What Are Designer Drugs, Anyway?

Many drugs are illegal. LSD, heroin and ecstasy are among them. In order to constantly create new drugs that are not (yet) prohibited, “drug designers” mix together various substances, some of which are hardly known. They are thus operating in a legal gray area until these new drugs are also banned by the legislature. However, such drugs carry the risk that the long-term effects are not yet known. The effects of these substances can hardly be assessed, especially with regard to their use by children. Designer drugs have been around for quite a long time. The active ingredient MDMA, for example, was first produced in 1912. It was first used as an appetite suppressant and later, around 1960, as a stimulant. In the meantime, it is assumed that a new designer drug appears around every week. Since 2010, designer drugs have increasingly been produced in Asia. These powders are also called “bath salts” because they look like that. The consequences of taking such powders can be devastating. It can come to hallucinations lasting for days (!), anxiety and paranoia. In addition, cardiovascular problems and fever have been reported.

Social Drug Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages are permitted in most countries from the age of 16. However, alcohol is not a thing to be underestimated. After all, this drug is responsible for numerous deaths and addictions. Most people in Europe drink alcohol on a regular basis. Thus, the drug occupies the No. 1 place among party drugs and is a socially accepted intoxicant.

That’s why you can buy alcohol in almost every supermarket. Many teenagers reach for alcohol quite early because they have easy access to it through older kids. Unfortunately, most don’t know that alcohol can have very negative effects on the development of the body when you are only 15 years old or younger. This is because a child’s nervous system is much more sensitive to the drug. That’s why kids can pass out from as little as 0.5 parts per thousand of alcohol in their blood. The lower the child’s body weight, the faster this happens. Because kids rarely experience a state of intoxication, but fall into a deep stupor quite quickly, the transition from harmless intoxication to alcohol poisoning is easy to overlook. In addition, teenagers’ brains can’t develop properly when they drink alcohol.

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So you see: the laws surrounding alcohol and the related protection of minors are relatively strict for a reason.

Nightmare Heroin Addiction

Heroin is six to ten times more potent than morphine. However, because the high lasts only for a short time, the addict needs three to four portions of it per day. Heroin is very quickly addictive. Because it works against anxiety and tension when used, heroin addicts feel happy as long as they are under the drug. However, these good-sounding effects are accompanied by extremely negative phenomena. For instance, one may suffer from confusion and memory lapses after taking heroin. The reduction of breathing rate to 2-4 breaths per minute can even be fatal quite quickly. Those who use heroin regularly will sooner or later develop what is called a tolerance to the drug. This means that one has to take more and more of it to achieve the same effect. This makes the addiction more and more expensive. Eventually, the addict’s entire life becomes focused on the heroin.

Cocaine – The Powder From The Coca Bush

Colloquially, the white powder is also called coke. It is a narcotic drug that has a huge potential for addiction. It is possible to become addicted to cocaine after the first use. Long ago, the now illegal drug was considered a common painkiller. This is because cocaine is the oldest and most dangerous drug in the world. It has ruined numerous lives with it. The powder is snorted and triggers a feeling of elation, which quite quickly turns into restlessness, dejection and nervousness. One wants to feel the feeling of happiness again as soon as possible and therefore needs more cocaine. Crack is a form of cocaine, but it can be smoked. This type is much stronger and therefore even more dangerous.

Cocaine has the following effects:

  • Loss of appetite

  • rapid breathing and pulse

  • Hallucinations

  • Nausea

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Panic, paranoia

  • Disorientation

  • Passivity and exhaustion

  • Damage to the nasal mucosa and tooth loss

Many cocaine addicts, for whom everything revolves around the drug addiction, go off the rails, commit criminal activities or prostitute themselves. They do this to be able to finance their addiction.

Drugs Can Be Addictive

Quite a few people are addicted to drugs or medical products. They can’t fall asleep without sleeping pills or feel terrible if they haven’t taken painkillers. A great many people are addicted to antidepressants. These are drugs that work against depression.

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It is not only tablets that can be dangerous. In principle, one can become dependent on almost any substance. Harmless-looking drugs are even more dangerous because we consider them harmless. Therefore, it can happen that you can no longer live without nasal drops, for example. It is then very difficult to cope without the medication. That is why it is important not to take or use medications for longer than indicated on the package insert.

Always pay attention to the period of use of the medication! If necessary, switch to another medication if your symptoms are still present after the time limit has been exceeded. In any case, you should then talk to a doctor about it.

Tobacco – Also Expensive For Health Insurance Companies

This bad habit has a negative effect not only on the smoker’s private purse, but also on the health insurance costs caused by smoking. It is currently estimated that smoking is responsible for 40-45% of all cancer deaths. In the case of lung cancer, the figures are even more pronounced. Around 95% of all people suffering from lung cancer have smoked before. The health risk for smokers is therefore not just a vague assumption, but a proven fact. The consequences of tobacco consumption can be enormous and have already destroyed many a family life. Stopping smoking, on the other hand, has an immediate positive effect on the body. Already after 2 days the sense of taste and smell are refined. To reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases to the level of a non-smoker, however, one must not smoke for 15 years. After 10 years, the risk of lung cancer is equal to that of a non-smoker, while after 2 years of not smoking, one has as great a risk of heart attack as non-smokers. After 3 months, the lung capacity increases by 30%. And you can feel this effect. Just a few months after quitting, you can breathe, smell and taste more freely.

Even more interesting: Did you know that

  • American tobacco companies were found guilty in 1999 of concealing the results of their own research? Because these showed that smoking is addictive and makes you sick. The result: a $300 billion payment and an obligation to financially support anti-smoking campaigns.

  • People who live with a smoker have at least a 30% higher risk of developing lung cancer?

  • you die 8.3 years earlier on average if you smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day? This study is well documented and was conducted on 1.2 million Americans (!).

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Cannabis Behind The Wheel?

THC is the psychoactive substance in cannabis. Psychoactive means that it develops its effect in the brain and thus influences the mental state of the person. As a result, one reacts less strongly to stimuli from the outside. Certain brain structures, on the other hand, are strongly stimulated. Hunger and emotional intensity increase. Cannabis consumption strengthens the user’s condition. In any case, cannabis influences perception and the experience of time. Unlike alcohol, there is no physical dependence with the substance THC. However, when one smokes pot on a daily basis, one’s being changes. One may develop memory problems, become passive and ultimately unproductive. In addition, cannabis psychosis can also occur.

If you are caught stoned in a car, you may have to give up your driver’s license. This happens when driving impaired is suspected. According to a decision by the Coburg Regional Court, it is sufficient to make strange statements or to be able to answer a police officer’s questions only with difficulty or slowly in order to revoke the driver’s license of a cannabis user who is not wearing a seat belt.

Ecstasy And The Brain

U.S. neurologists determined some time ago that this party drug can even trigger depression. Previously, the drug was known to affect performance and lead to memory impairment. Now it is known that its effect on health is much worse than assumed. It affects the concentration of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. This substance regulates people’s moods. Most depression has to do with an imbalance of serotonin in the brain. In the worst case, depressed people have to take medication to even get out of bed in the morning. This is because depression makes people listless, lacks motivation and can even lead to suicide. Suicide is when someone takes their own life.

Scientists have also discovered that the substances contained in ecstasy can destroy certain cells in the brain. These are the cells that trigger well-being and good mood. Ecstasy can therefore damage the happiness center in the brain. Thus, the drug itself does not make you happy or “in a good mood” at all. With constant ecstasy use, one must reckon with decreasing intelligence and runs the risk of depression.

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Popular In The Rave And Techno Scene: Amphetamine

This designer drug is an artificially produced mixture of substances. The white powder belongs to the hard drugs and is also called speed. People who are under a lot of stress due to their professional position often take speed to meet the demands. This allows them to stay focused and awake for as long as possible. To be able to fall asleep at all after a night of speed, addicts often take tranquilizers or smoke cannabis.

They snort it up their nose with a paper tube, dissolve it in tablet form, or take it with a drink. The now very well-known drug crystal meth is also a form of amphetamine. It is a very dangerous party drug that leads directly to addiction and gradually eats away at the body. Meth addicts suffer from skin damage and often do not survive their addiction.

Here’s how speed works:

  • triggers hyperactivity
  • keeps you awake
  • increases concentration and performance
  • unpleasant feeling of restlessness after six to eight hours
  • Insomnia, nausea and cramps can follow
  • Tooth loss, organ damage stroke, heart attack, psychoses and depression are not uncommon

Jungle Juice And Poppers

This is the name given in the drug scene to cheap sniffing substances made from glues, paints, solvents and thinners. Sometimes even gasoline is used for sniffing. Developing countries, where poverty and hunger prevail, are particularly affected. Sometimes kids as young as 8 start sniffing there.

The short intoxication occurs after inhaling the drug. Hallucinations occur. Sniffing substances destroy the mucous membranes and respiratory tract. Nausea, vomiting and confusion may occur. In the worst case, the substance is swallowed unintentionally and the resulting poisoning puts the patient’s life in danger.

The often still young organs of those addicted to poppers suffer greatly from drug consumption. Brain damage, lack of concentration, respiratory arrest and psychotic images in the head occur.

Worksheet For The Text

1) Have you memorized what is meant by the term “desinger drug”? Briefly explain what it is.

2) Why can drugs be dangerous? What should you be aware of?

3) Drugs destroy many young lives. Explain why drug use is so dangerous and describe what addiction can lead to.

Photo: Creativa / bigstockphoto.com

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