POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 65 Taking Drugs Without Following Directions Taking drugs without paying attention to label directions and warnings can also lead to serious problems, especially with drugs that can impair driving performance and drugs that should not be mixed with alcohol. Taking a drug prescribed for someone else is another example of not following directions as a prescription label designates that the prescription is for a particular individual. Also, taking less than the prescribed dose of a drug or stopping its use too early can result in problems. Combining Drugs A drug can cause problems if it is taken in combination - either knowingly or unknowingly - with certain other drugs. Some combinations can produce unwanted and unexpected effects. Using alcohol with a benzodiazepine increases the likelihood that the person who uses the drugs may feel increased effects such as drowsiness, dizziness and confusion. Other combinations, like barbiturates with alcohol, can cause death. Extremely Dangerous Drugs With a few drugs, like PCP (Angel Dust), and inhalants such as gasoline, the potential dangers are extremely high and there are no legitimate human uses. These drugs can cause serious problems no matter how or when they are taken. With such drugs there is no difference between use and abuse. To use them is to abuse them. Commonly Used and Abused Drugs Caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive drug in our society. However, alcohol and tobacco are the most widely abused drugs by both young people and adults. Abuse of these two drugs results in enormous costs to both the individual person who uses drugs and society. Among smokers, those who begin smoking as adolescents often become regular, lifelong smokers. Smoking and heavy drinking are major causes of health problems and premature death among Canadians, and they result in enormous costs to both the individual and society. Illegal use of drugs is more common among adolescents and young adults than other age groups. Several surveys have found that as many youth report using cannabis in the past year as tobacco. In contrast, use of medication to aid sleep or reduce anxiety is more common among seniors than other age groups. (When Does Drug Use Become a Problem? ...continued) Drug misuse or abuse destroys lives. Health Canada Santé Canada