No matter how a drug is put in the body, it travels through the blood until it reaches the central nervous system. Psychoactive drugs affect the chemistry of the brain, especially that of neurotransmitters which transmit messages throughout the body. The drugs work by mimicking or modifying the effects of various neurotransmitters. This is what causes most of the effects on the mind and body. In addition to these direct effects, phenomena such as tolerance, tissue dependence, withdrawal, and metabolism determine a user's reaction to psychoactive drugs.
Up to date scientific information that is presented in an objective way can be found at the NIDA website under Trusted Sites. A variety of substances are covered, including alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy and other so-called 'Club Drugs'.
The acronym RAGS, a series of questions you can ask yourself to assess an on-going interaction with a substance, may be helpful in assessing a drinking or other drug problem:
Alcohol poisoning occurs when the body's functions (heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing) have been severely depressed by the effects of alcohol, enough to produce unconsciousness and in some cases death. Acute alcohol intoxication, or alcohol poisoning, can occur after the ingestion of a large amount of alcohol. Inexperienced drinkers or those sensitive to alcohol may become acutely intoxicated and suffer serious consequences after ingesting smaller amounts of alcohol. An acronym useful in emergency situations such as possible alcohol poisoning is CUSP:
Health Promotion staff and Wellness staff can review factual information with you in a non-judgmental manner and discuss possible options for changing your relationship with a substance. These options can range from self-education and review of behavior change strategies to pursuit of more formal treatment.
Being a student and being in recovery can definitely be a challenge at times, but it can also be an exciting and rewarding experience. Finding support is important, and NYU offers several different types of support for students in recovery. For information about 12-step and self-help meetings on or near campus, call Health Promotion at 212-443-1234.
Health Promotion staff are available at SHC to discuss strategies for navigating the course of recovery. Students in recovery can also join a listserv to communicate with other NYU students in recovery. To join, send a blank email message to firstname.lastname@example.org.