Overdose from drugs
Many street drugs have no therapeutic benefits. Any use of these drugs is a form of drug abuse.
Legitimate medications can be abused by people who take more than the recommended dose or who intentionally take them with alcohol or other drugs.
Drug interactions may also produce adverse effects. Therefore, it is important to let your doctor know about all the drugs you are taking, including vitamins and other over-the-counter medications.
Many drugs are addictive. Sometimes the addiction is gradual. However, some drugs (such as cocaine) can cause addiction after only a few doses.
Someone who has become addicted to a drug usually will have withdrawal symptoms when the drug is suddenly stopped. Withdrawal is greatly assisted by professional help.
A drug dose that is large enough to be toxic is called an overdose. This may occur suddenly, when a large amount of the drug is taken at one time, or gradually, as a drug builds up in the body over a longer period of time. Prompt medical attention may save the life of someone who accidentally or deliberately takes an overdose.
Mind-altering drugs are called hallucinogens. They include LSD, PCP (angel dust), and other street drugs. Using such drugs may cause paranoia, hallucinations, aggressive behavior, or extreme social withdrawal.
Cannabis-containing drugs such as marijuana may cause relaxation, impaired motor skills, and increased appetite.
Legal prescription drugs are sometimes taken in higher than recommended amounts to achieve a feeling other than the therapeutic effects for which they were intended. This may lead to serious side effects.
The use of any of the above mentioned drugs may result in impaired judgment and decision-making skills.
Bardsley CH. Opioids. In: Marx JA, ed. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 160.
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