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National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week January 22 – 28 2018

Drugs, Sex and Rock’in Roll…

Lily&Q’s say…Many of us got HIV while practicing any one of several unsafe behaviors like using drugs and alcohol along with having un-protected sex. Being under the influence of drugs and alcohol made us unable to negotiate condom use correctly each time, we couldn’t care for ourselves adequately, or protect ourselves from others actions in this state.
In some cases, used sex, drugs and alcohol as barter for something we needed like a place to sleep, food or money.
So, it makes sense that in understanding the “why’s” of drug and alcohol use we can better understand the continued transmission of HIV and other STI’s in our community, since they seem to follow each other. It also seems as if this is a war without end as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) rates are on the increase.
Knowing YOUR status keeps you more aware and helps keep the community around you safer as well.
Whether you use for the pleasure of getting high on a drug like at a party or if your abuse is daily or habitual use, understanding why you choose these behaviors can be a lifesaver if you want it to be. Drugs and alcohol can be a substitute for dealing with physical or emotional pain but is only masking them and can be a “wake-up call” to a bigger underlying issue.
Use a hotline from our Service Directory to get more facts or reach out to a counselor in your area for help. YOU ARE WORTH IT!
Smoking is one of the health concerns that is becoming more and more scrutinized for not being considered a drug habit, yet approximately 36+ million Americans still do.
Cigarette smoking remains one drug habit that society is somewhat still tolerant of…BUT ONLY in Designated Areas! LOL!
I quit cigarettes about 7 years ago, after smoking some 35 years or so-Cold-Turkey…Well turkey didn’t have much to do with it, but you get it.
I am not a person who shakes my finger at people who still smoke either. I know People choose their path, (I sure DID!) and People can change the path they have always trod.
Any time, any day, any way or by any means you can make a change today!
If drugs and alcohol are part of your life and you are sick of being broke until the next money comes, having to run ragged until the next fix, or not feeling like you used to when you used, every day is a new day-You can start going in another direction. Do it for YOURSELF, because no one else can do it for you. Just know there are a whole bunch of US waiting patiently on the other side of addiction-You Can DO THIS!

Drug Primer

Drugs and “street” names for them:

  • Alcohol: Booze, Brew, Drink, Liquor
  • Anabolic Steroids: Juice, Roids
  • Bath Salts: Bloom, Cloud Nine, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning
  • Cocaine: Blow, Bump, C, Charlie, Coca, Coke, Flake, Rock, Snow, Toot
  • Cough and Cold Medicines: Candy, Dex, Drank, Robo, Robotripping, Skittles, Triple C, Tussin, Velvet
  • Heroin: Black Tar, H, Horse, Junk, Ska, Smack
  • Inhalants: Bold, Laughing Gas, Poppers, Snappers, Whippets
  • Marijuana: Grass, Herb, Mary Jane, Pot, Reefer, Skunk, Weed
  • MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly): Adam, Beans, Clarity, E, Hug, Love Drug, X, XTC
  • Methamphetamine (Meth): Chalk, Crank, Crystal, Fire, Glass, Go Fast, Ice, Speed, Tina
  • Prescription Drugs: Barbs, Candy, Oxy, Percs, Reds, Speed, Tranks, Vikes
  • Prescription Depressant Medications: A-minus, Barbs, Candy, Downers, Phennies, Red Birds, Reds, Tooies, Tranks, Yellow Jackets, Yellows, Zombie Pills
  • Prescription Stimulant Medications (Amphetamines): Bennies, Black Beauties, Hearts, Roses, Skippy, Speed, The Smart Drug, Uppers, Vitamin R
  • Prescription Pain Medications (Opioids): Happy Pills, Hillbilly Heroin, OC, Oxy, Oxycotton, Percs, Vikes
  • Salvia: Maria Pastora, Sally-D, Salvia divinorum, Shepherdess’s Herb, Ska Pastora
  • Spice: Fake Weed, K2, Moon Rocks, Skunk, Yucatan Fire
  • Tobacco, Nicotine, & E-Cigarettes: Chew, Cigs, Dip, Smokes, Snuff

This list is by no means the final word on drugs and what some people call them, but its a start for you to get “in-the-know” about such things.

Just because one person gets addicted to a drug doesn’t mean that everyone who tries that drug has the same addictive behavior to it or react to it the same way every time they try it, either. Therefore some won’t consider some of the entries listed a drug.

To each their own, and until the Federal or State government deems a drug “legal”, it isn’t except for tobacco and alcohol which are not usually classified as a drug in most of the countries around the world, especially the United States.

h3>Viral Infections (HIV, Hepatitis) and Drug Use

How does drug use factor in the spread of viral infections?
Injection drug use. When people inject drugs, and share needles or other equipment, viruses can be passed between users because bodily fluids (for example, blood) from the infected person can remain on the equipment and be passed to others.

Poor judgment and risky behavior. Drugs and alcohol affect the way a person makes choices and can lead to unsafe sex. This puts the person at risk for getting or giving the viruses to someone else.

Biological effects of drugs. Drug use and addiction can make HIV and its consequences worse, especially in the brain. For example, research has shown that HIV causes more harm to nerve cells in the brain and greater cognitive (thinking) damage among people who use methamphetamine than among people with HIV who do not use drugs.
Drug and alcohol use can also directly damage the liver, increasing risk for chronic liver disease and cancer among those infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

Your Brain and Addiction

Your brain is who you are. It’s what allows you to think, breathe, move, speak, and feel. It’s just 3 pounds of gray-and-white matter that rests in your skull, and it is your own personal “mission control center.

Information from your environment—both outside (like what your eyes see and skin feels) and inside (like your heart rate and body temperature)—makes its way to the brain, which receives, processes, and integrates it so that you can survive and function under all sorts of changing circumstances and learn from experience.

The brain is always working, even when you’re sleeping.

The brain is made up of many parts that all work together as a team. Each of these different parts has a specific and important job to do.

How Drugs Affect Your Brain

When drugs enter the brain, they interfere with its normal processing and can eventually lead to changes in how well it works.

Over time, drug use can lead to addiction, a devastating brain disease in which people can’t stop using drugs even when they really want to and even after it causes terrible consequences to their health and other parts of their lives.

Drugs affect three primary areas of the brain:

  • The brain stem is in charge of all the functions our body needs to stay alive—breathing, moving blood, and digesting food. It also links the brain with the spinal cord, which runs down the back and moves muscles and limbs as well as lets the brain know what’s happening to the body.
  • The limbic system links together a bunch of brain structures that control our emotional responses, such as feeling pleasure when we eat chocolate. The good feelings motivate us to repeat the behavior, which is good because eating is critical to our lives.
  • The cerebral cortex is the mushroom-shaped outer part of the brain (the gray matter). In humans, it is so big that it makes up about three-fourths of the entire brain. It’s divided into four areas, called lobes, which control specific functions. Some areas process information from our senses, allowing us to see, feel, hear, and taste. The front part of the cortex, known as the frontal cortex or forebrain, is the thinking center. It powers our ability to think, plan, solve problems, and make decisions.

What is drug addiction?

Addiction is a chronic brain disease that causes a person to compulsively seek out drugs, despite the harm they cause.

The first time a person uses drugs, it’s usually a free choice they’ve made. However, repeated drug use causes the brain to change which drives a person to seek out and use drugs over and over, despite negative effects such as stealing, losing friends, family problems, or other physical or mental problems brought on by drug use—this is addiction.

How do drugs affect your brain?

Drugs are chemicals. When someone puts these chemicals into their body, either by smoking, injecting, inhaling, or eating them, they tap into the brain’s communication system and tamper with the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information.

Different drugs—because of their chemical structures—work differently. We know there are at least two ways drugs work in the brain:

  1. Imitating the brain’s natural chemical messengers
  2. Overstimulating the “reward circuit” of the brain

Some drugs, like marijuana and heroin, have chemical structures that mimic that of a neurotransmitter that naturally occurs in our bodies. In fact, these drugs can “fool” our receptors, lock onto them, and activate the nerve cells.

However, they don’t work the same way as a natural neurotransmitter, and the neurons end up sending abnormal messages through the brain, which can cause problems both for our brains as well as our bodies.

Other drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, cause nerve cells to release too much dopamine, which is a natural neurotransmitter, or prevent the normal recycling of dopamine.

This leads to exaggerated messages in the brain, causing problems with communication channels.

It’s like the difference between someone whispering in your ear versus someone shouting in a microphone.

The “High” From Drugs/Pleasure Effect

Most drugs of abuse like nicotine , cocaine , marijuana, and others—affect the brain’s “reward” circuit, which is part of the limbic system.

Normally, the reward circuit responds to feelings of pleasure by releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Dopamine creates feelings of pleasure. Drugs take control of this system, causing large amounts of dopamine to flood the system.
This flood of dopamine is what causes the “high” or intense excitement and happiness (sometimes called euphoria) which is linked with using drugs.

The Repeat Effect

Our brains are wired to make sure we will repeat healthy activities, like eating or breathing, by connecting those activities with feeling good.

Whenever this reward circuit is kick-started, the brain notes that something important is happening that needs to be remembered, and teaches us to do it again and again, without thinking about it.

Because drugs of abuse come in and “hijack” the same circuit, people learn to use drugs in the same way.

After repeated drug use, the brain starts to adjust to the surges of dopamine. Neurons may begin to reduce the number of dopamine receptors or simply make less dopamine.

The result is less dopamine signaling in the brain—like turning down the volume on the dopamine signal.
Because some drugs are toxic, some neurons also may die.

As a result, the ability to feel any pleasure is reduced. The person feels flat, lifeless, and depressed, and is unable to enjoy things that once brought pleasure.

Now the person needs drugs just to bring dopamine levels up to normal, and more of the drug is needed to create a dopamine flood, or “high”—an effect known as “tolerance.”

Long-Term Effects

Drug use can eventually lead to dramatic changes in neurons and brain circuits.

These changes can still be present even after the person has stopped taking drugs and is more likely to happen when a person takes a drug over and over.

What factors increase the risk for addiction?

Although we know what happens to the brain when someone becomes addicted, we can’t predict how many times a person must use a drug before becoming addicted.

A combination of factors related to your genes, environment, and development increase the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction including:

  1. Home and family. Parents or older family members who abuse alcohol or drugs, or who are involved in criminal behavior, can increase young people’s risks for developing their own drug problems.
  2. Peers and school. Friends and acquaintances who abuse drugs can sway young people to try drugs for the first time. Academic failure or poor social skills can also put a person at risk for drug use.
  3. Early use. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, research shows that the earlier a person begins to use drugs, the more likely they are to progress to more serious use. This may reflect the harmful effect that drugs can have on the developing brain. It also may be the result of early biological and social factors, such as genetics, mental illness, unstable family relationships, and exposure to physical or sexual abuse. Still, the fact remains that early use is a strong indicator of problems ahead—among them, substance abuse and addiction.
  4. Method of use. Smoking a drug or injecting it into a vein increases its addictive potential. Both smoked and injected drugs enter the brain within seconds, producing a powerful rush of pleasure. However, this intense “high” can fade within a few minutes, taking the person down to lower levels. Scientists believe that this low feeling drives individuals to repeat drug use in an attempt to recapture the high pleasurable state.

Are there effective treatments for drug addiction?

Yes, there are treatments, but there is no cure for drug addiction yet.

Addiction is often a disease that is long-lasting sometimes referred to as chronic.

As with other chronic diseases, like diabetes or heart disease, people learn to manage their condition.

Scientific research has shown that 13 basic principles are the foundation for effective drug addiction treatment. Find out more in NIDA’s Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide.

Types of Treatment

Treatment will vary for each person, depending on the type of drugs used and the person’s specific circumstances.

Generally, there are two types of treatment for drug addiction:

  • Behavior change, in which people learn to change their behavior
  • Medications, which can help treat addictions to some drugs, such as tobacco, alcohol, heroin, or other opioids

Length of Treatment

Like diabetes and even asthma, drug addiction typically is a long-lasting disorder.

Most people who have become addicted to drugs need long term treatment and, many times, repeated treatments—much like a person who has asthma needs to constantly watch changes in medication and exercise.

The important point is that even when someone relapses and begins abusing drugs again, they should not give up hope. Rather, they need to go back to treatment or change their current treatment.

In fact, setbacks are likely. Even people with diabetes may go off their diet or miss an insulin injection, and their symptoms will recur—that’s a cue to get back on track, not to view treatment as a failure.

Motivation for Treatment

Most people go into drug treatment either because a court ordered them to do so or because loved ones wanted them to seek treatment.

The good news is that, according to scientific studies, people can benefit from treatment either way.

How do I know if I or someone I know has a drug problem?

There are questions people can ask to gauge whether or not a person has a drug problem.

These may not mean that someone is addicted, but answering yes to any of these questions may suggest a developing problem, which could require follow-up with a professional drug treatment specialist.

These include:

  1. Have you ever ridden in a car driven by someone (including yourself) who had been using alcohol or drugs?
  2. Do you ever use alcohol or drugs to relax, to feel better about yourself, or to fit in?
  3. Do you ever use alcohol or drugs when you are alone?
  4. Do you ever forget things you did while using alcohol or drugs?
  5. Do family or friends ever tell you to cut down on your use of alcohol or drugs?
  6. Have you ever gotten into trouble while you were using alcohol or drugs?

What should I do if someone I know needs help?

ACT quickly!

If you, or a friend, are in crisis and need to speak with someone now:
Call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (they don’t just talk about suicide—they cover a lot of issues and will help put you in touch with someone close by)
If you need information on drug treatment and where you can find it, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can help.
Call Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP
Visit the locator online at

Going to the source

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health NSDUH is the primary source of information on the prevalence, patterns, and consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use and abuse and mental disorders in the U.S. civilian, non-institutionalized population, age 12 and older. The survey generates estimates at the National, state, and substate levels.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Drug Facts and Links of interest

The number of myths and misconceptions about drug abuse and addiction are staggering. Despite efforts to educate and inform, many still cater to rumor and believe “old wives tales” in an effort to gain understanding on the topic.
In this entry, we seek to denounce the rumor mill in hopes of providing some much-needed clarity on the topic at large.
Here are 10 facts about drug abuse from Above It All Treatment Center

Timeline of Events in the History of Drugs from INPUD’s International Diaries. Even before we were spread about the earth, man has found pleasure in ingesting foods and liquids to nourish themselves and their loved ones, cure what ailed them, and get them High! It’s not a new concept and this timeline sheds light on just how long humans have been in the dilemma of knowing when enough is enough…Or keep using.

10 Startling Facts About the History of Heroin from Alternet. Who would have thought that women and children were the first consumers of heroin back-in-the-day? Heroin has a twisted history being legal and basically over-the-counter to now being illegal in most countries.

Phat Facts

25 Unbelievable Facts About Alcohol You May Not Realize Are True

List25 compiles lesser-known intriguing information on a variety of subjects. List25 was started by Syed Balkhi in 2011. The main purpose of this site is to be educational while entertaining at the same time. It’s 25 because we don’t like top 10 lists.

Highly Interesting Facts About Drugs & Alcohol from These will keep you talking…!