A substance abuse disorder is a pattern of recurrent use of a substance that often leads to damaging consequences. It involves impaired overuse of a substance and often include features of physiological dependence on the substance, and manifests by the development of tolerance or an abstinence syndrome. Although different people use the term addiction differently, it is used here to refer to the habitual or compulsive use of a substance combined with the development of physiological dependence.

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Dagga, Weed, Cannabis, Pot

People who smoke marijuana often experience altered perceptions of the world. Otherwise normal experience seems extremely funny, or the person might enter a dreamlike state in which time seems to stand still. Users often report heightened sensory experiences, seeing vivid colours or appreciating the subtleties of music.



Cocaine increases alertness, produces euphoria, and give you the feeling of invincibility. The texture is similar to baby powder and range from a clear white, to an off-white and sometimes yellowish in colour.

Coke, Blow, Snow

Crack Cocaine

Snow Coke, Rocks

Crack cocaine gives you a heightened sense of alertness, euphoria and reduced feelings of fatigue. It’s a purer form of cocaine and it looks like rocks. It’s mainly off-white in colour but may appear pink.



Alcohol is the most commonly abused psychoactive substance in our society. Although alcohol is a depressant, its initial effect is an apparent stimulation. Experiencing a feeling of well-being and reducing inhibitions.



Heroin users describes a feeling of as surge of pleasurable sensation or rush. In its purest form, heroin is a fine white powder. But more often, it is found to be grey, brown or black in colour. The colouring comes from additives which has been used to dilute it.

Smack, H, Brown
Whoonga, Sugars, Ungah, Pinch

It is suggested that a person can become addicted to this dangerous drug after the first hit. Experiences include extreme relaxation, euphoria and deep contentment. It contains a mixture of substances including marijuana, low-grade heroin, and other additives such as antiretroviral and rat poison.



When taken, it creates a false sense of well-being and energy. It is mainly sold in crystal form but could be diluted with household ingredients which gives it different colour variations.

Speed, Crystal Meth, Ice, Tik
White Pipe, Buttons, Bread

Mandrax slows down the central nervous system and has a sedative effect, giving you the feeling of relaxed and carefree. It is a synthetic drug which comes in the form of tablet varying in colour and size. Ingredients include methaqualone (a sedative-hypnotic) and diphenhydramine (an antihistamine with sedative-hypnotic effects).




Also known as psychedelics, these drugs can change the way a person perceive the world. It affects all the senses, altering thinking, sense of time and emotions.          

LSD, Acid, PCP, Magic Mushrooms, Shrooms, Ketamine,
Special K, DMT
E, Molly, MDMA

Ecstasy is a synthetic drug and is chemically similar to both stimulants and hallucinogens. It gives an increased sense of confidence, energy, feelings of wellbeing, feelings of closeness to others, empathy and heightened senses.




Methcathinone is a derivative of a naturally occurring stimulant drug, cathinone, which is found in the khat plant. Users describes feelings of euphoria and increased alertness.

Methcathinone, Bathtub Speed
G, Liquid E

Used for calming and euphoric effects. Happiness and general sense of well-being is experienced. Some report increased sexual arousal. In large enough doses, GHB has been known as one of the ‘date-rape’ drugs due to its sedative effect as well as the amnesia that it causes.





Causes relaxation and reduces anxiety. Also known as the ‘date-rape’ drug, it has a tranquilizing effect, ten times more potent than Valium. Rohypnol is part of the benzodiazepine class of drugs and was used to treat severe insomnia in some countries. Some will use it as a recreational drug for the feelings of euphoria it causes when mixed with alcohol.


Prescription Medication

Benzodiazepines, Opioids, Stimulants

Exploring different types of prescribed medicines that are abused, their signs and symptoms, adverse effects, withdrawals, and overdose potential.


Alpha-PVP is a synthetic mimicking cathinone (amphetamine-like stimulant found in the khat plant) and creates feelings of euphoria, a heightened sense of awareness, energy and stimulation. In some people it produces a catatonic-like state. Flakka is crystalline and looks like little rocks. Users report similar experience to methamphetamine.




Russian Magic, Zombie Drug

Synthesizing desomorphine from codeine, it causes relaxation and euphoria. It has a sedative and analgesic effect and is highly addictive. It is fast acting and 10 to 15 times more potent than morphine.