Drug Facts & Effects

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Drug Facts & Effects

What is DMT and what are the long term effects of DMT?

DMT, formally known as N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, is a hallucinogenic drug that when ingested can cause users to experience visual, auditory and bizarre experiences such as seeing oneself from afar, mixing up of senses (hearing smells, seeing tastes). This drug affects the serotonin system, a chemical system in the brain that is responsible for controlling mood, attention and sensory processing. Synthetic DMT can be smoked, snorted or ingested. At this point, little is known about long-term effects of DMT use in humans, but animal research has shown that there may be damage to the brain areas that control mood, cognition and problem-solving. Clinically, I have seen several patients who have used DMT just a few times and they still struggle with depression, anxiety and concentration several months later.
What does ecstasy (MDMA or Molly) really do to your body and brain in the long-term?

Ecstasy, otherwise known as “X”, is classified both as a stimulant and a hallucinogenic drug. It affects many different parts of the brain, especially areas that control pleasure, mood, emotional control and interpretation of sights, sounds and smells. The main neurochemicals that Ecstasy impacts are serotonin and dopamine. In a nutshell, the drug alters levels of these neurochemicals dramatically, causing the brain to radically change how it processes information and sensations. Ecstasy users report that many of their senses are intensified and heightened, as if the volume or the color control on the television were turned up to maximum. Some users report hallucinations, where they see or hear things that are not actually there. Others report having intense emotional experiences where they begin to laugh and cry without any particular reason.

Recent scientific work has shown that Ecstasy causes significant damage to the brain, even after just a few administrations. For this reason, many patients who are addicted to Ecstasy say that, even when they are sober, they just don’t feel like that they have returned to normal. Those addicted to Ecstasy often have to deal with long-term psychiatric problems such as depression, impairments in learning, anxiety, insomnia and difficulty controlling anger. Although more research is needed in this area, scientists are pretty certain that Ecstasy can cause permanent damage to the brain, especially to areas of learning, memory, attention and mood. Knowing this is even more important for young adults because their brains are still growing (up until mid-20s!) and Ecstasy can and will dramatically affect brain growth and development.

Can you get a contact high from pot, does it get in your system from being around someone who smoked pot?

Yes, depending on the concentration of smoke in the air, the size of the room you are in, and the amount of time you spend in the vicinity of someone else smoking marijuana, you can be affected by the second-hand smoke. Depending on your particular physical make-up, you may retain traces of marijuana in your system for up to 30 days.
A friend of mine has a prescription for Adderall. His doctor prescribed it for him. The thing is, I know he gives his pills to his friends to get high. Is it still really bad if they just take one or two?

When your friend gives some of his pills to friends, he is putting himself and his friends at risk. Adderall is a stimulant medication usually used in a long-acting form to help treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Your friend was probably prescribed Adderall to help him focus his thoughts and ignore distractions, so he can reach his full potential, but that is not happening when he gives his pills to someone else.

Teens often mistakenly believe that getting a medication by prescription means it is safe, so that it must also be safe to take for non-medical reasons or in larger doses. This is completely wrong and even that short-term high may be doing real harm to the brain and body.

Is it OK to drink a lot only a few times a year?

One of the most common causes of death from drinking alcohol is alcohol poisoning. Binge drinking can be defined as drinking more than five standard drinks (four drinks for women) over two hours (A standard drink is usually thought as one beer, one shot of hard liquor, or one glass of wine).

Young adults who drink a lot a few times a year are just as likely to cause problems in their lives than those who drink every day. Binge drinking especially puts people at risk to cause car accidents, sexual assaults, and other destructive behaviors. Binge drinking also puts people at risk to develop alcohol poisoning. Many teens feel that alcohol is safe because it is legal and widely available. The truth is that over 100,000 people a year die from alcohol-related deaths. If people drink too much alcohol over one period they can die from it. The usual cause of death is brain damage to the parts of the brain that control breathing. Ask yourself: Is that how you want to end a fun night out?

What do drugs really do to you?

All drugs of abuse affect the way your brain and body function. Drugs have an immediate effect on your body, but they can also create long-lasting changes even when you have stopped taking the drug. For instance, the effects of marijuana can “last” up to several hours from a single joint. When people smoke pot, they may experience many things, such as feeling high, mellow, or relaxed. But there are other feelings that you may have too. Some people experience paranoia, high anxiety, irritability, mood swings, depression, and hallucinations while marijuana is in their bodies.

Drugs work by changing the way the brain normally works. Drugs cause a release of a chemical called dopamine that the brain interprets as being pleasurable. The drugs also interact with several other neurochemicals (like serotonin and adrenaline) that alter many different parts of the brain.

Once drugs wear off, they can leave a permanent mark on your body and brain. This is true for all drugs of abuse, including alcohol and marijuana. People who use drugs for a long time can experience problems with memory, learning abilities, and can have problems with impulse control, even if they are not currently using drugs.

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I never would have imagined motivated, bright students, with everything going for them, turning to drug use.
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