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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Injuries and Wounds > First Aid for Drug Abuse
      Category : Health Centers > Addiction and Substance Abuse

First Aid for Drug Abuse

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Drug abuse is defined as the misuse or overuse of any legal or illegal drug. These drugs include alcohol, over-the-counter medicines, and prescription medicines.

What are the causes and risks of the injury?

A drug overdose or drug abuse can result from the misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medicines, illegal drugs, or alcohol. Commonly abused drugs are:

  • amphetamines, such as dextroamphetamine and methamphetamine
  • barbiturates, such as phenobarbital
  • benzodiazepines, such as diazepam, alprazolam, or lorazepam
  • combination pain medicines that contain narcotics, such as hydrocodone, codeine, or oxycodone
  • mind-altering drugs, such as marijuana, LSD, PCP, ecstasy, and angel dust
  • muscle relaxants, such as carisoprodol
  • stimulants, such as cocaine
  • Narcotics usually cause drowsiness and can cause coma. A person who has been abusing narcotics will require more and more of the drug to get the desired effect. Stopping the drug causes significant anxiety.

    Uppers such as stimulants and amphetamines are used to stay awake, to lose weight, or just to get high. These cause excitement, rapid heartbeat, and rapid breathing.

    Depressants, or downers, cause people to slow down. Some of these drugs are alcohol, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates.

    Mind-altering drugs cause extreme fear or paranoia, hallucinations, aggressive behavior, extreme social withdrawal, and mental breakdown. Marijuana also alters the mind. These drugs usually produce effects such as wide pupils, redness around the eyes, and slurred speech.

    In some people, illegal drugs can interact with prescription or over-the-counter medicines. This causes symptoms that seem like those of an overdose. These drug interactions can have serious side effects.

    Alcohol, although legal, can react with many prescription and over-the-counter medicines and depress the central nervous system. A person who overdoses on alcohol has slurred speech, slow movement, and nonreactive pupils. The combination of certain drugs with alcohol can be deadly.


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    First Aid for Drug Abuse: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: James Broomfield, MD
    Reviewer: Melissa Sanders, PharmD
    Date Reviewed: 08/29/01

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