The Safety Net

Families & Consumers
Service Providers
Clinical Professionals
Regional Center Staff
National Trends & Research
Conferences & Training
Other Risk Management Information



Previous Articles

Select a category:




The Safety Net Newsletter

Click here to View Current Newsletter

Newsletters are in PDF Format. Click the link below to download the free Acrobat Reader:

Adobe Acrobat Reader

Previous issues of The Safety Net Newsletter:




Service Providers
This Months Featured Article

Drug Use and Abuse Education

As a provider of services you may suspect that a consumer is abusing drugs or alcohol, but how do you know? There are seven possible symptoms that could indicate a problem. They are:

  • Change in attendance or performance in school, day program, or work
  • Alteration of personal appearance
  • Mood swings or attitude changes
  • Withdrawal from responsibilities or contact with family
  • Association with drug-using peers
  • Unusual patterns of behavior
  • Defensive attitude concerning drugs

Keep in mind that these symptoms may be aggravated by the interaction of prescription drugs and alcohol or street drugs. Some examples include the combination of the prescription drug Xanax and alcohol. This may lead to depressed Central Nervous System (CNS) functioning and can be fatal. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and excessive amounts of alcohol may result in liver damage. When alcohol is consumed while using crack or cocaine, the heart rate may increase between three and five times the normal rate, potentially leading to heart attacks and heart failure.

The following chart may be helpful to you and to staff who wish to have more information about specific drugs, symptoms, and dangers.


Type of Drug
(beer, wine, liquor)

Intoxication, slurred speech, unsteady walk, relaxed inhibitions, slowed reflexes
Smell of alcohol on clothes or breath, glazed eyes, hangover, intoxicated behavior
Addiction, accidents of impaired ability and judgment, heart and liver damage
(coke, rock, crack, base)

Brief intense euphoria, elevated blood pressure & heart rate, excitement followed by depression
Glass vials, glass pipe, white crystalline powder, razor blades, syringes, needle marks
Addiction, heart attack, seizures, lung damage, severe depression

(pot, dope, weed, grass, hash, herb, joint)
Altered perceptions, red eyes, dry mouth, reduced concentration and coordination, euphoria, laughing, hunger
Rolling papers, pipes, dried plant material, odor of burnt hemp rope, roach clips
Panic reaction, impaired short term memory, addiction
(acid, LSD, PCP, MDMA, Ecstasy, psilocybin mushrooms, peyote
Altered mood and perceptions, focus on detail, anxiety, panic, nausea,
Capsules, tablets, “microdots”, blotter squares
Unpredictable behavior, emotional instability, violent behavior (with PCP)
(gas, aerosols, glue, nitrites, Rush, White out)
Nausea, dizziness, headaches, lack of coordination and control
Odor of substance on clothing and breath, intoxication, drowsiness, poor muscular control
Unconsciousness, suffocation, nausea and vomiting, damage to brain and central nervous system, sudden death
Heroin (junk, dope, Black tar, China white) Demerol, Dilaudid (D’s) Morphine, Codeine
Euphoria, drowsiness, insensitivity to pain, nausea, vomiting, watery eyes, runny nose
Needle marks on arms, needles, syringes, spoons, pinpoint pupils, cold, moist skin
Addiction, lethargy, weight loss, contamination from non-sterile needles (hepatitis, AIDS), accidental overdose
(speed, uppers, crank, Bam, black beauties, crystal, dexies, caffeine, nicotine, cocaine, amphetamines)
Alertness, talkativeness, wakefulness, increased blood pressure, loss of appetite, mood elevation
Pills and capsules, loss of sleep and appetite, irritability, weight loss, hyperactivity
Fatigue leading to exhaustion, addiction, paranoia, depression, confusion, possible hallucinations
(barbiturates, sedatives, tranquilizers, downers, ludes, yellow jackets, reds)
Depressed breathing and heartbeat, intoxication, drowsiness, uncoordinated movements
Capsules and pills, confused behavior, longer periods of sleep, slurred speech
Possible overdose, especially in combination with alcohol, addiction, withdrawal & overdose require medical treatment


Printer Friendly Version Print Friendly printer friendly version



Last Month's Article

Signs and Symptoms of Emergency and Urgent Medical Conditions



Previously Featured Articles


Take the DDS Survey

Help us build a better DDS Safety Net Community for you and take our brief survey

Click Here To Take The Survey