HealthyLife® Students' Self-Care Guide

Table of Contents

 Section II–Playing It Safe Caution

Previous Topic | Next Topic

Drugs & Drug Safety

After alcohol, the most common drugs used on college campuses are tobacco (see “Don’t Use Tobacco Products” ) and marijuana. Other drugs used are amphetamines (uppers); barbiturates (downers); hallucinogens, such as LSD; inhalants; and narcotics, such as cocaine. On the increase is the use of substances known collectively as “club drugs.” These are used at all-night dance parties, such as “raves” or “trances,” dance clubs, and bars. Examples are MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB, Rohypnol, Ketamine, methamphetamine, and LSD.

The safest use of drugs is no use of drugs!

Drug Chart

Drug Name(s) Dangers of Use

Cocaine. This drug is also called blow, crack, crank, “C”, coke, nose candy, rock, and white girl.

Increases pulse rate and blood pressure. Causes insomnia, irritability, and paranoia. Can result in severe depression, convulsions, heart attack, lung damage, hallucinations, brain damage, risk of infection (hepatitis, HIV from using contaminated needles), coma, and death.

Depressants. Examples are alcohol, barbiturates, sedatives, tranquilizers, downers, ludes, reds, and yellow jackets.

Causes drowsiness, slurred speech, drunkenness, memory loss, sudden mood shifts, depression, and lack of coordination. Can result in shallow breathing, dilated pupils, clammy skin, weak pulse, coma, and death.

Ecstasy. This is MDMA. Other names are Adam, Clarity, Lover’s Speed, and K. Euphoric state initially, but depression can occur after taking the drug. Also carries the risk of a heat stroke from lack of fluids and sweating from dancing too long, especially in the hot environment of a club. May lead to a heart attack, seizure, and stroke.
GHB and GLB (a similar drug that turns into GHB in the body). Other names are: Grievous Bodily Harm; Liquid Ecstacy, Liquid Sex, Georgia Home Boy, and Scoop. Common date rape drug that results in nausea, vomiting, a feeling of intoxication, and amnesia-like symptoms. The drug slows the heartbeat, reduces blood pressure, and can cause the user’s breathing to stop. Overdose results in unconsciousness, coma, and eventual death. There is little difference in the dose that can get someone high and one that can cause death.
Inhalants. Examples are vapors from: Solvents, such as gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, nail polish remover; aerosols, such as hair sprays, vegetable cooking sprays; anesthetics, such as ether, chloroform, nitrous oxide (laughing gas); and spray paints, especially gold and silver. Slow heart rate, breathing and brain activity. Headaches, dizziness, nausea, lack of coordination, slurred speech, blurred vision. Can result in suffocation, heart failure, unconsciousness, seizures, brain damage, and even death.
Ketamine. This drug is also called: Special K, K, Vitamin K, and Cat Valiums. Causes dream-like states and hallucinations. Can cause delirium, amnesia, impaired motor functions, high blood pressure, depression, and breathing problems, that can result in death.
LSD. This is also called acid, bloomers, and yellow sunshines. Causes hallucinations, dilated pupils, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors. Nausea, weakness, numbness or trembling are common. Long term use can cause persistent psychosis and what used to be called “flashbacks” – re-experiencing symptoms of past hallucinogen use even though not taking the drug at the present time.
Marijuana. This is also called pot, grass, reefer, herb, jay, joint, smoke, weed, and AMP (marijuana with formaldehyde). Can result in feelings of panic, impaired short term memory, decreased ability to concentrate, fatigue, paranoia, and possible psychosis. Also causes lung damage.
Methamphetamine. This drug is also called speed, ice, chalk, meth, crack, fire, and glass. Can result in memory loss, agitation, aggression, and violent or psychotic behavior and potential cardiac and neurological damage. Can contribute to higher rates of transmission of hepatitis and HIV, if injected. Can result in heart attacks, seizures, and death from overdose.
Rohypnol. This is also called R-2, Rib, Roofies, Rope, and Forget-Me Pill. Common date rape drug. Used in sexual assaults. Results in decreased blood pressure, drowsiness, visual disturbances, confusion, nausea, and vomiting. When mixed with alcohol or other drugs, this clear, odorless, and tasteless drug can cause death.  

Signs of a Drug Overdose

Signs of an overdose depend on the type of drug used. Call 9-1-1 or get emergency care for one or more of the following:

  • Unconsciousness. This means the person is hard to rouse and can’t be made aware of his or her surroundings. This can be brief, such as with fainting or blacking out. It can put a person into a coma.
  • No breathing or slow and shallow breathing. This means 10 or fewer breaths per minute or time lapses of more than 8 seconds between breaths.
  • Slow pulse rate (40 or fewer beats per minute)
  • Suicidal gestures
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Sudden hostile personality or violent behavior
  • Very rapid pulse rate (140 or more beats per minute) and/or extreme anxiety or paranoia

ComputerFor Information, Contact:

Emergency Medical Service (Call 9-1-1) if you suspect alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose

Your school’s Student Health Service, Student Counseling Service, or Alcohol and other Drug Program

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Helpline
800.ALCOHOL (252.6465)  •

Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters (includes Alateen)
888.4AL.ANON (425.2666)  •

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)  •

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment National Drug Treatment Referral Routing Service
800.662.HELP (4357)

Facts on Tap Web site  •

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
818.773.9999  •

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Information (NCADI)
800.729.6686  •

Penalties for Drug Use

Be aware of the penalties your school and law enforcement authorities can and will take if you possess, use, make, and/or distribute alcohol or illicit drugs. Penalties vary, based on your school’s policy and on the laws that govern certain substances. Penalties your school may take range from verbal or written reprimands to suspension or expulsion from the school. You can be fined and/or put in prison for prosecution of a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the nature of the offense. For example, conviction of possessing or using cocaine, heroin, or even GHB could put you in prison for up to 20 years. If you give GHB to someone else and that person dies, you could be convicted of manslaughter. If you are of legal drinking age and give alcohol to a minor and it causes death, you could be convicted of a felony that carries a 10 year prison sentence.

©2005, 6th edition. American Institute for Preventive Medicine All rights reserved.
The content on this website is proprietary.

December 08, 2005