Educators influence kids the most. That is why our resource library is also open for educators. We will provide you with the latest science-based information about the effects and consequences of drug abuse.

Medications for Opioid Overdose

Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
This infographic shows the different types of medications prescribed for opioid overdose, withdrawal, and addiction.

Medications for opioid overdose, withdrawal, and addiction
Medications for opioid overdose, withdrawal, and addiction are safe, effective and save lives.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse supports research to develop new medicines and delivery systems to treat opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders, as well as other complications of substance use (including withdrawal and overdose), to help people choose treatments that are right for them.

FDA-approved medications for opioid addiction, overdose, and withdrawal work in various ways.

  • Opioid Receptor Agonist: Medications attach to opioid receptors in the brain to block withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  • Opioid Receptor Partial Agonist: Medications attach to and partially activate opioid receptors in the brain to ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  • Opioid Receptor Antagonist: Medications block activity of opioid receptors in the brain to prevent euphoric effects (the high) of opioids and alcohol and help reduce cravings.
  • Adrenergic Receptor Agonist: A medication that attaches to and activates adrenergic receptors in the brain and helps alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

Four cards show medications prescribed to reduce opioid use and cravings.

  • Methadone available in daily liquid or tablets. Brand names are Dolophine® and Methadose®. Generics are available.
  • Naltrexone available in a monthly injection. Brand name is Vivitrol®
  • Buprenorphine available in daily tablet or monthly injection. Brand name is Sublocade®. Generic tablets are available.
  • Buprenorphine/Naloxone is available in daily film that dissolves under the tongue or tablet. Brand names are Zubsolv® and Suboxone® and generics are available.
  • Lofexidine treats withdrawal symptoms and is a tablet taken as needed. Brand name is Lucemyra®.
  • Naloxone reverses overdose and is available as an emergency nasal spray or injection. Brand names are Narcan® and Kloxxado® and generics are available.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Bath Salts

Synthetic cathinones, more commonly known as “bath salts,” are human-made stimulants chemically related to cathinone, a substance found in the khat plant. Khat is a shrub grown in East Africa and southern Arabia, where some people chew its leaves for their mild stimulant effects. Human-made versions of cathinone can be much stronger than the natural product and, in some cases, very dangerous.

Synthetic cathinones usually take the form of a white or brown crystal-like powder and are sold in small plastic or foil packages labeled “not for human consumption.” They can be labeled as bath salts, plant food, jewelry cleaner, or phone screen cleaner.

Synthetic cathinones are part of a group of drugs that concern public health officials called new psychoactive substances (NPS). NPS are unregulated psychoactive mind-altering substances with no legitimate medical use and are made to copy the effects of controlled substances. They are introduced and reintroduced into the market in quick succession to dodge or hinder law enforcement efforts to address their manufacture and sale.

Synthetic cathinones are marketed as cheap substitutes for other stimulants such as amphetamines and cocaine. Products sold as Molly often contain synthetic cathinones instead of MDMA (see Synthetic Cathinones and Molly (Ecstasy)

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Cannabis

NIH study suggests a link between cannabis use and higher levels of suicidal ideation, plan, and attempt

An analysis of survey data from more than 280,000 young adults ages 18-35 showed that cannabis (marijuana) use was associated with increased risks of thoughts of suicide (suicidal ideation), suicide plan, and suicide attempt. These associations remained regardless of whether someone was also experiencing depression, and the risks were greater for women than for men. The study published online today in JAMA Network Open and was conducted by researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.

“While we cannot establish that cannabis use caused the increased suicidality we observed in this study, these associations warrant further research, especially given the great burden of suicide on young adults,” said NIDA Director Nora Volkow, M.D., senior author of this study. “As we better understand the relationship between cannabis use, depression, and suicidality, clinicians will be able to provide better guidance and care to patients.”

The number of adults in the United States who use cannabis more than doubled from 22.6 million in 2008 to 45.0 million in 2019, and the number of daily or near-daily users almost tripled from 3.6 million to 9.8 million in 2019. Over the same time span, the number of adults with depression also increased, as did the number of people who reported suicidal ideation or plan or who died by suicide. To date, however, the relationship between trends in cannabis use and suicidality is not well understood.

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What Are the Signs of Having a Problem With Drugs?

Addiction can happen at any age, but it usually starts when a person is young. It’s the result of changes in the brain that can come from drug use. Addiction affects how people think and what they do. But what exactly are the signs?

First, it’s important to know that there is no “type” of person who becomes addicted. People can face addiction no matter

where they’re from, what they look like, or how much money they have.

One important sign of addiction is that a person continues to use drugs even though it’s harming their life: physical health, performance at school or work, or relationships. They feel like they can’t stop using drugs, no matter what happens.

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drug testing

How do some schools conduct drug testing?

Following models established in the workplace, some schools conduct random drug testing and/or reasonable suspicion/cause testing. This usually involves collecting urine samples to test for drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, phencyclidine (PCP), and opioids (both heroin and prescription pain relievers).

In random testing, students are selected regardless of their drug use history and may include students required to do a drug test as a condition of participation in an extracurricular activity. In reasonable suspicion/cause testing, a student can be asked to provide a urine sample if the school suspects or has evidence that he or she is using drugs, such as:

  • school officials making direct observations
  • the student showing physical symptoms of being under the influence or patterns of abnormal or erratic behavior

Why do some schools conduct random drug tests?

Schools adopt random student drug testing to decrease drug misuse and illicit drug use among students. First, they hope random testing will serve as a deterrent and give students a reason to resist peer pressure to take drugs. Secondly, drug testing can identify teens who have started using illicit drugs and would benefit from early intervention, as well as identify those who already have drug problems and need referral to treatment. Using illicit drugs not only interferes with a student’s ability to learn, but it can also disrupt the teaching environment, affecting other students as well.

Is random drug testing of students legal?

In June 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court broadened the authority of public schools to test students for illegal drugs. The court ruled to allow random drug tests for all middle and high school students participating in competitive extracurricular activities. The ruling greatly expanded the scope of school drug testing, which previously had been allowed only for student athletes.

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