Drug Use

Affects of Drug Use:

  • Illness and damage to the body and brain
    • Increase in minor illnesses such as colds and flu
    • Can lead to overdose and death
  • Difficulty with learning and memory
    • Poor performance in school and at work
  • Mood changes
    • Can lead to depression
    • More than half of all teen suicides are drug-related
  • Loss of coordination and impaired judgment
    • In most fatal auto crashed involving people under 25, the driver was under the influence of drugs

(Reference: "Drug Facts," ETR Associates, www.etr.org, 2004)

Drugs: What is it? What can happen to your body?

Drug description

At first?

Over time?

Adderall - a prescription medication for ADHD and narcolepsy. It is an amphetamine and a dextroamphetamine, which are both stimulants.
  • Heart beats faster
  • Blood pressure rises
  • Become more alert
  • May increase attention
  • May increase energy
  • Feel dizzy and shaky
  • Can't sit still or sleep
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dangerously high body temperatures
  • Cardiovascular failure
  • Seizures
Cocaine/Crack - a chemical from the leaves of the coca plant. It speeds up the brain and body.
  • Heart beats faster, blood pressure rises
  • Body temperature rises, breathe faster
  • Can't sit still or sleep
  • Become more alert
  • Permanent lung damage
  • Holes and ulcers inside of your nose
  • Personality changes and violent behavior
  • Fear of people and things (paranoia)- See things that aren't real (hallucinate)
Depressants - a chemical used to treat mental illness. They depress or slow down the nervous system.
  • Feel calm and sleepy
  • Get confused and can't concentrate
  • Muscles relax
  • Speech gets slurred
  • Become clumsy and stagger
  • Chest infections
  • See things that aren't real (hallucinate)
  • Deadly when used with alcohol
Heroin - one of the groups of chemicals called narcotics. They come from opium poppy and are used as painkillers.
  • Heart beats slower
  • Breathe slower
  • Pupils shrink and eyes water
  • Skin on face, neck, and chest turns red
  • Feel sick to your stomach and vomit
  • Lung damage
  • Lowers sex drive
  • Disrupts menstrual periods
  • Constipation
Inhalants - chemicals that give off fumes that act on the brain.
  • Feel dizzy. Get bad headaches
  • Speech gets slurred
  • Sneeze, cough, and get bloody noses
  • Feel sick to your stomach
  • Urinate and defecate without control
  • Permanent brain, lung, and kidney damage
  • Tired feeling
  • Weak muscles
  • Skin turns blue
  • Deadly when used with alcohol or depressants
LSD - a chemical so strong that a single flake can cause actions similar to mental illness.
  • Heart beats faster.
  • Blood pressure rises
  • Body temperature rises
  • Feel cold, shiver, get chills
  • Can't see or hear well
  • Get confused and panic
  • Permanent mental problems
  • See things that aren't real (hallucinate)
  • Severe depression
  • Suicide
  • Flashbacks
Marijuana - a plant called cannabis. It affects the nervous system and has been used to make rope, cloth, and paint.
  • Feel calm, relaxed, and sleepy
  • Heart beats faster
  • Reaction time slows down
  • Throat, mouth, and lips get dry
  • Eyes get bloodshot
  • Eyesight blurs
  • Lose sense of time
  • Lung damage and lung cancer
  • Can't remember things
  • Lower ability to fight off colds and the flu
  • Lower sperm count and movement
  • Disrupts menstrual periods and ovulation
PCP - a chemical used as an animal tranquilizer.
  • Heart beats faster
  • Eyesight blurs
  • See things that aren't real (hallucinate)
  • Speech gets slurred or stopped
  • Body movements, sense of time slow down
  • Permanent brain, heart, and lung damage
  • Permanent speech problems
  • Fear of people and things
  • Can't remember things
  • Flashbacks
Steroids - copies of the male sex hormone, testosterone.
  • Get acne
  • Lose hair
  • Mood changes quickly to violence or depression
  • Increased injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments
  • Lower sex drive
  • Heart attacks
  • Liver cancer
  • Stop growing taller
  • Testicles shrink.  Can't get erections. Become sterile.
  • Disrupts menstrual periods and ovulation
Stimulants - chemicals that stimulate or speed up the brain and nervous system.
  • Heart beats faster.  Blood pressure rises
  • Become more alert
  • Feel dizzy and shaky
  • Can't sit still or sleep
  • Breath smells bad. Dry mouth and lips
  • Permanent brain, heart, and lung damage
  • See things that aren't real (hallucinate)
  • Mood changes quickly
  • Severe depression
  • Lose weight
Tobacco- It can be smoked in a cigarette, pipe, or cigar. It can be chewed (called smokeless tobacco or chewing tobacco) or sniffed through the nose (called snuff). Nicotine is one of the more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes and its smoke. It is the chemical that makes tobacco addictive or habit forming.
  • Lost athletic ability.
  • Damage to the respiratory system.
  • Addiction to nicotine.
  • Risk of other drug use.
  • Decreased lung capacity.
  • Limited lung growth and function if used in youth.
  • Elevated heart rate.
  • Chronic cough.
  • Increased incidence of bronchitis.
  • Increased incidence of asthma and more severe asthma.
  • Bad breath.
  • Bad taste in mouth.
  • Smelly hair and clothes.
  • Yellow and brown stains on teeth.
  • Prematurely wrinkled skin.
  • Permanent gum and tooth loss.
  • Lost or weakened sense of taste.
  • Weakened immune system.
  • Stomach ulcers.
  • Unwanted weight loss.
  • Increased risk of Heart Disease
  • Increased risk of Cancer
  • Emphysema -- The very small airways (bronchioles) that join the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs lose elasticity. Patient loses ability to exhale fully, and chemical balance in the blood is disturbed. There is no cure for emphysema.
  • Chronic Bronchitis -- The airways of the lungs change shape and size and the mucous glands are enlarged, causing coughing and production of sputum.
  • Abnormal sperm cells.
  • Difficulty conceiving and maintaining pregnancy.
  • Menstrual disorders and early menopause

For more information or to get help check out these resources:

Alcohol Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous: To find AA and NA meetings in Radford, Blacksburg, and Christiansburg.

New River Valley Community Services: NRVCS offers a variety of substance abuse services available for individuals and families. 540-961-8400

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) supports and conducts biomedical and behavioral research on the causes, consequences, treatment, and prevention of alcoholism and alcohol-related problems."

B4UDrink: This website is both interactive and educational, informing the public on Blood Alcohol Concentration.  The Council's mission is to promote responsible decisions about drinking and discourage all forms of irresponsible consumption through education, communications, research, law enforcement and other programs.

Mental Health America: Contact for referral to a local affiliate and written information on alcoholism, substance abuse and other mental health concerns.1-800-969-NMHA (6642)

National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC): NAADAC’s members are addiction counselors, educators and other addiction-focused health care professionals, who specialize in addiction prevention, treatment, recovery support and education. Contact for a referral to a local affiliate and/or brochures and other information on alcoholism and drug abuse. 1-800-548-0497