Stimulants, just as the word suggests, are a section of drugs that increase alertness and amplify the activity of the central nervous system. These drugs can be highly addictive and are dangerous to the user. Some stimulants are: cocaine; amphetamines; nicotine, and ‘Ecstasy.’
One can find cocaine in two forms, powder and smokeable. Powder cocaine, a hydrochloride salt, comes from the leaf of the coca plant. ‘Crack,’ is what one smokes after the cocaine has been processed with baking soda and water, or ammonia, and cooked to remove the hydrochloride residue.
Amphetamines usually come in pill form and are often prescribed by physicians for ADHD sufferers. These can be used in other ways than prescribed, one specific way is to crush the pills and then snort them. The addict will find a way to use no matter what the situation, and the cost of their addiction will often lead them to stealing or other illicit activity. Once they are addicted to a substance they must have it every day to give them their ‘fix.’
Common street names for these substances are: coke (for the fine, white crystal-like powder of cocaine); ‘C’; ‘blow’; ‘candy’; ‘rock,’ and ‘snow.’ Crack got its name because of the little crackles one heard when it was smoked. Another combination is a ‘speedball,’ which can be either cocaine or crack with heroin, or crack and heroin smoked together. All of them can be fatal.
Methamphetamine is known on the street as ‘speed,’ ‘chalk,’ ‘meth,’ ‘ice,’ ‘crystal,’ and ‘tina,’ while amphetamines are given the names ‘speed,’ ‘bennies,’ and ‘uppers.’ These drugs may be ingested in several ways: they may be taken in the form of pills; in powder form where it is snorted through the nasal passages; as an injectable, using a needle and syringe to inject directly into a vein, and heated crystals, which are smoked (inhaled directly into the lungs).
To get an instant high users smoke or inject the drug. The pills and powder do not give an instant high, but the results last longer. Injecting or snorting is called ‘mainlining,’ and crack cocaine can be smoked in a glass pipe. One should be aware if there is a suspicion of a family member being on illicit drugs. These drugs are not always clean as the pusher will often dilute them with baking soda or talcum powder. The abuser doesn’t know what s/he is getting, but will take it nevertheless.
When it has been established that the family member is on drugs, intervention of one kind or another is imperative. A talk with the family physician is the first thing to do, and you will be given some information to act on. Treatment at a specialized centre is the next move, and there the abuser will be in the safe, professional hands of experts in the field. Treatment is not brutal or harsh, rather the patient will be handled with extreme care and steps will be taken to break the addiction and return the sense of self-esteem to the user.
It takes time, as this cannot be done overnight, but with time and professional care the user should start to turn his/her life around. And that day will be a day of celebration, as yet another substance abuser has kicked the habit for good.