Youth at risk for abusing hallucinogenic drugs

Published 8:02 am Wednesday, February 18, 2004

By Staff
This is the fourth installment in a six-part series on drug abuse, provided by the Escambia County Schools Youth Empowerment Program.
Heroin is a powder that is usually injected, snorted or smoked. Most people are familiar with the picture of the old heroin junkie, shooting the drug into his arm in a back alley.
Today, many young people are choosing to snort the drug believing it to be less addictive or harmful than injecting the drug. Heroin is highly addictive no matter what form the drug is used in.
According to the DEA over 4,000 people have died from heroin overdoses in the last four years.
LSD, also known as "acid" to those who grew up in the 70s, is a clear odorless compound made from lysergic acid. LSD is a very strong hallucinogenic substance which can greatly alter the mood of the user.
The effect of one "hit" of LSD lasts approximately three to four hours. LSD is a dangerous substance because it alters the reality perceived by the person under its influence.
The user can believe they are immortal or believe that their best friend has transformed into a monster that will kill them.
GHB is another odorless, tasteless drug that is often placed in the drinks of unsuspecting females at social occasions for the purpose of raping them. GHB is a very strong sedative drug that leaves the user unconscious and with no memory of what occurred during the assault.
GHB is created in illegal home labs and is often made of chemicals like Red Devil Lye or floor wax stripper. The drug acts within 15 minutes of ingesting it and leaves the user unable to defend their bodies.
GHB produces a drunken effect with impaired coordination, confusion, dizziness and drowsiness. An overdose of this drug can result in coma in less than 30 minutes.
Ketamine ("Special K") and Rohypnol ("Roofies") are used in a similar way to GHB. Both drugs are strong sedative compounds.
Ketamine is a drug used by veterinarians to sedate animals for surgery.
Ketamine produces hallucinations similar to LSD or PCP but does not last as long. The effects of the drug begin within five minutes of ingesting the substance.
Rohypnol is used in Europe as a pre-surgery medication to calm the patient. Its effects are similar to Valium, Xanax or Halcyon.
Youth should be cautioned to keep a close eye on their drink containers when at a social event. Although GHB is often used at events where alcohol is served, the drug has the same effect if placed in a container of soda or tea.
Experts report that you should never leave your beverage unattended at a social occasion. Youth should be cautioned that the person who might put GHB in their drink is not a creepy looking stranger, but a friendly face at the gathering.
Most date rapists are the same age and well known to the victims.
For more information on drugs, a referral for drug abuse screening or testing or counseling intervention, please contact Sheri L. Cox, Youth Empowerment Coordinator, Escambia County Schools, 296-0633,