The descriptions listed below may be useful in detecting drug use through observation of student behavior and
Immediate negative effects of inhalants include nausea, sneezing, coughing, nosebleeds, fatigue, lack of coordi-nation, and loss of appetite. Solvents and aerosol sprays also decrease the heart and respiratory rates, and impair
judgement. Amyl and butyl nitrite cause rapid pulse, headaches, and involuntary passing of urine and feces. Long-
term use may result in hepatitis or brain hemorrhage.
Deeply inhaling the vapors, or using large amounts over a short period of time, may result in disorientation, violent
behavior, unconsciousness, or death. High concentrations of inhalants can cause suffocation by displacing the
oxygen in the lungs or by depressing the central nervous system to the point that breathing stops. Long-term use
can cause weight loss, fatigue, electrolyte imbalance, and muscle fatigue. Repeated sniffing of concentrated
vapors over time can permanently damage the nervous system.
All forms of cannabis have negative physical and mental effects. Several regularly observed physical effects of
cannabis are a substantial decrease in the heart rate, bloodshot eyes, dry mouth and throat, and increased
Use of cannabis may impair or reduce short term memory and comprehension, alter sense of time, and reduce
ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination such as driving a car. Research also shows that
students do not retain knowledge when they are "high". Motivation and cognition may be altered, making the
acquisition of new information difficult. Marijuana can also produce paranoia and psychosis.
Because users often inhale the unfiltered smoke deeply and then hold it in their lungs as long as possible,
marijuana is damaging to the lungs and pulmonary system. Marijuana smoke contains more cancer-causing agents than tobacco.
Long-term users of cannabis may develop psychological dependency and require more of the drug to get the same
effect. The drug can become the center of their lives.
Stimulants can cause increased heart and respiratory rates, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils and decreased
appetite. In addition, users may experience sweating, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, sleeplessness, and
anxiety. Extremely high doses can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat, tremors, loss of coordination, and even
physical collapse. An amphetamine injection creates a sudden increase in blood pressure that can result in
stroke, very high fever, or heart failure.
In addition to the physical effects, users report feeling restless, anxious, and moody. Higher doses intensify the
effects. Persons who use large amounts of amphetamines over a long period of time can develop an amphetamine
psychosis that includes hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. These symptoms usually disappear when drug
The effects of depressants are in many ways similar to the effects of alcohol. Small amounts can produce calm-
ness and relaxed muscles, but somewhat larger doses can cause slurred speech, staggering gait, and altered
perception. Very large doses can cause respiratory depression, coma, and death. The combination of depressants
and alcohol can multiply the effects of the drugs, thereby multiplying the risks.
The use of depressants can cause both physical and psychological dependence. Regular use over time may result
in a tolerance to the drug, leading the user to increase the quantity consumed. When regular users suddenly stop
taking large doses, they may develop withdrawal symptoms ranging from restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety to
convulsions and death.
Babies born to mothers who abuse depressants during pregnancy may be physically dependent on the drugs and
show withdrawal symptoms shortly after they are born. Birth defects and behavioral problems also may result.
Phencyclidine (PCP) interrupts the functions of the neocortex, the section of the brain that controls the intellect
and keeps instincts in check. Because the drug blocks pain receptors, violent PCP episodes may result in self-
The effects of PCP vary, but users frequently report a sense of distance and estrangement. Time and body
movement are slowed down. Muscular coordination worsens and senses are dulled. Speech is blocked and
Chronic users of PCP report persistent memory problems and speech difficulties. Some of these effects may last
six (6) months to a year following prolonged daily use. Mood disorders - depression anxiety, and violent behavior -
also occur. In later stages of chronic use, users often exhibit paranoid and violent behavior and experience
hallucinations. Large doses may produce convulsions and coma, heart and lung failure, or ruptured blood vessels
in the brain.
Lysergic acid (LSD), mescaline, and psilocybin cause delusions and hallucinations. The physical effects may
include dilated pupils, elevated body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite,
sleeplessness, and tremors.
Sensations and feelings may change rapidly. It is common to have a bad psychological reaction to LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin. The user may experience panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety, and loss of control.
Delayed effects, or flashbacks, can occur even after use has ceased.
Narcotics initially produce a feeling of euphoria that often is followed by drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. Users
also may experience constricted pupils, watery eyes, and itching. An overdose may produce slow and shallow
breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma, and possibly death.
Tolerance to narcotics develops rapidly and dependence is likely. The use of contaminated syringes may result in
diseases such as AIDS, endocarditis, and hepatitis. Addiction in pregnant women can lead to premature, stillborn,
or addicted infants who experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
Illegal drugs are defined in terms of their chemical formulas. To circumvent these legal restrictions, underground
chemists modify the molecular structure of certain illegal drugs to produce analogs known as designer drugs.
These drugs can be several hundred times stronger than the drugs they are designed to imitate.
The narcotics analogs can cause symptoms such as those seen in Parkinson's disease - uncontrollable tremors,
drooling, impaired speech, paralysis, and irreversible brain damage. Analogs of amphetamines and methampheta-
mines cause nausea, blurred vision, chills or sweating, and faintness. Psychological effects include anxiety,
depression, and paranoia. As little as one dose can cause brain damage. The analogs of phencyclidine cause
illusions, hallucinations, and impaired perception.
Approved/Adopted: July 13, 2009