You can help someone who is or may become drug dependent if you are informed and able to identify the signs of possible drug abuse.
Different types of drugs
There is a world of difference between the various kinds of drugs. Just because you might have tried some drugs doesn't mean that you can try others and experience similar effects. Some drugs are made from plants (heroin or cannabis, also known as "dagga") and others from chemicals (ecstasy or LSD). Both kinds of drugs vary a lot in potency. Even drugs that look very similar can affect you very differently. Drugs are often swallowed, smoked, inhaled or injected. The more direct
the path between the drug and your brain, the more potent the effect. When you change the method you use to take the drug, the effects may be unpredictable. It can be like taking a whole new drug.
There are three main types of drugs:
Uppers (caffeine is a mild upper, while cocaine, ecstasy and tik (methamphetamine) are far more powerful uppers)
Uppers make people feel awake and energetic. Uppers can make you very nervous, and too many of these can make you paranoid. Taking them tor too long can wreck your nerves and your body. You can't eat, you can't sleep, and you end up taking a downer just to feel yourself again.
Downers (alcohol, cannabis, heroin and mandrax)
Downers make people feel relaxed. Everyone likes to relax, but chemically relaxed people can't defend themselves. Taking too much of a downer, like heroin, can put critical life functions at risk, like heartbeat and breathing to sleep and cause death - this is known as an overdose.
Hallucinogens warp your perception of reality, which some people find entertaining. Taking hallucinogens can be like having a very powerful dream, but sometimes this dream can become a nightmare. Bad trips can haunt you for the rest of your life and some people end up longing for the days when reality was their only problem.
Sometimes drugs are mixed and sold under new names. Dagga is often mixed with Heroin and sold under different names like Whoonga (Cape Town), Nyope (Pretoria) or Sugars (Durban). The effects of this combination is unpredictable, but it will certainly carry all the risks associated with the use of both drugs: respiratory problems, constipation, craving and severe dependence.
Tik – What are the facts?
Tik is the slang name given to the stimulant drug Methamphet¬amine, which is a much more potent version of its parent drug, Amphetamine. During the period of April 2012 - March 2013, 32% of cases seen at SANCA (South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence) offices in Cape Town were Tik-related.
The most common way of taking the drug is by smoking. This is done with a custom made glass pipe or by heating the crys¬tals inside a light bulb and inhaling the dense odourless smoke. The smoked drug reaches the brain in about six seconds.
Short Term Effects:
The effects vary depending on the amount taken and how the drug was taken. Generally, the stimulatory effects include many readily observable symptoms:
As the high starts to wear off, the user may experience pronounced negative effects such as irritability, extreme tiredness, anxiety and aggression.
Long Term Effects:
Tolerance to the drug soon develops so the user needs to increase the dosage to experience the same effects. Each time the user smokes the drug, a smaller rush than the initial one is experienced until there is no rush and no high. Some of the long term effects of Methamphetamine include:
Signs of possible drug dependency
What to do if you know someone who is taking drugs
Tips for parents:
Help is a phone call away
If you feel your life is out of control or you feel overwhelmed by problems, seek real help from someone who cares. If you have already taken drugs and are scared of a growing dependence or addiction, remember that however much trouble you think you'll be in if you ask for help, you'll be in a lot worse trouble if you don't. No matter how angry or disappointed your parents or a person responsible for you, or a friend may be that you have taken drugs, you can be sure they'd rather help you now than have you wait until it is too late.
SANCA (South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence) is an organisation made up of caring professionals who deal with drug abuse on a daily basis. If you need help, or if you know of someone else who needs help, phone them:
SANCA Alcohol and Drug Help Centres:
012 542 1121
Gauteng South West
011 854 5988
016 349 2892
031 202 2241
021 945 4080
053 831 1699
051 447 7271
015 295 3700
013 752 4376/ 013 755 2710
SANCA - 011 781 6410 or 086 14SANCA
SANCA Website: www.sancanational.org.za
"Rainbow Vice: The drugs and sex industries in the new South Africa" by Ted Leggett. David Philip, 2001
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