Helping Parents, Families, & Caregivers

“The curse of the crocodile:” Russia’s new nightmare

Russia has a new drug called the “crocodile” designer drug and it is one of the most harmful drugs on human life. It is a derivative of morphine (often called morphine’s cousin) and is spreading like a disease among Russian youth. The drug is known for its  detrimental physical affects such as crocodile-like skin, disfiguration of the face and bodily parts, poor motor skills and speech impediments, blood poisoning, and meningitis. There are other severe effects that are lifelong and irreversible. Read more about it or watch a clip below.

Many of my former clients are aware of my anti-drug “movements” and discussions. When a former client would pass me in the hallway of the community center I had worked at, they would say “no drugs and no alcohol!” I liken drugs and alcohol to a “frienemy,” that is, a so-called friend who is actually your enemy. An enemy disguised as a friend. The drugs and alcohol gives the user temporary relief from emotional, psychological, and sometimes physiological (in the case of Marijuana and Alcohol) relief. The temporary relief is a band-aid to the underlying real reasons for using the substance.  When I speak to people about drugs and alcohol, many will agree with me on the negative effects of illicit use of meth or methamphetamines, crack and cocaine, alcohol, hallucinogens (LSD or PCP), club drugs (date rape drugs or Rohypnol), and heroin. However, when it comes to marijuana, reality changes. Many agree that marijuana has so-called “medicinal” properties and can “numb” pain that does not respond to prescription drugs or therapy. But Marijuana also has negative effects and can be “addictive” in its own sense. Marijuana affects the brain in many ways.

I tell clients to think of the brain as a busy city (e.g., New York city) and consider what would happen if someone decided to turn an electric breaker off. What would happen to that city? What chaos would result from having no traffic lights, street lights, or any necessary visibility? Everything would shut down! This is what happens to the brain on drugs, even marijuana.

Neurology of the brain

The brain is an interesting gift from our Creator. It houses all we need to connect to the outside world. The brain is always busy, even while we sleep. It is processing information and external stimuli, it is rearranging our thoughts and our dreams as we sleep and interact with the world, it tunes into social and emotional cues when necessary, it allows us to communicate nonverbally and spiritually, it allows us to connect with other humans and experience vicariously their suffering or their happiness. The brain is multifaceted and extraordinary. This is why science has yet to completely understand how the brain works.

Look at the 3D model of  the brain here

Nevertheless, the brain is highly affected by drugs and alcohol. These substances alter the normal flow of brain activity, blood flow, and normal sensory processes. For example, in the case of hallucinogens, our sensory experience can be greatly altered. Users of hallucinogens have stated that they tend to see geometric shapes and odd colors weeks or months after the drug has left their system. Many of my honest clients have attested to the negative effects of marijuana including such effects as seeing people or animals that were not actually present, not being able to sleep (upsetting their circadian clock), lack of appetite (loss of weight), and irritability.

Marijuana on the brain

The active ingredient of marijuana is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC acts on specific sites in the brain, one particular site is known as cannabinoid receptors. Receptors are like a key hole and the drug is like the key. When THC acts upon the cannabinoid receptor, think of a key fitting into its corresponding key hole. Once the receptor is stimulated by THC, a bunch of cellular reactions begin in a series, which leads to the “high” people are often seeking. The part of the brain that is highly affected by drugs is known as the “pleasure center,” where emotion, memory, and pleasure are often studied by neuroscientists. Once THC takes its effects, a series of distorted perceptions result in addition to increased talkativeness, impaired coordination, problems with learning and memory (some people are incapable of learning new information), and sub par intellectual performance for chronic (every day or every other day) smokers. Keep in mind that many other drugs interact with the brain in the same way and sometimes worse ways.

Not everyone responds the same way to drugs. You may notice different effects, but the ultimate point is that drugs do negatively affect the brain as well as one’s life, despite the euphoric, pain-killing effects most people are seeking. Drugs destroy, they do not heal.

As I tell my clients “think before you inhale, inject, or smoke anything.” Your life may never be the same.                 

   
As always, I wish you well
Tàmara 
 
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