Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 24, 1970

Drug Abuse: The Escape To Eternal Damnation

[Number Il]

Glenn Reeder The Drugs That Are Abused

Before discussing specific categories and items of abuse, the following words need to be defined:

Tolerance: A state in which the body becomes accustomed to the presence of a drug, and thus fails to respond to the normal dose; therefore an increase in dosage is needed to achieve the desired effects with that particular drug.

Habituation: A state in which the body is psychologically dependent upon a drug; i.e. the user feels in his own mind that he must have the drug in order to function.

Addiction: A state in which the body is psychologically and physically dependent upon the presence of a drug for normal functioning; if the drug is withdrawn, violent physical and psychic reactions occur.

The drugs of abuse will be discussed under the following general headings: (1) Stimulants, (2) Depressants, (3) Narcotics, (4) Psychotogenic or hallucinogens, (5) Miscellaneous.

Stimulants: These are the drugs used therapeutically for obesity, mild depression, narcolepsy, and Parkinson's disease. They come mainly from the amphetamine family of which the best known are Dexedrine and Benzedrine. These drugs are commonly known as: pep pills, wake-ups, speed, bennies, dexies, co-pilots, footballs, and hearts. Stimulants are usually taken orally by the abuser but they may also be injected. Over-use and abuse induces a sense of exhilaration, excitement and energy. Amphetamines do not cause a physical dependence, but a psychological need or desire may develop from their use. Since these drugs mask the feeling of fatigue, the user becomes very accident prone.

Users of amphetamines may have auditory and visual hallucinations, weight loss, be restless and excited. Amphetamines can cause high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms and even heart attacks. Abrupt withdrawal leaves the user very depressed and he often has suicidal tendencies.

Depressants: This group includes the sedatives such as the barbiturates and the calming agents known as tranquilizers. Generally they are used medically as sedatives, to relieve tension, reduce blood pressure and to aid in the control of epileptic seizures. Many slang names are given to the members of this group such as: barbs, candy, goof-balls, rainbows, bluebirds, redheads, etc.

Those who use depressants as an item of abuse are trying to remove themselves from reality. They depress their senses until they are unaware of their surroundings. The symptoms parallel those of the drunk but without the alcohol odor. Reflexes are slowed, has a stumbling walk, fixed gaze and, with a high enough dose, unconsciousness is produced.

Generally these drugs produce habituation, but if abused enough, physical dependence is produced. A person having taken high doses of barbiturates can die from respiratory depression. The depressants are generally taken by mouth but may be injected.

Narcotics: Narcotic addiction dates from ancient times. The subject is usually one who wants to escape and the narcotics give him a sensation of being "high." In addition, there are other desirable features such as a feeling of euphoria, tranquility, and sleepiness. This feeling of tranquility and sleepiness which follows the "high" is referred to as "going on the nod."

The abuse of narcotics range from the abuse of the exempt narcotic preparations, through the so called "hard narcotics" which are used therapeutically, through heroin which is an illegal hard narcotic in the United States. The exempt narcotics are usually the codeine cough preparations and paregoric. These preparations are easily available. In most states, they do not require a physician's prescription. They generally have a high alcoholic content and may contain an antihistamine, either of which potentates the action of the narcotic. This potentation, coupled with an excessive dose, produces the desired effects in the susceptible individual. Paregoric, after being specially prepared may be injected. This abuse of exempt narcotic preparations can account for some of the experimentation with more potent drugs by certain individuals.

Narcotics such as morphine, codeine and meperidine are used therapeutically to relieve intolerable pain. Morphine has become a definite drug of abuse, ranking second to heroin among the narcotics.

Morphine and heroin have very similar actions but heroin is much more potent and has a much greater addicting liability. Because of this addicting liability, it is not used in medicine and has been declared illegal by the Congress of the United States. Although heroin may be taken orally or sniffed, it is usually taken by intravenous injection, known by the users as "mainlining." It is known by many names but is most commonly called "H," boy, horse, junk, Harry, white stuff. It is extremely difficult to express what the heroin user feels, but he experiences the most intense and sustained feeling of euphoria. There are very few known cases where experimentation with heroin did not lead to addiction. Simply, experiment with heroin and you are "hooked."

Tolerance develops readily, thus more and more heroin is needed by the user to produce the desired effects. If discontinued, withdrawal symptoms ensue quickly and death may result. After a short period of time, the addict no longer experiences any thrill from the heroin and needs the drug only to exist and to avoid withdrawal symptoms; addicts live in constant fear of withdrawal; they are at the mercy of the supplier and the drug and will do anything to get the drug or the money to buy it.

The user of heroin may kill himself due to respiratory depression resulting from an overdose, or he may die from disease. Endocarditis and heptatitis may result from impure drug or the use of non-sterile equipment with which the drug is injected. Rehabilitation of a heroin addict is extremely difficult and very rare.

Phychotogenic Drugs: These drugs produce hallucinations and psychotic behavior. Their use can lead to serious mental change, psychotic manifestations, suicidal tendencies and nervous breakdown. The behavior pattern of the user is irrational; they may try to fly, brush imaginary insects from their bodies, etc. They can undergo a complete personality change.

This category of drugs includes: LSD (Lysergic acid derivative), peyote, mescaline, DMT, STP, morning glory seeds. The effects of all these are very similar, so I will discuss LSD only.

LSD has many other names such as: cubes, acid, pearly gates, wedding bells. It is illegal having no known medicinal value at the present time. There are studies in progress in various university hospitals and there may be a rational therapeutic use known in the future. Since there is no standard for purity and potency has not been established, obtaining a standard, uniform dose is difficult The LSD that the buyer obtains is only as good as the seller represents it to be.

The effects of LSD vary and depend largely upon the personality of the user plus the purity of that particular batch. There is a change in perception by the sense organs, and the user may hear and smell colors in addition to seeing them. Illusions and hallucinations may appear, having vivid images. Abrupt and frequent mood changes may be experience ranging from extreme pleasure and exhilaration to extreme anxiety where the user may panic and develop suicidal or homicidal tendencies. Some users say that they have enhanced recall or memory and a sense of capacity to communicate better; but these effects are questionable and experiments have not proved this to be factual.

The effects of LSD can last from eight to twelve hours; some users never return from a "trip."

Some of the hazards of use of this drug: (1) the effects may be too long or too severe as the hallucinations may last for days; (2) the person may panic and commit suicide; (3) "flash back" or "flip out" . . . this is the recurrence of symptoms without taking more drug; longest documented case is two years after taking the last dose; (4) chromosome alteration. . . it is a fact that abnormal fetus have been born to users of LSD and it is felt that this is the major cause for the decline in its use.

LSD is taken orally in capsules, tablets, or in sugar cubes and may be injected.

Marijuana: It is difficult to categorize marijuana as by law it is a narcotic. Its effects closely resemble those of alcohol and the depressants, but it also may produce hallucinations. Marijuana has a long list of other names such as: Pot, Texas tea, locoweed, Mary Jane, hay, grass. The drug is illegal and since it is legally classified as a narcotic, it is a felony to have it in your possession.

Marijuana may be taken orally or sniffed but it is usually smoked. The effects of its use depend largely on the personality of the user, the environment where the drug is used, and the purity of the batch. When smoked, the effects occur in five to ten minutes. The user has erratic behavior: may feel exhilarated or may feel relaxed. his body feels light and walking appears easier, memory deteriorates and attention is confused; time appears to move slowly; he feels that he has greater ability to do things than he actually has, colorful hallucinations may appear lasting twenty to twenty-five minutes. He may lose all restraint and act in a manner dangerous to himself and others. Because of time and space sense disturbance, he becomes accident prone.

After using marijuana the body reacts several ways: fast heart beat and rise in blood pressure; low blood sugar, headache, nausea.

It appears that marijuana causes no physical dependence with regular use. Psychological dependence is the real hazard. Some individuals, after using marijuana for a while, turn to stronger drugs so that they may experience new thrills or experience a higher "high."

We cannot rationalize the use of marijuana by saying that it is no worse than alcohol. Comparing one evil with another is a very poor standard of judgment. The average person does not drink alcohol with the intention of becoming intoxicated but the average marijuana user does so with the sole intent of "blowing his mind." Too few people really consider the stain of alcohol on our society; why legalize "pot" and compound this stigma?

Miscellaneous Drugs: Young people have tried all kinds of idiotic items in recent years: inhalation of vapors from glue, gasoline, kerosene, ether, chloroform, paint thinner, lighter fluid, refrigerants, shellac, etc. The effects produced are similar to alcohol. They have smoked asthma cigarettes in excess for a "charge." They have ingested large quantities of nutmeg to produce hallucinations. Thus we see that the problem is not new but is ever increasing in intensity.

In the final article we will discuss what YOU may do in helping alleviate the problem of drug abuse.

— Stow, Ohio