Why People Use Drugs

Drugs are fascinating because they can change our awareness. The basic reason people take drugs is to vary their conscious experience. Of course there are many other ways to alter consciousness, such as listening to music, making music, dancing, fasting, chanting, exercising, surfing, meditating, falling in love, hiking in the wilderness (if you live in a city), visiting a city (if you live in the wilderness), having sex, daydreaming, watching fireworks, going to a movie or play, jumping into...

Organic Solvents

In chemistry the word organic refers to compounds of carbon. Some of the simplest organic chemicals are clear, volatile liquids made by distilling petroleum. These liquids have many uses in industry. Some, like gasoline, make good fuels because they burn readily. Others, like benzene and toluene, dissolve grease and oil, making them useful as cleaning fluids and solvents. The fumes of these organic solvents have strong chemical odors and make people feel lightheaded, hot, and dizzy. Cans and...

Nightshades Jimsonweed Datura Belladonna Henbane

The nightshade family of plants includes some very popular foods tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplants, and potatoes. It also includes tobacco and some poisonous plants that are infamous because of their associations with crime, witchcraft, and black magic. Even their names are sinister henbane, mandrake, and deadly nightshade, for example. Nightshades look scary, too. They are rank, hairy plants with strange smells and peculiar flowers some have dangerous fruit. In North America the main...

Amyl Nitrite Amysr Poppers Snappers Pearls Aspirol Vaporal

Amyl nitrite is a simple chemical that has been used for more than a hundred years to relieve heart pain in people who suffer from coronary artery disease. Such people often feel severe chest pain when they exert themselves. If they breathe the fumes of amyl nitrite, the pain quickly disappears because the drug dilates arteries throughout the body, reducing the workload of the heart. Other effects are a sudden fall in blood pressure, a throbbing feeling in the head (or even a brief, pounding...

Antihistamines

Some allergic reactions are mediated by an endogenous substance called histamine that strongly affects nerves, blood vessels, and other tissues. In an effort to suppress allergic symptoms, pharmacologists have invented a number of synthetic drugs to block the actions of histamine. Many antihistamines are now available in large-dosage forms they are dispensed by prescription, but lower-dosage forms are sold over the counter. Some of the ones in widespread use are diphenhydramine (Benadryl),...

PCP Angel Dust Peace Pill Hog Animal Tranquilizer THC Cannabinol

PCP phencyclidine was invented in a pharmaceutical laboratory in the late 1950s and was introduced into clinical medicine in the United States in 1963 under the trade name Sernyl. It was marketed as a surgical anesthetic but did not make people unconscious in the same way as ether. Rather, it dissociated consciousness from the body so that patients were not bothered by surgical procedures even though they retained some kind of awareness. Enthusiasm about the medical value of PCP diminished when...