drug-abuse

Drug prevention, rehabilitation specialist

Mthandazo Ndlovu

Many a times through ignorance we find ourselves on the other side of the high wall and cannot climb back again to retain our position on the other side.

Interestingly on the drug talks and meetings I have had with groups and individuals these past weeks, the question has been.

“How do I know that I am now abusing drugs, other substances or alcohol, what is the measure?” Also some were arguing that taking a little more of the prescribed medicine does no harm but will speedily bring healing.

There are some symptom descriptions that one can zero in on more closely to identify if the substance that they are  “using” has crossed the line or the wall over to abuse, we will look at a few of the commonly abused drugs in the name of use.

Alcohol
Loss of inhibitions, physical control and balance. Dulling of pain. At lower doses, increase in energy and confidence, followed by fatigue and drowsiness at higher doses. Dehydration, hangover. Slurred speech, sweating, blurred vision, poor judgment. Depression. Loss of ability to determine distances and heights. Very high dosages can result in coma and death.

Mbanje/Marijuana
Loss of inhibitions, mellowness, exhilaration, increased sociability, unwarranted laughter. Dizziness, flushing, red eyes, dry mouth, shakiness. Distortions of time, space or speed. Loss of co-ordination, difficulty thinking, learning or problem-solving, loss of memory. Sudden increases in appetite, especially for sweets. Sedation, drowsiness. At high doses, anxiety, panic attacks, nausea and vomiting may occur. Red eyes. Yellow tar stains on fingers.

Cough medicine/Dextromethorphan       (DXM)  
Euphoria, laughter, hallucinations involving sight and sound, confusion, agitation, paranoia, sense of floating. Lethargy, loss of coordination, slurred speech, sweating. Eyes may move around spasmodically. Certain preparations of DXM may also cause vomiting, seizures, rapid heart rate and coma.

Depressants Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates like phenobarbital)
Lightheadedness, loss of physical coordination, blurred vision, headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting. Low blood pressure and slow breathing. Temporary relief of anxiety, sleepiness, may cause amnesia. Euphoria. Hostility, irritability, unpleasant dreams. Withdrawal can result in extreme anxiety.

Prescription Stimulants (Amphetamine, Ritalin)
Excitement, stimulation, greatly heightened but artificial sense of confidence and self-worth, unusually increased energy that is sustained over time, suppression of appetite and awake for long periods. Temporary increase in mental sharpness and focus. Increased body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate. Dilated pupils. High-dose use can result in aggression, panic, suicidal or homicidal tendencies. Paranoia and hallucinations may also occur. Termination of use always followed by depression and intense fatigue.

Inhalant
Weight loss, muscle weakness, depression, irritability. Slurred speech, lack of coordination, euphoria, dizziness. Lingering headache and disorientation. Drowsiness and lack of attentiveness. Red marks or sores around the nose and mouth. Drunk or dazed appearance, smell of chemicals. A person inhaling paint fumes may have paint stains on face or clothes.

Mthandazo Ndlovu is a drug prevention and rehabilitation specialist Call or whatsapp +263772399734 or email mthae4jesus@gmail.com