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Drug Addiction

Myths/facts | Types & Effects | Symptoms


Some common myths and facts about drugs.

Myth: It's okay to combine drugs.
Fact: Using more than one drug at a time can be extremely hazardous. The effects may be additive, multiplicative, or unknown. Many drug overdoses and deaths are related to combining different drugs, including alcohol.

Myth: Aspirin is a safe drug.
Fact: Even commonly used over-the-counter drugs, like aspirin, can be hazardous to your health. Aspirin is the leading cause of poisoning in young children.

Myth: Coffee is not a drug.
Fact: Coffee, tea, and cola drinks are not drugs themselves, but, unless otherwise noted, all contain the drug caffeine, which is a stimulant.

Myth: Tobacco is not a drug.
Fact: Tobacco contains nicotine, a drug which can cause dependence. Nicotine increases the heart rate, constricts the blood vessels, reduces the appetite, and changes many body functions.

Myth: Most drugs that are abused are of poor quality.
Fact: Many of our most commonly abused drugs are manufactured legally in this country, and their quality is very high. They are barbiturates, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, amphetamines, and narcotics. '

Myth: If a little bit of a drug is good, then a lot is even better.
Fact: Sometimes a little bit of a drug can be good, but increasing the dosage can lead to undesirable and severe effects. Directions on the container or from the physician, nurse, or other care provider should always be followed precisely.

Myth: Helpful drugs are legal, while harmful drugs are illegal.
Fact: Any drug can be abused. While the Federal government regulates the use of drugs, being labeled legal does not mean that the drug is safe. Drugs with the most potential for abuse are controlled more strictly.

Myth: Marijuana is a harmless drug.
Fact: Marijuana is a powerful drug that affects the mind. Marijuana contains more substances that cause cancer than tobacco, an it produces dependence. Chronic marijuana smokers are more susceptible to disease and experience a lack of motivation as a result of their using the drug.

Myth: Combining aspirin and cola drink will cause intoxication.
Fact: Combining aspirin and a cola drink is a dangerous practice due to a potential for an overdose.

Myth: Drugs have no effect on pregnant women.
Fact: All drugs, including alcohol, marijuana, nicotine, barbiturates, and many common over-the-counter medications, may have a dangerous effect on pregnancy. This is because these drugs cross the placenta barrier and actually enter the developing fetus. Breast-feeding women should refrain from drug use because many drugs pass directly to the baby through the milk.

Myth: Most alcoholic and drug abusers are men, skid row bums, and middle- aged people.
Fact: Drug dependence show no favorites. Although some groups of people are at less risk than others, alcoholism and drug dependence are found among both sexes and all classes and ages of people. Very few abuser conform to the stereotype of the skid row bum. Further, the proportion of women to men drug abusers has been increasing in recent years.

Myth: The number-one drug of abuse in the United States is heroin.
Fact: Other drugs are more widely abused including alcohol, marijuana, caffeine, nicotine, minor tranquilizers, and cocaine.

Myth: Once an addict, always an addict.
Fact: Many people can recover from dependence on drugs, while others are unable to break the cycle of drug dependence. Recovery is a lifelong process that requires the individual to abstain totally from the use of the drug on which he/she is dependent.

Myth: The best way to handle a drug addict is to throw him/her in jail.
Fact: Drug addiction, including alcoholism is a medical problem. People who are sick need help-medical attention, counseling, education, and therapy- something that jail doesn't provide in a comprehensive way.