Guide to slang terms
Drug names and especially slang terms can be confusing.
How drugs work
The Central Nervous System that consists of the brain and the spinal cord is affected by drugs because the molecular substance in the drug mimics or displaces the neurotransmitters that occur naturally.
There are several factors that can affect drug users differently including what drug is taken, how much is taken, whether other drugs have also been taken, circumstances surrounding the drug use, frequency of drug taking (tolerance develops) and routine of administration (i.e. orally, inhalation, injection or rectally).
Drugs can be classified by their effect on the central nervous system. There are 3 categories – these are:
DRUGS: nicotine, marijuana, cocaine, crack, methamphetamine (e.g. ice, speed, crystal meth, ecstacy), amphetamines (e.g. speed).
Stimulants speed up messages to and from the brain. After using a stimulant the person experiences wakefulness, insomnia, suppressed appetite, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and respiration, dilated pupils and feelings of powerfulness and wellbeing. Stimulants that cause these effects include
DRUGS: alcohol, marijuana, heroin, opiates, gases, tranquilisers, some solvents, non-narcotic analgesics.
Depressants slow down messages to and from the brain. After using a depressant the person experiences sedation and sleepiness, feelings of wellbeing and euphoria, loss of sensation, lower anxiety, pain reduction and decreased heart/respiration rates.
LSD or acid (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide)
DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine), Mescaline, some inhalants, some solvents, amphetamines, marijuana and gold-top mushroom.
Hallucinogens confuse messages to and from the brain causing hallucinations. The effects of hallucinogens differ from person to person and are very unpredictable, ranging from euphoria to terror.
Withdrawal is the physical and psychological response to the absence of the drug in the body after the body has become used to having the drug in the system. The symptoms experienced in withdrawal are usually the opposite to the effect of the drug. (Warning: medical assistance is often required).
Why people use drugs?
People use legal and illegal drugs for a number of reasons. These commonly include:
to get well when they are sick
to feel confident about themselves
to escape, forget their problems
to assist them to stay up all night
to relax and ‘chill out’
to be accepted by a group of people
to loosen up and be free of usual inhibitions
to increase one’s enjoyment of other people
to feel happy
to have fun
to get sleep
to be rebellious
to relieve boredom
because people they respect do
to feel sociable
Practical help for families
If you have a loved one dealing with substance abuse, we are here to help you. You can download our Practical Guide for Parents and Families to get a foundational understanding of how to support a loved one during this time. If you'd like more information, you can contact our Family Support Service.
Download Practical Guide for Parents and Families
If you or someone you know would benefit from our program and want to enquire about any information concerning referrals please contact our Assessment Officer on (07) 3422 1500.