A drug is a chemical substance with the potential to alter the structure and function of a living organism.

Common Types of Drugs

Cannabinoids – Causes slowed thinking and reaction time, impaired balance, impaired memory and learning, and increased heart rate and appetite. Long-term effects may include mental health problems, chronic cough, and frequent respiratory infections.

  • Marijuana, Hashish, Hash Oil

Depressants – Causes reduced anxiety, lowered inhibitions, slowed pulse and breathing, fatigue, memory loss, and impaired coordination.

  • Alcohol, Barbiturates, GHB, Methaqualone, Valium, Xanax

Hallucinogens – Causes altered states of perception, thought and feeling, decreased ability to move, memory loss, and flashbacks. Long-term effects may include frightening flashbacks, long lasting memory problems, paranoia, and mood swings.

  • DMT, LSD (acid), Mescaline, Psilocybin

Opioids – Causes drowsiness, nausea, pain relief, confusion, sedation, unconsciousness, coma, and may even cause death.

  • Codeine, Heroin, Morphine, Opium  

Stimulants – Causes increased heart rate and blood pressure, feelings of exhilarations, increased alertness, insomnia, restlessness, weight loss, and heart failure.

  • Cocaine, Methamphetamine, MDMA, Nicotine, Ritalin, Adderall 

a spilled bottle of assorted prescription pillsPrescription Drug Abuse

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are falsely believed to be safer than illicit drugs. Misuse of these medications can cause serious health effects, addiction and death. Many people benefit from these drugs when used properly, but when abused they can become very addictive and dangerous.

Types of prescription drugs that are abused:

  • Opioids – prescribed for pain relief
  • CNS Depressants – prescribed for anxiety or sleep problems
  • Stimulants – prescribed for ADHD, sleep disorder narcolepsy, or obesity

The misuse of prescription drugs is a growing trend on most college campuses. According to the 2016 National College Health Assessment, 19.8% of MSUB students reported using prescription drugs  not prescribed to them, and the prescription medications abused most by MSUB students are anti-depressants (5.1%) and pain killers (5.3%).

How to Help a Friend

Are you concerned about a friend’s drug use? If so, you may be wondering how you can help. In order to help you need to recognize the signs of drug abuse.

Common signs and symptoms of drug abuse:

  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Avoiding friends or peer groups
  • Taking risks while using drugs, such as driving while on drugs or having unprotected sex
  • Getting into trouble with the law
  • Building up a drug tolerance
  • Sudden mood or personality changes
  • Losing interest in hobbies and other activities
  • Family history of alcohol or other drug abuse

How to help a friend:

  • Communicate your concerns one-on-one in a private place and at an appropriate time.
  • Explain your concerns for your friend without making judgmental comments.
  • Recommend professional help and provide resources for where your friend can seek help.
  • Offer support, encouragement, and hope.

For more information on how to help a friend visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse website.

Drug Resources

»» Back to Wellness Topic List