The thorn Tree

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					The thorn Tree

     This book is the culmination of the efforts developed by DARE in partnership with the
     Safe School unit of the WCED.

     It has been written out of the growing need to empower educators in being drug wise.
     This need has been born out of the fact that experimentation with substances by
     adolescents is on the increase. Unfortunately, teenagers often don’t see the link
     between their actions today and the consequences of tomorrow.

     We pray that our efforts would realize the following words:

                            Bitter are the tears of a child: Sweeten them.
To be Drug-Free
                           Deep are the thoughts of a child: Quiet them.
                           Sharp is the grief of a child: Take it from him.
                           Soft is the heart of a child: Do not harden it.

     All materials are considered public domain and may be reproduced without permission.
     Citation of source would be appreciated.


  1. Just a Thought….

  2. The Thorn Tree.

  3. What is a Drug.

  4. How Drugs are Administered.

  5. What are the Different Types of Substances.

        a) Depressants
               - Alcohol
               - Over the Counter drugs
               - Rohypnol
               - GHB
               - Heroin
               - Inhalants
               - Mandrax

        b) Stimulants
               - Nicotine
               - Caffeine
               - Cocaine
               - Crystal Methamphetamine
               - Ritalin

        c) Hallucinogens
                - Dagga
                - LSD
                - Magic Mushrooms
                - Ecstasy

  6. Quiz Time.

  7. Signs of Drug Abuse.

                  -    Alcohol
                  -    Heroin
                  -    Inhalants
                  -    Methamphetamine

               -   Cocaine
               -   Ecstasy
               -   LSD
               -   Dagga
               -   Prescription Drugs

8.   Top 20 Questions to Assess Drug Addiction Symptoms.

9.   Outside – Inside.

10. Diagnosing Adolescent addiction (Neurobiological Basis).

11. Happy Without.

12. Prevention is Key.

13. Conclusion.


 “We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is
someone today.”

Adolescence is a time when a young person forges a sense of self, experiments with
independence and seeks new experiences. This developmental period is also likely to
be the years when we observe behaviors that reflect how social pressures and thrill-
seeking can override common sense.

 The adolescent brain responds more quickly and more intensively to excitement,
arousal and rewards. Channeling this exuberance toward healthy and growth-enriching
experiences is among the important tasks for teachers and parents as they develop the
teenager and for youth-serving professionals who work with young people.

Young people use drugs for many reasons that have to do with how they feel about
themselves, how they get along with others, and how they live. No one factor determines
who will use drugs and who will not. Being alert to the signs of alcohol and other drug
use requires a keen eye. It is sometimes hard to know the difference between normal
teenage behaviour and behaviour caused by drugs.

As teachers, parents, and the community, we need to know about alcohol and other
drugs so that we can provide our children with current and correct information. If we
have a working knowledge of common drugs--know their effects on the mind and body,
and the symptoms of their use we can discuss these subjects intelligently with our
children. In addition, well informed individuals are better able to recognize if a child has
symptoms of alcohol or drug-related problems:

At a minimum, we should each:

--know the different types of drugs and alcohol most commonly used and the dangers
associated with each;

--be able to identify paraphernalia associated with each drug; be familiar with the street
names of drugs; know what drugs look like;

--know the signs of alcohol and other drug use and be alert for changes in learner
behaviour or appearance;

--know how to get help promptly if you suspect your child may be using alcohol and
other drugs.


The following story derived from eastern wisdom contains great lessons for us all.

The story goes that a person had planted a thorn tree. He was told that the thorn tree
was a hindrance and an obstacle since it was causing harm and injury to the people that
passed by. The person promised to uproot the tree, saying, “I will do so tomorrow.”

Despite the complaints of the people, many ‘tomorrows’ came and many ‘tomorrows’
went by, and no effort was made in uprooting the thorn tree. Eventually, after many
years, the tree, having taken root deeply, grew in strength. The matter was finally taken
to the municipality and the person was ordered to remove the tree.

Having no option, he set off to fulfil the task. However, with the passing of time, he had
aged and weakness had set in. On the other hand, the tree had become so strong and
firmly rooted that there was no scope of him uprooting such a big tree. Due to his
weakness, he could not do anything.

The only way this thorn tree could be uprooted and removed was via a bulldozer. The
bulldozer was his only means of ridding the path of the harmful thorn tree.

We pray that we become the bulldozers for the thorn trees that have entrenched
themselves in the lives of our children.


A drug, broadly speaking, is any substance that, when
absorbed into the body of a living organism, alters normal
bodily function. It is a legal/illegal mind altering
natural/synthetic chemical.

In pharmacology, a drug is defined as "a chemical
substance used in the treatment, cure, prevention, or
diagnosis of disease or used to otherwise enhance             Coffee is the most widely
physical or mental well-being." Drugs may be prescribed       used psychotropic
for a limited duration, or on a regular basis for chronic     beverage in the world. In
disorders.                                                    1999 the average
                                                              consumption of coffee
Recreational drugs are chemical substances that affect the    was 3.5 cups per day per
central nervous system, such as Opiods or Hallucinogens.      person.

Many natural substances such as beers, wines, and some
mushrooms, blur the line between food and drugs, as
when ingested they affect the functioning of both mind and

Drugs are chemicals that tap into the brain’s
communication system and disrupt the way nerve cells
normally send, receive, and process information. There are
at least two ways that drugs are able to do this: (1) by
imitating the brain’s natural chemical messengers, and/or
(2) by over- stimulating the “reward circuit” of the brain.   Wine is a common
                                                              alcoholic beverage


Drugs, both medicinal and recreational, can be administered in a number of ways:

   •   Orally, as a liquid (drinking) or solid (eating), that is absorbed by the blood,
       through the stomach then to the liver then to the brain.
   •   Inhaled, (breathed into the lungs/smoking), as a vapor, goes to lungs then into
       the blood and then pumped into brain.
   •   Injected as a liquid either: intramuscular, intravenous, intraperitoneal,
       intraosseous, goes into vein, into the blood and then pumped into the brain.
   •   Rectally as a suppository, that is absorbed by the colon.
   •   Vaginally as a suppository, primarily to treat vaginal infections.
   •   Bolus, a substance into the stomach to dissolve slowly.
   •   Insufflation (sniffing), or snorted into the nose, quickly goes to the brain.


   •   Abstinence             - No use of alcohol and other drugs.

   •   Experimentation       - Alcohol and other drug use is influenced by curiosity and
       is experimental. Drug usage is limited to a few exposures with no pattern of use
       and the student/user experiences limited negative consequences.

   •   Social/Recreational - The person seeks out alcohol and/or other drugs to
       experience a certain effect but there is as yet no established pattern of use.

   •   Habituation - Regardless of how frequent the person uses alcohol or other
       drugs, a definite pattern of use indicates that the craving for the effect of the
       substance controls the user.

   •   Drug Abuse - The person uses alcohol/other drugs despite negative
       consequences in relationships, school, finances, health, work, emotional well-
       being or with the law.

   •   Addiction    - A person has lost control of their use of alcohol and/or other
       drugs. The substances have become the most important things in their lives.

In medical terminology, an addiction is a state in which the body depends on a
substance for normal functioning and may occur along with physical dependence, as in
 drug addiction. When the drug or substance on which someone is dependent is
suddenly removed, it will cause withdrawal, a characteristic set of signs and symptoms.
Drug addiction, then, is a brain disruption because the abuse of drugs leads to changes
in the structure and function of the brain.


It is important to educate our learners about drugs.
The best place to start is to educate you first. Basically three types of substances are

           1. DEPRESSANTS
                - Alcohol
                - Heroin
                - Inhalants
                - Mandrax

           2. STIMULANTS
                 – Tik (Methamphetamine)
                 - Cocaine
                 - Appetite Suppressants
                 - Caffeine
                 - Nicotine

           3. HALLUCINOGENS
                – PCP
                - Dagga
                - LSD
                - Mescaline
                - Magic mushrooms
                - TCP
                - Ketamine
                - Ecstasy
                - Peyote


What is the Street Names/Slang for Depressants?

barbs, booze (alcohol), candy, downers, forget-me pills, Mexican Valium, phennies, R2,
red birds, reds, Roche, roofies, roofinol, rope, rophies, sleeping pills, tooies, tranks,
whippets (inhalants), yellow jackets, yellows.

                        What are Depressants?

                        Depressants are substances which slow down the normal
                        function of the central nervous system. These drugs include
                        barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and alcohol. Marijuana and some
                        inhalants are also depressants but are generally classified as
                        hallucinogens because of their hallucinogenic properties..

What do They Look Like?

Depressants come in many forms. Many depressants are available as pills, powders or

How are They Used?

Depressants may be swallowed, injected, smoked or snorted. Depressants are
commonly used to reduce anxiety, induce sleep and lower inhibitions.


                       Alcohol is by far the drug of choice among adolescents. It is the
                       most used and abused mood-altering substance among pre-teens
                       and teenaged children.
                       The age when children begin drinking alcohol has decreased over
                       the last few decades. Many children are already experimenting
                       with alcohol in the fifth grade.

In a study done with students from 13 high schools, who were asked why they wanted to
drink, the following results were obtained.

   •    To have a good time with friends -- 91%
   •    To celebrate -- 90%
   •    To relax or relieve tension -- 74%
   •    Because they like the taste -- 69%

Not surprisingly, no one wants to drink because they like throwing up, getting arrested or
winding up in the emergency room. What people enjoy about drinking is what happens
within the first few drinks.

What are the Street/Slang Terms for Alcohol?


What Does it Look Like?

Alcohol is used in liquid form

How is it Used?

Alcohol is drunk. Types include beer, wine, and

The whimsical way in which alcohol is portrayed in
theater, movies and television is a contributing factor, because drinking is acceptable
and isn’t taken seriously.

As a result, we may view alcohol as a less dangerous substance than other drugs. The
facts say otherwise:

    •   4.6 million teenagers have a drinking problem.
    •   4 percent of high school seniors drink alcohol every day.
    •    Alcohol-related accidents are the leading cause of death among young people
        15 to 24 years of age.
    •    About half of all youthful deaths in drowning, fires, suicide, and homicides are
        alcohol related.

    •    Young people who use alcohol at an early age are more likely to use alcohol
        heavily and to have alcohol-related problems; they are also more likely to abuse
        other drugs and to get into trouble with the law.
    •    Young people whose body weight is lower than adults reach a higher blood
        alcohol concentration level than adults and show greater effects for longer
        periods of time.

One of the more dire consequences of this increase in drinking among children still in
elementary school is that it has a greater effect on cognitive development at this young
age. Students who use alcohol remember much less of their academic work than those
who do not use alcohol. Also, statistics clearly show that the younger a child is when he
or she begins drinking, the more likely they are to develop problems with alcohol as

What are its Short-Term Effects?

When a person drinks alcohol, the alcohol is absorbed by the stomach, enters the
bloodstream, and goes to all the tissues. The effects of alcohol are dependent on a
variety of factors, including a person's size, weight, age, and sex, as well as the amount
of food and alcohol consumed. The disinhibiting effect of alcohol is one of the main
reasons it is used in so many social situations. Other effects of moderate alcohol intake
                             • Dizziness and talkativeness;
                             • Slurred speech,
                             • disturbed sleep,
                             • nausea,
                             • vomiting.
                             • even at low doses, alcohol, significantly impairs the
                                 judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely.
                             • Low to moderate doses of alcohol can also increase the
                                 incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including
                                 domestic violence and child abuse.
                             • Hangovers are another possible effect after large amounts
                                 of alcohol are consumed; a hangover consists of
                                 headache, nausea, thirst, dizziness, and fatigue.

What are its Long-Term Effects?

There is some evidence that moderate drinking (1 to 2 drinks a day) may be good for the
cardio-vascular system. However, any positive effects disappear at higher levels of
drinking. Chronic or heavy drinkers are more likely to experience:

        Appetite loss, vitamin deficiencies, inflammation of the stomach, vulnerability to
        infection and skin problems.
        Damage to the liver, pancreas, central nervous system, heart and blood vessels.
        Permanent and irreversible memory loss.
        Development of cirrhosis of the liver and cancers of the lung, throat and mouth.
        Death from heart and liver diseases, pneumonia, acute alcohol poisoning,
        accidents and suicide.

It is estimated that 300,000 of today's college
students will eventually die of alcohol-related
causes, such as cirrhosis of the liver, various
cancers, heart disease and drunk driving accidents.

Alcohol is addictive and causes damage to the
fasiculus retroflexus of the brain. There is a loss of
control over behaviour and temper. Within five
minutes of consuming alcohol, it enters the blood
stream via the stomach. The effects can last for
several hours. Being a nervous system
depressant, after three units, people become less
socially inhibited and generally more relaxed.

Is it Dangerous to Mix Alcohol and Other Drugs?

Alcohol can be dangerous when mixed with other recreational drugs or medications.
Below are some of the reactions that might take place after mixing alcohol with different
types of drugs:

Using alcohol with GHB, Rohypnol, Ketamine, barbiturates, tranquilizers or sleeping pills
will multiply the sedative effects of both drugs, which can slow down your central
nervous system enough to cause loss of consciousness, a coma or death. Sedatives like
GHB and Rohypnol have been used as date rape drugs because of this dangerous

Using alcohol with marijuana can decrease motor control and mental concentration and
greatly impair your ability to drive. Because marijuana suppresses the gag reflex, you
may not be able to throw up alcohol when your body needs to.

Using alcohol with narcotics such as heroin, codeine or Darvon slows down the central
nervous system and can cause your breathing to stop, a coma and even death.

Prescription Drugs
More than 150 medications interact harmfully with alcohol. Alcohol's effects are
heightened by medicines that depress the central nervous system, such as sleeping
pills, antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and some painkillers. In
                            addition, medicines for certain disorders, including diabetes,
                            high blood pressure and heart disease, can have harmful
                            interactions with alcohol. Using alcohol with a prescribed drug
                            or an over-the-counter drug may effect your liver's ability to
                            metabolize the medication and can decrease the medication's
                            effectiveness. The combination of drugs can also multiply the
                            effects of the alcohol and the medication and may cause liver

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning occurs when someone drinks to the point that their blood alcohol
content (BAC) reaches dangerous levels and causes the central nervous system to slow
down. Breathing and heart rate become slower and slower, and the person can lose
consciousness, slip into a coma and die. If someone is unconscious and begins
vomiting, they could choke to death on their own vomit. The severe dehydration of
alcohol poisoning can cause seizures or permanent brain damage.

Alcohol poisoning is most likely to
happen when someone drinks a large           How Many Calories Are in a Drink?
amount of alcohol very quickly. Because
the liver can only process roughly 1         Alcohol supplies calories but few or no
drink per hour, a person's BAC can           nutrients. When you drink alcohol, your
continue to rise for several hours.          body actually metabolises alcohol as if it
                                             were a fat. So, your body will treat those
Warning signs of alcohol poisoning           alcohol calories in a can of beer or shot of
                                             vodka like a couple of teaspoons of butter.
       Person cannot be roused
       Slow breathing (fewer than 8 breaths per minute).
       Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths).
       Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin colour, or paleness.

How do You Know if Someone is an Alcoholic?

             An alcoholic lacks control over their drinking and will continue to drink even
             though they know that it's causing problems in their lives. Alcoholics
             generally develop psychological dependence first and crave alcohol but
             don't experience unpleasant physical symptoms. Physical dependence
             develops with continued heavy use and is characterized by the alcoholic
             feeling profound anxiety, tremors, sleep disturbances, hallucinations and
             seizures within hours after they stop drinking.

Many people are not alcoholics but experience problems related to drinking. That is,
their drinking patterns frequently cause negative consequences, like fights, blackouts,
car accidents or unprotected sex.


What is Rohypnol?

                              Rohypnol, the brand name for a drug called Flunitrazepam,
                              is a sedative in the same recreational drug family as GHB
                              and ketamine and the same prescription drug family as
                              Valium, Halcion, Xanax, and Versed. It is a white tablet
                              which is scored on one side. On the other side, the
                              manufacturers name (ROCHE) is imprinted above the
                              number 1 or 2 (indicating the milligram dosage).

  It has been a concern for the last few years because of its abuse as a "date rape" drug.
People may unknowingly be given the drug which, when mixed with alcohol, can
incapacitate a victim and prevent them from resisting sexual assault.

What are the Street Names/Slang Terms for Rohypnol?

Date rape drug, La roche, R2, Rib, Roach, Roofenol, Roofies, Rope, Rophies, Ruffies,
The forget pill, club drugs or designer drugs.

What Does it Look Like?

A small white tablet with no taste or odor when dissolved in a

How is it Used?

Rohypnol is swallowed as a pill, dissolved in a drink, or snorted. Roofies are frequently
used in combination with alcohol and other drugs. They are sometimes taken to enhance
a heroin high, or to mellow or ease the experience of coming down from a cocaine or
crack high. Used with alcohol, roofies produce disinhibition and amnesia.

Rohypnol is extremely powerful (about 5 times as powerful as Valium). Even a small
dose can affect the user for 8 to 12 hours.

                                         Another very similar drug is now being sold as
 Combining sedatives with alcohol        "roofies.” This is clonazepam also known as
 can slow breathing and heart rate.      Rivotril. It is sometimes abused to enhance the
 At higher doses, the body shuts         effects of heroin and other opiates.
 down and breathing stops.

What are its Short-Term Effects?

Amnesia is the most common side-effect of Rohypnol. Other common side effects

       Relaxation or sedation of the body
       Risk of sexual assault
       Rapid mood swings and violent outbursts of temper
       Breathing and heart rate slow down to dangerous levels
       Comas and seizures (especially when combined with amphetamines)
       Vomiting and headache
       Difficulty breathing and nausea.
       Harsh withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, tremors and sweating.
       Memory loss
       Dizziness and disorientation
       Difficulty with motor movements and speaking

Overdose is a very real possibility when Rohypnol is combined with alcohol or any other
sedating drug. Rohypnol also severely impairs a user's ability to drive or operate

What are its Long-Term Effects?

General learning can be affected when sedatives like rohypnol are taken for prolonged
periods. It also causes physical and psychological dependence when used regularly.

How Do I Recognize a Problem With Rohypnol?

                     Some of the danger signs are:

                              The individual uses it more
                              The learner would need
                              more and more to get the
                              same effect.
       The learner becomes preoccupied with using it.
       The learner spends more money than he/she has
       on getting the drug.
       The learner misses class, fails to complete
       assignments, or misses other obligations.
       The learner makes new friends who do it and
       neglect old friends who don't.
       The learner finds it's hard to be happy or to relax
       without it.
       The learner has headaches or trouble sleeping
       without it.


                         What is GHB?

                         GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) is typically an odorless, colorless
                         liquid, with a slightly salty taste. It is classified as a sedative and
                         is in the same drug family as Rohypnol and ketamine. GHB is
                         predominantly a central nervous system depressant

It has been used in this country as a date rape drug: it can be slipped into a victim's
drink, causing dizziness, confusion, drowsiness and sometimes loss of consciousness.
When GHB is combined with alcohol, it is especially dangerous because the
combination of two depressants can lead to overdose. Before the use of GHB was
restricted, it was marketed to bodybuilders as a product to release growth hormone and
build muscles. There is no evidence that it produces this effect. GHB was also marketed
as an "herbal" supplement to help with sleep and depression.

Researchers do not know precisely how GHB affects neurochemistry; however, it is
seen as a very powerful sedative because small doses can lead to serious effects, such
as loss of consciousness. Evidence suggests that it easily crosses the blood-brain
barrier -- the physiological mechanism that regulates the release of chemicals and
nutrients into the brain. Therefore, it has an ability to act on the brain directly in a way
that other drugs do not.

What are the Street Names/Slang Terms for GHB?

G, Georgia home boy, grievious bodily harm, liquid ecstasy

What Does it Look Like?

GHB can be produced in clear liquid, white powder, tablet, and
capsule forms. It is colorless and odorless. GHB has a salty
                 taste; however it is often diluted in liquids and
                 virtually undetectable. GHB is often
                 manufactured in homes with recipes and kits
                 found and purchased on the Internet. GHB is
                 made from a combination of gamma
                 butyrolactone (GBL) and sodium hydroxide or
                 potassium hydroxide. These substances are more commonly used as
                 floor stripping solvents and drain cleaners.

How is it Used?

In powder form, measuring a dose is fairly straightforward. In liquid form, GHB comes in
a wide variety of concentrations with a single dose ranging from a few drops to a full

Since in its liquid form, the strength of GHB varies, it is easy to take a dangerous dose of
this drug.

The effects of his drug begin 10 – 20 minutes after taking it and lasts up to 4 hours.

What are its Short-Term Effects?

       Severe headache
       Very slow breathing and heart rate
       Withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, tremors and sweating
       Memory loss
       Difficulty breathing
       Loss of consciousness

What are its Long-Term Effects?

As the dose increases, the sedative effects
may result in sleep and eventual coma or
death. Other effects include difficulty
thinking, hallucinations, slurred speech,
headaches and amnesia. GHB affects the
brain in several ways all leading to the
"high" of the drug. GHB is actually produced
in the brain, but in such small doses that it
has no affect on the person. It is when more
GHB is added that it becomes dangerous
and has an affect on the person. The part of
the brain that naturally creates GHB is the
GABA neurotransmitter after it has been synthesized. These are found and
produce GHB in the substantia nigra, thalamus and hypothalamus. Its effects on
the neurotransmitters in the brain are what cause the person to get a “high”.


Heroin is considered one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs in the world. This
drug has found its way into South Africa at an alarming rate and is a popular choice for
drug abuse amongst teenagers.

                          What is Heroin?

                          Heroin is a highly addictive drug derived from morphine, which
                          is obtained from the opium poppy. It is a "downer" or
                          depressant that affects the brain's pleasure systems and
                          interferes with the brain's ability to perceive pain.

What are the Street Names/Slang Terms for Heroin?

Big H, black tar, brown sugar, dope, horse, junk,
mud, skag, smack

What Does it Look Like?

White to dark brown powder or tar-like substance

How is it Used?

Heroin can be used in a variety of ways, depending on user preference and the purity of
the drug.

Heroin Can Be:

                          •  Injected into the vein (mainlining), injected into the muscle.
                             It is found that continuous injecting on the same place is
                             not possible. As such addicts also inject themselves in the
                             feet (between the toes), behind the knees, in the groin
                             area and the neck.
                         • Smoked in a water pipe or standard pipe
   •   Mixed in a dagga joint or regular cigarette
   •   Inhaled as smoke through a straw (chasing the dragon)
   •   Snorted as powder via the nose.

The process of "Chasing the Dragon" is popular amongst teenagers, but the best known
and popular method of using Heroin is still by injection.

What are its Short -Term Effects?

The short-term effects of heroin abuse appear soon after a single dose and disappear in
a few hours. After an injection of heroin, the user reports feeling a surge of euphoria
(rush) accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth and heavy extremeties.

Following this initial euphoria, the user goes “on the nod”, an alternatively wakeful and
drowsy state. Mental functioning becomes clouded due to the depression of the CNS
(central nervous system). Other effects include slowed and slurred speech, slow gait,
constricted pupils, droopy eyelids, impaired night vision, vomiting and constipation.

What are its Long-Term Effects?

Long-term effects of heroin appear after repeated use for some period of time. Chronic
users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses,
cellulites, and liver disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of
pneumonia, may result from the poor health condition of the abuser, as well as from
heroin's depressing effects on respiration. In addition to the effects of the drug itself,
street heroin may have additives that do not really dissolve and result in clogging the
blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain. This can cause infection or
even death of small patches of cells in vital organs. With regular heroin use, tolerance
develops. This means the abuser must use more heroin to achieve the same intensity or

As higher doses are used over time, physical dependence and addiction develop.
With physical dependence, the body has adapted to the presence of the drug and
withdrawal symptoms occur if the drug is stopped.

Withdrawal typically can occur within a few hours after the last administration of the drug
and produces cravings, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea,
vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps, kicking movements (kicking the habit) and
other symptoms.

Major withdrawal symptoms peak between 48 – 72 hours after the last hit and subside
after about a week.

Heroin is an unpredictable drug, therefore users overdose regularly.

The misuse of Heroin is holding the largest threat for teenagers in South Africa, because
it is:

   •   cheap
   •   physically addictive
   •   easily obtainable

But How Would You Know if Someone Has a Problem?

Physical Evidence of Heroin

                         •    tinfoil that is burnt
                         •    funnels, made out of
                              tinfoil, that look like

•   Hypodermic syringes and needles
•   burnt or blackened teaspoons
•   needle marks :
       o on arms
       o between toes
       o behind knees
       o in the groin area

•   Matchbox covers
•   Lemons or packets of citric acid
•   Unidentified tablets, capsules or syrup
•   Tourniquet

               Psalm of a Heroin Addict

               Heroin is my shepherd, it will always be wanting,

               He lays me down in a sewage ditch.

               To troubled waters he leads me.

               He destroys my sole,

               He leads me in the footsteps of wickedness.

               Yes, I go through poverty and will fear all calamity,

               Because you are with me-

               You’re needle and pellet comforts me.

               You pillage the table of my family,

               You make my head empty.

               My cup runs over with grief.

               Heroin addiction will follow me to the ends of my life!


                         When we think of drugs, most of us think of marijuana, heroin
                         and crack cocaine. But some of the most lethal drugs are
                         simpler and easier to obtain.

                         We can find them in the drawers of our desks, stashed in our
                         cabinets, and lined up on our grocery store shelves.

What are Inhalants?

Inhalants are ordinary household products that are inhaled or sniffed by children to get
high. There are hundreds of household products on the market today that can be
misused as inhalants.

What do They Look Like?

Examples of products kids abuse to get high include:

1. Volatile Solvents, liquids that vaporize at room temperature, present in:

                              •   certain industrial or household products, such as paint
                                  thinner, nail polish remover, air freshener, degreaser,
                                  hair sprays, dry-cleaning fluid, gasoline, model airplane
                                  glue and contact cement

                               • some art or office supplies, such as correction fluid,
       felt-tip marker fluid, magic markers, white out and electronic contact cleaner

Their Effects Include:

       A very brief high which can vary from feeling numb to
       feeling drunk
       Delusions, loss of coordination, vomiting and suppressed
       Long-term effects such as depression, kidney and liver failure, and bone marrow
       Death. Solvents are so toxic that death can result the first time they are used.

2. Aerosols, sprays that contain propellants and solvents, including:

                                     •   spray paint, hair spray, deodorant spray,
                                         vegetable oil sprays, and fabric protector spray,
                                         paint, air conditioning fluid (Freon)

Their Effects Include:

       A brief high caused by both oxygen deprivation and the dilation of blood vessels.
       Giddiness, a pounding heartbeat, headaches and dizziness.
       Nitrites can be deadly if swallowed accidentally. They affect the blood's ability to
       carry oxygen.
       Repeated use of nitrites can lead to tolerance, and the user will experience
       withdrawal when they stop.

3. Gases, that may be in household or commercial products, or used as medical
anesthetics, such as in:

   •   butane lighters, propane tanks, whipped cream
       dispensers, and refrigerant gases

   •   anesthesia, including ether, chloroform, halothane, and
       nitrous oxide

Their Effects Include:

       Feeling giddy
       Loss of consciousness (many head injuries are associated with this)
       When the gasses escape from their container, they expand and can injure the
       mouth, throat and lungs.

How is it Used?

Inhalants can be breathed in through the nose or mouth in a variety of ways:

   •   "sniffing" or "snorting" fumes from containers
   •   spraying aerosols directly into the nose or
   •   sniffing or inhaling fumes from substances
       sprayed or placed into a plastic or paper bag
   •   "huffing" from an inhalant-soaked rag stuffed in
       the mouth
   •   inhaling from balloons filled with nitrous oxide

What Are the Common Street Names?

Common slang for inhalants includes:

   •   "laughing gas" (nitrous oxide),
   •   "snappers" (amyl nitrite),
   •   "poppers" (amyl nitrite and butyl nitrite),
   •    "whippets" (fluorinated hydrocarbons, found in

        whipped cream dispensers),
   •    "bold" (nitrites),
   •     "rush" (nitrites).

Who Abuses Inhalants?

Inhalants are an equal opportunity method of substance abuse.

Inhalants are easy to get, and children and adolescents are among those most likely to
abuse these potentially toxic substances.

What are its Short- Term Effects?

The lungs rapidly absorb inhaled chemicals into the bloodstream, quickly distributing
them throughout the brain and body. Within minutes of inhalation, users feel "high." The
effects are similar to those produced by alcohol:

   •    slurred speech,
   •    an inability to coordinate movements,
   •    dizziness,
   •    confusion and delirium.
   •    Nausea
   •     vomiting
   •     lightheadedness,
   •     Hallucinations and delusions.

The high usually lasts only a few minutes. Because intoxication lasts only a few
minutes, abusers frequently try to make the high last longer by inhaling repeatedly over
several hours.

What are the Long-Term Effects?

Compulsive use and a mild withdrawal syndrome can occur with long-term inhalant
abuse. Additional symptoms exhibited by long-term inhalant abusers include:

    •   weight loss,
    •   muscle weakness,
    •   disorientation,
    •    inattentiveness,
    •   lack of coordination,
    •    irritability,
    •    depression.

Effects on the Brain

Inhalants often contain more than one chemical. Some chemicals
leave the body quickly, but others can remain for a long time,
absorbed by fatty tissues in the brain and central nervous system.

One of these fatty tissues is myelin, a protective cover that surrounds
many of the body's nerve fibers (neurons). Myelin helps nerve fibers
carry their messages to and from the brain. Damage to myelin can
slow down communication between nerve fibers.

Lethal Effects

Prolonged sniffing of the highly concentrated chemicals in solvents or aerosol sprays
can induce irregular or rapid heart rhythms and can lead to heart failure and death within
minutes of a session of prolonged sniffing. This "sudden sniffing death" is particularly
associated with the abuse of butane, propane, and chemicals in aerosols.

High concentrations of inhalants also can cause death from suffocation by displacing
oxygen in the lungs and then in the central nervous system so that breathing ceases.
Deliberately inhaling from a paper or plastic bag or in a closed area, for example, greatly
increases the chances of suffocation.

If Inhalants Are Harmful, Why Do Kids Use Them?

Many kids think inhalants are a harmless, cheap, and quick way to "catch a buzz."
Because many inhalants can be found around the house, kids may not even think they
are harmful. But the chemicals in the inhalant vapors can change the way the brain
works and cause other complications in the body. What kids often don't know is that, in
some cases, the harmful effects of inhalants can be irreversible.

How Can I Tell if Someone Is Abusing Inhalants?
                   A person who is using inhalants might have chemical odors on their
                   breath or clothing; paint or other stains on their face, hands, or
                   clothing; nausea or loss of appetite; weight loss; muscle weakness;
                   disorientation; or inattentiveness, uncoordinated movement,
                   irritability, and depression

Characteristics of Users

                 1. Age of Onset

                             •   Often first substance used before marijuana and
                                 cocaine. In fact, inhalant use often appears before onset
                                 of tobacco or alcohol use.
                             •   Experimental use onset in late childhood & early
                                 adolescence, use patterns are short lived, with

              cessation in late adolescence
          •   Chronic use appears in early & late adolescence

2. Fast and Multiple Intoxication

          •   Users can get high several times over a short period because inhalants
              are short-acting with a rapid onset
          •   Attractive to children who don't like delayed gratification

3. Poor School Attendance

          •   Drop-outs
          •   Absenteeism
          •   Suspension
          •   Expulsion

4. Delinquency

          •   Particularly theft and burglary
          •   Inhalant users are more disruptive, deviant or delinquent than other drug

5. Lower Intelligence Scores (verbal & performance)

6. Psychopathology

          •   Users seeking treatment have high rates of psychopathology, especially
              conduct disorders and personality disorders
          •   More psychopathology in those who use when they are alone
          •   Antisocial personality
          •   Depressive disorder

7. Emotional Problems

          •   More emotional problems than other drug users or non-drug users
              (especially anxiety, depression and anger)

8. Weak or Negative-Future Orientations

          •   Users have dismal or no future orientations;uncertain whether or not the
              future is worth waiting for.

9. Low Self Esteem

10. High Adolescent Rebellion

11. Strong Peer Drug Influence

          •   Peers have high inhalant and drug use

          •   Peers have high deviance behaviors
          •   Peer cluster theory

What Can I Do if Someone I Know is Huffing?

                        •   Remain calm and do not panic.
                        •   Do not excite or argue with the abuser when they are under
                            the influence, as they can become aggressive or violent.
                        •   If the person is unconscious or not breathing, call for help.
                            CPR should be administered until help arrives.
                          • If the person is conscious, keep him or her calm and in a
       well-ventilated room.
   •   Excitement or stimulation can cause hallucinations or violence.
   •   Activity or stress may cause heart problems which may lead to "Sudden Sniffing
   •   Talk with other persons present or check the area for clues to what was used.
   •   Once the person is recovered, seek professional help for abuser: counselor,
       physician, other health care worker.
   •   If use is suspected, adults should be frank but not accusatory in discussions with
       youth about potential inhalant use.


Mandrax is a synthetic drug that is compiled by means of the
mixing of chemicals in a chemical process and a tablet is then
produced. The active ingredient in Mandrax is Methaqualone.

Mandrax was initially marketed as a sedative or sleeping tablet by
French pharmaceutical giant Roussell Laboratories. It turned out to
be highly addictive and was banned in 1977.
Mandrax is still sold illegally in South Africa. In conjunction with dagga, it is the most
widely used drug of choice in the Western Cape.
It appears to be the drug of choice in the ganglands. Mandrax retails at approximately
R30 – 35 per tablet, but recently the quality seems to be depreciating, forcing users to
buy larger quantities in order to achieve the same high as five years ago.

What are the Street Names?

   •   Mandrax
   •   Whites, mandies, White Pipe, Buttons, MX, Gholfsticks, Doodies, Lizards, Press
       outs, Flowers

What Does it Look Like?

The original Mandrax tablet was a thin white tablet (±1mm) with the
trademark "MX" on the front and "RL" on the reverse side. The drug
was also available in capsule form, blue on one side and white on
the other with the abovementioned trademarks thereon.

                      •    The Mandrax that is currently confiscated varies
                          drastically in appearance: tablets are found in
                          thickness of 1cm, which is known as "Double
                      •   the colour ranges from beige, pink, blue, purple,
                          black, brown and green

How is it Used?

                  Mandrax can be swallowed or injected, but is usually
                  smoked. The tablets are usually crushed and mixed
                  with dagga and then smoked using a pipe or a
                  bottleneck. This pipe is also known as ‘white pipe’.
                  In fact, it is the smoking of the "Bottle neck" that causes the distinctive
                  stains on the palm of the hand of a Mandrax user.

What are its Short –Term Effects?
Minutes after smoking Mandrax, the user will feel:
    •   relaxed,
    •   calm and peaceful
    •   Some people will feel aggressive as the effects start wearing off.
    •   The effects last for several hours during which the user will have a dry mouth
        and very little appetite.

Mandrax has more and stronger side effects than Dagga, such as :

    •   serious emotional problems
    •   depression
    •   drastic weight loss
    •   headaches
    •   stomach cramps
    •   insomnia
    •   epilepsy
    •   aggression
    •   toxic psychosis
    •   the muscle control of the body is effected which causes the Mandrax user to fall

What are its Long-Term Effects?
   •    Nausea,
   •    Vomiting
   •    stomach pains
   •      A user will often have red, glazed or puffy eyes, especially if the Mandrax is
         taken together with dagga.
Increased usage in order to achieve the same effects as before is usually the first sign of
a full scale addiction developing. In many cases, users feel tired after taking Mandrax
and may go to sleep for lengthy periods. Depression is also not uncommon and is part
and parcel of the Mandrax ‘hangover’. This often leads to repeat use of Mandrax to
counteract the negative and unpleasant feelings.

Signs of a Mandrax User

                        •   yellow stained hands
                        •   bloodshot eyes
                        •   gaunt appearance
                        •   rotten teeth
                        •   drowsiness
                        •   unnatural sleeping patterns
                        •   loss of appetite
                        •   increased saliva secretion
                        •   swollen abdomen

Physical Evidence of Mandrax

                     •    broken bottles and bottle necks
                     •   homemade filters - known as a
                     •   brown stained tissues
                     •   containers used to spit in
                     •   Lotto and Tab tickets in which
                         tablets are crushed


Stimulants are substances that stimulate the activity of the central nervous system.
Stimulants are often referred to as "uppers" because they increase or speed up mental
and physical processes in the body. There are both legal and illegal stimulants.

What Is It?

Stimulants are a class of drugs that elevate mood, increase feelings of well-being, and
increase energy and alertness, and often produce a feeling of euphoria in users.

Cocaine, crack cocaine, ecstasy, nicotine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, Ritalin and
caffeine are all considered to be stimulants.

What They Look Like?

Stimulants are found in a variety of forms, powder and tablets.

How is it Used?

Stimulants can be taken in several ways:

   •   Swallowed in pill form
   •   "Snorted" in powder form, through the nostrils, where the drug is absorbed into
       the bloodstream through the nasal tissues
   •   Injected, using a needle and syringe, to release the drug directly into a vein
   •   Heated in crystal form and smoked (inhaled into the lungs).


                  Nicotine is the drug in tobacco leaves. Whether someone smokes,
                  chews, or sniffs tobacco, he or she is delivering nicotine to the brain.
                  Each cigarette contains about 10 milligrams of nicotine. Nicotine is
                  what keeps people smoking despite its harmful effects. Because the
                  smoker inhales only some of the smoke from a cigarette and not all,
                  each puff is absorbed in the lungs, a smoker gets about 1 to 2
milligrams of the drug from each cigarette.

Cigarette smoking is perhaps the most devastating preventable cause of disease and
premature death. It is estimated that nearly one in five teenagers are smokers.
Smoking is particularly dangerous for teens because their bodies are still developing and
changing and the 4,000 chemicals (including 200 known poisons) in cigarette smoke can
adversely affect this process.

Cigarettes are also highly addictive, both mentally and
physically, and can serve as a major gateway to other        A drop of pure nicotine
forms of drug addiction. Adolescent cigarette smokers        would kill a person-in fact,
are 100 times more likely to smoke marijuana and are         nicotine can be used as a
more likely to use other illicit drugs such as cocaine       pesticide on crops.
and heroin in the future. Smoking can cause or further
increase stress, nervousness, and agitation rather
than calm you down.

What are the Street Names?

You might hear cigarettes referred to as smokes, cigs, or butts. Smokeless tobacco is
often called chew, dip, spit tobacco, or snuff.

How Is It Used?

                      Tobacco can be smoked in cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Sometimes
                      tobacco leaves are "dipped" or "chewed" so the nicotine is
                      absorbed via the gums, or, if powdered, sniffed.

                     An alternative to cigarettes is "bidis." Originally from India, bidis are
                     hand-rolled. Bidis are popular with teens because they come in
colorful packages with flavor choices (smoked in the oka pipe). Some teens think that
bidis are less harmful than regular cigarettes. But bidis have even more nicotine, which
may make people smoke more, causing them to be more harmful to the lungs than

How Many Teens Use It?
Despite the facts on the use of tobacco, many youth continue to use cigarettes.

    •   18 percent of high school seniors are daily smokers; 11 percent smoke 10 or
        more cigarettes per day.
    •   Young people who use cigarettes are also at great risk for all other drug use.
    •   70 percent of all children try cigarettes, 40 percent of
        them before they have reached high school.
    •   Cigarettes contain more than 4,000 harmful substances,
        several of which cause cancer.
    •   12 percent of boys and 1 percent of girls have chewed
        tobacco or used snuff. Smokeless tobacco is just as
        addictive and harmful as tobacco that is smoked.

What are its Short-Term Effects?

When a person smokes a cigarette, the body responds immediately to the chemical
nicotine in the smoke. With each puff of a cigarette, a smoker pulls nicotine into his or
her lungs where it is absorbed into the blood. In eight seconds, nicotine is in the brain,
changing the way the brain works. This process happens so fast because nicotine is
                                            shaped like the natural brain chemical
   Besides nicotine, the most               acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is one of many
   dangerous chemicals in cigarette         chemicals called neurotransmitters that carry
   smoke are tar and carbon monoxide.       messages between brain cells.

In 40 minutes, half the effects of nicotine are gone. So smokers get the urge to light up
for another dose of the drug. After repeated doses of nicotine, the brain changes. To
adjust to too much dopamine, the brain cuts production of the neurotransmitter and
reduces the number of some receptors. Now, the smoker needs nicotine just to create
normal levels of dopamine in his or her brain. Without nicotine, the smoker feels irritable
and depressed. The smoker has trained the limbic system to crave tobacco.

Nicotine raises the heart rate and respiration (breathing) rate, and causes more glucose,
or blood sugar, to be released into the blood. This might be why smokers feel more alert
after smoking a cigarette.

Nicotine Causes:

    •   A short-term increase in blood            Nicotine also attaches to neurons (brain cells)
        pressure, heart rate, and the flow of     that release a neurotransmitter called
        blood from the heart.                     dopamine. Nicotine stimulates neurons to
    •   It also causes the arteries to narrow.    release unusually large amounts of dopamine.
    •   Carbon monoxide reduces the               Dopamine stimulates the brain's pleasure and
        amount of oxygen the blood can            reward circuit, a group of brain structures
        carry. This, combined with the            called the limbic system involved in appetite,
        effects produced by nicotine, creates     learning, memory, and feelings of pleasure.
        an imbalance in the demand for
        oxygen by the cells and the amount
        of oxygen the blood is able to supply.

What are its Long-Term Effects?

                                  •   It is now well documented that smoking can
                                      cause chronic lung disease, coronary heart
                                      disease, and stroke, as well as cancer of the
                                      lungs, larynx, esophagus, mouth, and bladder.
                                  •   In addition, smoking is known to contribute to
                                      cancer of the cervix, pancreas, and kidneys.
                                  •   Researchers have identified more than 40
                                      chemicals in tobacco smoke that cause cancer in
                                      humans and animals.
                                  •   Smokeless tobacco and cigars also have deadly
                                      consequences, including lung, larynx,
                                      esophageal, and oral cancer.
                                      •The harmful effects of smoking do not end with
       the smoker.
   •   Women who use tobacco during pregnancy are more likely to have adverse birth
       outcomes, including babies with low birth weight, which is linked with an
       increased risk of infant death and with a variety of infant health disorders.
   •   The health of nonsmokers is adversely affected by environmental tobacco smoke
       (ETS). Each year, exposure to ETS causes an estimated 3,000 non-smokers to
       die of lung cancer and causes up to 300,000 children to suffer from lower
       respiratory-tract infections. Evidence also indicates that exposure to ETS
       increases the risk of coronary heart disease.


What is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant. It is a drug that is naturally produced in the leaves
and seeds of many plants. It's also produced artificially and added to certain foods.

Where is it Found?

                                         Caffeine is in tea, coffee, chocolate, many soft
 Caffeine is found in varying
                                         drinks, and pain relievers and other over-the-
 quantities in the beans, leaves,
                                         counter medications. In its natural form, caffeine
 and fruit of some plants, where it
                                         tastes very bitter. But most caffeinated drinks
 acts as a natural pesticide that
                                         have gone through enough processing to
 paralyzes and kills certain insects
                                         camouflage the bitter taste. It may also be found
 feeding on the plants
                                         in powder or pill form.

How is it Used?

Teens usually get most of their caffeine from
soft drinks and energy drinks. (In addition to
caffeine, these also can have added sugar and
artificial flavors.) Caffeine is not stored in the
body, but you may feel its effects for up to 6

Caffeine Sensitivity

The amount of caffeine that will produce an effect in someone varies from person to

People who regularly take in a lot of caffeine soon      Consuming as little as 100 mg of
develop less sensitivity to it. This means they may
                                                         caffeine a day can lead a person to
need more caffeine to achieve the same effects.
                                                         become "dependent" on caffeine.

What are its Short- Term Effects?

Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it causes a person to urinate (pee) more.

Caffeine may also cause the body to lose calcium, and that can lead to bone loss over
time. Drinking caffeine-containing soft drinks and coffee instead of milk can have an
even greater impact on bone density and the risk of developing osteoporosis.
It also temporarily increases alertness and, when taken near bed-time, may disrupt sleep

Caffeine intake during pregnancy is linked to an increased risk of miscarriage.

What are its Long- Term Effects?

                                                         Caffeine is the world's most
                                                         widely consumed
                                                         psychoactive substance

Caffeine is addictive. Tolerance and dependence may develop after prolonged caffeine
use. This reduces the chemical compound's perceived stimulant effects. To temporarily
overcome the body’s tolerance to the substance, caffeine must be consumed in
increasingly larger doses. When caffeine consumption is halted, it can lead to a "crash",
including irritability, anxiety, loss of concentration and other withdrawal symptoms.

An acute overdose of caffeine, usually in excess of about 300 milligrams, dependent on
body weight and level of caffeine tolerance, can result in a state of central nervous
system over-stimulation called caffeine intoxication, colloquially "caffeine jitters". The
symptoms of caffeine intoxication are not unlike overdoses of other stimulants. It may
                                         include restlessness, nervousness, excitement,
 Caffeine relaxes the internal anal      insomnia, flushing of the face, increased
 sphincter muscles and thus should       urination, gastrointestinal disturbance, muscle
 be avoided by those with fecal          twitching, a rambling flow of thought and
 incontinence.                           speech, irritability, irregular or rapid heart beat,
                                         and psychomotor agitation. In cases of much

larger overdoses mania, depression, lapses in judgment, disorientation, disinhibition,
delusions, hallucinations and psychosis may occur, and rhabdomyolysis (breakdown of
skeletal muscle tissue) can be provoked. In cases of extreme overdose, death can


                          Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that directly affects
                          the brain.

                          Cocaine is derived from the Coca plant that grows in areas
                          between 500 and 1 500m above sea level in soil that is rich in
                          nutrients, certain temperatures and climate.

The leaves of the Coca plant was used by the Incas in the Andes Mountains of South
America as a stimulant and traditional medicine for illnesses that were associated with
work above certain heights above sea level. Cocaine was produced and used for
medicinal purposes during the second half of the 18th century.

Cocaine has been labeled the drug of the 1980s and '90s, because of its extensive
popularity and use during this period. However, cocaine is not a new drug. In fact, it is
one of the oldest known drugs. The pure chemical, cocaine hydrochloride, has been an
abused substance for more than 100 years, and coca leaves, the source of cocaine,
have been ingested for thousands of years.

Cocaine belongs to a class of drugs known as stimulants, which
tend to give a temporary illusion of limitless power and energy.
This "rush" leaves the user feeling depressed, edgy, and craving

There are basically two chemical forms of cocaine: the
hydrochloride salt and the "freebase." The hydrochloride salt, or
powdered form of cocaine, dissolves in water and, when abused, can be taken
intravenously (by vein) or intranasally (in the nose). Freebase refers to a compound that
has not been neutralized by an acid to make the hydrochloride salt. The freebase form of
cocaine is smokable.

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a psychoactive drug affecting the central nervous system.

Where is it Found?

                         It is prepared from the leaf of the Erythroxylon coca bush, which
                        grows primarily in Peru and Bolivia.

                        The leaves are mashed, much like grapes are for making wine,
                        and then are treated with sulfuric acid. During this process, the
                        active drug is released, and a paste is formed. The paste is then
                        further refined and the end result is cocaine hydrochloride, a
                        fine, white powder. It looks like powdered sugar.

What are The Street Names?

It is generally sold on the street as a hydrochloride salt - a fine, white crystalline powder
known as coke, C, snow, flake, lady, flake, gold dust, freebase and crack or blow. Big C,
Coke, Nose Candy, Rock, Snowbirds, White Crack.

How is it Used?

Cocaine is placed on a smooth object / area, for example a mirror,
and an object such as a razor blade will be used to arrange it in
lines. This powder is then snorted up through the nose by means
of a straw or rolled up banknote.

Cocaine powder can also be dissolved in water and injected.

The well known method of injecting is known as the so-called "Speed Ball". This is when
Cocaine and Heroin is mixed and injected and the nervous system is simultaneous
                     stimulated and suppressed.

                         How Does Cocaine Work in the Body?

                         Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system. The drug
                         causes the user to experience euphoria, a feeling of well-being
                         beyond what you would regularly encounter. People who use the
                         drug regularly do it for that “rush” they get. They want to feel

What are its Short-Term Effects?

        •   constricted peripheral blood vessels,
        •   dilated pupils,
        •   increased temperature,
        •   heart rate,
        •   blood pressure,
        •   insomnia,
        •   loss of appetite,
        •   feelings of restlessness,
        •   irritability, and anxiety.

Duration of cocaine's immediate euphoric effects, which include energy, reduced fatigue,
and mental clarity, depends on how it is used. The faster the absorption, the more
intense the high. However, the faster the absorption, the shorter the high lasts. The high
from snorting may last 15 to 30 minutes, while that from smoking crack cocaine may last
5 to 10 minutes. Cocaine's effects are short lived, and once the drug leaves the brain,
the user experiences a "coke crash" that includes depression, irritability, and fatigue.

What are its Long-Term Effects?
  • High doses of cocaine and/or prolonged use can trigger paranoia.

   •   Smoking crack cocaine can produce a particularly aggressive paranoid behavior
       in users.
   •   When addicted individuals stop using cocaine, they often become depressed.
   •   Prolonged cocaine snorting can result in ulceration of the mucous membrane of
       the nose.

Characteristics of a Crack/Cocaine User

                        •        runny nose
                        •        bleeding nose
                        •        he/she sniffs continuously
                        •        weight loss
                        •        hyperactivity
                        •        paranoia
                        •        somnolence
                        •        aggression
   •   nervous disorder
   •   excessive self confidence
   •   anxiety attacks and hallucinations

Physical Evidence of Cocaine Use

                         •       mirrors with Cocaine residue
                         •       rolled-up banknotes
                         •       straws
                         •       rectangular pieces of plastic
                                 from shopping bags (Snatch)
                         •       folded envelopes
                         •       injection needles test tubes
                             •     small steel pipes
                             •     pieces of mesh wire
                             •     empty cigarette lighters
                             •     electrical cords that are cut open to remove the copper
                                   wire for filters
                             •     copper pot scourer

Cocaine and Alcohol: A Dangerous Mix

When cocaine and alcohol are used together, another dangerous physical situation
occurs. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse research: the liver combines
cocaine and alcohol, producing a new substance, cocathylene

This third player intensifies the high, but at the same time increases the risk of sudden

Crack (freebase)

The term “crack” comes from the street and refers to the cracking sound the drug makes
when it is smoked.

Crack Cocaine("ROCKS")

Crack Cocaine is a crystal that is derived by mixing normal Cocaine Hydrochloride with
Bicarbonate of Soda and putting it through a chemical process whereby the crystals are
formed. Only a small amount of Cocaine is needed to make a large quantity of Crack

These crystals can be found in various sizes and forms, namely

                         •   "Bananas"
                         •   "Golf Balls"
                         •   Rocks (street level)

Method of Use

                    The rock / crack are usually smoked by
                    means of a pipe that is called a "Rockpipe".
                    The most common form of a Rockpipe is a
                    glass tube that contains a copper wire filter.
                    The rock is placed on the filter and then burnt
                    with a lighter. As soon as the gasses are released it is inhaled


                    Methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II stimulant, meaning
                    it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. It is a powerful
                    central nervous system stimulant and works on the brain and spinal

                     The drug interferes with the normal function of neurotransmitters,
                     which are natural chemicals produced by nerve cells that
communicate with each other to regulate thinking and all body systems. One of those
neurotransmitters is called dopamine, which influences our natural reward system.

“Tik” (crystal meth) is the latest buzzword in drug circles and is becoming increasingly
popular among school children.

It is attracting very young, first-time users. The South African Community Epidemiology
Network on Drug Use (SENDU), which monitors drug use countrywide, found the
greatest increase in users to be those under the age of 20 years. Crystal meth has also
been marketed as a way of losing weight, making it popular among many women who
would not normally have taken drugs.

What Is It?

Methamphetamine (Meth) is a highly addictive stimulant and is
derived from its parent drug, amphetamine, which has limited
medical purposes and drug addiction methamphetamine is common
among those who use it.

Amphetamines were developed in the 1930’s for use in treating
obesity and narcolepsy. In the case of obesity, amphetamine acts to curb appetite. In
narcolepsy, a condition that causes excessive daytime sleepiness, amphetamine helps
keep the patient awake. Amphetamine is also used in nasal decongestants and
bronchial inhalers.

Where is it Found?

The media runs stories from time to time about raids on the small illegal labs that
produce methamphetamine. The drug is manufactured using common chemicals that
can be purchased legally.

In recent years, for example, there was a crackdown on over-the-counter cough
medicine because those legal medications were being used to produce
methamphetamine. The portable labs are small and can fit into a suitcase.

Illegal operations are set up in home kitchens, basements, garages, hotel rooms or just
about any small, private space.

What are The Street Names?

The drug has many street names including meth, speed, crank, chalk, go-fast, zip, tina
and cristy.

Methamphetamine hydrochloride is the form of the drug that is smoked, and some of its
nicknames include L.A., ice, crystal, 64 glass and quartz.

How is it Used?

Methamphetamine can be taken orally, snorted, injected, or
smoked. Methamphetamine alters the user’s mood in different
ways, depending on how it is taken. If smoking or injecting
                  intravenously, the user experiences an
                  intense rush that lasts only a few minutes
                  and is described as extremely pleasurable.

                     Snorting produces effects within 3 to 5 minutes and oral ingestion
                     produces effects within 15 to 20 minutes; both create the feeling of
                     euphoria, without the “rush” felt by smoking or injecting.

Habits and mannerisms that are noticeable in someone who is uses methamphetamines
include compulsive behavior, inability to sit still, and agitation. Addicts who use the drug
often stay up for days at a time and may never stop to eat or clean as a normal person
would. Crystal meth effects can last for hours and those with a dependence on the drug
will crave more as they build up a tolerance.

Addicts will start taking the drug more often and in larger doses. Any
type of person is at risk of becoming addicted from merely trying
methamphetamines once because it only takes one use for it to
change someone into a dependent.

What is its Short – Term Effects?

Methamphetamine gets to work quickly, even in small amounts, and persons using it
may exhibit some of the following symptoms:

   •   Methamphetamine is highly addictive because of its pleasurable effect from the
       increased release of dopamine. Users become addicted quickly and as they
       continue to abuse the drug, higher doses are needed, and increased frequency
       of use.
   •   They may be more active and energetic.
   •   They may have less appetite.
   •   Their heart rate may increase or become irregular; their breathing my be more
       rapid; their blood pressure may rise.
   •   Rapid heart rate is common, as is irregular heart rate.
   •   anxiety,
   •   irritability,
   •    insomnia,

   •   tremors,
   •   a confused mental state,
   •   cardiovascular collapse and even death

What is its Long – Term Effects?

   •   Chronic abuse of this drug will alter brain function by damaging neuron cell
   •   The dopamine and serotonin neurons do not die, but the cell endings are cut
       back and while cells endings might grow back, that process is limited by the
   •   Drug addiction methamphetamine studies of the human brain have shown
       apparent changes in the dopamine system, and these changes are responsible
       for reduced motor skills and impaired verbal learning.
   •   Methamphetamine use also contributes to changes in areas of the brain
       associated with memory and emotion.
   •   Chronic users have experienced serious emotional and cognitive problems
       directly attributed to drug addiction methamphetamine.
   •    anorexia,
   •   aggressiveness,
   •   paranoia,
                            • memory loss,
                            • Hallucinations and delusional thinking.
                            • Severe dental problems.
                            • Methamphetamine use also increases the risk of
                                contracting HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

Users of methamphetamine can become addicted very quickly. Methamphetamine
destroys the brain’s dopamine receptors and without the drug, users fall into a deep
depression and have difficulty expressing pleasure.

If a user injects the drug, the HIV risk comes from used needles. But the drug is so
intoxicating that users may be less inhibited and often engage in unsafe activities, such
as unprotected sex.

Other crystal meth effects occur in a person's judgment. Automobile accidents and
heavy machinery accidents are common to crystal meth users who exercise poor
judgment while on the drug. Erratic and violent behavior has been noted as effects of
crystal meth use among some users.

Crystal meth effects can be seen at the most microscopic of levels as it affects the
human body's neurotransmitters. Both dopamine and norepinephrine are jolted into play
in order to activate increased arousal in the methamphetamine user. The effects of
smoking crystal meth can last for two to 20 hours, depending upon the dosage taken
and the person's metabolism.

The powerful lure of the drug keeps the user occupied, often for days, going without food
and sleep. This is known as a “run” and that binge leads to a crash. Because of the

binge and crash, users lose their sense of reality, as any health concerns are
abandoned by the urge for the high. With no sense of time, no awareness of danger,
people can literally throw away their lives using this drug.

Meth is Binge and Crash

The pleasurable effects of Methamphetamine will wear off before its concentration in the
blood is reduced, so users will try to keep the “high” going by taking more.

The powerful lure of the drug keeps the user occupied, often for days, going without food
and sleep. This is known as a “run” and that binge leads to a crash.

Because of the binge and crash, users lose their sense of reality, as any health concerns
are abandoned by the urge for the high. With no sense of time, no awareness of danger,
people can literally throw away their lives using this drug.

How Do I Recognize a Problem with Methamphetamine?
          Some danger signs are:

                       More frequent use
                       Needing more and more to get the same effect
                       Spending time thinking about using the drug
                       Spending more money than you have on it
                       Missing class or failing to finish assignments because of
       Making new friends who do it and neglecting old friends who don't
       If you find it's hard to be happy without it
       Erratic or unpredictable behavior.


What is Ritalin?

                           Ritalin, the trade name for methylphenidate, is a medication
                           prescribed for children with an abnormally high level of activity
                           or with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and is
                           also occasionally prescribed for treating narcolepsy. It
                           stimulates the central nervous system, with effects similar to
                           but less potent than amphetamines and more potent than
caffeine. Ritalin has a notably calming effect on hyperactive children and a "focusing"
effect on those with ADHD. When taken as prescribed, Ritalin is a valuable medicine.

What are the Street Names?

Kibbles and bits, Pineapple.

What Does it Look Like?

Ritalin is in pill or tablet form.

How is it Used?

It is swallowed in its original form or crushed and then snorted, sniffed or injected.

What are its Short- Term Effects?

    There's a popular drug on the streets with              •Ritalin (methylphenidate) is
    nicknames such as "Vitamin R" and "R-Ball"               a central nervous system
    that's making its way into the school scene.             stimulant, similar to
    But it's not for kicks -- students use this drug         amphetamines in the
    to improve concentration and study longer.               nature and duration of its
    The drug is Ritalin, a mild stimulant                    effects.
    commonly prescribed for young children to             • It is believed that it works
    treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or       by activating the brain stem
    ADHD.                                                    arousal system and cortex.
                                                          • Pharmacologically, it works
        on the neurotransmitter dopamine, and in that respect resembles the stimulant
        characteristics of cocaine.
    •   Short-term effects can include nervousness and insomnia,
    •   loss of appetite,
    •    nausea and vomiting,
    •   dizziness,
    •   palpitations,
    •   headaches,
    •   changes in heart rate and blood pressure (usually elevation of both, but
        occasionally depression),
    •   skin rashes and itching,
    •   abdominal pain,
    •   weight loss, and digestive problems,

   •   toxic psychosis,
   •   psychotic episodes,
   •   drug dependence syndrome,
   •    severe depression upon withdrawal.

What are its Long-Term Effects?

High doses of stimulants produce a predictable set of symptoms that include:
    • loss of appetite (may cause serious malnutrition),
    • tremors and muscle twitching,
    • fevers,
    • convulsions, and headaches (may be
    • irregular heartbeat and respirations
       (may be profound and life
    • anxiety,
    • restlessness,
    • paranoia,
    • hallucinations, and delusions,
    • excessive repetition of movements and meaningless tasks,
    • formicaton (sensation of bugs or worms crawling under the skin).


Hallucinogens are drugs that cause hallucinations - profound distortions in a person's
perceptions of reality. Under the influence of hallucinogens, people see images, hear
sounds, and feel sensations that seem real but do not exist. Some hallucinogens also
produce rapid, intense emotional swings.

Hallucinogens cause their effects by disrupting the interaction of nerve cells and the
neurotransmitter serotonin. Distributed throughout the brain and spinal cord, the
serotonin system is involved in the control of behavioural, perceptual, and regulatory
systems, including mood, hunger, body temperature, sexual behaviour, muscle control,
and sensory perception.


                     Dagga or Cannabis is well known in South Africa.

                     It is the most widely used illicit drug and tends to be the first illegal
                     drug teens use. Studies have shown that some 37 percent of high
                     school students have tried it. However, this is not to say that the
                     majority of teens use marijuana.

Marijuana is easily available, relatively inexpensive, but its perceived benign nature is
what makes this drug dangerous.

Dagga hampers the physical development of a child and can lead to psychological
defects. The greatest danger of Dagga is that it is a forerunner for harder drugs,
therefore it is known as the "Gate Way Drug".

What is Dagga?

Marijuana is a green or gray mixture of dried, shredded
flowers and leaves of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa.

A characteristic of the Dagga plant is the leaf that can be
found in the form of a hand and that usually consists of an
uneven number of leaves, usually five, seven, nine or eleven
leaves, situated on the stem.

The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). In 1988, it
was discovered that the membranes of certain nerve cells contain protein receptors that
bind THC. Once securely in place, THC kicks off a series of cellular reactions that
ultimately lead to the high that users experience when they smoke marijuana. The short
term effects of marijuana use include problems with memory and learning; distorted
perception; difficulty in thinking and problem-solving; loss of coordination; and increased
heart rate, anxiety, and panic attacks.

What Are the Common Street Names?

There are many slang terms for marijuana that vary from city to city and from
neighborhood to neighborhood. Some common names are: “pot,” “grass,” “herb,”
“weed,” “Mary Jane,” “reefer,” “skunk,” “boom,” “gangster,” “kif,” “chronic,” and “ganja,
Hashish, “Hash Oil, shit.

Also known as Grass, boom, joint, zol, dope, skyf, weed, hash, majat(a low grade
dagga), poison, peperskyf, ganja, Swazi Gold, Malawi Gold, mabange, insangu, imya,
lebake, splif, Transkei Colly, Durban poison etc

What Does it Look Like?

                  Dagga looks a bit like the tobacco one can buy in shops. The female
                  plant contains seeds, which can be planted, but which are usually
                  removed from the mixture before smoking it. The male plant does not
                  contain seeds. The dried leaves are brown or dark green in colour and
                  looks a bit like mixed herbs one buys in the supermarket. The cost of
                  dagga is about R2 per joint.

In South Africa much of the dagga on the streets gets sold in small plastic bank bags,
generally known as ‘bankies’. One can also buy a small quantity called an arm or finger,
a cob, usually about 6 – 10 fingers’ worth or a brick, which is a compressed block.

How is it Used?

                      Dagga is primarily smoked and is usually mixed in with tobacco
                      because Dagga doesn't burn easily on its own. The tabacco of a
                      cigarette would be removed and would then be mixed in with
                      Dagga (pips and stems are removed) and would be placed back
                      into the cigarette or Rizzla (handmade cigarette).

A very popular method of smoking Dagga is in the so-called "Bottle Neck" or Pipe that is
broken off or is cut from the bottle by means of a shoelace. This pipe is then filled with
Dagga and smoked. Usually where the "Bottle Neck" is involved, Mandrax will also play
a role. The abuser will fold a piece of paper, also known as a "Diamond" which will be
put into the one end of the bottle and utilized as a filter. The smoking of a Dagga
cigarette is known as "Slow Boat".

Dagga can also be mixed with cake flour from which Dagga cakes are made which can
be eaten, and can also be used in the form of a tea for the so-called medicinal use.

Others smoke “blunts”-cigars hollowed out and filled with the drug. And sometimes
marijuana is smoked through a water pipe called a “bong.”

              According to the National Narcotics Control Board
              there is no medicinal use for Dagga recognized in
              any country and there is no scientific evidence that
              the Dagga plant as such has any medicinal purposes
              that have not been substituted by safer drugs.

What is its Short -Term Effects?
   •   It usually takes only a few minutes for the effects of dagga to take hold. A high
       can last from 15 minutes to several hours and can bring about feelings of mild
       euphoria, occasional hallucinations, increased perceptions (these are not always
       realistic), short-term memory loss, giggling, possible anxiety and occasionally

                         •   Physical effects include thirst and an increase in appetite, an
                             increase in heart and pulse rate, a dry mouth and red eyes.
                             When taken with alcohol it can sometimes lead to
                         • THC is stored in the fatty tissue of the body for up to a week
                           after use, unlike alcohol, which is usually eliminated from the
       body within 6-8 hours after being taken.
   •   When used in excessive quantities, the smoke inhalation can lead to lung cancer,
       delayed sexual development in men, suppression of ovulation in women,
       memory lapses and lack of concentration.

What is its Long – Term Effects?

   •   glassy, red eyes
   •   socially inappropriate behaviour such as loud
       talking and puzzling bursts of laughter
   •   sleepiness often at strange times
   •   a sweet burnt scent on the user or in the room
   •   loss of interest in activities formerly enjoyed
   •   loss of motivation
   •   weight gain or loss
   •   lung and respiratory problems related to smoke inhalation
   •   concentration difficulties
   •   memory lapses
   •   difficulty learning new things

Marijuana affects memory, judgment, and perception. Under the influence of marijuana,
you could fail to remember things you just learned, watch your grade point average drop,
or crash a car. Some people may suffer sudden feelings of anxiety and have paranoid
thoughts—which is more likely to happen when higher doses are used or when it is
taken orally. The problem is that it’s difficult to tell what the effects of marijuana will be
for any given person at any time, because they vary based on the person, their drug
                    history, how much marijuana is taken, and its potency. Effects can
                    also be unpredictable when other drugs are mixed with marijuana.

                   Also, since marijuana can affect judgment and decision making, using
                   it can lead to risky sexual behavior, resulting in exposure to sexually
                   transmitted diseases, like HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Other side effects include brain damage, Amnesia, Sterility, Emphysema / Lung
deceases , Emotional and Spiritual problems, Lowered Libido, Weakened Liver functions
and Overall deterioration in health

It has a definite effect on the development of the body and can harm unborn babies. The
metabolites of Dagga stay in the lungs for a very long time and also affect the immune

The users of Dagga are usually very apathetic and their performance at work and at
school will deteriorate drastically. Dagga is a dependence forming substance and
causes the tolerance effect where people who smoke Dagga have to increase their use
of this drug to create the same effect (High).

Noticeable Signs of a Dagga User

                          •   Bloodshot eyes
                          •   Sleepy eyes
                          •   Unnatural thirst or hunger
                          •   Uncontrollable moods / mood
                          •   Talkative or Giggles
                          •   Bad decision-making
                          •   Stains on hands

Physical Evidence

                  The following physical signs can be an indication that an individual or
                  individuals are using Dagga:

                      •    Dagga seeds or pips lying around
                      •    Dagga rests or dust found in pockets
                           of clothing
                        • Broken bottles or bottle necks
                        • Rizzla machines and papers
   •   Unknown odours in home
   •   Incense burnt in rooms
   •   Eye drops or Lipice that is used extensively
   •   Empty bank bags
   •   Lotto or Tab tickets that was folded
   •   Rasta colours (red, green and yellow)
   •   Empty matchboxes
   •   Brown paper - packaging of "Sticks"
   •   Untidy lifestyle

Most of the abovementioned substances can be found in dustbins.


                 Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) (popular street name "Acid") - is the
                 strongest and most popular hallucinogenic substance known.

                 LSD can be administered to a person or persons without their
                 knowledge, especially by mixing it with liquids and food. This can be life
                 threatening as a person unknowingly and unprepared therefore, starts
hallucinating. The "trip" depends on a person's state of mind and it has happened,
especially with minors, that it has caused permanent psychological damage after taking
it unknowingly. The main danger of LSD is the inability to make decisions that usually
leads to impulsive and irrational behaviour that can cause injuries or death.

What is LSD?

LSD(lysergic acid diethylamide) is the most
common hallucinogen and is one of the most
potent mood-changing chemicals. It is
manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found
in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other

LSD is a synthetic drug that is odourless,
colourless and tasteless.

LSD is found in different forms, but the most general and popular way of marketing and
packaging LSD is still the blotting paper. This blotting paper is dipped in the LSD
                       solution, dried and perforated in blocks of 1cm x 1cm that
                       represents one LSD unit. LSD is also found in the form of gelatine,
                       which is known as "Window panes" and small tablets known as
                       "Microdots". When this LSD unit is placed in the mouth, the person
                       will go on a LSD "trip".

Drug smugglers print pictures on these LSD units to make the drug more attractive and
interesting for the LSD users. LSD is classified by the drug users by the motive that is
printed on the LSD unit, according to them some of the "pictures" are stronger and have
a better effect than other.

What are The Street Names/Slang Terms for LSD?

   •   Acid, Doses, Hits, Microdot, Sugar cubes, Tabs, Trips, Superman
   •   Smiley Faces, Smiley, Ying Yang, Eight Ball, Pig, Magic Mushroom
   •   Garfield, Ohms, Bart Simpson

What Does it Look Like?

                  LSD is usually found on "blotter" paper
                  (paper that is perforated into small squares).
                  The squares or "tabs" may have be colored or
                  have images printed on them. Liquid LSD is a

clear liquid, usually in a small container, tube or flask. LSD can also be found in thin
squares of gelatin.

How is it Used?

                    LSD is generally used by placing the blotting paper, which contains
                    LSD, under the tongue where the lysergic acid is released by means
                    of saliva. The other popular method is by placing it in a drink or any
                    other liquid that makes the release thereof easier.

After about 15 to 30 minutes the person will go on a "trip", and such a "trip" can last up
to anything from 8 to 12 hours. LSD users say that the psychedelic trip is the most
common, a user's whole surrounding will change into different colours as if he is walking
inside a rainbow.

LSD can cause a good or bad trip, therefore people are hesitant to experiment with LSD.
There is no assurance that the user will enjoy the trip. The LSD user's state of mind
normally determines on what trip he or she will go.

A user quickly develops a tolerance against the use of LSD. This causes the LSD user
not to use LSD every day, but he will let a few days pass before using LSD again to
obtain the maximum advantage of the drug. (During the LSD free period the addict will
use other drugs)

In addition, gelatin and liquid can be put in the eyes.

What are its Short-Term Effects?

The effects of LSD are unpredictable. They depend on the
amount taken, the user's personality, mood, and
expectations, and the surroundings in which the drug is
   • The physical effects include dilated pupils, higher
       body temperature, increased heart rate and blood
       pressure, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors.
       Sensations and feelings change much more dramatically than the physical signs.
   • The user may feel several different emotions at once or swing rapidly from one
       emotion to another.
   • If taken in a large enough dose, the drug produces delusions and visual
   • The user's sense of time and self changes.
   • Sensations may seem to "cross over," giving the user the feeling of hearing
       colors and seeing sounds.
   • These changes can be frightening and can cause panic

What are its Long-Term Effects?

Some LSD users experience flashbacks, recurrence of certain aspects of a person's
experience without the user having taken the drug again. A flashback occurs suddenly,

often without warning, and may occur within a few days or more than a year after LSD
use. Most users of LSD voluntarily decrease or stop its use over time.

Side Effects of LSD

The most common side effect of a person using LSD is a change in personality. There
are cases where persons suffered from severe paranoia as well as psychological
deflection. It also has a high level of dependency and a low level of tolerance, which
means that a person can very easily become addicted to LSD. This undoubtedly leads to
the use of more serious drugs, because LSD has a low form of stimulation. It is also
known that people that experiment with LSD usually use Ecstasy with it and this leads to
the use of Cocaine.

LSD also has the side effect of staying in the body for a very long period. This can cause
a person to go on a LSD trip again when it is later released in the bloodstream. This is
known as a "Flashback". According to records a flashback is always a reminder of a
"bad trip".

Characteristics of the LSD User

                         •   shakiness
                         •   enlarged pupils
                         •   nausea
                         •   paranoia
                         •   mood swings
                         •   anxiety attacks
                         •   syntheses

Physical Evidence

                         •   tinfoil in which LSD is wrapped to keep it fresh
                         •   plastic covering from cigarette packets
                         •   pieces of "gladwrap"


What are Mushrooms?

                  Psilocybin is produced synthetically or extracted from the psilocybe
                  mexicana mushroom and other mushroom species. It is chemically
                  related to LSD. The drug is most often sold in the mushrooms
                  themselves and are known by names like "psychedelic mushrooms,"
                  "magic mushrooms," and "'shrooms."

What are The Street Names/Slang Terms for Mushrooms?

Caps, Magic mushrooms, Mushrooms, Psilocybin & Psilocyn, Shrooms, mushies, cubes,
boomers, liberty caps

What do They Look Like?
Many different mushroom species can be classified as magic or
psilocyben mushrooms. Most of them are small and of a brown or
tanned colour and cannot easily be distinguished from other
species, some of which are poisonous.
They are presented as dried mushrooms.

How are They Used?
They are usually sold as a few grams of dried mushrooms in a bankie, (small plastic
bag.) They can be consumed raw or in powder form. Due to an unpleasant taste, the
powder is often mixed with teas or other hot drinks.

What are Their Short-Term Effects?
It can take anything from 15 to 60 minutes for the effects of the drug to be felt. Trips can
last for approximately three to six hours.
Magic mushrooms contain the psychoactive alkaloids psilocyben, psilocin and

The effects of magic mushrooms have often been described as similar to, but milder,
than that of LSD.
Once ingested, mushrooms generally cause feelings of nausea before the desired
mental effects appear. The high from using magic mushrooms is mild and may cause
altered feelings and distorted perceptions of touch, sight, sound and taste. Other effects
can include nervousness and paranoia. Effects can be different during each use due to
varying potency, the amount ingested, and the user's expectations, mood, surroundings,
and frame of mind. On some trips, users experience sensations that are enjoyable.
Others can include terrifying thoughts, and anxiety, fears of insanity, death, or losing
control, pupil dilation, distorted vision, hallucinations, ataxia (inability to control muscular
movements), feelings of euphoria, mood swings, laughter, anxiety, paranoia, and

What are Their Long-Term Effects?

Some magic mushroom users experience "flashbacks", or hallucinogen persisting
perception disorder (HPPD), which are reoccurrences of hallucinations long after
ingesting the drug. The causes of these effects, which in some users occur after a single
experience with the drug, are not known.


                     Ecstasy is the drug that made the biggest impact of all illicit drugs in
                     South Africa since the early 1990's. It is a drug that is synonymous
                     with the rave scene, and is currently being abused by a large
                     number of teenagers in South Africa. It is a tablet that is highly
                     underrated for its serious and dangerous side-effects, because the
                     public at large is uninformed.

"XTC is like LSD without the hallucinations"

What is Ecstasy?

MDMA or Ecstasy (3-4-methylenedioxymethampheta-mine), is a synthetic drug with
amphetamine-like and hallucinogenic properties. It is classified as a stimulant.

   •   Methamphetamine is highly addictive
   •   It affects several areas of the central nervous system
   •   It triggers the release of epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine in the
       sympathetic nervous system

Ecstasy is a slang term for an illegal drug that has effects similar
to those of hallucinogens and stimulants. Ecstasy's scientific
name is "MDMA," short for 3,4-
methylenedioxymethamphetamine, a name that's nearly as long
as the all-night dance club "raves" or "trances" where ecstasy is
often used. That's why MDMA is called a "club drug."

MDMA is synthetic-it doesn't come from a plant like marijuana does. MDMA users often
make the drug in secret "labs"-in trailers, basements, and even kitchens-hidden around
the country. Other chemicals or substances are often added to, or substituted for, MDMA
in ecstasy tablets, such as caffeine, dextromethorphan (in some cough syrups),
amphetamines, or cocaine. Makers of ecstasy can add anything they want to the drug.
So the purity of ecstasy is always in question.

What are the Street Names/Slang Terms for Ecstasy?

Adam, E, Roll, X, XTC, hug, beans, clarity, lover's speed, and love drug.

What Does it Look Like?

Ecstasy comes in a tablet form that is often branded,
e.g. Playboy bunnies, Nike swoosh, CK

How is it Used?

   •   Taken in pill form, users sometimes take Ecstasy at "raves," clubs and other
       parties to keep on dancing and for mood enhancement. These pills can be
       different colors, and sometimes the pills have cartoon-like images on them.
       Some MDMA users take more than one pill at a time, called "bumping."
   •   It can be smoked, snorted, orally ingested or injected intravenously
   •   In SA it is commonly smoked by placing the powder/crystal in a light bulb and the
       fumes are smoked.

What are its Short-Term Effects?

For most abusers, a "hit" of ecstasy lasts for 3 to 6 hours. Once the pill is swallowed, it
takes only about 15 minutes for MDMA to enter the bloodstream and reach the brain.
About 45 minutes later, a user experiences MDMA's peak level (high). It's downhill from
there, unless the user "bumps" and takes more MDMA. But even if a person takes only
one pill, the side effects of MDMA-including feelings of sadness, anxiety, depression,
and memory difficulties-can last for several days to a week (or longer in regular MDMA

                                 Users report that Ecstasy produces intensely pleasurable
                                 effects – including an enhanced sense of self-confidence
                                 and energy. Effects include feelings of peacefulness,
                                 acceptance and empathy. Users say they experience
                                 feelings of closeness with others and a desire to touch
                                 others. Other effects can include involuntary teeth
                                 clenching, a loss of inhibitions, transfixion on sights and
                                 sounds, nausea, blurred vision, chills and/or sweating.
                                 Increases in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as
                                 seizures, are also possible. The stimulant effects of the
                                 drug enable users to dance for extended periods, which
when combined with the hot crowded conditions usually found at raves, can lead to
severe dehydration and hyperthermia or dramatic increases in body temperature. This
can lead to muscle breakdown and kidney, liver and cardiovascular failure.
Cardiovascular failure has been reported in some of the Ecstasy-related fatalities.
After-effects can include sleep problems, anxiety and depression.

What are its Long-Term Effects?

Repeated use of Ecstasy ultimately may damage the cells that produce serotonin, which
has an important role in the regulation of mood, appetite, pain, learning and memory.
There already is research suggesting Ecstasy use can disrupt or interfere with memory.

Identification of The Drug

                   As can be seen there is a legion of acronyms that describe these
                   compounds, i.e. MDA, MDMA, STP, DOM, MDE, XTC, etc. Some of
                   these acronyms are applied to more than one compound, or one

compound can be known on the street by               It should be noted however that it is very
several acronyms, which leads to confusion.          difficult to spot the symptoms of XTC
It is therefore difficult to describe a specific     abuse in a person. After the effects have
type of XTC to an individual.                        worn off , the user regularly returns to a
                                                     normal life style and the symptoms cannot
Ecstasy is usually sold in the form of a tablet,     be detected. One should however be
but can also be obtain in a liquid form. There       diligent in looking for more than basic
are literally hundreds of different types of         symptoms if suspicion is aroused
tablets currently circulating in the South           surrounding possible XTC abuse.
African market.

                  The easiest way to identify these tablets is to look for a logo that does
                  not belong on a tablet that is obtained at a pharmacy. The
                  manufacturers usually opt for a well known brand name as a logo on the
                  tablet, and trademarks such as Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi,
                  Volkswagen, Rolls Royce, Kelvin Klein, etc. are common (this also
                  further the pseudonym of "Designer drug").

                  Tablets with doves, stars and the Russian hammer and sickle have also
                  been found. These are obviously tablets that will not be produced by
                  recognized drug companies, and are therefore dead give-aways.

Noticeable Signs of an XTC User

                        •       hyper-active
                        •       dilated pupils
                        •       unnatural perspiration
                        •       eating disorders – appetite suppression
                        •       rapid weight loss
                        •       mood swings
                        •       insomnia or alternatively – sleeping long hours after XTC
                                parties (caused by so-called Crash)
    •   aggressiveness
    •   dry mouth
    •   disappearing for long periods – especially weekends

Physical Evidence

                      The following physical signs are an indication of XTC abuse :

                            •    small pieces of foil or foil-like
                                 substances found in cigarette
                                 packets used for wrapping tablets
                            •    plastic bank bags
                            •    empty energy drink or mineral
                                 water containers
                            •    clothes with hidden pockets
                            •    abnormal interest in Rave music and Rave culture and
        using Rave slang
    •   Rave Scene / Party flyers and advertisements


1. What is the most commonly used drug?,
(a) heroin (b) cocaine (c) alcohol (d) marijuana

2. Name the three drugs most commonly used by children.

3. Which drug is associated with the most teenage deaths?

4. Which of the following contains the most alcohol?

(a) a 350ml can of beer (b) a cocktail (c) a 350 ml wine cooler (d) a 150ml glass of wine
(e) all contain equal amounts of alcohol.

5. Crack is a particularly dangerous drug because it is:

(a) cheap (b) readily available (c) highly addictive (d) all of the above

6. Fumes from which of the following can be inhaled to produce a high:

(a) spray paint (b) model glue (c) nail polish remover (d) whipped cream canisters (e) all
of the above

7. People who have not used alcohol and other drugs before their 20th birthday:

(a) have no risk of becoming chemically dependent (b) are less likely to develop a
drinking problem or use illicit drugs (c) have an increased risk of becoming chemically

8. A speedball is a combination of which two drugs?

(a) cocaine and heroin (b) PCP and LSD (c) valium and alcohol(d) amphetamines and

9. Anabolic steroids are dangerous because they may result in:

(a) development of female characteristics in males (b) development of male
characteristics in females (c) stunted growth (d) damage to the liver and cardiovascular
system (e) overaggressive behavior (f) all of the above

10. How much alcohol can a pregnant woman safely consume?

(a) A 150ml glass of wine with dinner (b) two 350ml beers each day (c) five 125ml shots
of whiskey a month (d) none


1. (c) Because it is legal for adults and widely accepted in our culture, alcohol is the drug
most often used in the South Africa.

2. Alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. These are the "gateway" drugs, drugs that children
are first exposed to and whose use often precedes use of other drugs.

3. Alcohol. More than 10,000 teenagers died in alcohol-related traffic accidents in 1986;
40,000 more were injured.

4. (e) All four contain approximately 50ml of alcohol

5. (d) Small quantities of crack can be bought for as little as R35.00. The low price
makes it easily affordable to young people. In addition, crack is thought to be one of the
most addictive drugs.

6. (e) Virtually anything that emits fumes or comes in aerosol form can be inhaled to
obtain a high.

7. (b) Early use of alcohol and other drugs--often by age 15 or less--is strongly
associated with drug-related problems such as addiction.

8. (a) Combining cocaine and heroin is increasingly popular as a way of trying to lessen
or control bad side effects.

9. (f) Steroid users subject themselves to more than 70 side effects. The liver and
cardiovascular and reproductive systems are most seriously affected by steroid use. In
females, irreversible masculine traits can develop. Psychological effects in both sexes
can cause very aggressive behavior and depression.

10. (d) Medical researchers have not established any safe limits for alcohol intake during


Sometimes the most obvious addiction symptoms are simply observing that something is
wrong or different.

Understand that the one addicted is most often the last one to know there is a
problem, or be willing admit that there may be a problem.


Alcohol is alcohol, whether it be a beer or a shot of vodka. Adults should not assume
their children are "ok" if they are drinking a few beers just because it is not "hard liquor."

What to Look For:

                      - Slurred speech
                      - Disorientation
                      - Sweating
                      - Poor coordination
                      - Smell of alcohol on clothing, breath
                      - Strange mood (sudden change or unusual extreme for the
- Falsified identification (age changed)
- Bottles saved as souvenirs
- Signs your child has thrown up
- Difficulty waking up in the morning (hangover)
- Excessive thirst in the morning


Heroin is a highly addictive drug. Recent studies suggest a shift from injecting heroin to
snorting or smoking because of increased purity and the misconception that these forms
of use will not lead to addiction.

What to Look For:

                      - Dry mouth
                      - Droopy appearance, as if extremities are "heavy"
                      - Alternately wakeful and drowsy

- Disorientation, poor mental functioning
- Signs of injection; infections
- Shallow breathing


What to Look For:

                   - Strong chemical odor (in room, on clothing, on breath)
                   - Chemicals missing in the home or going down too quickly
                   - Extremely drowsy appearance, possibly fainting
                   - Paper bags or rags used to sniff the chemicals
                   - Strange aerosolized or other chemicals hidden in child's room or in
                   school locker
- Discarded containers of whipped cream or spray paint
- Unusually large supply of white out or other office chemicals that have a strong odor.


What to Look For:
                   - Euphoric "high" state (excessively happy)
                   - Paranoia
                   - Decreased appetite/weight loss
                   - Increased physical activity
                   - Anxiety, shaking hands, nervousness
                   - Incessant talking
- Increased temperature (can rise as high as 108 degrees and cause death)
- Convulsions at high doses
- Chest pain, elevated blood pressure
- Dilated pupils
- Dry or itchy skin
- Acne
- Sweating not related to physical activity
- Irritable and moody (mood swings)
- Picking at skin or hair
- Aggressive or violent behavior
- Depression (withdrawal/tolerance effect)

Signs that you might be living next to a meth lab: Large amounts of chemicals being
brought into the home; cat litter (but no cat); plastic tubing; strong chemical smell (often
describe as urine-like smell); odd hours kept by residents; numerous propane tanks;
brown/orange stains on walls, carpets; unusually large supplies of any of the following:
starter fluid, antifreeze, Coleman fuel, cold medicine containing ephedrine, lab
equipment, lithium batteries (stripped), matchbooks with matches missing, ether,
hydrogen peroxide, acetone.

Cocaine and/or Crack

What to Look For:

                    - Dilated (large) pupils
                    - Hyper-alertness
                    - Lack of fatigue/sleeplessness
                    - Panic and/or heightened anxiety response
                    - Restlessness
                    - Paranoia (high doses)
                    - Extremely talkative; fast speech
                    - Runny nose or bloody nose
- Seizures (high doses; bad reaction)
- White powder seen on face or clothes
- Small spoon-like items used for snorting
- Mirrors and razor blades used for making lines
- Rolled money bills used for snorting
- Small bottles with screw on lids for storing
- Small plastic packets with white residue

Ecstasy (MDMA) - Club Drugs

What to Look For:

                    - Hyper-Alertness
                    - Sweating
                    - Dry mouth (thirsty)
                    - Increased heart rate
                    - Fatigue
                    - Jaw-clenching
                    - Hyperthermia (cold when they shouldn't be)
- Agitation
- Increased emotional responses (more empathetic than individual would normally be)

Do not ignore signs of excessive agitation, as this can be serious and life-threatening.
"Stacking"--which is when users take multiple doses--can result in stroke, seizures, and

other extreme and life-threatening reactions to this drug.

Acid (LSD)

What to LookF:

                     - Dilated (large) pupils
                     - Disorientation
                     - Rambling or strange speech
                     - Sweating
                     - Rapid mood changes
                     - Panic and/or heightened anxiety response
                     - Stamp-like items with pictures
- Erratic, unpredictable behavior


What to Look For:

                                      -   Dilated (large) pupils
                                          - Cigarette rolling papers
                                          - Seeds that have been cleaned from
                                          - Smell on clothing, in room, or in car
                                          - Bloodshot eyes
                                          - Sleepy appearance
                      - Reduced motivation
                      - Pipes, bongs, homemade smoking devices (you may see sticky
                      residue from burned marijuana)

Top 20 Questions to Assess Drug Addiction Symptoms

1. Has their appearance changed; they don't care how they look?

2. Are they eating properly?
                                                            This list is by no means an exhaustive
3. Have they lost weight, or have they gained weight?       list of drug addiction symptoms, and
                                                            even if they/you have these drug
4. Have you seen needle marks on their arms or legs?        addiction symptoms, it doesn't
                                                            necessarily mean a person is
5. Are they slowing down?                                   addicted. Try to avoid being
                                                            judgemental or jumping to conclusions.
6. Do they have the shakes?                                 But also don't deny what is right in front
                                                            of you!
7. Are their hands cold and sweaty?

8. Have you smelled something on their breath, or their clothing?

9. Do their eyes appear red?

10. Are their pupils dilated?

11. Is their face puffy?

12. Has their coloring changed, become flushed or pale?

13. Do they have a blank stare?

14. Has their physical coordination changed? Are they staggering?

15. Have they missed a lot of school, or work?

16. Have their sleep habits changed? Are they always tired?

17. Have they become lazy?

18. Are they hyper?

19. Do they talk a million miles an hour? Do they slur their words?

20. Have you seen drug paraphernalia?

Why do Some People Become Addicted, While Others Do Not?

No single factor can predict whether or not a person will become addicted to drugs. Risk
for addiction is influenced by a person’s biology, social environment, and age or stage of
development. The more risk factors an individual has, the greater the chance that taking
drugs can lead to addiction. For example:

   •   Biology. The genes that people are born with––in combination with
       environmental influences––account for about half of their addiction vulnerability.
       Additionally, gender, ethnicity, and the presence of other mental disorders may
       influence risk for drug abuse and addiction.

   •   Environment. A person’s environment includes many different influences––from
       family and friends to socioeconomic status and quality of life in general. Factors
       such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, stress, and parental
       involvement can greatly influence the course of drug abuse and addiction in a
       person’s life.

   •   Development. Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical
       developmental stages in a person’s life to affect addiction vulnerability, and
       adolescents experience a double challenge. Although taking drugs at any age
       can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it is to
       progress to more serious abuse. And because adolescents’ brains are still
       developing in the areas that govern decision-making, judgment, and self-control,
       they are especially prone to risk-taking behaviors, including trying drugs of

How Many Times Does Someone Have To Take a Drug To Become an Addict?

No one knows how many times a person can use a drug without changing his or her
brain and becoming addicted.

A person's genetic makeup probably plays a role. But after enough doses, an addicted
teen's limbic system craves the drug as it craves food, water, or friends. Drug craving is
made worse because of down regulation.

Diagnosing Adolescent Addiction

   •   Routinely asking about substance use history
   •   Using screening instruments such as the CRAFFT (see appendix)
   •   Urine drug screen: remember the length metabolites stay in urine
   •   Hair analysis

Neurobiological Basis

The development of addiction is thought to involve a simultaneous process of 1)
increased focus on and engagement in a particular behavior and 2) the attenuation or
"shutting down" of other behaviours.

What Happens to Your Brain When You Take Drugs?

                            The human body has a natural tendency to maintain
                            homeostasis, and the central nervous system is no exception.
                            Chronic elevation of dopamine will result in a decrease in the
                            number of dopamine receptors available in a process known as
                            downregulation. The decreased number of receptors changes
                            the permeability of the cell membrane located post-
                            synaptically, such that the post-synaptic neuron is less
                            excitable- i.e.: less able to respond to chemical signaling with
                            an electrical impulse, or action potential. It is hypothesized that
this dulling of the responsiveness of the brain's reward pathways contributes to the
inability to feel pleasure, known as anhedonia, often observed in addicts. The increased
requirement for dopamine to maintain the same electrical activity is the basis of both
physiological tolerance and withdrawal associated with addiction.

Downregulation can be classically conditioned. If a behaviour consistently occurs in the
same environment or contingently with a particular cue, the brain will adjust to the
presence of the conditioned cues by decreasing the number of available receptors in the
absence of the behavior. It is thought that many drug overdoses are not the result of a
user taking a higher dose than is typical, but rather that the user is administering the
same dose in a new environment.

Some drugs, such as marijuana and heroin, have a similar structure to chemical
messengers, called neurotransmitters, which are naturally produced by the brain.
Because of this similarity, these drugs are able to “fool” the brain’s receptors and
activate nerve cells to send abnormal messages.

Other drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine, can cause the nerve cells to release
abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters, or prevent the normal recycling
of these brain chemicals, which is needed to shut off the signal between neurons. This
disruption produces a greatly amplified message that ultimately disrupts normal
communication patterns.

As a person continues to abuse drugs, the brain adapts to the overwhelming surges in
dopamine by producing less dopamine or by reducing the number of dopamine
receptors in the reward circuit. As a result, dopamine’s impact on the reward circuit is
lessened, reducing the abuser’s ability to enjoy the drugs and the things that previously
brought pleasure. This decrease compels those addicted to drugs to keep abusing drugs
in order to attempt to bring their dopamine function back to normal. And, they may now
require larger amounts of the drug than they first did to achieve the dopamine high—an
effect known as tolerance.

Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that influences the reward circuit and the ability to learn.
When the optimal concentration of glutamate is altered by drug abuse, the brain
attempts to compensate, which can impair cognitive function. Drugs of abuse facilitate
nonconscious (conditioned) learning, which leads the user to experience uncontrollable
cravings when they see a place or person they associate with the drug experience, even
when the drug itself is not available. Brain imaging studies of drug-addicted individuals
show changes in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decision-making,
learning and memory, and behaviour control.


Despite the grim realities described above, the situation is not hopeless: With
abstinence there is functional and structural recovery!

                            Cognitive functions and motor coordination improve, at least
                            partially, within 3 or 4 weeks of abstinence; cerebral atrophy
                            reverses after the first few months of sobriety.

                                •   Indications of structural pathology often disappear
                                    completely with long-term abstinence.
                                •   Hyper-excitability of the central nervous system
                                    persists during the first several months of sobriety
                                    and then normalizes.

   •   Frontal lobe blood flow continues to increase with abstinence, returning to
       approximately normal levels within 4 years.
   •   In general, skills that require novel, complex, and rapid information processing
       take longest to recover. New verbal learning is among the first to recover.
       Visual-spatial abilities, abstraction, problem solving, and short-term memory, are
       the slowest to recover. There may be persistent impairment in these domains,
       particularly among adults.

   •   It is important to note that some drugs like tik, cocaine, heroin does not show a
       recovery pattern and is more often associated with long term brain impairment.


                  Results from research have shown that prevention programs that
                  involve families, schools, communities, and the media are effective in
                  reducing drug abuse.

                   Although many events and cultural factors affect drug abuse trends,
                  when youths perceive drug abuse as harmful, they reduce their drug
                  taking. It is necessary, therefore, to help youth and the general public
                  to understand the risks of drug abuse, and for teachers, parents, and
                  healthcare professionals to keep sending the message that drug
                  addiction can be prevented if a person never abuses drugs.

Prevention Tips


Effective communication between adults
(teacher/parents) and children/learners is not always
easy to achieve. Children and adults have different
communication styles and different ways of responding
in a conversation. In addition, timing and atmosphere
may determine how successful communication will be.
Adults should make time to talk with learners in a quiet,
unhurried manner. The following tips are designed to make communication more


   * Pay attention.
   * Don't interrupt.
   * Don't prepare what you will say while the learner is speaking.
   * Reserve judgment until the learner has finished and has asked you for a response.

   •   LOOKING

       * Be aware of the learner’s facial expression and body language. Is the learner
       nervous or uncomfortable--frowning, drumming fingers, tapping a foot, looking at
       the clock? Or does the learner seem relaxed--smiling, looking you in the eyes?

       * During the conversation, acknowledge what the learner is saying- -move your
       body forward if you are sitting, touch a shoulder if you are walking, or nod your
       head and make eye contact.


       * "I am very concerned about...." or "I understand that it is sometimes difficult ...."
       are better ways to respond to the learner than beginning sentences with "You
       should," or "If I were you," or "When I was your age we didn't...." Speaking for
       oneself sounds thoughtful and is less likely to be considered a lecture or an
       automatic response.

       * If the learner tells you something you don't want to hear, don't ignore the

       * Don't offer advice in response to every statement the learner makes. It is better
       to listen carefully to what is being said and try to understand the real feelings
       behind the words.

       * Make sure you understand what the learner means. Repeat things to the
       learner for confirmation.

The aforementioned section has outlined some general guidelines for talking with
children about alcohol and other drugs. We can make these messages more effective by
taking into account the knowledge youngsters already have and their readiness to learn
new information at different ages.

2. Taking It Grade By Grade


                                Drug education may seem unnecessary for preschoolers,
                                but the attitudes and habits learned early can have an
                                important bearing on the decisions children make later.

                                   Three- and four-year-olds are not yet ready to learn
                                   complex facts about alcohol and other drugs, but they
                                   can learn the decision-making and problem-solving skills
                                   that they will need to refuse alcohol and other drugs
                                   later. Remember that children in this age group are not
able to listen quietly for very long; they are more interested in doing things for

Suggested Activities

       * Point out to young learners poisonous and harmful substances that can be
       found in your home/school. Household products such as bleach, lye, and
       furniture polish all have warning labels that you can read to young learners.

       * Explain how medicine can be harmful if used incorrectly. Teach learners not to
       take anything from a medicine bottle unless given by an adult they know and
       trust, specify someone else who can give it, such as a babysitter or grandparent.

       * Explain why children need good food and should put only good things into their
       bodies. Have learners name several good foods that he or she eats regularly,
       and explain how those foods will make young children strong and healthy.

       * Provide guidelines that teach learners what kind of behavior you expect. Teach
       learners the basic rules of how to get along with other children: Play fair. Share
       toys. Tell the truth. Treat others the way you want them to treat you.

       * Encourage learners to follow instructions. For example, invite learners to help
       you in class; Playing simple board games with learners can give practice in
       following instructions and rules.

       * Take advantage of opportunities to use play as a way to help learners handle
       frustrating situations and solve simple problems. A tower of blocks that
       continuously collapses can drive a child to tears. You can offer a few suggestions
       to keep the tower up, but at the same time you should ask young learners what
       he or she thinks is the best way to do it. Turning a bad situation into a success
       reinforces a child's self-confidence.

        * To help young learners learn decision making in a practical way, lay out some
        toys from which the child can select what he or she wishes to use. Let learners
        know that you think he or she is able to make good decisions.


Five- to nine-year-olds usually feel good about themselves. They like growing up, and
they generally like school and all the new opportunities it provides. They still think and
learn primarily by experience, and they don't have a good understanding of things that
will happen in the future. Fact and fantasy mingle easily; the world is seen as the child
wishes it to be, and not as it actually is. Children of this age need rules to guide their
behavior and information to make good choices and decisions.

Discussions about alcohol and other drugs must be in the here and now, and related to
people and events the child knows about. Most children are very interested in how their
bodies work, so discussions should focus on maintaining good health and avoiding
things that might harm the body.

Adults are very important both as teachers and as role models. Children are generally
trusting, and they believe that the decisions adults make for them are right. Helping
learners know whom to trust is important. They need to understand that just because
someone tells them to do something, it is not always right to do it. By the end of the third
grade, learners should understand:

--what an illicit drug is, why it is illegal, what it looks like, and what harm it can do:

--how foods, poisons, medicines, and illicit drugs differ;

--how medicines may help during illness, when prescribed by a doctor and administered
by a responsible adult, but also how medicines are drugs that can be harmful if misused:

--why it is important to avoid unknown and possibly dangerous objects, containers, and

--which adults, both at school and outside, you want learners to rely on for answers to
questions or help in an emergency;

--which foods are nutritious and why exercise is important;

--what the school and home rules are about alcohol and other drug use; and

--how using alcohol and other drugs is illegal for all children.

Suggested Activities

                        * Children in this age group need to understand the rules. You
                        can explain the need for rules by talking about traffic safety rules
                        and school rules with which young learners is already familiar.

                        * Emphasize the importance of good health by talking about
                        things people do to stay healthy, such as brushing teeth after
                        each meal, washing hands, eating good foods, getting plenty of
       rest and sleep. You can use this discussion to contrast the harmful things that
       people do, such as taking drugs, smoking, or drinking to excessively.

       * Discuss how TV advertisers try to persuade children to buy their products,
       including high sugar/additives-loaded cereals, candy bars, and toys named after
       characters in cartoon shows that children find appealing.

       * Discuss illnesses with which learners are familiar and for which prescription
       drugs are often necessary. Many children have had strep throat, ear infections,
       flu, and colds. Discussing such illnesses can help learners understand the
       difference between medicine and illicit drugs.

       * Practice ways to say no with learners. Describe situations that may make
       learners feel uncomfortable: for example, being offered medicine or other
       unfamiliar substances. Give learners some responses to use in these situations.

       * Develop a "helpers" file of people learners can rely on. Talk with learners about
       the kind of help each person on the list could provide in case of various
       unexpected situations, such as being approached by strangers or losing a house


This is a period of slowed physical growth when typically a lot of energy goes into
learning. Children 10 to 12 years old love to learn facts, especially strange ones, and
they want to know how things work and what sources of information are available to
them. Friends--a single best friend or a group of friends--become very important. What
children this age are interested in or will be committed to often is determined by what the
group thinks. Children's self-image is determined in part by the extent to which they are
accepted by peers, especially popular peers. As a result, a lot of "followers" are unable
to make independent decisions and choices.

This age is perhaps the most important time to focus on increased efforts at drug
prevention. These late elementary school years are crucial to decisions about the use of
alcohol and other drugs. The greatest risk for starting to smoke comes in the sixth and
seventh grades. Research shows that the earlier youngsters begin to use alcohol and
other drugs, the more likely they are to have real trouble.

Learners will need a clear no-use message, factual information, and strong motivation to
resist pressures to try alcohol and other drugs and to reinforce the determination to
remain drug free. Appropriate new information could include:

--ways to identify specific drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalants, and
cocaine in their various forms;
--the long- and short-term effects and consequences of use;
--the effects of drugs on different parts of the body, and the reasons why drugs are
especially dangerous for growing bodies; and
--the consequences of alcohol and other illegal drug use to the family, society, and the

Suggested Activities

       * Encourage learners to participate in wholesome activities that will allow the
       child to form new friendships and have fun. Sports, Scouts, religious-sponsored
       youth programs, and community-sponsored youth organizations are excellent
       ways for children to meet others of their own age.

       * Teach learners to be aware of how drugs and alcohol are promoted. Discuss
       how children are bombarded with messages--from TV, song lyrics, billboards,
       and advertisements--that using alcohol and other drugs is very glamorous.
       Clearly separate the myths from the realities of alcohol and other drug use.

       * Continue to practice ways to say no with learners, emphasizing ways to refuse
       alcohol and other drugs. It is not uncommon for sixth graders to be offered beer
       and cigarettes and to know other children who smoke and drink alcohol.

       * Encourage learners to join a local anti-drug club or peer assistance group that
       encourages drug-free activities.

       * Ask learners to scan the morning newspaper and to circle any article that has to
       do with alcohol and other drug use. No doubt there will be articles about drug-
       related murders, strife in other countries due to drug trafficking, and alcohol-
       related auto accidents. Talk with learners about the tremendous loss of lives and
       resources because of the use of alcohol and other drugs.

       * Have meetings with the parents of learners so that you can reinforce one
       another's efforts in teaching good personal and social habits. A neighborhood
       social gathering, sporting event, or school assembly are good places to meet.

        * Encourage parents in providing supervised activities for young people to limit
       "free time," which often leads to experimentation with alcohol and other drugs.


During the early teens "fitting in" with friends is a controlling influence. In some ways, the
onset of puberty is like a "rebirth." Children want and need to let go of the past and to
find their own unique identity. This often means letting go of old friendships and ties with
teachers and other adults, as well as old ways of doing things. The decision-making and
problem- solving methods that they learned as young children are still helpful, but young
teens will be making new decisions based on new information and new goals.

Young people this age can begin to deal with abstractions and the future. They
understand that their actions have consequences, and they know how their behavior
affects others. They sometimes have a shaky self-image: they are not sure whether they
are growing and changing adequately, they are often in conflict with adults, they are not
sure where they are headed, and they tend to see themselves as not "okay." Strong
emotional support and a good model of adult behavior are particularly important now.

Young people who use alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs typically begin before leaving
the ninth grade. Be sure that discussions about drugs emphasize the immediate,
unpleasant effects of alcohol and other drug use. Telling junior high school students who
are smoking that they will get lung cancer or heart disease in several decades is less
likely to make an impression than talking about bad breath, stained teeth and fingers,
and burned clothing.

Many young people use drugs because their friends use drugs. A large portion of your
prevention efforts during these years should be spent reinforcing learners motivation to
avoid alcohol and other drugs.

Here Are Some Important Steps:

* Counteract peer influence with teacher/parent influence. Reinforce your no-alcohol/no-
drug-use rules and expectations so that learners clearly understand that drinking and
using drugs are unacceptable and illegal. Children may argue that "everyone is doing it"
and not experiencing any harmful effects. Inform learners that alcohol and other drug
use is illegal for children and that "everyone is not doing it." Emphasize how
unpredictable the effects of alcohol and other drugs can be, so that although many drug
users may appear to function properly, drug use is extremely risky, and all it takes is one
bad experience to change a life.

By the end of ninth grade learners should know:
--the characteristics and chemical nature of specific drugs and drug interactions;
--the physiology of drug effects on the circulatory, respiratory, nervous, and reproductive
--the stages of chemical dependency and their unpredictability from person to person;
--the ways that drug use affects activities requiring motor coordination, such as driving a
car or participating in sports; and
--family history, particularly if alcoholism or other drug addiction has been a problem.

Suggested Activities

   •   Continue to practice ways to say no with learners. Teach learners to recognize
       problem situations, such as being at a house where no adults are present and
       young people are smoking or drinking beer. Make up situations in which learners
       may be asked to try alcohol and other drugs and let the child practice saying no
       using the steps outlined. Try many variations until you are confident that learners
       know how to say no.

       * Talk with learners about friendship. Make the point that true friends do not ask
       each other to do things they know are wrong and risk harm to themselves, their
       friends, or their families.

GRADES 10-12

High school students are future-oriented and can engage in abstract thinking. They have
an increasingly realistic understanding of adults. Young people therefore want adults to
discuss their concerns and the ways they solve problems and make decisions. You may
have a tremendous new opportunity to help learners at this age. At the same time, the
teenagers continue to be group-orientated, and belonging to the group motivates much
of their behavior and actions. During these years, young people often develop a broader
outlook and become more interested in the welfare of others.

By the end of high school, learners should understand:

--both the immediate and long-term physical effects of specific drugs;
--the possibly fatal effects of combining drugs;
--the relationship of drug use to other diseases and disabilities;
--the effects of alcohol and other drugs on the fetus during pregnancy;
--the fact that drug use is not a victimless crime;
--the effects and possible consequences of operating equipment while using alcohol and
other drugs;
--the impact that drug use has on society; and
--the extent of community intervention resources.

You may want to focus on the potential long-term effects of alcohol and other drugs
during these years: drugs can ruin teen's chances of getting into college, being accepted
by the military, or being hired for certain jobs. Teens may also be impressed by the
importance of being seen as a good role model for a younger brother or sister.

Suggested Activities

   * Continue to talk with learners about alcohol and other drug use. Chances are
   learners have friends who use alcohol and other drugs or know people who do. Talk
   about how alcohol and other drug use threatens lives and may limit opportunities for
   the future.

       * Plan strategies to limit learners unsupervised hours at home, while you are at
       work. Researchers have found that lunchtime and 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. are periods
       teenagers are likely to experiment with alcohol and other drugs.

       * Encourage learners to work on behalf of a drug prevention program by being
       trained as a volunteer to answer hot-line calls or as a peer counselor.

       * Talk with learners about joining a sports club, drama club, arts and crafts
       center, or dance studio or about volunteering to work for a church group or
       community organization. The busier learners are, the less likely he or she is to be
       bored and to seek an outlet in alcohol or other drugs. Volunteer with learners, if
       you have time.

       * Plan alcohol- and drug-free activities during school vacations and major
       holidays, which can be high- risk idle times for teens.

       * Make sure learners has access to up-to-date information on alcohol and other
       drugs and their effects. Make an effort to be informed about any new drugs that
       are popular, and know their effects.

       * Help plan community-sponsored drug-free activities such as alcohol- and drug-
       free dances and other recreational activities such as "midnight basketball."

       * Talk with learners about the future. Discuss your expectations and learners


                                                           The development of strong
 The most promising drug prevention programs are those     policies that spell out rules
  in which parents, students, schools, and communities     governing use, possession,
                                                           and sale of alcohol and other
  join together to send a firm, clear message that the use drugs is a key part of any
  of alcohol and other drugs will not be tolerated.        school-based prevention
                                                           program. If your school has no
policy, work with teachers, administrators, and community members to develop one.
Good school policies typically specify what constitutes an alcohol or other drug offense,
spell out the consequences for violating the policy, describe procedures for handling
violations, and build community support for the policy.

How is Drug Education Being Taught At Your School?

   •   Are the staff members trained to teach about alcohol and other drug use?
   •   Is drug education a regular part of the curriculum or limited to a special week?
   •   Is it taught through the health class, or do all teachers incorporate drug education
       into their subject area?
   •   Do learners in every grade receive drug education, or is it limited to selected
   •   Is there a component for parents?
   •   If your school has an active program to prevent drug use, do the materials used
       contain a clear message that alcohol and other drug use is wrong and harmful?
       Is the information accurate and up-to-date? Does the school have referral
       sources for students who need special help?

Let parents know about the school's policies through meetings of the parent-teacher
organization. At least one meeting each year should be devoted to issues of alcohol and
other drug use. Knowledgeable local physicians and pharmacists can be invited to
discuss how drugs affect the growth and development of children, police officers can
outline the scope and severity of the drug problem in your community, and substance
abuse counselors can discuss symptoms of alcohol and other drug use and treatment


Encourage parents to help their child to grow up alcohol and drug free by supporting
community efforts to give young people healthy alternatives. Alcohol- and drug-free
dances and other school-based celebrations are growing in popularity around the
country. You can help to organize such events, solicit contributions, and serve as a

Local businesses are also an excellent source of support for alternative activities such
as athletic teams and part-time jobs. Shops and restaurants for example, can be lobbied
to offer discounts to young people who test negative for drugs in a voluntary urinalysis.


Other parents can be valuable allies in your effort to keep learners drug free. Encourage
the initiation and implementation of a parent support group. Share expectations about
behavior and develop a set of mutually agreed upon rules about such things as curfews,
unchaperoned parties, and places that are off-limits. Helping youngsters stay out of
trouble is easier when rules of conduct are clearly known and widely shared.

Build a network of other adults with whom you can talk. Join a parent organization that is
already established in your community, or talk informally with parents about common
concerns in rearing children. Sharing experiences can provide insights that help you deal
with childrens behavior. It also helps to know that other parents have faced similar

Despite the grim stories that fill our newspapers and dominate the evening news, most
young people do not use illicit drugs, they do not approve of drug use by their friends,
and they share their teachers and parents' concern about the dangers posed by drugs.

Successful prevention efforts, whether in a family, school, or community setting,
have many elements in common: a concern for the welfare and well being of
young people, dedicated adults who are willing to devote their time and energy,
and an unwavering commitment to being drug free.



           1. Have you ever driven in a Car driven by someone (including yourself)
              who was high and had been using alcohol or drugs?

           2. Do you ever use alcohol or drugs to Relax, feel better about yourself or
              fit in?

           3. Do you ever use alcohol or drugs while you are by yourself Alone?

           4. Do you ever Forget things you did while using alcohol or drugs?

           5. Do your Family or Friends ever tell you that you should cut down on
              your drinking or drug use?

           6. Have you ever gotten into Trouble while you were using alcohol or

Where To Find Help

Emergency Services

   •   Department of Social Development – 0800 22 02 50
                   - District Office George – 044 80
                   - District Office Oudtshoorn
                   - District Office Beaufort West
   •   South African Police Services – 08600 10111
   •   Ambulance – 10177
   •   Life Line – 086 132 2322
   •   D.A.R.E 24hr line – 084 319 9385

Local Treatment Centres

Name                         Address                       Contact Tel Numbers
1. Serenity Inpatient Care   Elandskraal Plaas, Knysna     044 343 1395
2. Minnisota House – In      Maitland Street, George       044 870 8585
patient Centre
3. Oasis – In-patient        119 Longship Drive            044 533 1752
4. D.A.R.E Outpatient        97 Shamrock Place, York       044 884 1915
Centre                       Street, Office No 10, First

Early Intervention Centres

Name                         Address                       Contact Tel Numbers
SANCA                        3 Donneraile Square,          044 884 0674
D.A.R.E                      97 Shamrock Place, York       044 884 1915
                             Street, Office No 10, First
Knysna Alcohol & Drug        Gordon Street                 044 382 5260
REACH                        1 Fern Street, Protea East    044 878 0973

PREVENTION of drug misuse and the harm that drugs can cause

OPPORTUNITY to be involved with healthy alternatives

PROTECTION by providing protective factors and tackling risk factors that help to make drug misuse and other
risk behaviours less likely                                                                  86

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