. Most of the violence I have experienced in my life was in one way or another connected to this drug as well. Many of the friends that I grew up with are now either addicted to this drug or serving long prison sentences as a result of their drug dealing. Some of my other friends have lost their lives over this drug.

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive central nervous stimulant and illegal drug that is so powerful many become addicted after just one use. It is extracted from the leaves of the coca plant found in South America and then manufactured into a white powder. Crack cocaine is made into a solid rock form by taking the powder and mixing it with other chemicals.

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The way that cocaine works in the brain, is it prompts the release of dopamine and inhibits the reabsorption of it, over stimulating the brain. This simply means that your brain will come to rely on this overstimulation. Pretty soon, the only way you can feel right is by using cocaine. Eventually, your brain will develop a tolerance, and you’ll need to do more and more to feel the way you felt the last time you used it. This drug is used three basic ways, snorted, smoked, or injected by needle. The immediacy and intensity of injecting it and smoking it make it more dangerous because of the high potential for overdose and addiction. When this drug is snorted, the effects start in minutes and last up to 30 minutes depending on the dosage used and tolerance of the user. Cocaine use also has a number of short term effects. What may be the worst is the fact that when the effect of cocaine wears off the user can have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as high anxiety, irritability, restlessness, insomnia

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and depression. In order for the user to avoid these feelings, they will continue to use more and extremely increase the risk of addiction and overdose. Abusers of this drug will also take many risks to get more of it. Many will commit violent crimes and even take the life of another to get more. Some users will mix alcohol with the cocaine. When this happens, a mixture called coca ethylene is manufactured in your liver, which increases the strain on the heart and the risk of sudden death. Cocaine use also raises blood pressure, respiration and heart rate. If the user takes a high dose of cocaine they may become erratic, paranoid, delusional and even violent. Cocaine use suppresses the appetite. Many users experience a severe weight loss from neglecting to eat properly. Chronic use of cocaine will also significantly change how your brain functions. The long term effects of cocaine include cardiovascular problems such as irregular

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heartbeat, heart failure and heart attack. Long term use can also lead to strokes, seizures, brain infections and hemorrhaging around the tissue surrounding the brain. Pulmonary effects include aggravation of asthma and other lung disorders, respiratory failure and fluid in the lungs. Psychiatric complications, including psychosis, paranoia, depression and delusions can occur as well. If a user chooses to inject cocaine into their body with a needle the risks increase for hepatitis, infection, endocarditis and HIV. Another long term effect of using cocaine is poverty, crime, poor health and broken families. You must know that once you began using cocaine, using cocaine will be all you’ll want to do at the sacrifice of everything else in your life.

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COUGH MEDICINE (“Syrup”)

‘“Sippin on some sizzurp,”’ is what many call the use of this mixture of cough syrup, a soft drink and a piece of hard candy. The ingredients may not sound so dangerous however; the abuse of this drug can be deadly. Two of the main active ingredients found in cough syrup can cause sedation and change your normal way of thinking when taken in high doses; codeine which is a narcotic, and the antihistamine medication promethazine. Another ingredient found in cough syrup is Dextromethorphan which is a cough suppressant that when taken in large quantities can cause hallucinations and altered levels of consciousness. Hydrocodone is another ingredient found in cough syrup with many of the same potential risks when taken in high doses.

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The most popular name brand cough medicine, Robitussin DM is available as an over-the-counter cold medication. Those individuals who are abusing Robitussin DM have reported a heightened sense of awareness, altered time perception and visual hallucinations. They also displayed hyper-excitability, lethargy, slurred speech, sweating. When Robitussin DM is taken as more than the prescribed amount, it becomes the equivalent of a hallucinogenic drug such as LSD. Side effects of this drug can occur as allergic reactions: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. More serious side effects include severe dizziness, anxiety, restless feeling, or nervousness; confusion, hallucinations; or slow, shallow breathing. ‘“Sippin on syzzurp,”’ was made more popular by southern rap DJ’s. One of the most popular was Robert Davis Jr., better known as DJ Screw. DJ Screw even created his own style of mix tape called

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‘chopped and screwed’ that was made specifically for those under the influence of ‘syrup.’ Unfortunately, on November 16, 2000, DJ Screw would lose his own life as a result of mixed drug intoxication, with the codeine from a cough syrup being one of those drugs.

ECSTACY:(“x”)

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine or (mdma), better known as ‘Ecstacy’ or ‘X’, is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that was made popular, several years ago at the all night dance parties called ‘raves’. Now, the use of ecstasy has become widespread. Ecstasy is produced as a capsule or tablet with different names, colors and designs stamped on them. Those who use this drug can experience confusion, depression, anxiety and sleeplessness. It can also distort your perceptions and sense of time.

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The over use of this drug can lead to muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, faintness, and chills or sweating especially for those with circulatory problems or heart disease. The abuse of this drug can also lead to a sharp increase in body temperature (hyperthermia), which can result in liver, kidney, cardiovascular system failure, or death. Ecstasy is an addictive drug and those who become dependent on it can experience fatigue, loss of appetite, depressed feelings, and trouble concentrating when attempting to stop using.

Since it is illegal, an ecstasy pill is not regulated for purity. Authorities have found pills being sold as ecstasy that have contained other dangerous drugs such as heroin. The dosage levels of ecstasy also vary from pill to pill. In March 2005, a healthy 24-year-old man in Glastonbury, United

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Kingdom, died of an ecstasy overdose. The local coroner blamed the death on "rogue tablets" containing high doses of the drug.

OPIOIDS

Opioids, usually taken in pill form, are common prescribed drugs because of their pain relieving qualities. Medications that fall within this class-referred to as prescription narcotics-include morphine (e.g. Kadian, Avinza), codeine, oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet), and related drugs. Morphine, for example, is often used before and after surgical procedures to alleviate severe pain. Codeine, on the other hand, is often prescribed for mild pain. In addition to their pain-relieving properties, some of these drugs such as codeine and diphenoxylate (Lomotil) for example-can be used to relieve coughs and diarrhea. Right now, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human services they are at the center of a serious public

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health crisis of addiction, misuse, abuse, overdose and death. An example of this type of drug is called, OxyContin. OxyContin is the trade name for the narcotic oxycodone hydrochloride which is a painkiller available in the United States only by prescription. OxyContin is legitimately prescribed for relief of pain resulting from injuries, arthritis, and cancer. Individuals abuse OxyContin for the euphoric effect it produces which is an effect similar to that associated with heroin use. OxyContin is available as a 10 milligram (mg), 20 mg, 40 mg, or 80 mg tablet. The tablets vary in color and size according to dosage. The tablets are imprinted with the letters OC on one side and the number of milligrams on the opposite side. Long-term abuse of the drug can lead to physical dependence and addiction. Individuals who become dependent upon or addicted to the drug may experience withdrawal symptoms if they cease using

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the drug. Withdrawal symptoms associated with OxyContin dependency or addiction includes restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes, and involuntary leg movements.

Individuals who take a large dose of OxyContin are at risk of severe respiratory depression that can lead to death. Inexperienced and new users are at particular risk because they may be unaware of what constitutes a large dose and have not developed a tolerance for the drug. In addition, OxyContin abusers who inject the drug expose themselves to additional risks, including contracting HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), hepatitis B and C, and other blood-borne viruses. Repeated use of most of these drugs over a short period can lead to feelings of hostility or paranoia. Taking high doses of a stimulant may result in dangerously high body temperature and an irregular

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heartbeat. There is also the potential for cardiovascular failure or lethal seizures. The withdrawal symptoms associated with discontinuing stimulant use include fatigue, depression, and disturbance of sleep patterns. When these drugs are taken as directed the risks are minimal, however, when these drugs are abused the user again faces addiction and not being able to feel right without them.

INHALANTS:(“Whippets”)

Inhalants are breathable chemical vapors that users intentionally inhale because of the chemicals' mind-altering effects. The substances inhaled are often common household products that contain volatile solvents, aerosols, or gases.

Volatile solvents are liquids that become a gas at room temperature. Some examples are paint thinners and removers, gasoline, glues, and felt-tip marker fluids.

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Gases include medical gases (ether, nitrous oxide) and household or commercial products (butane lighters, propane tanks, whipped cream dispensers that contain nitrous oxide, and refrigerants).

Aerosol sprays are some of the most prevalent inhalants in the home and include spray paint, deodorant and hairspray’s, vegetable oil cooking sprays, and static cling sprays.

Nitrites include cyclohexyl nitrite, amyl nitrite, and butyl nitrite. On the street, they're called "poppers" or "snappers." They're found in some room deodorizers and capsules that release vapors when opened. Most inhalants produce a rapid high that resembles alcohol intoxication. If sufficient amounts are inhaled, nearly all solvents and gases produce a loss of sensation, and even unconsciousness.

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Irreversible effects can be hearing loss, limb spasms, central nervous system or brain damage, or bone marrow damage. Sniffing high concentrations of inhalants may result in death from heart failure or suffocation (inhalants displace oxygen in the lungs). Common inhalant abuse warning signs include: glassy, glazed or watery eyes; behavioral/mood changes; slurred speech.

In summary, intentionally putting chemicals into your body to alter your normal state of mind is never a smart idea. Drug use only weakens the control that you have of your mind and increases the likelihood that you will do something to hurt yourself physically and mentally and for years. Most importantly, repeated drug use leads to drug addiction; mental and physical.

Simply defined, drug addiction is when a person continues using drugs or alcohol

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even though drug or alcohol use has caused problems in their life. If you’re ditching school, missing work, spending all of your money on drugs, committing crimes for money, not paying your bills, forgetting about personal hygiene or at war with your family as a result of using drugs, most likely, you are addicted to the drug you use.

Drug use alters the brains normal functioning operation. The more you use drugs, eventually, the feeling you get from them can take on the same importance as other survival behaviors, such as eating and drinking. Young people, you must know that drug addiction only leads to a life of crime, jail, prison, poverty, disease, poor health and miseries that you could have never foreseen.

To find out more about dangerous drugs and drug use: Go to AmazonKindle.com What Teens Must Know! Real Talk

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