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‘Recreational’ drugs [manufactured]
Types of drugs: Psychostimulants & Sedatives
- Amphetamine [speed]
- Methamphetamine [crystal meth, ice]
- crack cocaine
- MDMA [ecstasy]
- Amyl nitrite
How Psychostimulants Work
Psychostimulants are useful for: euphoria, elation, alertness, attention focusing, mood-elevation, appetite suppression and fatigue reduction.
Amphetamines, methamphetamine and cocaine increase dopamine, glutamate, serotonin and norepinephrine.
Amphetamines are stimulants that affect the central nervous system, and are generally referred to as "speed." The stimulation of the central nervous system usually causes an increase in motor activity and mental alertness, a mood elevation effect, a general sense of well-being and a decrease in appetite. Amphetamines can be taken orally in pill or capsule form, intravenously injected, snorted or smoked. Amphetamines and methamphetamines have a similar but somewhat different molecular structure. Tolerance will develop to all drugs in this class.
Amphetamines are excreted slowly and cumulative effects may occur with continued administration. Stimulation is often followed by a rebound effect manifest as fatigue, and feeling "burned out "or "fried". Withdrawal sometimes includes feelings of depression as neurotransmitters swing up and down in an attempt to rebalance.
Methamphetamine is a very strong form of amphetamine which is often sold under street names of ice, crystal, crank or glass. It is touted as an aphrodisiac and often has hallucinatory aspects connected to its abuse. Its effects are characterized by an initial "rush" if injected or snorted, and its high usually lasts for approximately 8 hours.
Ritalin is a central nervous stimulant that is often used in children and young adults with Attention Deficit Disorder. In these cases, it decreases motor restlessness and increases attention span.
Cocaine and Crack Cocaine
Cocaine is an alkaloid drug compound that creates central nervous system stimulation. It is processed from an organic source, which is the coca leaf. In the initial processing a substance of crude cocaine is created which is called Bazooko. Further processing creates a powdery substance known as pure cocaine hydrochloride, or it can be further processed into a prefabricated rock form called crack cocaine. When it is processed into a prefabricated, freebased cocaine called crack (the term crack refers to the crackling sound made when the substance is smoked). Powder cocaine is a white, odorless crystalline powder and it is usually ingested by snorting it or tooting it up the nose. It can also be rubbed on any other mucous membrane. It can also be injected.
Users of cocaine or crack most commonly report feelings of increased energy, focus and alertness and an improved sense of self.
High doses of cocaine may cause headache, paranoid ideation and disturbances in attention and concentration, often referred to as the "coke bug". Cocaine and alcohol are almost always used in combination with one another because the depressing effect of alcohol can help take someone down from a cocaine high if it is becoming too intense.
LSD is a powerful synthetic hallucinogen, which is commonly referred to as "acid." There is considerable variance in the strength of LSD that one buys on the street. (Confiscated street samples of LSD can range from 10 to 300 micrograms in a single dose). Most commonly the dose ranges from 20 - 80 micrograms and is usually sold in "blotter paper" form. It can be found in "micro dot form" or sold as "window pane". It is manufactured as an odorless, colorless liquid.
Psychological and behavioral effects begin about thirty minutes to an hour after oral ingestion, and generally peak between 2 to 8 hours. There is a gradual 'come-down' within 10 to 12 hours.
LSD can be useful for enhancing eidetic memory, imagination and creativity, but is hopeless for declarative memory. It is sometimes used for spiritual purposes.
(MDMA) increases serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and oxytocin. It is sometimes called Intimacy. It promotes a decrease in anxiety and depression while heightening a sense of introspection and intimacy. In general, low doses provide few side effects. Larger doses though, when taken with alcohol or other drugs, have produced fatalities, usually through over- or under-consumption of liquids, consequently electrolyte balance or fluid intake needs to be carefully monitored to avoid dehydration or hyperhydration. The safe way to hydrate is to sip small amounts of liquids regularly, not wait until you’re dying of thirst and then knock back several pints! Irresponsibility about hydration is responsible for most ecstasy deaths and users should wise up about hydration. Do not go to sleep whilst dehydrated. It’s handy to keep a few dioralyte sachets in your med kit and take one if you have symptoms. These reset your electrolyte balance and make recovery quicker.
When intake of the drug ceases, the excess of neurotransmitters can turn into a shortage.
PCP, also called angel dust, which is Phencyclidin, is also a widely used hallucinogenic drug. In its pure form it is a water soluble powder. It is often mixed with other drugs such as marijuana. In terms of purchasing it on the street, generally it can be found in powder form, tablet form and also in liquid form. A typical street dose is about 5 mg. but confiscated street samples have revealed that purity can run from 5% to 100% depending on the form. This wide variance can create a tremendous risk for the user.
PCP is most commonly ingested orally, smoked, snorted, but can even be inserted vaginally. The mode of administration dramatically alters the onset of effects. Chronic use leads to persistent memory loss, difficulties with speech and thinking, depression, and weight loss. Symptoms have been known to last for up to one year after drug use is stopped.
PCP can create lethal complications, and currently there is no treatment available to block its effects, so treatment for overdose must focus on symptom control. PCP levels can continue unevenly for hours or even days after last dosage.
Used as an inhalant, Amyl nitrite is a potent vasodilator, i.e., it expands blood vessels, resulting in lowering of blood pressure. Alkyl nitrites function as a source of nitric oxide, which signals for relaxation of involuntary muscles. Other physical effects include decrease in blood pressure, flushing of the face, increased heart rate, possible dizziness. Overdose symptoms include nausea, vomiting, hypotension, shortness of breath and fainting. The effects set in very quickly, typically within a few seconds and disappearing soon after (within a minute).
Psychologically it induces a brief euphoria; a sensation of heat and excitement, and if already intoxicated with stimulant drugs such as cocaine or MDMA the euphoric state intensifies and lasts for several minutes longer.
“Poppers” is the street term for various alkyl nitrites taken for recreational purposes, particularly amyl nitrite, butyl nitrite, isopropyl nitrite and isobutyl nitrite. Amyl nitrite has a long history of safe medical use in treating angina
Amyl nitrite and several other alkyl nitrites which are used in over-the-counter products, (such as air fresheners or tape head cleaners) are often inhaled with the goal of enhancing sexual pleasure.
GTN (glyceril trinitrate)
Is nitroglycerine, a potent vasodilator that makes more blood accessible to the brain, causing the user to feel more alert for a short period of time, usually 15-20 minutes. It also prolongs erection if put inside the tip of a condom. The downside is it causes bad headaches and a multitude of nasty free radicals, so not a gentle drug by any means.
Commonly mistaken for and/or sold as ecstasy, 2C-B is a psychedelic related to mescaline, first synthesized by Alex Shulgin in 1974. It binds to serotonin receptors. The dosage range is listed as 16–24mg.
2C-B is sold as a white powder sometimes pressed in tablets or gel caps, under street names such as "Bromo", “Venus”, "Nexus" “Erox”, “XTC” and "Spectrum". The drug is usually taken orally or snorted (but is somewhat painful; like snorting chilli sauce). The onset, or ‘coming up’, happens very rapidly, usually reaching the peak at about 20–40 minutes lasting any where from 30 minutes to a few hours depending on dosage. “Plateau effects” are reached in about 20-40 min and last for about 2–3 hours,
As with many psychostimulants, excessive giggling or smiling is common. Hallucinations are much less intense than LSD with the ‘rush’ that users feel off MDMA and grinding of teeth is often reported in less experienced users. There have been cases where 2C-B has been reported to be more intense than LSD with extremely high doses.
The visuals ‘waver’ or come and go in a carousel-like pattern meaning that when the effect is strong then dies down, users may feel that the trip is over, only for it to come back stronger. The duration as a whole, though is only about 2–5 hours depending on dosage.
Some users report aphrodisiac effects at lower doses (5–10mg). Laboratory results have shown this dosage to produce effects similar to low dosage of amphetamines.
2-CB may be consumed in combination with MDMA; usually taken when effects of the latter wear off. In contrast to most amphetamines, 2-CB does not seem to deplete brain serotonin concentrations. Sensitivity to its effects varies widely between subjects
Anxiolytics / Sedatives
- Ketamine (K),dextromethorphan (DXM), phencyclidine (PCP), and nitrous oxide (N2O)
- HU-210, WIN 55212-2, JWH-133
Sedatives are a class of drugs that are central nervous system depressants. These CNDs include barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methaqualone, as well as meprobamate. All of these medications when used at usual dosage depress the central nervous system and cause a mild analgesic effect. All drugs in this class can become both psychologically and physically addictive. They also demonstrate a cross-tolerance and potentiation of one another as well as with alcohol which is also a central nervous system depressant.
Include drugs such as Seconal, Tuinal, Nembutal and Phenobarbital. They are used medically for anesthetic, and anti-convulsant effects, as well as for sleep aids and anti-anxiety effects. They are sedative hypnotics that can be administered as recreational drugs orally or by injection and produce an intoxication similar to that of alcohol.
Non-barbiturate sedative hypnotics
Include drugs such as qualude, chloryl hydrate, methaqualone. These drugs are infrequently used medically and are dangerous because they cause a significant reduction in heart rate, respiration, and muscular coordination. They vary in activity:
Methaqualone: anxiolytic, muscle-relaxant, sedative, anticonvulsant, antihistaminic.
Cloroqualone: sedative, antitussive
Diproqualone: analgesic, sedative, anxiolytic, muscle-relaxant, antihistaminic
Are also central nervous system depressants. These are the most widely prescribed group of drugs in the treatment of anxiety and insomnia, and include medications such as Valium, Atavan, Librium, Zanax, Lorazapam, etc. They are considered to be less dangerous than barbiturates because they are less lethal and tend to be shorter acting in nature. The peak effect tends to occur within two to four hours. They are physically addicting and upon withdrawal there may be prolonged experiences of problems with sleep, high anxiety, panic attacks and frightening dreams. They tend to be used for an anti-anxiety medication and therefore create a sense of relaxation or detachment in the user. These drugs do not produce a "high" that is often sought after by recreational drug users. They are most frequently abused by people who are addicted to other drugs, such as heroin, as a drug to minimize or reduce symptoms of withdrawal from the main drug.
Benzodiazapines, when mixed with any other central nervous system depressant, including alcohol, can be toxic.
Induces a sedative-hypnotic effect including muscle relaxation and amnesia, and giving euphoric and relaxing effects. The effects last for about eight hours.
Street names for Rohypnol include rophies, ropies, ruffies, roofies, roche, R-2, mexican valium, rib, and rope.
Users report mixing it with beer to enhance the feeling of drunkenness, and it has been reported to be used in combination with marijuana and cocaine, as well as heroin.
It is also used to ease the come down from a cocaine or crack binge.
A part of the Valium family, it is 10 times more potent. When mixed with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants, Rohypnol can be fatal. It is addictive and withdrawal symptoms can include seizures. It rose to prominence abused as a date rape drug because it was originally colourless, odourless and tasteless and causes sedation and/or euphoria in approximately 20 to 30 minutes. It now contains a blue dye that will appear when it is added to any drink, and it is slower to dissolve.
GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate) is a depressant that acts on the central nervous system and is used for its euphoric and sedative effect. GBH has also been used for its anabolic effect by body builders and athletes. It has more than 30 common street names, but is often referred to as "Liquid Ecstasy", "Scoop", liquid X, g-juice or "Grievous Bodily Harm."
GBH occurs in the body naturally, as a neurochemical compound. It was first manufactured in 1960, and has been used in several countries as a general aesthetic, and for treatment of the sleep disorders, insomnia, and narcolepsy. More recently, GBH has been trialled as a treatment for alcohol and opiate (eg heroin) withdrawal.
Psychologically the effects are: drowsiness, increased sociability and confidence, enhanced sense of touch, dizziness, relaxation and wellbeing.
"GBH" is freely available, over the internet, through mail-order catalogues and in sex shops. It is a colourless liquid normally sold in small bottles. It also occasionally appears in a bright blue liquid form as ,blue nitro, however the different name simply reflects the addition of blue food dye rather than any difference in the drug. GBH also comes as a crystal powder. It is mostly taken orally.
The effects of GBH vary greatly according to the amount used - a small increase in amount can result in a dramatic increase in effect.
One of the most dangerous aspects of using GBH is the narrow margin between an amount that produces the desired effect, and the amount that results in overdose. A further risk is that there is often no way to be sure that the drug has been manufactured correctly. Improperly made GBH can result in an extremely toxic mixture of GBH and the chemical sodium hydroxide.
Possesses sedative and anxiolytic properties. It is different from most sedative drugs because in most clinical trials it does not produce respiratory depression but stimulates the respiratory system (although when co-administered with other drugs that cause respiratory depression, such as morphine, it can cause increased respiratory depression). Peak effects are reached at about an hour, and effects wear off after about 2–3 hours.
Benzoctamine appears to increase serotonin by reducing turnover.
Ketamine (K),dextromethorphan (DXM), phencyclidine (PCP), and nitrous oxide (N2O)
NMDA is a receptor that allows for the transfer of electrical signals between neurons in the brain. For electrical signals to pass, the NMDA receptor must bind to glutamate. NMDA receptor antagonists either block this receptor or interfere in transmission in other ways.
Those listed above are the most well known. There are many others such as Amantadine (used for treating Parkinson's disease, influenza and Alzheimer's), Dextrorphan (active metabolite of dextromethorphan), Ibogaine, Memantine (used for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease), Riluzole, Tilemine (an animal anesthetic.)
This class of drugs is popular due to their dissociative, hallucenogenic and/or euphoriant properties.
Ketamine is a short-acting but powerful general anaesthetic which depresses the nervous system and causes a temporary loss of body sensation. It has powerful hallucinogenic qualities (with a distortion of objects and reality). It can give the user a floating feeling as if the mind and body have been separated. Users can trip for up to an hour and may feel after-effects for some hours.
Street names for ketamine include: Green, K, special K, super K, vitamin k. It usually comes as a grainy white powder which is usually snorted but it may also be obtained as a tablet. Ketamine from labs comes in liquid form. Often adulterated (commonly found with ephedrine added) and sometimes passed off as ecstasy.
It can result in very high blood pressure if mixed with ecstasy or amphetamines.
At high, fully anesthetic level doses, ketamine has also been found to bind to opioid receptors.
Dextromethorphan is commonly found in cough medicines),
HU-210, WIN 55,212-2 and JWH-133
HU-210 is a potent analgesic with many of the same effects as natural THC. It is a synthetic cannabinoid first synthesized in 1988 by a group led by ProfessorRaphael Mechoulam.
HU-210 is 100 to 800 times more potent than natural THC from cannabis and has an extended duration of action.
With daily doses over a few weeks HU-210 stimulates neural growth in rats hippocampus regions. It has antianxiety and antidepressant effects, is implicated in preventing the inflammation caused by amyloid beta proteins involved in Alzheimer's disease, prevents cognitive impairment and loss of neuronal markers. The anti-inflammatory action is induced through the activation of cannabinoid receptors which prevents the microglial activation that elicits the inflammation. Additionally, cannabinoids completely abolished neurotoxicity related to microglia activation in rat models.
Other similar synthetic cannabinoids are: WIN 55,212-2 and JWH-133