Stimulant Drugs: How Much Do You Know?
By: Beth McHugh 2007
Drugs have become everyday commodities that parents and teenagers must learn to deal with in effective and responsible ways. As a parent, it is natural to want to protect your child from the influence of drugs, but we can’t be there all the time to watch over our teenagers. And while we can adopt the “just say no!” attitude, it helps if we actually know what we are saying no to.
Therefore, this is the first in a series of some of the most common street drugs readily available to our children and each one outlines the common immediate effects of the drug, the long-term effects of drug use, and treatment options.
Today we will look at stimulant drugs. You have probably already had your daily dose of one of this class of drugs. Caffeine in the form of tea, coffee, chocolate and cola is one of the many types of stimulant drugs. Before you begin to minimize the effects of caffeine on the body and negate your own drug usage, consider this. People can, and do, become addicted to caffeine. It is not unheard of for people to ingest upwards of 20 cups of coffee, cola and tea a day and develop not only an addiction but a dependence on the drug. Coming off caffeine involves many of the symptoms of coming off other, more malignly-labeled stimulants such as amphetamines and we should always be alert to both the messages we send out to children regarding any form of drug, and well as being aware of a genetic preponderance for becoming addicted to the stimulant family of drugs.
Having said that, we will now move on to discuss the more common stimulant street drugs available to your child. In the US today, your son or daughter is more likely to be using a stimulant (including caffeine and nicotine) than any other class of drug. As their name suggests, stimulants make you feel more alert and provide a sense of energy, euphoria and elation. Hence the charm these drugs wield for teenagers needing to feel better, particularly about themselves.
In coming articles, we will look at the effects of amphetamines, ecstasy,
nicotine and caffeine plus outline the criteria for intoxication and
dependence upon these drugs.