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Understanding drugs   

The use of psychotropic drugs has become a very important socio-cultural element of our society.

The use of drugs date back very far. There are traces of opium consumption even before the Christian era. Coca leaves have been known for centuries. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the well-known drugs such as cocaine (sold in the US from 1885) and diacetylmorphine, better known under the name of heroin (sold in Germany from 1898 ), have spread widely.

However, with the development of modern psychotropic drugs dates back to the 1950s we saw at that time explode the development of psychopharmacology. Since that time, we can say that the use of psychotropic drugs has become a very important socio-cultural element of our society. It is even now the group of the most widely used substances.

What is a drug ?

Broadly, a drug is any substance, other than food, which is absorbed to alter in any way the functioning of the body or mind, which includes all kinds of drugs. In the field of addiction, we talk about ‘’psychoactive substance’’. These drugs can change perceptions, emotions, mood, thinking or behavior.

A drug is a POISON, a substance that enters the body at different doses and destroys or alters the vital functions of the body systems. Depending on the power of the drug, the amount ingested, it can calm, stimulate, disrupt and too high doses can lead to death.

Drugs, often consumed in a recreational context, are absorbed mainly for MENTAL EFFECTS. They act specifically on the mind and senses. They act on the central nervous system. But any substance or drug consumption will spread throughout the body.

Thus, the effects will not be limited to a single organ. Other effects, besides the main effect sought, are likely to occur. Drugs have also ALWAYS PHYSICAL EFFECTS. These short and long term physical side effects are NOT desired.



Expected effect motivating the consumption of this product

Unwanted side effects


Disinhibition, euphoria

Digestive disorders, confusion, etc.


Wellness, modification of sensations, relaxation, euphoria

Memory, diminished reflexes and attention, palpitations, etc.


Euphoria and sense of well-being.

Male impotence, frigidity in women, etc.


Stimulation, awake, wellness, not aware of fatigue or pain, feeling of intellectual power

Increased heart rate, depression, anxiety, irritability, etc.

Where drugs come from ?

Drugs can be from natural sources, semi-natural or synthetic. Drugs from natural sources come from nature, plants. The semi-natural drugs are natural source, but modified to increase the power of drugs and synthetic drugs are often manufactured in clandestine laboratories, which means that we cannot know exactly what's in it and the exact amount that we consume. Note that this is not because a drug is "natural" source that is not harmful.


  • ALCOHOL is obtained by fermentation of sugar-rich plant or distillation.
  • CANNABIS is a plant: it is in the form of "grass" (mixture of leaves, stems and dried flowers), resin (obtained by pressing the flowers) or oil (resin soaked alcohol)
  • HEROIN is derived from morphine. These two powerful opiates originate from a plant, poppy, which is incised to collect opium as a white latex, then dry it and make morphine..
  • COCAINE is extracted from coca leaves.
  • METHAMPHETAMINE Methamphetamine is a synthetic drug made from chemical ingredients.

Legal or illegal?

Drugs can be legal or illegal. They are governed by the LAW which provides penalties and fines for each category of offense (sale, production, consumption, etc.) according to the type of drug. Alcohol is legal in Canada, but it is illegal to drive while intoxicated and driving while impaired by drugs (an alcohol level higher than .80%). The consequences would be:
  • A fine of $ 50 to $ 600 if convicted
  • Criminal Charges
  • Suspension of driving license
  • Conviction to follow a rehabilitation driver
  • Possible Imprisonment
  • Risk to kill you or kill your passengers or other persons
  • Cannabis is currently illegal in Canada. Smoke a joint for his own pleasure or trafficking of small amounts of this psychoactive drug remains illegal and is punishable under the law. And it will be so unless legalization is passed. Other drugs: cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy, etc. are illegal.


    Addiction: Be hung on something. You absolutely need this to feel good. And you continue to use despite adverse physical and mental effects of drugs in all aspects of our lives.

    All psychotropic drugs may lead to a Psychological dependence and / or PHYSICAL.

    EMOTIONAL: Emotional state felt like an insatiable appetite for drugs and inability to stop at will its consumption. An intense desire to use drugs and to feel the effects.

    PHYSICAL: physiological reaction (or physical) of the organism in the absence of drug. After repeated use, the body has adapted to the continued presence of drugs and created an internal chemical balance depending on the presence of this product.

    So when the body is deprived of this substance, an imbalance is created and results because of lack of the substance manifested by various unpleasant physical reactions such as tremors, sweating, headache, seizures, etc. (Withdrawal symptoms). Withdrawal symptoms may be mild, but they are often acute. Not all psychotropic are causing physical dependence.  

    TOLERANCE: A tolerance develops. It occurs when it is necessary to increase the drug dose to achieve the effects obtained in the beginning with lower doses of this drug. It can be installed quickly or slowly depending on the type of drug and the frequency of consumption.  

    The cycle of addiction:

    Nobody wants to become dependent on drugs or alcohol. But many fall into the drug trap. It can begin with a desire to overcome boredom, get sensations, or to be cool. Often the person has a problem that causes him torment. This can be a romantic break, a family problem, failures, difficulty making friends, interact with others, etc. This can also be a physical pain.

    The person begins to drink alcohol or to take drugs and it seems a little better in his life. This substance begins to have a good value to him because it made him forget his worries, seems to give him the ability to solve its problems, etc.

    But this is not a solution as it seemed. This is not the promised paradise. This is ‘’solving’’ a problem and causing a bigger one. For whatever the reason for which the person started his consumption, the problem now is to get the drug so that it does not lack and result in suffering.

    A phenomenon of tolerance installs quickly or gradually and he must take more drugs to achieve desired effects. He no longer gets the desired effects but sometimes suffers from all the physical and mental side effects of his drug use. It loses the ability to control his usage and disregards the horrible consequences of his addiction.

    The person feels guilty and begin to withdraw from certain areas of his life. He will hide things to his family, his friends. Since he continues to drink and use drugs, his body continues to get used to the presence of drugs.

     That's when the new addict begins to experience the lack of drugs. He will experience an irresistible obsession to obtain and consume their drugs and will do anything to avoid the pain of not having one.

    He crossed an invisible line. He is now a drug addict, (drugs or alcohol).

    The combinaison of substances Simultaneous use or drug alternately.

    The combination of substances can result in interactions that can be dangerous and sometimes fatal.

    Name of drugs and drug classification

    Drugs are different names, depending on who calls it: scientists, researchers, manufacturers, consumers:

    Chemical name : Described the chemical composition of the drug

    Example: The chemical name of diazepam (Diazepam belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines) is 7-chloro-1,3-dihydro-1-methyl-5 phénil-2H-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one .

    Generic name : Official medical name of the active substance base used by all manufacturers that use it in the world.

    Example: DIAZEPAM

    Trade name : Name chosen by the manufacturer who places the drug on the market.

    Example: Valium, Apo-Diazepam, Novo-Dipam are trade names for the DIAZEPAM which is the generic name.

    A substance has one chemical name and one generic name but can have several trade names.

    Slang name : Name given by the consumer.

    One could classify drugs according to different criteria, but in general the drugs are classified according to their effects on the central nervous system. Psychotropic substances consumption affects several body systems such as the glandular system, but targets the central nervous system to achieve the desired effect.

    The nervous system is the site of action of psychotropic (emotions, memory, intellectual functioning, perceptions, reflexes, etc. Everything in the body can be affected or disturbed.  

    Drugs categories

    Effects on the central nervous system


           Causing a slowdown or reduction of central nervous system activity.

           Lower the mental and physical energy

           Produce a feeling of calm, drowsiness and wellness


           Cause stimulation or acceleration of the central nervous system activities.

           Activate the mental and physical functions of the individual

           Produce increased wakefulness, enhancement of mood and energy boost



           Disturb or disrupt the activity of the central nervous system.

           Influence on perceptions and emotions.

           Can also cause hallucinations.

           Various effects according to the substances

    Any consumer is exposed to risks. For more different types of drugs and their physical and mental effects, ask for the free booklet DRUGS AND THEIR EFFECTS.

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