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Drug Education

Drug Abuse

The History
It has been documented through time that drugs have played a tremendous role in our society.  In the “early days,” it was perfectly legal for someone to possess and use drugs such as marijuana (cannabis), heroin (opiates) and other dangerous substances, with little or no government control.

It was not until society recognized that these same drugs that possessed some medicinal value also possessed a strong potential to cause users to abuse them, and were deemed an overall hazard to the well-being of our communities. 

As a result of exhaustive research, and with the backing of medical communities and government, we have enacted laws to protect our citizens from these dangerous substances and their destructive nature.

Who is Affected
Drug abuse and abusers follow no set pattern.  Drug abuse plays on human weakness and shows no mercy to its victims and their families.  It does not matter what social, economic, or ethnic class you are in – drug abuse can infect anyone.

Following is some information on the commonly abused drugs and their effects on our everyday lives.  There is also a resource list.


Addiction:  A psychological and/or physical need to take a drug on a regular basis to experience drug’s effect and to avoid the discomfort of its absence. 

Dependency:  Psychological and/or physical dependence of a drug, resulting from the use of that drug on a periodic or continuous basis.

Tolerance:  The body’s resistance to the effects of the drug.  As a person’s tolerance to a drug increases with continued use, the user needs progressively higher doses to obtain the desired effects.

Street Drugs

Cannabis (Marijuana)
Dependency Physical Psychological Tolerance
None Moderate Moderate
Description Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.  Known as hemp, marijuana .  

Tall, leafy plant with odd number of divided leaves.  Grows all over the world.  Female flower contains most of the cannabanoids.
Effects Time, color, spatial perception distortions, dreamy euphoria, excitement, laughter, increased appetite.  Panic attacks.  Paranoia.  May be anti-epileptic, treatment for nausea and other side effects of chemotherapy and AIDS drugs.  Treatment for glaucoma, asthma. Possible treatment for anorexia nervosa.
Dependency Physical Psychological Tolerance
Moderate Severe Strong
Description Both a central nervous system stimulant and anesthetic.  It is found in the leaves of the Erthroxylum coca plant native to S. America.  One can chew the leaves to produce a mild stimulation.  Outside S. America, it can be found in powder cocaine or freebase (chemically purified cocaine.  Also known as the lady, girl, white, uptown, coke.
Effects Increases alertness, wakefulness, elevates the mood, induces a high degree of euphoria, decreases fatigue, improves thinking, increase concentration, increases energy, increased irritability, insomnia, restlessness.  In large doses, possible psychosis with confused and disorganized behavior, irritability, fear, paranoia, hallucinations, may become extremely antisocial and aggressive.  Increases heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, pulse and respiration.  Decreased sleep and appetite, seizures, strokes, heart attacks, death.
Dependency Physical Psychological Tolerance
Moderate Severe Strong
Description Another form of cocaine base, named because of the sound it makes when heated.  In a solution, after heated, it is dried and forms crack cocaine that is cut into “rocks.”  Not all crack on the streets is pure.
Effects More intense effects than other cocaine, but short-lived.  Once the drug leaves the brain, the used experiences a “coke crash” that includes depression, irritability, fatigue, increase risk of abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, stroke and death.  Long term effects include coughing of black phlegm, wheezing, lung trauma and bleeding, hoarseness, parched lips, tongue and throat from inhaling hot fumes, mental deterioration, psychosis, suicidal thoughts social withdrawal, and violent behavior.
Dependency Physical Psychological Tolerance
Reported but not confirmed Moderate Moderate
Description MDMA is an amphetamine derivative.  Can be extracted from an essential oil of the sassafras tree.  Known as Ecstasy, X, XTC, E, M, truck driver, beans, rolls.
Effects Can produce euphoric sense of well being, feeling of connectedness with empathy for other people, enhanced sense of pleasure and self-confidence, increased energy.  Favorite on the club and “rave” circuits.  In overdoses, can experience confusion, disorientation, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, insomnia, perceptual disorders and hallucinations, paranoia and psychosis.  May change the way the brain produces and distributes neuro-transmitters leading to long-term depression and possible other mental illness.
GHB  (Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid)
Dependency Physical Psychological Tolerance
Reported but not confirmed Moderate Moderate
Description Gamma-hydroxy-butyrate.  Clear liquid, although also in powder form which is rarely seen.  Colorless, odorless, nearly tasteless.  Is a solvent, found in floor cleaning products, nail polish, and super glue removers.
Effects Depresses the respiratory system and reduces the amount of oxygen the brain receives which could lead to unconsciousness and loss of memory.  Reduces social inhibitions, increases libido.  Feelings of sedation. Vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, vertigo, seizures.  Loss of consciousness, irregular and depressed respiration, tremors or coma.  Deaths have occurred.
Dependency Physical Psychological Tolerance
Extreme Extreme Extreme
Description Opiate.  Derived from the dried “milk” of opium poppy which contains morphine and codeine which are used as painkillers.  Known as smack, junk, skag, shit, H, brown, horse, dope, boy.  White powder with a bitter taste.  In powder form.  Varies in color from white to dark brown.  Black Tar is made predominately in Mexico.  Heroin is illegal in the United States.
Effects Sedative.  Euphoric, drowsy, warm and content feeling. Relieves stress and discomfort by a relaxed detachment from pain, desires and activity.  Depresses activity of nervous system like coughing, breathing and heart rate.  Causes widening of the blood vessels which gives a feeling of warmth, reduces bowel activity causing constipation.    Overdoes can result in unconsciousness, coma and death.  Overdose is greatly increased if alcohol or tranquilizers are used.
Highly addictive.  Mild withdrawal symptoms are similar to the flu – often users don’t realize their “sickness” is withdrawal.  Once addicted, the withdrawal is grueling, peaks between 48-72 hours after the last dose.  The intense part of withdrawal lasts for 3-5 days, effects can last for months.  Symptoms may include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, cramping, muscle and bone pain, cold flashes with goose bumps, kicking movements, severe shaking.  Cravings and depression may occur during withdrawal.  Treatment includes physical detoxification, then residential or 12-step programs.  Resources include:




Dependency Physical Psychological Tolerance
None Moderate Moderate
Description Probably most widely known and most commonly used hallucinogen in U.S.  Known as Acid, Cid, Trips, L, Doses, Vitamin L, Paper.  In base form, is a liquid but when it reaches the street, it can be in a variety of forms on blotter paper, or as pills, gelatin shapes (known as window pane), liquid, and sugar cubes.
Effects LSD trip lasts from 6-12 hours, depending on the dose, with the peak of the trip about 2 hours after taking the drug.  Vague feeling of anticipation, increased energy, undefined feeling that something is different.  As effects gain strength, a general change in sensory perception occurs: non-specific mental and physical stimulation, pupil dilation, closed and open eye patterning and hallucinations, changed thought patterns, feelings of insight, confusion, extreme mental clarity, paranoia, quickly changing emotions. 
Dependency Physical Psychological Tolerance
Moderate Moderate to Severe Strong
Description Known as speed, meth, crystal, crank, ice.  Stimulates central nervous system.  Produces alertness elation.  Longer lasting effects than cocaine.  Often confused with other drugs that have similar symptoms including amphetamine, ephedrine, caffeine.
Effects Euphoria, hyper-excitability, extreme nervousness, accelerated heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, restlessness, insomnia, tooth grinding, incessant talking.  Elevated blood pressure, heart rate, increased nervous activity, hypothermia, convulsions.  Possible death.  Can develop an amphetamine psychosis which is similar to paranoid schizophrenia.  May have hallucinations, delusions, extreme paranoia.
Dependency Physical Psychological Tolerance
None Moderate Moderate
Description One of most frequently used hallucinogens after LSD.  Almost all are small, brown or tan.  Known as Mushrooms, Magic Mushrooms, Mushies, Shrooms, Sillies, Boomers Caps, or Fungus.
Effects Similar to LSD but less intense and of shorter duration.  Feelings of being out of one’s body (ego loss), colorful hallucinations, distortion in spatial perception, time and color shift.  May experience lightheadedness, numbness of tongue, lips or mouth, shivering or sweating, nausea and/or vomiting, anxiety.  Bad trips can occur.
Cannabinoids Image Cannabinoids
Dependency Physical Psychological Tolerance
None Moderate Moderate
Description Synthetic marijuana or cannabinoids is a blend of herbs or plant material sprayed with various synthetic chemicals to produce the high experienced when it is ingested. They are commonly smoked in the same fashion as traditional marijuana. The compound most prevalent in synthetic cannabinoids is "JWH-018," but other derivatives and variations are being found and engineered as time progresses to avoid regulation and statutory enforcement. The common names for these substances includes "K2 or "Spice," WTF, MIND TRIP, DEADMAN,BULLET XXX, KUSH, COOL BEANZ, DR KLIMAX, HAMMER HEAD, CLOUD NINE, G-13, G-20, and OMG. These drugs are commonly purchased via internet sites and from retail convenience stores and "head shops" specifically involved in the sale of drug paraphernalia.
Effects Synthetic cannabinoids are now classified as a Schedule I hallucinogen meaning there is a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in the state of Florida. Recent trends in the area have seen a great increase in the sale and usage of these substances as regulation and statutes have not developed to completely combat this drug and the variety of analogs that comprise it.
Bath Salts Image Bath Salts
Dependency Physical Psychological Tolerance
None Moderate Moderate
Description Bath Salts are a powdery substance, similar in appearance to Cocaine. They are often snorted, smoked, or injected. Many derivatives of bath salts are produced throughout the world making it difficult for regulation and statutory enforcement of this drug. These drugs are commonly purchased through internet sites and from local conveniences stores and "head shops" specifically involved in the sale of drug paraphernalia. Recent trends show the sale and use of bath salts appears to be dropping throughout the area.
Effects The effects of this drug are similar to the effects of Cocaine with the addition of hallucinations. Due to the variety of chemicals utilized in the manufacturing process and the lack of common substances used in the manufacture of bath salts, many deaths and overdoses are have been seen as a result.

Prescription Drugs 

Description Oxycodone hydrochloride (C18 H21 NO4 - HCl MW 351.83) is the chemical structural formula for OxyContin, manufactured by Purdue Pharma, L.P. Tablets are an opioid analgesic, and a Schedule II controlled substance with an abuse liability similar to morphine. OxyContin tablets are supplied in 10mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, and 80 mg tablet strengths for oral administration. The tablet strengths indicate the amount of oxycodone per tablet as hydrochloride salt.

OxyContin is a trade name for the drug oxycodone hydrochloride, or oxycodone HCL. Street names for Oxycodone include Oxy, O.C., Hillbilly heroin, Oxycotton and Killer.

Oxycodone is a white, odorless crystalline powder derived from the opium alkaloid, thebaine. Inactive ingredients include ammonio methacrylate copolymer, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, lactose, magnesium stearate, povidone, red iron oxide (20 mg strength tablet only), stearyl alcohol, talc, titanium dioxide, triacetin, yellow iron oxide (40 mg strength tablet only) , yellow iron oxide with FD&C blue No. 2 (80 mg strength tablet only).
Indications OxyContin tablets are a controlled-release oral formulation of oxycodone hydrochloride indicated for the management of chronic, and moderate to severe pain when a continuous around-the-clock analgesic is needed. When used properly, OxyContin can provide pain relief for up to 12 hours. OxyContin is not intended as a prn analgesic. (Not to be taken as needed.)
Usage While OxyContin tablets are only to be administered by swallowing the tablets whole, a number of other dangerous and potentially fatal means of administration are often employed by those seeking to increase the euphoria, by bypassing the time-release control mechanism. According to many experts, this hazardous and abusive means of ingestion creates a euphoric rush similar to heroin.

These potentially lethal ingestion practices include snorting, crushing, chewing, or injecting the dissolved product. This results in an uncontrolled delivery of the opioid and poses significant risks to the abuser that could result in overdose and death.

Oxycodone works by stimulating certain opioid receptors located throughout the central nervous system, in the brain and along the spinal cord. When the oxycodone binds to the opioid receptors, a variety of physiologic responses can occur, including pain relief, relaxation, slowed breathing, and euphoria.

Typical side effects of opioid therapy include constipation, somnolence, nausea, vomiting, pruritus, (itching) headache, dry mouth, sweating and asthenia (weakness).

Less common but potentially hazardous effects include respiratory depression, altered mental state and postural hypotension. Elderly patients are particularly susceptible to respiratory depression, particularly when oxycodone is used in conjunction with other CNS depressant medications. Oxycodone can cause severe hypotension and is risky for individuals whose ability to maintain blood pressure has been compromised.

All effects are typical opioid side effects. Such effects are dose dependent, related to a patient's level of opioid tolerance, and specific to an individual's host factors.

Cautionary Note

Oxycodone should only be used with extreme caution in the following conditions: acute alcoholism; Addison's Disease; CNS depression or coma; delirium tremens; debilitated patients; kyphosocoliosis associated with respiratory depression; myxedema or hypothyroidism; prostatic hypertrophy or urethral stricture; severe impairment or hepatic, pulmonary or renal function; and toxic psychosis.

Oxycodone usage may obscure the diagnosis or clinical course in patients with acute abdominal conditions.

Oxycodone may aggravate convulsive disorders, and all opioids may induce or aggravate seizures.

The use of oxycodone with alcohol, other opioids, or illicit drugs will have an additive effect, causing central nervous system depression.

Oxycodone is abused much like other legal or illicit opioid agonists. This medication has become widely sought by drug abusers and people with a history of addiction.

Acute over dosage presents with respiratory depression, somnolence leading to stupor or coma, skeletal muscle flaccidity, cold and clammy skin, constricted pupils, bradycardia (unusually slow heart action), hypotension and death. Oxycodone over dosage requires immediate medical attention.

Withdrawal Hydrocodone withdrawal is often characterized by over-activity of the physiologic functions that were suppressed by the drug and/or depression of the functions that were stimulated by the drug. Opioids often cause sleepiness, calmness, and constipation, so opioid withdrawal often includes insomnia, anxiety, and diarrhea. Other withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, sweating, chills, yawning, muscle pain, teariness, and runny nose. Other symptoms include: irritability, joint pain, backache, weakness, abdominal cramps, insomnia, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, and increased blood pressure, respiratory rate, or heart rate.

Vicodin is the brand name for the popular painkiller, hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone bitartrate is an opioid analgesic and antitussive, occurring as fine, white crystals or, as a crystalline powder. 

Indications Vicodin is a phenathrene-derivate opiate agonist, effective both as an antitussive (anti-cough) agent, and as an opiate, an effective analgesic for mild to moderate pain. Five mg of hydrocodone is equivalent to 30 mg of codeine when administered orally. 15 mg (1/4 gr) of hydrocodone is considered equivalent to 10 mg (1/6 gr) of morphine. Hydrocodone is considered to be like morphine in all respects. 
Usage The combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone is available in tablet or capsule form, as well as liquid, to be taken by mouth. Generally, it is taken every 4-6 hours as needed (PRN). The usual dose of Vicodin is 1 or 2 tablets, up to a maximum of 8 tablets per day. The usual dose of Vicodin HP® is 1 tablet, up to a maximum of 6 tablets per day. For Vicodin ES®, the usual dose is 1 tablet, up to a maximum of 5 tablets per day. Vicodin can be habit forming or addictive, and it is imperative that patients take the medication precisely as prescribed by their physician.

Do not increase the amount or frequency without your doctor's approval. Do not take this drug for any reason other than the one prescribed.
Effects Vicodin is a semi synthetic narcotic analgesic and antitussive with multiple actions qualitatively similar to those of codeine. Most of these involve the central nervous system and smooth muscle. The precise mechanism of action of hydrocodone and other opiates is not known, although it is believed to relate to the existence of opiate receptors in the central nervous system. In addition to analgesia, narcotics may produce euphoria; drowsiness; lethargy; relaxation; difficulty in concentrating; decreased physical activity in some users and increased physical activity in others; mild anxiety or fear, and pupillary constriction. 
Cautionary Note

Vicodin may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car, operate machinery, or perform any other potentially dangerous activities until you know how this drug affects you.

Narcotics such as Vicodin may interfere with the diagnosis and treatment of abdominal conditions.

Vicodin suppresses the cough reflex; therefore, be careful using Vicodin after an operation or if you have a lung disease.

High doses of Vicodin may produce slowed breathing; if you are sensitive to this drug, you are more likely to experience this effect.

Vicodin slows the nervous system. Alcohol can intensify this effect.

Use Vicodin with caution if:

You have a head injury. Narcotics tend to increase the pressure of the fluid within the skull.

If you have a severe liver or kidney disorder, an under active thyroid gland, Addison's disease (a disease of the adrenal glands), an enlarged prostate, or urethral stricture.

You are elderly and/or in a weakened condition.

Vicodin usage may obscure the diagnosis or clinical course in patients with acute abdominal conditions.

If Vicodin is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either may be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Vicodin with the following:

Valium and Librium

Tricyclic Antidepressants such as such as Elavil and Tofranil


Antihistamines such as Tavist

MAO inhibitors such as Nardil and Parnate

Major tranquilizers such as Thorazine and Haldol

Other narcotic analgesics such as Demerol

Other central nervous system depressants such as Halcion and Restoril

Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. A severe overdose of Vicodin can be fatal. If you suspect an overdose, seek emergency medical treatment immediately.

Symptoms of a Vicodin overdose include: Blood disorders, bluish tinge to skin, cold and clammy skin, extreme sleepiness progressing to a state of unresponsiveness or coma, general feeling of bodily discomfort, heart problems, heavy perspiration, kidney problems, limp muscles, liver failure, low blood pressure, nausea, slow heartbeat, troubled or slowed breathing, and vomiting.


The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
National Library of Medicine
Partnership for a Drug-Free America
United States Drug Enforcement Administration
Drugless.org - RXSafetyMatters

Support Groups

Brevard Outpatient
Alternative Treatment

1127 South Patrick Drive

Satellite Beach, Florida   

(321) 773-1111

Narcotics Anonymous (321) 631-4357

Alcoholics Anonymous (321) 633-0052

Al-ANON (321) 639-0220

Robin’s Nest
Substance Abuse Program

1948 Pineapple Avenue

Melbourne, Florida  32935

(321) 676-1260

Twin Rivers Treatment Center
(Circles of Care)

400 East Sheridan Road

Melbourne, Florida  32901

(321) 723-3974

Central Florida Treatment Center
(Methadone Clinic)

2198 Harris Avenue  N/E

Palm Bay, Florida  32905

(321) 951-9750

Central Florida Treatment Center
(Methadone Clinic)

7 North Cocoa Boulevard

Cocoa, Florida  32922

(321)  631-4578


Advice On Prescription Medication Addiction

Education: Know how medication for depression, anxiety or pain could be addictive. The people who get in trouble are those who have no history of problems and think they're not addicted. If drugs are abused, the body will build a tolerance that requires an unhealthy increase in medication..

Symptoms: Prescription drug addiction is subtle and different in every individual. There could be a change in mood, sense of well-being, belligerence, false feeling of confidence, heightened sensitivity or flat emotions..

Confrontation: Find motivation and incentives to help the abuser quit. Consider an intervention with friends and family, get help from trained professionals or find someone with influence to sponsor rehabilitation. Create a loving community of support with firmness against continued abuse..

Withdraw: During drug dependence, the brain stops producing natural chemicals that it was getting from the drug, so withdrawal can be excruciating. Consult a doctor or medical personnel to address appropriate levels of medication and a step-by-step process.

Common Symptoms of Addiction

  • Relief from anxiety
  • False feelings of self-confidence
  • Changes in mood, from a sense of well being to belligerence
  • Increased sensitivity to sights and sounds, including hallucinations
  • Unpleasant or painful symptoms when substance is withdrawn
  • Altered activity levels-such as sleeping for 12-14 hours or frenzied activity lasting for hours

Common Signs of Overdosing

Intoxication:  Slurred speech, lethargic,  disorientation, loss of balance, loss of eye contact, impaired motoring skills, loss of simple coordination.  

Unconsciousness:  (Pass-out),  heavy breathing, loud/deep snoring, shallow breathing, respiratory suppression. 

Unresponsive/Lifeless: foaming from mouth/nose area, cold, stiff to touch, heavy facial/body discoloration.     

Call the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency help line at (800) 622-2255, or go online to http://www.prescriptiondrugaddiction.com.

How To Report Pharmaceutical Crimes

Citizens: If you suspect someone is selling prescription medications or any other controlled substances (drugs) illegally contact your local law enforcement agency to report the crime. It is a felony to commit acts of obtaining and/or attempt to obtain a controlled substance by fraud and/or subterfuge.

Pharmacies/Pharmacist: If you suspect that someone has utilized your pharmacy to obtain and/or attempted to obtain controlled substances illegally, via the passing of a fraudulent prescription note or fraudulently calling the pharmacy posing as a physician’s office, you are required by law to notify your local authorities.  A simple call to the investigating agency can help to prevent the illicit distribution of controlled substances on our streets.   

The Melbourne Police Department has experts who coordinate efforts with other local, state, and federal agencies to ensure that its citizens are well informed about the dangers of drug abuse and the deadly affect it could have on their lives.

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