Alcohol causes weight gain/loss, high blood pressure, depressed immune system, liver disease, heart or respiratory failure.

Barbiturates and tranquilizers are commonly abused prescription drugs. They can cause hangover-like symptoms, nausea, seizures and coma. Overdose or mixing these drugs with alcohol can be fatal.

LSD causes depression, disorientation, paranoia and psychosis.

Heroin can bring on respiratory and circulatory depression, dizziness, impotence, constipation and withdrawal sickness. Overdoses can lead to seizures and death.

Stimulants such as amphetamines have health effects that include high heart rate and blood pressure, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, impotence, skin disorders, tremors, seizures and psychosis.

Alcohol – The Most Dangerous drug of all time in SA plays a part in

• 61% of all arrests
• 90% of all assaults
• 33% of all suicides
• 75% of all divorces
• 45% of all drowning
• 85% of all homicides
• 70% of all fatal falls
• 90% of all campus rapes
• 50% of all battered wives
• 65% of all child abuse
• 67% of all attempted suicides
• 86% of all deaths due to fire
• 50% of all juvenile delinquency
• 40% of all industrial deaths
• 55% of all domestic arguments
• AND is LEGALLY available in every neighbourhood.

The new drugs in Gauteng are: TIK (Anhydrous Nitrate, Ephedrine, Red Phosphorous, Lithium, Antifreeze & Lantern Fuel) CAT (Drain Cleaner, Paint Thinner, Muriatic Acid)

If you think someone you know may be suffering from an addiction, here are some important things to bear in mind as you try to assist them:

• Be attentive and keep track of their behaviour and what they do
• Share your concerns with them, but try to stay away from lecturing them or making them feel forced
or backed into a corner, this is only likely to alienate the person further
• Listen to them
• State your expectations clearly
• Pray for them continuously
• Be a really good example to them
• Offer help and support – be a kind but firm friend.

Source: Karen Els, Clinical Psychologist, SA