Chemical Dependency                                         To Home Page

Chemical dependency disorders affect a staggering proportion of the population of the U. S. and other Western nations.  Recent data from the National Institute of Mental Health indicate that nearly 20% (about 48 million people) of the general population  qualified for a substance use diagnosis at some point during their lifetime (Regier et al., 1990).  The same researchers found that persons suffering from psychiatric disorders who come for mental health treatment had twice the risk of having a drinking problem, and four times the risk of having a drug problem compared to the general population.  Nearly a third (29%) of persons seeking mental health treatment will also suffer from a substance use problem at some point in their life.



Drug Abuse





Club Drugs 



How Can I Tell If A Friend or a Loved One Has a Problem With Alcohol, Marijuana, or Other Illicit Drugs?

Sometimes it is tough to tell. Most people won't walk up to someone they're close to and ask for help. In fact, they will probably do everything possible to deny or hide the problem. But, there are certain warning signs that may indicate that a family member or friend is using drugs and drinking too much alcohol.

If your friend or loved one has one or more of the following signs, he or she may have a problem with drugs or alcohol:
getting high on drugs or getting drunk on a regular basis
lying about things, or the amount of drugs or alcohol they are using
avoiding you and others in order to get high or drunk
giving up activities they used to do such as sports, homework, or hanging out with friends who don't use drugs or drink
having to use more marijuana or other illicit drugs to get the same effects
constantly talking about using drugs or drinking
believing that in order to have fun they need to drink or use marijuana or other drugs
pressuring others to use drugs or drink
getting into trouble with the law
taking risks, including sexual risks and driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
feeling run-down, hopeless, depressed, or even suicidal
suspension from school for an alcohol- or drug-related incident
missing work or poor work performance because of drinking or drug use

Many of the signs, such as sudden changes in mood, difficulty in getting along with others, poor job or school performance, irritability, and depression, might be explained by other causes. Unless you observe drug use or excessive drinking, it can be hard to determine the cause of these problems. Your first step is to contact a qualified alcohol and drug professional in your area who can give you further advice.

How Can I Tell If I Have a Problem With Alcohol or Drugs?

Drug and alcohol problems can affect every one of us regardless of age, sex, race, marital status, place of residence, income level, or lifestyle.

You may have a problem with drugs or alcohol, if:

You can't predict whether or not you will use drugs or get drunk.
You believe that in order to have fun you need to drink and/or use drugs.
You turn to alcohol and/or drugs after a confrontation or argument, or to relieve uncomfortable feelings.
You drink more or use more drugs to get the same effect that you got with smaller amounts.
You drink and/or use drugs alone.
You remember how last night began, but not how it ended, so you're worried you may have a problem.
You have trouble at work or in school because of your drinking or drug use.
You make promises to yourself or others that you'll stop getting drunk or using drugs.
You feel alone, scared, miserable, and depressed.
If you have experienced any of the above problems, take heart, help is available. More than a million Americans like you have taken charge of their lives and are living healthy and drug-free.


How Can I Get Help?

You can get help for yourself or for a friend or loved one from numerous national, State, and local organizations, treatment centers, referral centers, and hotlines throughout the country. There are various kinds of treatment services and centers. For example, some may involve outpatient counseling, while others may be 3- to 5-week-long inpatient programs.

While you or your friend or loved one may be hesitant to seek help, know that treatment programs offer organized and structured services with individual, group, and family therapy for people with alcohol and drug abuse problems. Research shows that when appropriate treatment is given, and when clients follow their prescribed program, treatment can work. By reducing alcohol and/or drug abuse, treatment reduces costs to society in terms of medical care, law enforcement, and crime. More importantly, treatment can help keep you and your loved ones together.

Remember, some people may go through treatment a number of times before they are in full recovery. Do not give up hope.

Each community has its own resources. Some common referral sources that are often listed in the phone book are:

Community Drug Hotlines
Local Emergency Health Clinics, or Community Treatment Services
City/Local Health Departments
Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or Al-Anon/Alateen


Drugs of Abuse:
Narcotics Ice
Depressants Cannabis
Stimulants Marijuana
Cocaine Alcohol
Crack Steroids
Inhalants Hallucinogens

Categories Descriptions Effects
Symptoms of Overdose Withdrawal Symptoms Indications of Misuse

Drug Categories for
Substances of Abuse

To assist you in locating substances in this document, the following cross reference by category is provided.

Narcotics Alfentanil Stimulants Amphetamine
Cocaine* Benzedrine
Codeine Benzphetamine
Crack Cocaine* Butyl Nitrite
Fentanyl Dextroamphetamine
Heroin Methamphetamine
Hydromorphone Methylphenidate
Ice Phenmetrazine
Methadone Hallucinogens Bufotenine
Morphine LSD
Nalorphine MDA
Opium MDEA
Oxycodone MDMA
Propoxyphene Mescaline
Depressants Amobarbital Phencyclidine
Benzodiazepine Psilocybin
Chloral Hydrate
Chlordiazepoxide Cannabis Lorazepam
Diazepam Marijuana
Glutethimide Tetrahydrocannabinol
Methaqualone Alcohol Ethyl Alcohol
Nitrous Oxide
Pentobarbital Steroids Dianabol
Phenobarbital Nandrolone

*Cocaine, while classified under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as a narcotic, is also discussed as a stimulant.



Drug Dependence How Used Duration


Opium High/High Oral, smoked 3-6
Morphine High/High Oral, smoked,
Codeine Mod./Mod. Oral, injected 3-6
Heroin High/High Smoked, injected,
Hydromorphone High/High Oral, injected 3-6
Meperidine High/High Oral, injected 3-6
Methadone High/High Oral, injected 12-24

What are Narcotics?
Drugs used medicinally to relieve pain
High potential for abuse
Cause relaxation with an immediate "rush"
Initial unpleasant effects - restlessness, nausea

Possible Effects
Drowsiness, respiratory depression
Constricted (pin-point) pupils

Symptoms of Overdose
Slow, shallow breathing, clammy skin
Convulsions, coma, possible death

Withdrawal Syndrome
Watery eyes, runny nose, yawning, cramps
Loss of appetite, irritability, nausea
Tremors, panic, chills, sweating

Indications of Possible

Scars (tracks) caused by injections
Constricted (pin-point) pupils
Loss of appetite
Sniffles, watery eyes, cough, nausea
Lethargy, drowsiness, nodding
Syringes, bent spoons, needles, etc.


Drug Dependence How Used Duration


Barbiturates High/mod. Oral 1-16
Methaqualone High/High Oral 4-8
Tranquilizers High/High Oral 4-8
Chloral Hydrate Mod./Mod. Oral 5-8
Glutethimide High/Mod. Oral 4-8

What are Depressants?
Drugs used medicinally to relieve anxiety, irritability, tension
High potential for abuse, development of tolerance
Produce state of intoxication similar to that of alcohol
Combined with alcohol, increase effects, multiply risks

Possible Effects
Sensory alteration, anxiety reduction, intoxication
Small amounts cause calmness, relaxed muscles
Larger amounts cause slurred speech, impaired judgment,
loss of motor coordination
Very large doses may cause respiratory depression, coma, death
Newborn babies of abusers may show dependence, withdrawal
symptoms, behavioral problems, birth defects

Symptoms of Overdose
Shallow respiration, clammy skin, dilated pupils
Weak and rapid pulse, coma, death

Withdrawal Syndrome
Anxiety, insomnia, muscle tremors, loss of appetite
Abrupt cessation or reduced high dose may cause convulsions, delirium, death

Indications of Possible

Behavior similar to alcohol intoxication (without odor of
alcohol on breath)
Staggering, stumbling, lack of coordination, slurred speech
Falling asleep while at work, difficulty concentrating
Dilated pupils


Drug Dependence How Used Duration


Cocaine* Possible/High Sniffed, smoked
Amphetamines Possible/High Oral, injected 2-4
Methamphetamine Possible/High Oral, injected 2-4
Phenmetrazine Possible/High Oral, injected 2-4
Methylphenidate Possible/Mod. Oral, injected 2-4
Other Stimulants Possible/High Oral, injected 2-4
Ice High/High Smoked, oral
injec., inhaled

What are Stimulants?
Drugs used to increase alertness, relieve fatigue, feel stronger and more decisive; used for euphoric effects or to counteract the "down" felling of tranquilizers or alcohol

Possible Effects
Increased heart and respiratory rates, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils and decreased appetite; high doses may cause rapid or irregular heartbeat, loss of coordination, collapse; may cause perspiration, blurred vision, dizziness, a feeling of restlessness, anxiety, delusions

Symptoms of Overdose
Agitation, increase in body temperature, hallucinations, convulsions, possible death

Withdrawal Syndrome
Apathy, long periods of sleep, irritability, depression, disorientation

Indications of Possible

Excessive activity, talkativeness, irritability, argumentativeness or nervousness
Increased blood pressure or pulse rate, dilated pupils
Long periods without sleeping or eating


*Cocaine, while classified under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as a narcotic, is also discussed as a stimulant.

Also known as:
Coke, Dust, Snow, Flake, Blow, Girl

You probably know why cocaine is abused -

bulletCarefree Feeling
bulletIn control

But did you know that -

bulletA cocaine "high" lasts only about 5 to 20 minutes.
bulletCocaine use may cause severe "mood swings" and irritability.
bulletYou need more and more cocaine each time you want a "high.
bulletCocaine increases your blood pressure and heart rate -
particularly dangerous if you have a heart condition.
bulletOne use can cause death!
bulletPossession and use are illegal and can result in fines and arrest.



Also known as:
"Crack cocaine", Freebase rocks, Rock

You probably know why crack is abused -

bulletQuick high

But did you know that -

bulletCrack is almost instantly addictive.
bulletOne use could cause a fatal heart attack.
bulletRepeated use may cause insomnia, hallucinations, seizures, paranoia.
bulletThe euphoric effects of crack last only a few minutes.
bulletCrack possession and use are illegal in all fifty states.
bulletThere are more hospitalizations per year resulting from crack and
cocaine use than any other illicit substance.


Also known as:
Meth, Crystal, Crank, Methamphetamine

You probably know why ice is abused -

bulletTemporary mood elevation
bulletExhilaration (high)
bulletIncreased mental alertness
bulletUpper-increase wakefulness

But did you know that -

bulletIce is extremely addictive - sometimes with just one use!
bulletIce can cause convulsions, heart irregularities, high blood pressure, depression, restlessness, tremors, severe fatigue.
bulletAn overdose can cause coma and death
bulletWhen you stop using ice you may experience a deep depression.
bulletIce causes a very jittery high, along with anxiety, insomnia, sometimes paranoia.



Some of the substances that are abused:
bulletButyl nitrite
bulletAmyl nitrite (Gas in aerosol cans)
bulletGasoline and Toluene vapors (Correction fluid, glue, marking pens)

You probably know why inhalants are abused -

bulletCheap High
bulletQuick buzz

But did you know that inhalants may cause -

bulletLoss of muscle control
bulletSlurred speech
bulletDrowsiness or loss of consciousness
bulletExcessive secretions from the nose and watery eyes
bulletBrain damage and damage to lung cells


Drug Dependence How Used Duration


Angel Dust
Unknown/High Smoked, oral, Up to days
Green/Red Dragon
None/Unknown Oral 8-12 hrs.
Mescaline, Peyote None/Unknown Oral, injected 8-12 hrs.
Psilocybin None/Unknown Oral, injected,
smoked, sniffed
Designer Drugs*
Ecstacy - PCE
Unknown/Unknown Oral, injected,

What are Hallucinogens?
Drugs that produce behavioral changes that are often multiple and dramatic
No known medical use, but some block sensation to pain and use may result in self-inflicted injuries
"Designer Drugs", made to imitate certain illegal drugs, are often many times stronger than drugs they imitate

Possible Effects
Rapidly changing feelings, immediately and long after use
Chronic use may cause persistent problems, depression, violent behavior, anxiety, distorted perception of time
Large doses may cause convulsions, coma, heart/lung failure, ruptured blood vessels in the brain
May cause hallucinations, illusions, dizziness, confusion, suspicion, anxiety, loss of control
Delayed effects - "flashbacks" may occur long after use
Designer drugs - one use may cause irreversible brain damage

Symptoms of Overdose
Longer, more intense "trip" episodes, psychosis, coma, death

Withdrawal Syndrome
No known withdrawal syndrome

Indications of Possible

Extreme changes in behavior and mood; person may sit or recline in a trance-like state; person may appear fearful
Chills, irregular breathing, sweating, trembling hands
Changes in sense of light, hearing, touch, smell, and time
Increase in blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar

*Phencyclidine analogs, Amphetamine variants



bulletLSD (Acid, Red/Green Dragon
bulletEcstacy (designer drug)
bulletPCP (Angel Dust, Loveboat)
bulletPCP & Cocaine (Beam me up Scottie)

You probably know why hallucinogens are abused -

bulletStimulation or depression
bulletBehavioral changes

But did you know that

bulletOne use of LSD or PCP can cause multiple and dramatic behavioral changes.
bulletLarge doses of hallucinogens may cause convulsions, ruptured blood vessels in the brain and irreversible brain damage.
bulletMany hallucinogens cause unpleasant and potentially dangerous "flashbacks," long after the drug was used.
bulletMost hallucinogens cause "hallucinations," i.e., changes in perception of time, smell, touch, etc.



Drug Dependence How Used Duration


Marijuana Unknown/Moderate Smoked, oral
pot, grass
Unknown/Moderate Smoked, oral 2-4
Hashish Unknown/Moderate Smoked, oral 2-4
Hashish Oil Unknown/Moderate Smoked, oral 2-4

What is Cannabis?
Hemp plant from which marijuana and hashish are produced;
Hashish consists of resinous secretions of the cannabis plant;
Marijuana is a tobacco-like substance

Possible Effects
Euphoria followed by relaxation; loss of appetite; impaired memory, concentration, knowledge retention; loss of coordination; more vivid sense of taste, sight, smell, hearing; stronger doses cause fluctuating emotions, fragmentary thoughts, disoriented behavior, psychosis; may cause irritation to lungs, respiratory system; may cause cancer

Symptoms of Overdose
Fatigue, lack of coordination, paranoia, psychosis

Withdrawal Syndrome
Insomnia, hyperactivity, sometimes decreased appetite

Indications of Possible

Animated behavior, loud talking, followed by sleepiness
Dilated pupils, bloodshot eyes
Distortions in perception; hallucinations
Distortions in depth and time perception; loss of coordination



Also known as:
Pot, Grass, Joints, Roaches, Reefer, Weed, Mary Jane

You probably know why marijuana is abused--


But did you know that-

bulletMarijuana may cause impaired short-term memory, a shortened attention span and delayed reflexes.
bulletDuring pregnancy, marijuana may cause birth defects.
bulletMarijuana may cause a fast heart rate and pulse.
bulletRepeated use of marijuana may cause breathing problems.
bulletPossession of marijuana is illegal in all fifty states.
bulletMarijuana may cause relaxed inhibitions, disoriented behavior.



Drug Dependence How Used Duration


Ethyl Alcohol Possible/Possible Oral 1-4
Ethanol Possible/Possible Oral 1-4

What is Alcohol?
Liquid distilled product of fermented fruits, grains and vegetables
Used as solvent, antiseptic and sedative
Moderate potential for abuse

Possible Effects
Sensory alteration
Anxiety reduction

Symptoms of Overdose
Odor of alcohol on breath
Loss of coordination
Slurred speech, dilated pupils
Fetal alcohol syndrome (in babies)
Nerve and liver damage

Withdrawal Syndrome
Altered perception
Psychosis, fear, auditory hallucinations

Indications of Possible

Confusion, disorientation, loss of motor nerve control
Convulsions, shock, shallow respiration
Involuntary defecation, drowsiness
Respiratory depression and possible death


Also known as:
Booze, Juice, Brew, Vino, Sauce

You probably know why alcohol is abused--

bulletCheap High

But did you know that-

bulletAlcohol is a depressant that decreases the responses of the central nervous system.
bulletExcessive drinking can cause liver damage and psychotic behavior.
bulletAs little as two beers or drinks can impair coordination and thinking.
bulletAlcohol is often used by substance abusers to enhance the effects of other drugs.
bulletAlcohol continues to be the most frequently abused substance among young adults.



Drug Dependence How Used Duration


Dianabol Possible/Possible Oral days - wks
Nandrolone Possible/Possible Oral days - wks

What are Steroids?
Synthetic compounds available legally and illegally
Drugs that are closely related to the male sex hormone, testosterone
Moderate potential for abuse, particularly among young males

Possible Effects
Increase in body weight
Increase in muscle strength
Enhance athletic performance
Increase physical endurance

Symptoms of Overdose
Quick weight and muscle gains
Extremely aggressive behavior or "Roid rage"
Severe skin rashes
Impotence, withered testicles
In females, development of irreversible masculine traits

Withdrawal Syndrome
Significant weight loss
Behavioral changes

Indications of Possible

Increased combativeness and aggressiveness
Purple or red spots on body; unexplained darkness of skin
Persistent unpleasant breath odor
Swelling of feet or lower legs


Three types of steroids:

bulletAnabolic (male hormone)- steroids most frequently abused
bulletEstrogenic (female hormone)

You probably know why steroids are abused--

bulletIncrease strength
bulletIncrease muscle size
bulletHelp muscles recover

But did you know that abuse of steroids may cause-

bulletSevere acne, rashes, stunted growth
bulletSexual function problems
bulletWomen to take on masculine traits, develop hairiness
bulletBehavioral changes, aggressiveness ("roid rages")
bulletLong-term effects, such as cholesterol increases, heart disease, liver tumors, cancer, cataracts and death

U.S. Department of Labor,
"America in Jeopardy: The Young Employee and Drugs in the Workplace."
Appendix A & B


Substance Abuse  - Links 


bulletAddiction Research Foundation (ARF) - University of Toronto ****
bulletCanadian Centre on Substance Abuse ****
bulletNational Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information ****
bulletNational Institute of Drug Abuse ****
bulletSubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration ****
bulletWeb of Addictions ****


bulletAmerican Psychological Association Division of Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse ***
bulletCocaine Anonymous ***
bulletConnecticut Clearinghouse - Information on Alcohol, Tobacco, Other Drugs ***
bulletHabitSmart - Addictions ***
bulletHigher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention ***
bulletIndiana Prevention Resource Center - Indiana University ***
bulletJoin Together Online ***
bulletNational Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) ***
bulletVirginia Addiction Technology Transfer Center ***
bulletAddiction Resource Guide **
bulletDrug-Related Network Resources *
bulletMarijuana Anonymous *


bulletYahoo's Substance Abuse Links


Alcohol Dependence
bulletAlcoholics Anonymous ****
bulletNational Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
bulletAL-Anon & ALATEEN WWW site ***
bulletAnother Empty Bottle - For the friends, family, and alcoholics ***
bulletOnline AA Resources ***
bulletAlcoholism - **
bulletYahoo's Alcoholism Links

Nicotine Dependence
bulletQuitNet - Resource to Quit Smoking ***
bulletNicNet: Nicotine and Tobacco Network ** - Massachusetts Department of Public Health *