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Stimulant Facts | side effects history & prevention
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Refer to the Cocaine section of this website.


See the Prescription Drugs section of this website.


See the Crystal Meth section of this website.


Commercial and Street Names

Cat, star, tweeker, Cadillac express.

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Cocaine 1

Methamphetamine 1
Powder methamphetamine in foil Source: DEA

Stimulant 2
Source: DEA

Stimulant 3
“Meth mouth.” Source: Christopher Heringlake

Crystal Meth 1
“Crystal meth.” Source: DEA

Crystal Meth 2
Khat is typically chewed. Source: DEA

Stimulant 1
Actual photo of dilated pupils due to stimulant effect.

Cocaine 2
Cocaine powder is chopped with a razor blade to a fine grain then snorted using a straw, small spoon or a rolled-up bill.

Cocaine 3
Crack cocaine is different from cocaine powder since it is typically smoked and has a shorter but stronger euphoric effect.

Cocaine 4
Crack paraphernalia includes (from l to r) a used crack pipe fitted with a mouthpiece, a small and large glass tube (“straight shooter”), yellow plastic mouth piece to prevent lip burns, brillo pad (filter), a pipe cleaner, and a poker for air passage.

Cocaine 5
Crystal meth paraphernalia includes (from left to right) a torch lighter, meth pipe, a test tube converted into a meth pipe, and a broken light bulb.

Cocaine 6
An “8-ball” of cocaine powder. Package is made from small squares of garbage bag plastic that are bound tight with dental floss. Any excess material above the dental floss is cut off using scissors.

Cocaine 7
Various packages for storing powder drugs. “Flaps” are small envelopes made from folded squares of lottery paper or glossy magazine stock that will not stick to the substance. Small zip-loc bags (“baggies”) are used for powder and rocks.

Description of Methcathinone

Methcathinone is a stimulant that is a structural analogue of methamphetamine and cathinone. It is clandestinely manufactured from readily available chemicals. Is occasionally confused with khat. Methcathinone is a synthetic substance that has a similar chemical structure to the cathinone in the khat plant. Methcathinone is produced in clandestine labs and sold as a methamphetamine alternative. The addictive properties and side effects of this synthetic are more intense than either of the naturally occurring khat substances. A white or off-white crystalline powder. It is most commonly snorted, although it can be taken orally by mixing it with a beverage or diluting in water and injecting intravenously.

Effects of Methcathinone

Methcathinone produces amphetamine-like activity. Long-term effects are unknown.

Source: DEA

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Commercial and Street Names

(Catha edulis) qat, kat

Description of Khat

For centuries, khat, the fresh young leaves of the Catha edulis shrub, has been consumed, primarily in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Khat has been brought into North America for use by emigrants from the source countries. It contains a number of chemicals among which are two controlled substances, cathinone and cathine.

Khat is typically chewed like tobacco. The fresh leaves, twigs, and shoots of the khat shrub are chewed, and then retained in the cheek and chewed intermittently to release the active drug. Dried plant material can be made into tea or a chewable paste, but dried khat is not as potent as the fresh plant product. Khat can also be smoked and even sprinkled on food.

Effects of Khat

Compulsive use may result in aggressive behaviour with grandiose delusions. Psychological dependence may result from continued use. Withdrawal symptoms include lethargy, depression, nightmares and tremors. Long-term effects are unknown.

Source: DEA

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General Information on Khat

Kenyan Khat: The Social Life of a Stimulant (2007) draws out the economic, social, and cultural significance of Kenyan khat and debates on the legality of khat. Neil C. M. Carrier.

The Khat Controversy: Stimulating the Debate on Drugs (2007) explores contemporary issues relating to globalization, ethnicity and culture of khat. David Anderson

History of Stimulants

Leaf of Allah: Khat & Agricultural Transformation in Harerge, Ethiopia (2004) is a historical piece that examines why farming families in the late 19th centrury switched from cultivating coffee and food crops to growing khat. Ezekiel Gebissa.

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Research and Stimulants

Nonmedical Stimulant Use, Other Drug Use, Delinquent Behaviors, and Depression among Adolescents. (February 2008) is a survey of youth aged 12 to 17 related to their non-prescribed use of stimulants in the last year. The NSDUH Report. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Therapy Manuals and Stimulants

Treatment for Stimulant Use Disorders (1999) Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 33 describes basic knowledge about the nature and treatment of stimulant use disorders, particularly cocaine and methamphetamine. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). DHS Publication 99-3296.

School Drug Abuse and Stimulant Abuse

Stimulant Abuse by School Age Children: A Guide for School Officials (June 2001) is a guide to help you understand why medications such as methylphenidate (Ritalin®) and amphetamine (Adderall® and Dexedrine®) are being abused and how you, as a school official, can institute procedures that will ensure that these medications are handled in a safe and appropriate manner. The Drug Enforcement Administration Office of Diversion Control.

For more information on school drug abuse see the School Drug Abuse section.

Teen Websites for Stimulant Abuse

Mind Over Matter: Stimulants NIDA for Teens

Khat and Stimulant Abuse

Khat (August 2013) Drug Enforcement Administration.

Kratom and Stimulant Abuse

Kratom is also known by street names thang, kakuam, thom, ketum, and biak. Kratom is grown in South East Asia and was traditionally used as a stimulant by labourers and farmers to overcome fatigue. Since 1979, kratom is a controlled substance in Thailand but remains popular. Sold in the US via the Internet.

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa Korth) (January 2013) Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Prescription Diet Pills and Stimulant Abuse

For prescription diet pills information see the Prescription Drug section.

Prescription Stimulants and Stimulant Abuse

For prescription stimulants information see the Prescription Drug section.

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Khat is featured in this channel by VICE.

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