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Alcohol and Substance Abuse - Central Nervous System Stimulants

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Member Drugs: (Brand Names) [Street Names]

  • Cocaine [Crack, Blow, Nose, Snow, Toot, White, Rock, Flake]
  • Amphetamine, Methamphetamine (Ritalin) [Meth, Uppers, Bennies, Crank, Crystal]
  • Caffeine [Coffee]

What The Drugs Looks Like:

  • Both Cocaine and illegal methamphetamine come in the form of a white powder, and in a 'crystal' rock-like form.
  • Commercial amphetamines (such as the Ritalin used for ADHD treatment) come in pill and liquid form.

Most Typical Routes Of Administration:

  • Nose (snorting powered form)
  • Lungs (inhaling pipe smoke)
  • Mouth (swallowing pills, drinking coffee)

What These Drugs Do (Symptoms Typical Of Intoxication):

  • Short term effects:
    • Low doses may cause a sense of well being, wakefulness, alertness, increased energy, restlessness, dizziness, euphoria, confusion, reduced appetite, increased talkativeness, increased breathing and heart rate, elevated blood pressure
    • At higher doses the effects are greater and may also include feelings of grandiosity, impulsiveness, increased strength and mental capacity, headache, blurred vision, fever, sweating, and irregular heart beat, loss of coordination, irritability, panic attacks, seizures, violent behavior, stroke, heart attack and coma
    • Intoxication is followed by a 'crash' period, during which the user feels exhausted and wants to sleep.
  • Long term effects:
    • Malnutrition, fatigue, sleeplessness
    • Severe anxiety, tension, high blood pressure
    • Lowered resistance to disease
    • Long term users may also exhibit bizarre or violent behavior
    • Amphetamine Psychosis may develop in long term heavy users. This condition is similar to paranoid schizophrenia and includes symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoid delusions and compulsive behavior. It usually (but not always) disappears when the user stops taking the drug

Pattern of Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Guilt feelings
  • Body complaints
  • Irritability
  • Skin-picking
  • Insomnia
  • Anorexia (loss of appetite)
  • Anhedonia (loss of pleasure)
  • Cravings

Most Significant Problems:

  • High possibility of a potentially fatal overdose
  • Highly addictive
  • Strong withdrawal symptoms
  • Causes or prolongs existing depressions and anxiety symptoms
  • Using while pregnant can cause severe, permanent damage to the developing fetus.

How Tested For:

  • Cocaine: Urine Test (remains positive for 3+ days after last dose. For heavy users, 6+ days)
  • Amphetamine: Urine Test (remains positive for 2 days after last dose)