First Aid for Drug Abuse
Drug abuse is defined as the
misuse or overuse of any legal or illegal drug. These drugs include alcohol,
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
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
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
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.