Glossary Of Terms - A
ABSTINENCE - not using alcohol or other drugs
ADDICT - is a drug user whose use causes them serious physical, social or psychological problems. As it is a much abused term, many people prefer to talk of problem drug users instead.
ADDICTION - a chronic, relapsing disease characterised by compulsive drug-seeking abuse and by long-lasting chemical changes in the brain.
AEROSOLS - a solvent which when inhaled has a similar effect to alcohol. They make people feel uninhibited, euphoric and dizzy. Solvents cover a large number of substances including: glues, gases, deodorants, air freshners and petroleum products.
AIDS - acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. A severe immunological disorder caused by the retrovirus HIV, that causes increased susceptibility to opportunistic infections and to certain rare cancers. It is transmitted primarily by exposure to contaminated body fluids, especially blood and semen.
ALCOHOL - is seen by many as a more socially acceptable drug, but that's not to say it's any less powerful than other drugs. Technically speaking, it's a nervous system depressant, which means it slows down your body's responses in all kinds of ways. Just enough can make you feel great, too much and you'll have a hangover the next day.
AMPHETAMINE - a stimulant that people take to keep them awake and alert. The effects can kick in within half an hour of ingesting by the mouth. If you inject it you'll experience the effects quicker and these effects can last for up to six hours. The high is generally followed by a long slow comedown. Street name: speed.
AMYL NITRITE - is a liquid chemical. It is sometimes put in small bottles and inhaled (known as Poppers) to deliver a short, sharp high. Amyl nitrates dilate the blood vessels and allow more blood to get to the heart.