Drug Information

Common Drugs and Their Side-Effects

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THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol/Marijuana)

This drug can be either a stimulant or a sedative depending on the strain used. It is either smoked or eaten and causes a feeling of being “high” for several hours after use. Several regularly observed physical effects are an increase in heart rate, bloodshot eyes, dry mouth, dry throat and increase in appetite. Use of this drug may decrease short-term memory and comprehension, alter the sense of time and reduce ability to perform certain tasks such as driving a car. This drug can also produce paranoia and psychosis. Some terms for this drug are: marijuana, weed, grass, pot, reefer, joint, roach, mary jane, maui wowie, loco weed.   
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COC (Cocaine)
This drug has similar effects of alcohol. If taken in small amounts it can produce a calm state and relaxed muscles. Larger doses can cause a slurring of speech, staggered gait and an altered perception. Very large doses can cause a decrease in respirations, coma or death. When in combination, alcohol and depressants can multiply the effects of both which would increase risk. Some terms for this drug are: bump, coke, snow, candy, toot and flake C. It can be ingested by snorting, smoking, injection or oral consumption. The substance is a white crystalline powder usually mixed with other substances such as corn starch, powdered milk, sugars or flour.
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For more information about the drugs described here
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M-AMP (Methamphetamine/Speed/Ecstasy)
This drug is a stimulant and can cause an increase in heart and respiratory rates, along with elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils and decrease in appetite. Users may also experience sweating, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, sleeplessness and anxiety. Very high doses can cause rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, loss of coordination and physical collapse. When used in injection form there is a sudden increase in blood pressure that can result in stroke, very high fever or heart failure. Users of this drug report feeling restless, anxious and have mood swings. With increased doses comes increased effects. Users, over a long period of time, can develop an amphetamine psychosis which could include hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.
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AMP (Amphetamine)
Amphetamines are substances taken to boost energy, mood and confidence, as well as to suppress appetite(Amphetamine is a collective term given to amphetamines, dextroamphetamines and methamphetamines, all of which act similarly in the body. Out of these, methamphetamines are the strongest. (In the 1930s, they were used in nasal decongestants and to treat narcolepsy, ADHD and minimal brain dysfunction.)
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OPI (Morphine and Heroin)
This drug is also a stimulant and has similar effects as methamphetamine (ecstasy). Terms for this drug are: white stuff, miss emma, monkey, “M”. The form is usually white crystals, hypodermic tablets or injectable solutions. Ingestion can be either orally, smoked or through injection.
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OxyContin is a tradename for the narcotic oxycodone hydrochloride (HCl), an opiate agonist. Oxycodone, a semisynthetic opioid derived from the opioid alkaloid thebaine, is similar to codeine, methadone, and morphine in producing opiate-like effects. Source: DEA Drug Intelligence Brief, “OxyContin: Pharmaceutical Diversion.” March 2002

Oxycodone is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act because of its high propensity to cause dependence and abuse.

PCP (Phencyclidine)
This drug interrupts the functions of the neocortex, the part of the brain which controls intellect and instinct. The drug also blocks pain receptors which could cause violent PCP episodes resulting in self-inflicted injuries. PCP effects vary, but most frequently there is a sense of distance and estrangement. Time and body movements slow down and muscular coordination worsens along with the senses being dulled. Speech is blocked and incoherent. After chronic use there is paranoid and violent behavior along with hallucinations. Large doses of this drug could produce convulsions, coma, as well as heart and lung failure. This drug is a hallucinogen.
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BZO (Benzodiazepines)
Sedative-hypnotics are Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants and are a category of drugs that slow normal brain function. There are numerous CNS depressants; most act on the brain by affecting the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that facilitate communication between brain cells. GABA works by decreasing brain activity. Although the different classes of CNS depressants work in unique ways, ultimately it is through their ability to increase GABA activity that they produce a drowsy or calming effect that is beneficial to those suffering from anxiety or sleep disorders.
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COTININE (Nicotine)
Nicotine is a stimulant and sedative to the central nervous system. The substance is physically and psychologically addictive. When ingesting nicotine, there is an almost immediate result of the person feeling “happy” due to a discharge of epinephrine from the adrenal cortex. This is followed by stimulation of the central nervous system and other endocrine glands, which causes a quick release of glucose. After this stimulation, there is depression and fatigue which then compels the user to seek more nicotine to get back to the “happy” feeling. Over 50 million Americans smoke, which makes nicotine one of the most addictive substances in the United States.

In 1989 the Surgeon General issued a report stating that cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are addicting and that the substance which causes the addiction is nicotine.

Tobacco smoking will result in the absorption of nicotine via the lung and oral/nasal tissues. The nicotine is then metabolized into approximately 20 different metabolites and excreted in the urine. Continine is a major metabolite and accumulates in the body when smoking is a regular occurance.
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BAR (Barbiturates)
These drugs are central nervous system depressants. They are typically used as sedatives, hypnotics and anticonvulsants. The usual method of ingestion is by oral capsules or tablets. The symptoms seen when someone is taking these drugs looks like those of being intoxicated with alcohol. Chronic use of barbiturates will lead to physical dependence and higher levels of tolerance. There are short-acting barbiturates such as Secobarbital (Seconal) which when taken for 2 to 3 months can produce physical dependence. There are also long-acting barbiturates such as Phenobarbital (Nembutal and Luminal). Some other terms for barbiturates are: Amobabital (Amytal), Yellow Jackets, Reds, Blues, Amy’s, and Rainbows.
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MTD (Methadone)
Methadone is used for treatment of moderate to severe pain and for opiate dependence of such drugs as heroin, Vicodin, Percocet and morphine. This drug is a narcotic analgesic and in most States a person must go to a pain clinic or methadone maintenance clinic for this prescription. This is a long-acting pain reliever which lasts from approximately 12 to 48 hours after ingestion. The withdrawal from methadone is more prolonged than that of heroin. Some other terms for methadone are: Amidone, burdock, dollies, jungle juice, junk, dolls, mud, phyamps, red rock, tootsie roll, fizzies, balloons, breaze, buzz bomb, and cartridges.
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TCA (Tricyclic Antidepressants)
These drugs are typically used for the treatment of depression type disorders. Overdoses can produce central nervous system depression and heart disorders. Tricyclic antidepressants are the most common cause of death from prescription drugs. These medications are taken orally and sometimes by injection. Some names for drugs which are tricyclic antidepressants are: amitriptyline (Elavil), desipramine (Norpramin), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Pamelor) and protriptyline (Vivactil).
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These are substances that are typically used to “mask” the use of illegal drugs in a urine specimen.

Oxidants: Oxidants are not normally in human urine. The presence of oxidants may indicate adulteration of the urine specimen. Products that could cause nitrates to appear in human urine are UrineLuck, Stealth 51, and Stealth.

Creatinine: Creatinine is normally found in the urine at a level of around 20 mg/dL. Urine samples with less than 20 mg/dL are considered abnormal and possibly adulterated.

Nitrite: Nitrite is not normally found in random urine specimens.

Glutaraldehyde: Glutaraldehyde is not normally found in human urine.

pH: Normal pH for human urine is from 4.5 to 8.0. Urine samples with a result outside of this range would be considered adulterated.

Chromate: Chromate is not normally present in human urine. If urine specimen is positive for chromate, it should be considered adulterated.
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ALCOHOL – Guardian Angel Alcohol Test Strips
GuardianAngel.com was created in 2000 to fill a need for personal alcohol test strips: patented, affordable, and 99% accuracy in field tests performed by the California Highway Patrol.

Alcoholism has the following four symptoms:

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    • Craving – which consists of a strong need, desire, or urge to drink
    • Loss of Control – which consists of not being able to quit drinking after the first drink
    • Physical Dependence – which consists of withdrawal symptoms including anxiety, nausea, cold sweats, and shaking once the drinking has stopped
    • Tolerance – which consists of needing to drink higher amounts of alcohol to obtain the “desired” effect

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Use of alcohol relates to many social problems, which include: traffic accidents, drownings, vandalism, assaults, murder, suicide, unwanted pregnancies and transmission of sexual disease. Alcohol kills approximately 200,000 people a year in the USA.

In addition to injury related to alcohol intake, there is work loss, and social disruption. Alcohol is one of the world’s most popular drugs and the most common cause of disabling injuries and great financial loss.

Intoxication means “to poison yourself” and is the poisoning of the body with alcohol or other drugs which could cause stupefaction and/or excitement. Would you ever drive while intoxicated? Whether your answer is “yes” or “no”, please read the following information.

If driving while intoxicated, the least of your concerns should be losing your license, getting arrested or going to jail. Of greater concern should be the possibility of killing other people and/or yourself.

Beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages, all have the same effect of depressing the central nervous system. This causes the bodily functions that are controlled by the brain to slow down. These include the ability to have good judgement, your reasoning skills, memory retention, slurring of speech, controlled muscle movements and your emotional stability. When alcohol intake is low, the drinker feels relaxed and less inhibited and is enjoying themselves. This state also puts the alcohol in control of decision making, causing less responsible actions on the part of the person drinking. This would be the time to take the Guardian Angel alcohol test, before progressing with more alcohol intake.

Alcohol Effects and Driving:


  • Impaired Vision – Depth perception becomes distorted and your pupils do not react as fast to light. This causes an inability to judge distances and light may be blinding to you.
  • Impaired Coordination – This is especially important as being able to push the right pedal while driving, such as the brake and accelerator, could make a big difference in the outcome while driving.
  • Impaired Judgement – This is important as it relates to the ability to make good decisions while driving.
  • Impaired Memory – While intoxicated you could forget where you are going and/or why you were going there. Appointments are missed and recent events become a blur.

If you continue to drink in excess your motor functions would deteriorate and you could become unconscious. You could quit breathing and die due to lack of oxygen.

Drinking and Driving
At least 60% of people killed between midnight and 4 a.m.are due to alcohol related crashes. Approximately 25 cents of every $1.00 you spend for auto insurance is used to pay for damage caused by drunk drivers. Not to mention the cost to you, as an individual. (See chart below)

How Do You Know When You Have Had ENOUGH
Most people ask someone who is out with them and is possibly drinking as well. Mmmmm – if drinking causes impaired judgement and you both are drinking – well, asking your friend or someone who is also drinking, is not the best choice for getting a good indication of your level of intoxication. You should test yourself for your blood alcohol content (BAC) using a quick self testing device such as the Guardian Angel alcohol test strips. They are easy to use, have quick results and are affordable.

Alcohol Absorption into the Bloodstream
There are several factors that determine the rate of alcohol absorption into the bloodstream, and those are time, body weight and stomach contents.

TIME – The liver helps with alcohol metabolism and can process approximately one ounce of alcohol an hour in someone who has a good liver. The rate of metabolism is different for men and women. After ingestion of one ounce of alcohol, it would take a man approximately one hour and 15 minutes to return to a BAC of 0.00 and with a woman it would take approximately one hour and 30 minutes. The average body can metabolize approximately 0.015% blood alcohol per hour.

BODY WEIGHT – Generally, the bigger you are, the more alcohol you can absorb before becoming intoxicated. Since this is not always the case, it would be best to test yourself when you start “feeling good” to make sure you don’t drink too much. The Guardian Angel alcohol test strips would be easy to use and give you a quick result.

STOMACH CONTENTS – An empty stomach will allow the alcohol to absorb more quickly into the bloodstream and your ability to become intoxicated happens quickly. Drinking alcohol on a full stomach will slow down the alcohol absorption into the bloodstream, but you will still get the same level of intoxication that you would with an empty stomach – it will just take longer for you to feel the effects.

Blood Alcohol level chart

Our bodies metabolize alcohol through chemical breakdown and this occurs at a steady rate. A small amount of alcohol is excreted through sweat and urine leaving the body, but not enough to make a difference in the level of intoxication. Some people think that exercise, hot coffee or cold showers help “get rid of” the alcohol. But these things just help keep the body awake, it does not help metabolize the alcohol. See the chart below for approximate hours it takes to return to a blood alcohol content level of zero after drinking, based on gender and body weight.

Figure 7 – Blood Alcohol Level Estimates

Blood Alcohol Level Estimates - Chart For Men
Blood Alcohol Level Estimates

Figure 7 – Blood Alcohol Level Estimates

Blood Alcohol Level Estimates - Chart For Women
Blood Alcohol Level Estimates

Test yourself, test your friends – drink responsibly and be safe instead of sorry. The Guardian Angel test strips are affordable and easy to use. Get your guardian angel today and always carry it with you. Protection you cannot afford to be without. See the chart below for the possible cost of driving while intoxicated*.

DUI Chart

To see what your State guidelines are for DUI/DWI laws, “click” here:

State Guidelines for DUI/DWI Laws

Alcohol Screening Questionnaire
. . . for yourself, or for someone you know.

How Long Do Drugs Stay in a Person’s Body / System?

The following is a chart showing the minimum and maximum detection time, on average, that certain drugs stay in a person’s system.*

Alcohol  24 hours
Amphetamines (AMP)2-7 hours 2-4 days
Barbiturates (BAR)4 to 6 hours 4.5 days for short acting
10 days for long-acting
Benzodiazepines (BZO)4 to 6 hours up to 10 days
Buprenorphine (BUP) 4 to 6 hours up to 10 days
Cannabinoids (THC) 2 Hours

Infrequent user: up to 10 days
Chronic user: 6 weeks

Cocaine Metabolite (COC)1.25 – 4 hours 2-3 days
Cotinine (NIC)   30 days or longer
Methadone (MTD)2-7 hours 2-4 days
Methamphetamine (MAMP) 2-7 hours 2-4 days
Methaqualone  Up to 10 days
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)
2-4 hours 1-3 days
Opiates (OPI) 2.5 hours 2-3 days
Oxycodone (OXY) 2.5 hours 2-3 days
Phencyclidine (PCP) 4-6 hours 7-14 days
Propoxyphene4-6 hours 7-14 days
Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA)4-6 hours up to 10 days

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* These values are based on an average person.

Some people may metabolize drugs at a different rate and, thus, have slightly different time frames as to how long the drug will stay in the body.

Factors which affect metabolism:

  • amount and frequency of use
  • the body’s rate of metabolism
  • your body mass (size)
  • your age
  • your tolerance to drugs or alcohol
  • your overall health
  • how drugs are taken
    (swallowed, inhaled, smoked, injected)

For further information on common drugs of abuse you can visit the
NIDA (National Insititute on Drug Abuse) website.

"God Bless you all for helping us to protect our
loved ones. Thanks!" –Mary Jane B., Elkton, MD

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