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Drug Glossary

At Destination Hope, we provide our clients with the necessary knowledge to conquer addiction to alcohol & drugs. Below, you will find a glossary of helpful information on the most common types of substances that are abused in the U.S. and a brief description of each.

Through the intake of wine, beer or liquor, alcohol quickly enters into the bloodstream from the stomach. Alcohol numbs sensory functions and impairs reflexes and brain activity. Prolonged consumption of alcohol creates a hunger for further substance abuse, creating a lack of self-control, an increase in tolerance, and powerful dependency. The organs most affected by alcohol abuse are the liver, heart and brain.
Immediately affecting the brain, cocaine creates a sense of euphoria, numbs the senses, and causes drastic changes to the central nervous system. This causes a variety of behavioral changes and mental delusions. Crack is a very dangerous type of cocaine, which is smoked. It can cause permanent alterations to brain cell activity and further shrink blood vessels. Crack is extremely addictive and can cause major organs to stop performing their normal functions in the body. This is as a result of affected vessels ceasing to transmit normal bodily signals, which can kill users immediately after consumption.
Formally called crystal methamphetamine, this drug is dangerously addictive and is usually produced by homemade methods, which is dangerous in and of itself. Meth can be taken in a variety of ways including through the nose (snorting) or by injection. Meth creates powerful side effects in the central nervous system and can permanently destroy much-needed neurotransmitters in the brain.
Altering most sensory and perceptional processors, hallucinogens cause severe side effects to the brain, including hallucinations and increased blood pressure. Also known as psychedelics, hallucinogens can cause panic and heart attacks.
Through chemical inhalation, such as glue or aerosol, two powerful chemicals (amyl and butyl nitrate) alter the mind and anesthetize the central nervous system. Much like cocaine, inhalants can cause death when vital organs suddenly stop performing their normal functions.
Typically smoked through homemade cigarettes or pipes, Marijuana comes from the plant cannabis sativa. When ingested, over 1,600 chemicals enter the body. Marijuana produces a “high” generated by the chemical Delta9-THC, which then numbs the central nervous system, reducing ambition and the sense of responsibility. Though there is little information on the overall effects of these 1,600 chemicals, THC is stored in the fatty portions of the body. This means that as the body burns fat, more is released into the system. THC is not water-soluble which causes the chemical to remain in the body for an extended period of time, affecting the liver, reproductive organs, and brain.
For years, opiates have been seen as a medicinal approach to cure a variety of pain and digestion issues. Typically found in the form of prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Percocet as well as heroin, opiates generate dependence in very short order – even when consumed infrequently. Side effects tend to be more severe versions of what the drug was originally intended to nullify (pains and digestion issues). With prolonged use, opiates can create severe infections and violent withdrawal symptoms.
Both difficult to break free from and hard to diagnose, prescription drugs can slowly cause prolonged dependency – even when taken as part of medical recommendation. As the body becomes accustomed to treatment for a particular issue, a dependency is created. When the individual tries to break free of this dependency, the original issue tends to come back, only intensified. Breaking dependency of prescription drugs typically requires professional help and thorough analysis to determine appropriate medical detox and longer-term treatment. Learn More about Prescription Drugs