The Family Guide to Drugs and Drug Abuse

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If you're a parent or young adult, you know there's a drug problem on this planet. Whether it's alcohol; the most abused drug, or crack cocaine; one of the most psychologically addictive and dangerous drugs, the problem affects us all. Federal studies show that over 70 million people in U.S. households have used illegal drugs! Drugs are responsible for a great number of the crimes committed today! Thefts, burglaries, robberies and murders a recommitted for the sole purpose of financing drug habits!

This report is presented only as a source of general information. Nothing in this report is to be considered as legal or medical advice! Consult with legal and medical professionals for the best advice on topics covered in this report. Parents are encouraged to add their own views and suggestions to each topic. This report is not intended to replace a parent's instructions to their children.

Alcohol is the most abused of all drugs! It is believed that almost three quarters of the U.S. population uses alcohol to some extent.

Alcohol enters the bloodstream quickly and affects the judgement and behavior of the user. It affects coordination and response time.

Thousands of teenagers are killed each year in alcohol-related traffic accidents!

Marijuana is the most abused of all the illegal drugs. It is normally smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes, pipes, and other suitable devices. It is also ingested by mixing in food and drink.

Marijuana is a mind-altering drug that causes a state of intoxication. It can affect thinking and judgement and can cause anxiety attacks.

Marijuana use can cause tissue damage, panic attacks, bronchitis, and changes in male hormones. It has more cancer causing chemicals than tobacco!

Marijuana is made from the leaves and flowering tops of the cannabis sativa plant, which are harvested and dried. The mind-altering component of Marijuana is called THC, for short. The higher the THC content, the more potent the Marijuana.

Hashish is a resin that is extracted from the marijuana plant, and is normally smoked.

Cocaine is a white powder that is snorted, sniffed, swallowed, smoked, and injected. The most common method is sniffing or snorting.

Cocaine may be found packaged in baggies, vials, and similar containers. It is frequently laid out in "lines" on a smooth surface to be inhaled into the nose with a small tube or straw.

Cocaine use may cause runny nose, paranoia, depression, irritability, violent behavior, headaches, and trouble sleeping.

Crack is a dangerous and deadly form of cocaine. It appears on the street as small white, brown, or tan pellets, rocks, or chips. It is inhaled through a pipe or similar device and is 5 to 10 times more potent than cocaine that is snorted through the nose.

Crack provides a quick, intense, but short-lived "high", and then results in a need for more of the drug.

Some of the effects of crack use are weight loss, hyperactivity, hoarseness and heart attack. Crack can addict the user faster than any other drug!

Inhalants such as gasoline, glue, spray paints, rubber cement, and other chemicals can cause a "high" when inhaled. They can also cause permanent damage to the nervous system, liver, kidneys, and can lead to various psychological problems.

Some athletes inject anabolic steroids in order to improve their physical ability and appearance. Steroid use can cause liver damage, testicle atrophy, aggressive behavior, high cholesterol, high risk for heart attack, enlarged prostate, baldness, depression, and other problems.

There are many things that could be considered signs of drug use and abuse. Some could indicate medical or other problems. Get all the facts. Consult a professional.

Aids is a disease that attacks the body's immune system. As the disease progresses, the body becomes unable to fight off diseases such as cancer, pneumonia, and tuberculosis the way a healthy body can. The major avenues of infection with the AIDS virus are sharing needles used to inject drugs, intimate sexual relations, and receiving AIDS contaminated blood, or allowing AIDS contaminated blood or body fluids to enter your bloodstream.

There have been no reported cases of the AIDS virus being transmitted by shaking hands, hugging, or from toilet seats.

However, using alcohol or other drugs can ruin your judgement about activities that lead to AIDS!

The number of street gangs and the incidence of violence involving them is definitely on the rise. If you live in a large city, you know this already. If you live in a smaller or medium size city, you have probably read about it or are beginning to experience the problem locally.

Gangs probably formed out of the feeling for a need to band together for protection against other groups with conflicting interests or intentions.

It is generally believed that gangs are made up of members of society who fit a certain mold. People who join gangs are usually "followers" who are not able to get respect without their "gang identity". They probably had no one in their lives to provide a positive influence on them. They were probably left home alone a lot due to various circumstances. They may have been involved in minor crimes and possibly drug use. They lack any feeling of importance or power. They have no real self-esteem. They feel there is no excitement in their lives.

Gang-related graffiti is one sure sign of the presence of or the impending emergence of gang activity in your area. Gangs mark their turf with gang symbols which can be found on building walls, fences, sidewalks, and on just about anything else in the neighborhood. These gang symbols and other markings can contain very complicated codes.


Drugs do absolutely NOTHING for you! Those who use or sell drugs will end up with nothing but a sick, broken body, a police record, no real job, or DEAD! You can do better than that!

Graduating from high school can make it possible for you to earn several hundred thousand dollars MORE during your working life than someone who only finished the eighth grade or dropped out of high school.

Are you thinking of being a teacher, airline pilot, nurse, doctor, lawyer, psychologist, dentist, veterinarian, optometrist, or fighter pilot? Don't even think about dropping out. These are all college graduates.

Many jobs that only required a high school diploma a few years ago are now going to people with a college background. With so many people looking for work, employers can now pick from only the best.

Don't pick up hypodermic needles or syringes you see on the ground or in the trash. They can carry viruses that cause diseases including hepatitis and AIDS.

Check with your police agency about Law Enforcement Exploring. You'll have a great time and you'll learn a lot, too. If your agency doesn't have a post ask them to start one.

Some drugs can kill you the first time you try them!

Be very alert around strangers. The sad truth is that there are people in the world who will hurt you for no reason. Be aware of where you are and who is around you at all times.

Your mom and dad said it. Your teacher said it. Now here it is again: NEVER GET INTO A CAR WITH A STRANGER! You may never be seen again! Run away from anyone who tries to get you into a car. Scream, yell, and RUN!

You come home from school and find the door to your house open. No one is supposed to be at home. STOP right there and go to a responsible neighbor's house, the nearest pay phone, or other location designated by your parents, and call the police! Do not go into the house! Do not walk around the house to check other windows and doors! If you walk in on a burglar, you could be injured, kidnapped, or killed! Let the police check the house!

Never tell strangers, in person or over the phone, how many people are in your family, when your mom and dad go to work or come home, or anything else that will let someone know when it's a good time to break into your home.

Always wear a seatbelt when travelling in a car. Many accidents can injure or kill you, and many will make you crack the windshield with your face and make you ugly for the rest of your life! Or paralyzed!

Don't let your friends talk you into doing something dangerous or against the law. Don't ruin your day or your life on a dare. Stop and think... then decide.

Don't play with guns! Don't hang around someone else who is playing with a gun. Get away as fast as you can and tell your parents! Bullets can travel over a mile, and through walls, and injure or kill you!

Don't use steroids! You don't need them. Steroids can't replace a hard workout!

Don't drink. When you drink it's hard to make the right decisions.


The property of a drug that can cause a psychological or physical dependence.


Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. A fatal disease that attacks and destroys the body's immune system. This disease makes the body unable to fight off infections and other disease. As the condition progresses and the body becomes weaker, diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis and pneumonia take hold and cause the death of the victim. AIDS is found frequently in people who have shared needles with other people while injecting intravenous drugs.

Angel Dust

Another name for the hallucinogen PCP.

Atom Bomb

A name for the mixture of heroin and marijuana.


A class of depressants often prescribed by doctors to help people sleep. Barbiturates are taken orally and are sold on the illegal drug market. Phenobarbital is a widely known barbiturate.

Clandestine (Clandestine Laboratories)

Describes secret, or hidden, laboratories where illegal drugs are manufactured.


Made from the leaf of the coca plant that is grown in South America. It stimulates the nervous system and has mind-altering effects. Cocaine can constrict the blood vessels which causes the heart to strain in order to do its work. Repeated cocaine use can cause a psychological dependence that becomes the most important thing in the user's life. Cocaine use during pregnancy can cause miscarriages and even stillbirth.


The colored insignia, flags, bandanas, or other items that indicate specific gang or club affiliation.


A very dangerous form of cocaine that is sometimes called "rock" because it resembles small rock or stone chips, rock salt, soap chips or crystals. It is white or tan in color. It is normally smoked. Crack use can cause a very high heart rate and possible heart attack. This can happen even with the first use! It causes a very strong "high" and then a very devastating "crash"!


A name given to the mixture of cocaine and heroin that is usually injected. Since the arrival of crack, this name also applies to the mixture of crack and the smokable form of heroin. These mixtures are also known as "speedball".


Drugs that cause a relaxing, intoxicating effect. Often called tranquilizers. Some common types are Tuinal, Seconal, Miltown, Librium, Valium, and Chloral Hydrate.


Driving while intoxicated. This is the charge filed against a person arrested for drunk driving. In many states a driver is presumed to be intoxicated to a degree where he is a danger to himself or others when his blood alcohol level is 0.10% or more. Some states call the offense DUI, or "driving under the influence". Some states have a separate charge for driving under the influence of drugs, or DUID. Some states make no distinction.


Under the influence of PCP.


Adding PCP or other drugs to marijuana.


The most popular of the "designer drugs". It is sometimes taken as an aphrodisiac, but its effects can be the opposite of what the user intended or expected. This drug can cause blurred vision, blood pressure changes, and even brain damage.


A feeling of well-being. In this presentation it is used to describe an effect of a particular drug.


A term used to describe the smoking of cocaine after its active ingredient has been separated from its salt base. It is usually smoked in water-filled pipes. Heat applied to the bowl causes the "freebase" to vaporize. There is a risk of fire during this process due to the dangerous chemicals that must be used.


A term for the mixture of cocaine and heroin.


An imagined seeing of visions or hearing of sounds.

Hallucinogens, PCP, LSD

As the name implies, hallucinogens cause the user to experience hallucinations. All the person's senses may become distorted and totally unreliable and unpredictable. They may lose all sense of reality.


A dark brown, but sometimes green or black, resin that is derived from the marijuana plant. Hashish is smoked in pipes or similar devices. Hashish oil is usually smoked by putting it on regular cigarettes or marijuana cigarettes.

Herb and Al

A name for marijuana and alcohol.


Abnormally high level of activity.

Hypodermic Needle/Syringe

The syringe is a hollow barrel containing a plunger inside. It is tipped with a hollow needle. It is used to inject drugs under the skin. Hypodermic means "under the skin".


A very dangerous, crystallized form of methamphetamine. It is believed that ICE originated in Hawaii. It looks like rock candy or rock salt. ICE is made into its solid or crystallized form by cooking it. ICE can be even more dangerous and addictive than cocaine or crack. ICE is virtually odorless when smoked.

Illicit (Illicit Drug Use - Illicit Drugs)

Used in this presentation to describe the illegal use of prescription drugs or the use of illegal drugs.


Chemicals that are introduced into the body by breathing or inhaling them. Common inhalants are spray paints, glue, felt markers, polishes, and gasoline. These are legal, easily obtained items, but contains poisons that cause a "high" when purposely inhaled in concentrated amounts. Spray paints (gold and silver are popular) are sprayed into paper or plastic sacks. The sack is then placed over the mouth and nose and the concentrated fumes inhaled. The chemicals can also be poured or sprayed onto rags and held against the face. The effects range from lightheadedness to intoxication to coma. "Sniffing" ("huffing") causes brain damage (usually irreversible)! It also damages other vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, and lungs.


Being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other chemical. Being drunk.


Injected or introduced directly into the vein.


A person who is addicted to drugs.


A white, crystalline substance derived from the tops of a species of cactus. It can cause hallucinations.


The most popular stimulant. Sometimes called "speed", "uppers", "crank", or "crystal". Methamphetamines are taken due to their effect of causing increased alertness and euphoria. An overdose can cause a stroke or heart attack.


A very poisonous chemical found in tobacco.


A poisonous and addictive chemical derived from the poppy plant. Morphine and codeine are derived from it.

Paraphernalia (Drug)

Equipment or apparatus used to assist in the smoking or injection of drugs. Syringes, needles, roach clips, spoons, etc.


A mental condition describing a feeling of persecution. This condition is brought on by the use of certain drugs.

PCP (Phencyclidine)

Considered to be the most dangerous of the hallucinogens. PCP has many different street names including, angel dust and super grass. PCP was first produced as an anesthetic, but is now made only in clandestine labs.

Roach Clip

Any device used to hold the short butt (roach) of a marijuana cigarette. Small "alligator" clips are very common.


See "Methamphetamine".


A term used for the mixture of cocaine and heroin. Since the arrival of crack, the term now more frequently applies to the mixture of crack and heroin in its smokable form.


Drugs used to enhance physical ability, strength, and appearance of the user. It is generally thought that the hazards associated with steroid use far outweigh any possible benefit.


A class of drugs that causes an increase in energy, alertness, and possibly activity. Some examples are Benzedrine, Preludin, Fastin, Ritlan and amphetamines. Continued use of stimulants can cause weight loss, mood changes, tremors, and palpitations.

Tragic Magic

A term for the mixture of PCP and crack.


A mixture of PCP and marijuana.

If you have a friend who is using drugs of any type, talk to him or her and let them know you care about what may happen to their life because of their actions. Don't just point your finger at them and talk down to them. Really show them you care and are willing to help them get the help they need. But remember not to let yourself be caught in suspicious places or circumstances with someone who may have drugs on them. It is possible that you could be arrested, depending on the situation, if you are with someone who is caught with drugs!

If your friend does not listen to you, ask your parents for advice on how to handle the situation. Your parents can be your best source of guidance if you give them a chance.

Your friend may need medical attention or counselling for the problem. You can also get information and advice from your school, religious, or professional substance abuse counselors.

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