Big Headline Drugs: Meth, Cocaine, Crack, Herion

Published: Apr. 2, 2018 at 10:47 PM CDT|Updated: May. 11, 2018 at 9:23 AM CDT
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(speed, meth, chalk, ice, crystal, glass, tina, jib, crank)

methIn the 1960’s methamphetamine was a common street drug usually taken in pill form.  Referred to as “speed” it was known for its unpredictable and harmful effects.  Since the 1990’s a smokeable form (“crystal”) has been available.  This form has extremely damaging short term and long term effects. Smoking or injecting “meth” causes a stronger reaction than inhaling or taking it in pill form.  Another recent cause for concern is the way crystal meth is produced. It is made by combining household items, such as ammonia and lithium from batteries, with pseudoephedrine which is found in several common cold medicines. The illegal home laboratories which produce the drug are extremely dangerous because of the chemicals involved.

While the use of crystal meth is not on the rise among the mainstream high school population, there may be concern about how much it is used among certain populations, such as street youth, or within particular communities.


it causes feelings of an intense sensation of pleasure; when smoked or injected there is a brief "rush" or "flash" although the drug stays in the body for up to 12 hours

it causes increased heart rate, blood pressure and can cause damage to blood vessels in the brain and convulsions

the person may experience loos of appetite, become anxious, aggressive or confused

long-term effects include; possible irreversible damage to brain cell-endings, associated with thinking, memory and movement, insomnia, anorexia, paranoia, bizarre violent behavior and skin sores.

("C", coke, flake, snow, stardust, blow, nose candy)

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that comes from the coca bush that grows in South America.  The leaves are soaked, mashed and filtered to create a paste that is treated with chemicals.  It ends up as a powder that has other powders added to it.

"Crack" or "rock" is cocaine which is chemically changed so it can be smoked and inhaled into the lungs. Crack cocaine is particularly addictive and very dangerous. People are attracted to it because smoking provides a much quicker and more intense "high" than sniffing or "snorting" cocaine into the nostrils.  The immediate, intense euphoria of smoking crack cocaine wears off more quickly than when the drug is sniffed.  Then the user becomes anxious, irritable and deeply depressed and craves another dose to relieve the depression. Cocaine can be snorted into the nose as a powder or injected by needle.  It can be smoked in the form of crack or rock.


the person's appetite will decrease

the person will be more alert and have more energy and will not get tired easily

the person's heart rate, blood pressure  breathing will speed up and there is a risk of burst blood vessels or heart failure

the person's pupils will be enlarged and their appetite decreased

the person may act bizarre or be violent; they may experience paranoid psychosis, like feeling a sensation of having something crawling under their skin.

(smack, "H", skag, junk)

heroinHeroin is an “opioid” drug, processed from morphine, a natural substance that is taken from the seed pod of the Asian poppy plant. It usually appears as a white or brown powder. Pure heroin is usually diluted with other powder substances, such as sugar, when it is sold on the street.  As a powder, heroin can be sniffed through the nose or smoked or diluted with water and then injected into a vein or under the skin.  Heroin abuse has been associated with the use of needles and, therefore, such serious health conditions as fatal overdoses, collapsed veins and infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. An overdose can cause death.  Recently there has been a shift from injecting heroin to smoking or snorting (sniffing it through the nose).  Heroin is a very addictive drug and all forms of using the drug can result in physical dependence.  Withdrawal from the drug can be extremely painful and uncomfortable for the user.


the person may feel a surge of intense pleasure ("euphoria")

the person may feel a warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth and heaviness in their limbs

the person then may experience a drowsy state and clouded mental functioning

After repeated and long term use, the person my develop collapsed veins (from injections) or a nasal soreness (from snorting) The person may develop heart valve infections or liver disease

methodoneMethadone is also an “opioid” drug, but unlike heroin, it is synthetically produced in a lab.  It is used to treat dependence on other opioid drugs.  Methadone is increasingly prescribed as a treatment option for people who are addicted to heroin or abusing prescription pain relievers.  A methadone maintenance program provides a medically safer alternative for people dealing with opioid addictions.