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Potential Signs of Substance Abuse

Category

Examples

Examples of General Effects

Alcohol

beer, wine, spirits impaired judgement, slowed reflexes, sleepiness
or drowsiness, coma; overdose may be fatal

Cannabis

marijuana, hashish distorted sense of time, impaired memory,
impaired coordination

Depressants

sleeping medicines, sedatives,
some tranquilizers
inattention, slowed reflexes, depression, impaired
balance, drowsiness, coma; overdose may be fatal

Hallucinogens

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide),
PCP (phencyclidine), mescaline
inattention, sensory illusions, hallucinations,
disorientation, psychosis

Inhalants

hydrocarbons, solvents, gasoline intoxication similar to alcohol, dizziness, headache

Nicotine

cigarettes, chewing tobacco initial stimulant; later depressant effects

Opiates

morphine, heroin, codeine, some
prescription pain medications
loss of interest, “nodding;” overdose may be fatal

Stimulants

cocaine, amphetamines elevated mood, over-activity, tension/anxiety,
increased heart rate and blood pressure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Blume, S.B., “Alcohol and Drug Abuse” in the Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety 4th edition, International Labour Office, 1998.