Drug abuse is often associated with alcohol abuse. As young people experience peer pressure more than adults, they can more easily fall into the trap of drug abuse. Nobody starts using drugs with the mind set of becoming addicted, most of the time it was purely experimental or to live up to a challenge or for temporary stress relief.

Did you know

  • about one in five people have used an illicit drug in their lifetime and one in 15 within the last year.
  • males are more likely to have used drugs than females, as are those in the 16 to 29 age group.

According to the national institute on drug abuse the following are commonly abused drugs:

Stimulants Street name Medical Use
Amphetamine black beauties, crosses, hearts ADHD, obesity
Cocaine coke, crack , flake, snow vaso constrictor, local anaesthetic

Signs of stimulant abuse

When taken in large amounts the following effects are seen:

  • dilated pupils
  • dry mouth
  • excessive activity
  • irritable, nervous
  • runny nose
  • chronic sinus/nasal problems
  • nose bleeds
Hallucinogens Street name Medical Use
LSD acid none
Marijuana grass, herb, pot, weed none
Hashish hash none
Anabolic steroids testosterone, nandrolene hormone replacement therapy

Signs of hallucinogens abuse

  • extremely dilated pupils
  • excessive perspiration
  • distorted sense of sight, hearing, touch
  • distorted image of self and time perception
  • mood and behaviour changes
  • unpredictable flashback episodes even long after withdrawal
Narcoticsopioids and morphine derivatives Street name Medical Use
Heroin horse, smack none
Morphine roxanol analgesic
Opium dover's powder analgesic


Signs of narcotic abuse

  • lethargy, drowsiness
  • constricted pupils
  • failure to respond to light
  • redness and raw nostrils from inhaling heroin powder
  • scars (tracks) on inner arms or other body parts from injections
  • use or possession of paraphenalia, eg syringes, rubber tubing, needles, cotton etc.
  • slurred speech
  • frequent visits to doctor for prescriptions
Depressants Street name Medical Use
Barbiturates seconal, barbs, nembutal anticonvulsant, anesthetic, hypnotic
Benzodiazepines valium, activan, roofies, tranks antianxiety, hypnotic, sedative

Signs of depressant abuse

  • symptoms of alcohol intoxication with no alcohol odor on the breath
  • lack of facial expression or animation
  • flat effect
  • flaccid appearance
  • slurred speech


Steriods are forms of synthetic male testosterone. With the increase in pressure to perform well in sport, young people are more and more exposed to the use of steriods. They are very dangerous and may cause the following problems:

  • liver tumors
  • jaundice
  • high blood pressure
  • fluid retention.

in men:

  • shrinking of the testes
  • reduced sperm count
  • infertility
  • mood changes, violent behaviour
  • baldness

in women:

  • facial hair
  • deep voice
  • no menstruation
  • infertility

in adolescents:

  • halted growth

If you know of any person having an addiction, be alert and care for them. Advise people about the dangers and refer them for prompt counselling.