Other Drugs and Addictions

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    Cyberaddiction – Information on the risks and effects of excessive Internet use

    Cyberaddiction or Internet addiction is the excessive use of services, content, or applications on the Internet that is characterized by a loss of control. This form of addiction does not involve the use of a substance such as tobacco, alcohol, or an illegal substance. The following three areas of the internet can lead to internet addiction: online games, communication platforms (e.g. social networks), and sexual and pornographic internet pages.

    When does excessive Internet use become an Internet addiction?

    A person suffering from Internet addiction loses control of his or her Internet use and spends a considerable amount of time on it. Surfing the Internet becomes the sole focus of their attention, and the person becomes distracted from all other previous activities. This form of addiction creates an excessive and obsessive need for the Internet. It can also lead to excessive use of smartphones or other mobile devices connected to the Internet, which are used to access the content they are looking for or to communicate online on social networks.

    Tobacco and Nicotine – Information on the substance, effects, and side effects

    Tobacco is produced from the leaves of the tobacco plant (Nicotiana tabacum). It is most often smoked, but it can also be sniffed or sucked (snus: moist tobacco powder, placed behind the lips). Nicotine is one of the main addictive components of tobacco. Tobacco smoke contains about 4000 substances, including carcinogenic tar, carbon monoxide, and other toxic gases. Smoking is an established risk factor for a range of cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

    The electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) is a form of consumption without tobacco. Liquid containing nicotine, flavourings, water, and solvent is diffused as a vapour and inhaled. The risks of this form of consumption are not yet sufficiently studied.

    What are the effects and side effects of nicotine use?

    Nicotine, one of the most addictive substances, enters the lungs through the inhalation of tobacco smoke and reaches the brain directly through the bloodstream. It takes only 7 to 10 seconds to feel the effects of nicotine. With snuff, nicotine enters the body slowly through the mucous membranes. The absorption of nicotine is also slower when taken orally (snus) than when inhaling the smoke. The concentration of nicotine in the blood also decreases very slowly.

    Once nicotine reaches the brain, it stimulates the release of various neurotransmitters. Depending on the psychological and physical state, it acts on the mood, has a stimulating or relaxing and calming effect.

    Heroin – Information about the substance, effects and side effects

    Heroin (chemical name: diacetylmorphine) is a powerful, semi-synthetic opiate with an analgesic effect. It has a very strong addictive potential. Heroin is sold on the market as a white, beige, grey, or brown powder. It most often contains cutting substances and impurities during the manufacturing process. In addition, it is often cut with caffeine and paracetamol. Heroin is mostly injected, rarely smoked, or inhaled.

    What are the effects and side effects of heroin use?

    Heroin use has a euphoric, calming, and balancing effect. It eliminates anxiety. Other effects of heroin use include a sense of well-being and self-satisfaction, an escape from reality, and a feeling of security. However, the effects depend on the purity level and the physical condition of the user. The effects of heroin are felt 10 seconds after being injected intravenously and a few minutes after being smoked or inhaled. The duration of the effects depends on the dosage, the quality of the product and the way it is used. It is from 2 to 5 hours. The difference between the tolerated, effective and lethal dose is minimal.

    Heroin can cause a slowing of the heart rate to a lethal reduction in breathing rate of 2 to 4 breaths per minute. Nausea, vomiting, itching, a drop in blood pressure, a slowing of the pulse, pinpoint pupils and blocked urinary function are additional side effects of heroin use. Other side effects include disorientation, confusion, language and coordination problems, memory lapses, constipation and decreased sexual desire.

    Ecstasy (MDMA) – Information on the substance, effects and side effects

    MDMA (3,4-methylene dioxymetamphetamine, also N-methyl) has been known since the 1980s as ecstasy as the synthetic party drug. Ecstasy is most often sold in the form of multi-coloured pills with different logos. Ecstasy is rarely sold as crystals, powder, or capsules. Pills sold as ecstasy often contain other psychoactive substances, such as 2C-B hallucinogens.

    What are the effects and side effects of using ecstasy?

    MDMA has stimulant and slightly hallucinogenic effects. Emotions can be felt more intensely. How the side effects of ecstasy use manifest themselves in each case depends on several factors, such as the dosage, the actual composition of the pills, the characteristics of each individual (psychological state, personality, mood, expectations of the product, etc.), and the environment of use.

    In the body, ecstasy use causes a rise in pulse and blood pressure, dilation of the pupils, constriction of the jaws, and frequently nausea when the ecstasy starts to take effect. MDMA acts in the brain as a transmitter of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. The body temperature increases partially, which together with dancing for hours in overheated rooms and insufficient hydration can lead to the risk of fatal overheating.

    On a psychological level, ecstasy use can lead to feelings of well-being, increased empathy, and openness to others. However, negative emotions such as sadness and fear may be reinforced and disorientation, hallucinations, and panic attacks may occur. Depressive states may also occur in the days following MDMA use.

    Cocaine – Information about the substance, effects, and side effects

    Cocaine is extracted from the leaves of the South American coca bush and belongs to the group of stimulants. It is mostly found as a powder or as a white or yellow crystalline mass with a bitter taste, or as a “pebble”. It is often mixed with painkillers or drugs which can damage your health if you use cocaine regularly. Cocaine is usually “snorted”, which means it is taken through the nose. Cocaine that has been chemically processed into purified cocaine (crack/free base) is rarely smoked or injected intravenously.

    What are the effects and side effects of cocaine use?

    Cocaine is known to have a stimulant effect that can enhance performance, which is why it is also used as a party drug. However, this effect, as well as the risks of use, differ from person to person and depend on many factors such as dosage, purity level, addictive effects, and mode of use. The mental and physical state of the person using cocaine and their environment also play an important role.