What is Landsforbundet Mot Stoffmisbruk (LMS)?

LMS is an organization that helps families and others cope when someone they care for have a drug addiction problem. Our most important task is to provide information and guidance, which is based on knowledge and personal experience.

What does it mean to be close to a person with a drug addiction?

One can experience drug addiction in the family, among friends or among colleagues. Drug addiction is widespread both geographically and across social strata. Everyday life is often consumed by worrying and chaos.  It is not easy to know what to do and where to turn when someone you care for have a drug addiction problem. We know that it can be difficult to talk to someone about this.

How can we at LMS help you?

LMS helps with information, support and the opportunity to meet others in the same situation. We help you:

  • with information about your own rights and opportunities
  • process events and give vent to your own thoughts and emotions
  • by providing advice on how to best safeguard your own health needs
  • to receive help and support to cope with the stresses of living with someone who abuses substances
  • to find resources within yourself or your own network

 

Would you like to speak to someone?

Get in touch by completing the form on our website.

Get in touch by e-mail, or come for a talk at our offices at Tøyen.
Both services are free. Please mention which type of dialogue you prefer in your enquiry.
We can see your e-mail address, so this is not a service that provides full anonymity.

  • Reply for conversation: First we receive an enquiry from you by e-mail, which is then sent to a translator. Thereafter we agree on a time you may come to us with for a conversation with an interpreter present. This service is free.
  • Reply by e-mail: First we receive an enquiry from you by e-mail, which is then sent to a translator. Then we will write a response, which we send for translation, before sending it to you. Here one may expect a response time of up to two weeks. This service is free.

 

Information on drugs

It is not always easy to discover another person’s drug addiction. Frequently, indications of a drug addiction problem may have other explanations. Common to all drugs is that they affect the mood of the person under the influence. Impaired coordination and difficulty concentrating are also symptoms of a drug addiction. Indications depend on the type of substance, way of life, and how long a person has used drugs. Often one will see changes to an individual’s behaviour, physical changes, and social behaviour.

It is not easy to know what to do and where to turn when someone you care for has a drug addiction problem. We know that it can be difficult to talk to someone about this.  If you have a suspicion, or would like more information, please get in touch.

Alcohol is the drug that is most widespread, both in Norway and internationally. Alcohol is a collective term for a group of similar chemical substances. The intoxicating substance found in beer, wine and liquor is called ethanol. The effect causes drowsiness and dampens the central nervous system, but low intake of alcohol has a stimulating effect.

Ethanol is a legal drug in Norway for people over 18 years of age. You must be at least 20 years old to purchase alcoholic beverages with more than 22% ethanol.

Small amounts of alcohol usually involve little risk for healthy people. However, the intake of large amounts causes intoxication, followed by an increased risk of accidents and injuries. Alcohol can also affect a number of medicines and drugs, and how the body responds to these.

Cannabis is the generic term for the three products originating from the cannabis plant: hashish, marijuana and cannabis oil. The key active ingredient is called THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which varies according to production and the product. The most common ways to ingest cannabis is by smoking or eating it. The quickest effect is achieved through smoking it. This is by using a pipe, or a so-called ‘joint’ (a cigarette containing cannabis, often mixed with tobacco).

The effects of cannabis can be divided into two phases. The first phase is short, and often involves increased heart rate, increased appetite, dizziness and increased brain activity. The second phase can last for many hours and often involves inactivity, even though brain activity is high. For regular users the second phase will eventually be considerably shorter, and the answer for many is to smoke more often to experience the first stage on a regular basis. A strong sense of psychological dependence on cannabis can be experienced. Like many other drugs, cannabis depends on the user’s experience, expectations and the social context.

Synthetic cannabinoids are synthetic drugs with cannabis-like effects. It comes in powder form and there are a large number of different varieties. It is sold through many online stores under names like Spice, Herbal smoke and Herbal High. It is most often smoked, but can be eaten and sniffed. Intoxication enhances mood and the effects range from enhanced mood, elation and energy to paranoia, nausea and dizziness. Little is known about how it is produced or the amount of active ingredients. This makes it an unstable drug.

In some countries, chewing khat has the same cultural and social function that drinking alcohol and coffee have in the West. Khat must be fresh, i.e. picked within 2-4 days prior to use in order to provide any intoxicant effect. A mouthful of khat is chewed and kept in the mouth for some time so that the active substances are triggered. The substances cathinone, cathine and norephedrine are absorbed into the bloodstream through the lining of the mouth, and partly from the intestine. The concentration of cathinone in the blood is highest two hours after the user has begun to chew. The leaves are chewed for three to four hours and the effect is often described as being similar to that caused by large doses of caffeine or smaller doses of amphetamines (the impact of khat, however, will always be far weaker than the effect of amphetamines). When ingesting khat, the body becomes warm, the heart beats faster and blood pressure increases. The user experiences an effect that causes alertness and elation. High consumption of khat causes bloodshot eyes and bad teeth which are caused by the content of the leaves. Khat may result in an overestimation of the user’s own abilities and high self-esteem.

Cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs. Cocaine comes in powder form. The most common form of intake is sniffing. It can also be injected and can be smoked in crystallized form, also known as crack cocaine. The cocaine high is intense but short-lived, usually lasting 15-60 minutes. Smoking crack causes immediate intoxication, but already begins to wear off after about 10 minutes.

Cocaine is a major strain on the heart and brain. The physical symptoms include a faster heart rate, increased blood pressure, faster respiration, dilatation of pupils, muscle tremors and increased body temperature. The user can become restless, agitated and extremely anxious with feelings of panic. The drug causes high self-esteem and gives the user a feeling of being alert and wide-awake.

LSD is usually ingested orally, normally contained in a piece of paper, sugar, gelatin, or liquid. A regular dose of LSD is 50 to 200 micrograms. The effects of LSD depend on factors such as previous experience, attitude, environment and dosage strength. The effect of LSD lasts between 8 and 14 hours. During this period LSD may cause confusion or periods of intense anxiety. The physical effects of LSD are mild and include dilated pupils, decreased appetite, nausea, and a slight increase in blood pressure and body temperature. Strong or total tolerance to LSD develops after two to three days of use and disappears after three days without use.

GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) is available in powder or capsule form but in Norway GHB is usually sold as a liquid. In liquid form GHB looks like a clear or yellowish fluid. It is slightly viscous and can smell a little like paraffin. Users often mix it with fizzy drinks or juice because it has strong taste, and the dosage is usually the amount of a bottle cap.

GHB can cause intoxication where the user feels elated and the high usually occurs after 15-30 minutes. It is very difficult to measure out a dose of GHB, so it is known as an unstable substance associated with a high overdose risk.

Benzodiazepines are prescription drugs but are also available on the illegal market. Benzodiazepines have a calming and soothing effect and relax the muscles. The drug is used for medical purposes to treat conditions such as anxiety disorders, seizures, insomnia and epilepsy. The medicine is widely used, but there is also a widespread abuse of these substances. Drug abuse generally involve the use of tranquillizers together with other drugs. The drugs trigger an addiction with subsequent withdrawal effects after a period of use, and must therefore be regarded as causing abuse where weaning the user off the drug at an institution may be an option.

Androgenic anabolic steroids are used in spray form or as pills. In some cases they are used as a cream or gel on the skin. The drug is used to promote muscle growth by both sexes. Many choose to use steroids on a cyclical basis – i.e. the user takes several doses during a specific period of time, stops for a while and then starts again. Users often combine different types of steroids in a process known as “stacking”. Steroid use has a number of side effects, some of which are temporary (reversible) if you stop using steroids, while others are permanent. Aggression, acne and hair loss are fairly common side effects. There is a risk of hepatitis as a result of poor production environments.

Amphetamine stimulates the central nervous system. There are hundreds of amphetamine compounds and substances that resemble amphetamine. They are often called speed, makka, pepper or laces. The drug is most commonly ingested via the respiratory tract, but some also inject the drug for a faster and stronger effect. Amphetamines affect not only the brain but also the heart, lungs and other organs. In chemical terms, methamphetamine is closely related to amphetamine and the effects of amphetamine and methamphetamine are very similar. Methamphetamine is heated and the smoke inhaled. Methamphetamine can often provide a stronger intoxicant effect than amphetamine. The effects of the drugs include alertness, decreased appetite, energy, nervousness and talkativeness. The user often overstates their own capabilities during use and the drug causes increased strain on the heart and vascular system. Paranoia and anxiety are common side effects.

Ecstasy is a synthetic chemical that is both energizing (a stimulant) and hallucinogenic (psychedelic). Ecstasy is usually taken in tablet or capsule form with colours and distinctive symbols such as a smiley face and peace signs with nicknames like E, XTC, love drug, snap etc. The active ingredient in ecstasy is usually MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine).

(Methylenedioxymethamphetamine). A drug that is available in pill form. It is hard to say in advance how strong the pills are, so taking MDMA can be a gamble. MDMA causes an abrupt and chaotic high, which lasts for a long time and then ends with a noticeable downturn. It may take some time before the high occurs. There is a risk that the user may overdose waiting for the high to occur. The high makes the user alert and impressionable. The problem is that we rarely know what is contained in the tablet taken. MDMA combined with activity can lead to a significant strain on the heart and brain.

The intoxicant effect comes after approximately 30 minutes and can last 2-3 hours or longer. Mood improves with feelings of elation, increased energy and a reduced sense of time. The use of ecstasy leads to a faster pulse, higher blood pressure and increased body temperature. MDMA seems to have a strong influence on the serotonin metabolism. Serotonin is important for the regulation of pleasure, anxiety, mood and sleep, and it is important for the interpretation of sensory input.

Opioids is a generic term for a number of substances that come from the opium poppy (opiates), or are artificially produced substances with a similar effect. The effects of heroin and other opioids depends on the dose, the user’s past experience, the environment in which they are taken and the way the substance is consumed.

The use of opioids generally produces a feeling of pleasure combined with reduced self-criticism and indifference towards the problems the user is confronted with in daily life. Intoxication can pass into escapism where hunger, pain and everyday needs do not matter. However, the effects can also be restlessness and fatigue, with nausea and vomiting. The effect of a typical dose of heroin usually lasts 4-6 hours, but it may vary considerably. After a short while, heroin is converted to an intermediate product which is also rapidly converted to morphine in the body. The drug can be detected in urine for up to 3-4 days.