Canada rehabilitation services, this booklet was written primarily as a resource for police, educators, trainers, social service and health care providers, and senior high school, college and university students. It provides information on commonly used mood-altering or psychoactive drugs. In this booklet, the term “drug” is used to refer to any psychoactive or mood-altering substance, including alcohol, inhalants, tobacco, over-the-counter and prescription medication and psychoactive substances which are illegally possessed or distributed.
Today, there are more drugs available than ever before, both legally and illegally. Drug-related problems, including personal and family unhappiness, dependency, physical and mental health problems, premature death, lost productivity, increased crime, highway crashes, and ever-growing costs of law enforcement and health care, are a major social concern. The widespread availability and use of drugs means that drug-related problems will impact all Canadians in one way or another. As a result, there is a need for accurate information about different types of drugs and their effects, how people use them, and how they can affect our lives. How This Booklet Works There are three main parts: The first part looks at drug issues from a general point of view, without going into detail about individual drugs except when they are used as examples. This part is divided into six major sections, each one dealing with a separate drug abuse -related issue.
• What is a Drug?
• Why Do People Use Drugs?
• When Does Drug Use Become a
• What Are the Harmful
Consequences of Drug Use?
• What is Canada’s Drug
• What are Canada’s Drug Laws?
The second part of the booklet consists of nine charts designed as a quick, ready reference for more detailed information on drugs. Each chart covers a major drug group or family:
• Opioid Analgesics
• Alcohol and Inhalants
• Barbiturates/Other Sleeping
Pills/Other Psychotropic Drugs
• Anabolic Steroids
The charts contain detailed information on the individual drugs within each drug abuse group or family, including a description of each drug, its origin and medical uses, its short- and long-term effects, its tolerance and dependence properties, and legal status.
The third part of the booklet, the Appendix, contains more information on specific topics associated with drug use. For quick reference, the booklet also includes a summary listing of each of the drug families and an index of individual drugs. Prescription drugs are listed by their generic designations; for each drug, an example of a widely-used brand name product which contains that drug is also listed and is indicated by the symbol “®”. It should be recognized that some drugs may be available under other brand names and in other forms (e.g., capsule rather than tablet). The final section of the booklet lists useful names and addresses and sources of information. For additional information and statistics on drug use, see the web sites listed in this section. Information specifically on substances that are banned by national and international athletic and sports regulatory bodies is available from the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, whose toll-free number is listed on page 57.
The information in this booklet is based on current knowledge and may change / be updated as new research information becomes available. Much is known about drugs and their possible risks and benefits. Much remains to be found out. Many of the long-term effects of drugs may not be discovered for years. While many drugs have legitimate uses, no drug should be used without proper caution as to its possible short-term and long-term effects.
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