Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “drug abuse”

Smoking from MedlinePlus

Smoking from MedlinePlus – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/smoking.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What are the effects of smoking bidis and kreteks?
  • What are the health effects of smoking tobacco through a hookah?
  • How does smoking affect the digestive system?
  • How does tobacco harm the body?
  • How does smoking affect fertility?

Description:

A brief overview of the health effects and addiction potential of tobacco, followed by links to related resources including:

  • Smoking and Infertility (American Society for Reproductive Medicine)
  • Smoking in Middle Age Is Associated with Increased Rate of Cognitive Decline in Men
  • Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • Bidis and Kreteks (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • E-Cigarettes: Questions and Answers (Food and Drug Administration)
  • Hookahs (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Non-Medical Use and Abuse: Prescription-type and Over-the-Counter Drugs

Non-Medical Use and Abuse: Prescription-type and Over-the-Counter Drugs – http://web.archive.org/web/20130217174111/http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/prescription.htm

UPDATE October 3, 2015: This page had been formerly hosted by SAMHSA’s Office of Applied Studies, which as of October 2015 could not be found in SAMHSA’s list of offices and centers. This page may still provide you with good overviews. I would recommend updating stats or effects of particular drugs by searching that drug on SAMHSA’s web site.

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What are the most abused brands of cough syrup?
  • Where does pain reliever abuse tend to be highest?
  • How can the use of drugs to treat ADHD send you to the hospital?

Description:

A lengthy list of reports dealing with the abuse of prescription-type and over-the-counter drugs. Many of the reports give user demographics and emergency room visits and deaths resulting from use. Some reports deal with effects of specific drugs. Reports of note include:

  • The NSDUH Report: Nonmedical Use of Pain Relievers in Substate Regions: 2004 to 2006.
  • The NSDUH Report: Misuse of Over-the-Counter Cough and Cold Medications among Persons Aged 12 to 25
  • The New DAWN Report: Emergency Department Visits Involving ADHD Stimulant Medications
  • The DASIS Report: Characteristics of Primary Tranquilizer Admissions: 2002
  • The DAWN Report: Amphetamine and Methamphetamine Emergency Department Visits, 1995-2002

The main value of this site to writers will be in coming up with a typical user for your drug of choice or for deciding how likely it would be for a given character to be addicted to or injured by a particular drug.

National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Publications

National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Publications – http://drugpubs.drugabuse.gov/

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Where can I find posters on drug abuse?
  • What is the brain’s response to Marijuana?
  • What should a character ask before getting drug treatment?
  • What is a therapeutic community?

Description:

A general resource for publications about drug abuse from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Publications include posters, reports and more. Publications can be browsed and searched by: drug topic, audience, drugs of abuse, type (CDs, charts, manuals, kits and posters) and series.

Methamphetamine from MedlinePlus

Methamphetamine from MedlinePlus – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/methamphetamine.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What are some street names for methamphetamines?
  • What are the symptoms of a methamphetamine overdose?
  • What do methamphetamine tablets look like?
  • What are methamphetamines effect on the teeth?

Description:

A short overview of methamphetamines, with links to a number of resources including:

  • Meth (Crank, Ice) Facts From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
  • Methamphetamine Use and Oral Health (American Dental Association)
  • Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure Linked with Problems From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
  • Methamphetamine overdose

Marijuana from MedlinePlus

Marijuana from MedlinePlus – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/marijuana.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What are some conditions that mainstream medicine consider marijuana a promising treatment for?
  • What are some of the health effects of the synthetic marijuana known as spice?
  • What are some of marijuana’s side effects?

Description:

A brief overview of how marijuana appears and is used, folowed by links to resources including:

  • Cannabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ) From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)
  • Marijuana (Cannabis) and Multiple Sclerosis (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • Marijuana and Glaucoma: Separating Fact from Fiction (American Academy of Ophthalmology)
  • Spice (Synthetic Marijuana) From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Inhalants from MedlinePlus

Inhalants from MedlinePlus – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/inhalants.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How can inhalant abuse be recognized?
  • What are nitrites used for?
  • Can computer dusters get you high?

Description:

Dangerous drugs can lurk in your kitchen cabinet. Inhalants include household products such as glues, hair sprays, paints and lighter fluid. This MedlinePlus provides a brief overview of inhalants, then provides links to a number of resources, including:

  • Inhalant Abuse From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
  • 12 Year Olds More Likely to Use Inhalants Than Cigarettes or Marijuana (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
  • What You Need to Know about Drugs: Inhalants (Nemours Foundation)

Heroin from MedlinePlus

Heroin from MedlinePlus – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/heroin.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What does Asian heroin look like?
  • What treatment options are available for heroin addiction?
  • What are the symptoms of heroin and other opiate withdrawal?

Description:

A brief overview of herion and its effects, followed by links to other resources including:

  • Heroin (Drug Enforcement Administration)
  • Facts About Buprenorphine for Treatment of Opioid Addiction (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
  • Heroin Photos(Drug Enforcement Administration)
  • Heroin – Changes In How It Is Used: 1995-2005 (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
  • Characteristics of Adolescent Heroin Admissions (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
  • Opiate withdrawal

Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets

Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets (http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/job185drugs/technical-page.htm)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • For what sorts of offenses do drivers on GHB get pulled over?
  • How long is cocaine detectable in urine samples?
  • What proportion of fatal car accidents involve cocaine in the blood stream?
  • What are the side effects of cocaine?
  • Is a person in methadone treatment considered a bad driving risk?

Description:

This report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is primarily concerned with how particular drugs affect driving. From the introduction:

The Fact Sheets are based on the state of current scientific knowledge and represent the conclusions of the panel. They have been designed to provide practical guidance to toxicologists, pharmacologists, law enforcement officers, attorneys and the general public to use in the evaluation of future cases. Each individual drug Fact Sheet covers information regarding drug chemistry, usage and dosage information, pharmacology, drug effects, effects on driving, drug evaluation and classification (DEC), and the panel’s assessment of driving risks. A list of key references and recommended reading is also provided for each drug. Readers are encouraged to use the Fact Sheets in connection with the other cited impaired driving-related texts.

The information provided is uniform for all the Fact Sheets and provides details on the physical description of the drug, synonyms, and pharmaceutical or illicit sources; medical and recreational uses, recommended and abused doses, typical routes of administration, and potency and purity; mechanism of drug action and major receptor sites; drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination data; blood and urine concentrations; psychological and physiological effects, and drug interactions; drug effects on psychomotor performance effects; driving simulator and epidemiology studies; and drug recognition evaluation profiles. Each Fact Sheet concludes with general statements about the drugs’ ability to impair driving performance. The authors strongly believe that all the above information needs to be taken into account when evaluating a drug.

The drugs covered in this report include:

  • Cannabis/Marijuana
  • Carisoprodol (and Meprobamate)
  • Cocaine
  • Dextromethorphan
  • Diazepam
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB, GBL, and 1,4-BD)
  • Ketamine
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine (and Amphetamine)
  • Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy)
  • Morphine (and Heroin)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Toluene
  • Zolpidem (and Zaleplon, Zopiclone)

Included in the fact sheets are estimates of how often people actually drive while under the influence of drugs. Driving after taking LSD, for example, is rare but dangerous when it happens.

Writers interested in knowing how long a character will stay high on a given drug and what sorts of effects they might experience will find this report a good resource. If you’d prefer this report in paper, it may be available through interlibrary loan. See http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/57542622 to see if it might be in a library near you.

DEA Multimedia Gallery (Drug Enforcement Administration)

DEA Image Gallery (Drug Enforcement Administration)
(http://www.justice.gov/dea/media.shtml)

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What does a bong look like?
  • What does raw black tar heroin look like?
  • What do marinol pills look like?
  • What does loose marijuana look like?
  • What does foil wrapped PCP look like?

Description:

This site has factsheets and publications worth looking into, but it also has a very valuable resource for writers – links to photos of different kinds of abused drugs in raw and processed form. Available topics are:

  • Amphetamines/Stimulants
  • Bath salts
  • Cocaine/Crack Cocaine
  • Depressants
  • Drug Paraphernalia
  • Ecstasy (MDMA)
  • Heroin
  • Hydrocodone
  • K2/Spice
  • Khat
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamines
  • Narcotics
  • Other Drugs
  • OxyContin
  • Steroids

The photos only have the briefest of captions, so don’t expect much information from the photos beyond knowing what the drugs look like. When factsheets are available on the Multimedia home page, they will provide more complete information.

Club Drugs (Rophies, GHB, etc) from MedlinePlus

Club Drugs (Rophies, GHB, etc) from MedlinePlus – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/clubdrugs.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How long do the effects of Ecstasy last?
  • Why are methamphetamines used at parties?
  • How prevalent is the use of club drugs by the US military?

Description:

While some date-rape drugs are club drugs, not all club drugs are date rape drugs. This page provides an overview of what is meant by the term club drugs and then dives into a number of specific resources, including:

  • Club Drugs From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
  • Tips for Parents: The Truth about Club Drugs (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
  • Article: Spice, bath salts, and the U.S. military
  • Emergency Department Visits Related to “Ecstasy” Use Increased Nearly 75 Percent from 2004 to 2008  (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

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