• Acute: having severe symptoms and a short course.

  • Aetiology: science dealing with the cause of disease.

  • Age of initiation: age at which drug was first used.

  • Agonist: see dopamine agonist.

  • Akathisia: a condition marked by motor (movement) restlessness and anxiety.

  • Alkaline: having a low pH value (e.g. base).

  • Alkaloid: organic, basic substances found in plants (e.g. cocaine and caffeine).

  • Alveolar: thin walled chamber or follicle surrounded by networks of capillaries.

  • Ambient temperature: environmental temperature.

  • Ambulatory: having the physical ability to access an outpatient facility, walking or able to walk.

  • Amphetamine hydrochloride: salt form of amphetamine mixed with hydrochloric acid.

  • Amphetamine sulphate: salt form of amphetamine mixed with sulphuric acid.

  • Amphetamines: a synthetic group of drugs that includes amphetamine and methamphetamine salt and base forms (speed, pills, base and ice).

  • Anaesthetic: an agent that produces a loss of feeling or sensation or induces sleep.

  • Aneurysm: a sac formed by dilation of the walls of a blood vessel and filled with blood.

  • Anhedonia: an inability to experience pleasure from things previously enjoyed. Top of page

  • Anorectic: a drug that suppresses the appetite.

  • Antagonist: see dopamine antagonist.

  • Anxiolytic: A group of drugs described as minor tranquillisers, prescribed to reduce anxiety and used as muscle relaxants e.g. benzodiazepines.

  • Arrhythmia: variation or irregularity of the rhythm of the heart.

  • Ataxia: lacking coordination of movement.

  • Atherosclerosis: degeneration and hardening of the wall of an artery or arteries.

  • Axon: part of the nerve cell that conducts impulses from one cell toward the next cell's neuron.

  • Base methamphetamine: a high potency, low purity paste.

  • Behavioural reinforcement: an effect that strengthens a specific behaviour.

  • Binge use: irregular heavy drug use.

  • Cardiac myopathy: disease of the heart muscle leading to heart failure.

  • Cardiomyocyte apoptosis: the death of heart muscle cells.

  • Cardiomyopathies: see cardiac myopathy.

  • Cardiovascular: pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.

  • Cerebral artery aneurysm: a sac formed by dilation of the walls of the cerebral artery and filled with blood

  • Cerebral haemorrhage: the rupturing of a blood vessel, usually an artery, in the brain (a cause of cerebral vascular accident (CVA/stroke)).

  • Cerebral oedema: an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the brain.

  • Cerebrovascular: pertaining to the blood vessels of the brain.

  • Choreoathetoid: involuntary/irregular/slow movement.

  • Clearance: the rate at which a substance or drug is removed from the blood by various organs or processes e.g. hepatic (liver) clearance, renal (kidney) clearance.

  • Cocaethylene: psychoactive substance formed exclusively during the simultaneous administration of cocaine and alcohol.

  • Cocaine: a naturally occurring, psychoactive alkaloid of the coca plant. Top of page

  • Cognitive: pertaining to thoughts or thinking.

  • Cognitive behaviour therapy: a talking therapy that seeks to modify dysfunctional or distorted thoughts and beliefs.

  • Coma: state of profound unconsciousness, unable to be roused.

  • Comorbidity: the co-occurrence of any two or more disorders, in this monograph the term refers to amphetamine use disorders and mental health disorders.

  • Compulsive movements: overwhelming urge to perform an irrational or ritual act or movement.

  • Contingency management: behavioural management technique that involves the application of rewards and/or punishments to modified behaviour.

  • Convulsions: 'fits', 'seizures' induced by abnormal electrical stimulation of the brain.

  • Crack cocaine: the free base form of cocaine (i.e. not mixed with a salt) sufficiently volatile for it to be inhaled via smoking.

  • Craving: intense desire.

  • Crystalline methamphetamine: a high potency, high purity salt form of amphetamine, crystals or course powder (ice, crystal, shabu).

  • Cue exposure: exposure to a stimulus (cue), either internal (e.g. mood, thought) or external (e.g. exposure to a drug) that increases risk of using the drug.

  • Cytochrome: a pigment present in aerobic cells.

  • Delirium: mental state characterised by excitement and illusions.

  • Dementia: progressive mental deterioration due to organic brain disease.

  • Depersonalisation: a feeling of unreality or strangeness related to one's self or the environment.

  • Depression: a mood disorder or state that meets diagnostic criteria characterised by blunted affect (appearance), psychomotor retardation (slowed physical movements and thinking), dysphoria (flat mood) and anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure).

  • Designer drug: a drug artificially manufactured for a specific effect or purpose.

  • Detoxification: the planned cessation of drug use in someone who is dependent is termed detoxification.

  • Dexamphetamine: a synthetic amphetamine available on prescription (pills).

  • Dilation: to make larger or bigger.

  • Dopamine: a neurotransmitter involved in the control of movement, thinking, motivation and reward. Top of page

  • Dopamine agonist: used to increase dopamine concentrations, thereby overcoming dopamine depletion, such as in stimulant substitution therapy.

  • Dopamine antagonist: used for its euphoria-blocking effect via receptor blockade, to limit the effects of stimulants.

  • Dysphoria, dysphoric mood: emotional state characterised by discontent, depression, anxiety and malaise.

  • Dysrhythmias: alteration of normal heart rhythm.

  • Ecstasy: see MDMA.

  • Electrocardiogram: the graphic recording from the body surface of variation in electric potential produced by the heart.

  • Electrolyte: a compound that when dissolved is capable of conducting an electric current, essential to the workings of a cell.

  • Elimination: discharge from the body of substances not usable.

  • Enzymes: a substance that initiates and accelerates a chemical reaction.

  • Epidemic: the simultaneous occurrence in the community of a great many cases of a specific disease or condition.

  • Euphoria: a subjectively pleasant feeling of wellbeing.

  • Euphorigenic: able to induce euphoria.

  • Excoriation: a superficial loss of substance (e.g. loss of skin by scratching).

  • Excretion: removal from the body via waste products (urine, faeces, breath, sweat).

  • Fibrinolysis: the dissolution of fibrin leading to poor blood clotting or haemorrhage.

  • Free radical: atoms or group of atoms with an odd number of electrons often formed when oxygen interacts with specific molecules, damaging to cell membranes.

  • Glial cell: a specialised cell that is part of the supporting structure of the brain and spinal chord.

  • Glutamate: excitatory neurotransmitter.

  • Haemodynamic: blood movement.

  • Hallucinations: sensory impression having no basis in external stimulation.

  • Harm minimisation/harm reduction: refers to a range of strategies that aim to reduce harms associated with drug use.

  • Hepatic: pertaining to the liver. Top of page

  • Hepatotoxic: toxic to the liver.

  • Histopathologic: the science of diseased tissues.

  • Hospital separation: episodes of care or the event of discharge from a hospital.

  • Hyperactivity: excessive activity.

  • Hypernatraemia: elevated levels of salt in the blood.

  • Hypersomnia: excessive sleep.

  • Hypertension: elevated blood pressure.

  • Hyperthermia: higher than normal body temperature.

  • Hypervolaemia: lower than normal blood volume.

  • Hypoactivity: slowed or reduced activity.

  • Hypoglycaemia: lower than normal levels of blood sugar.

  • Hyponatraemia: lower than normal levels of salt in the blood.

  • Hypotension: lower than normal blood pressure.

  • Ice: see crystalline methamphetamine.

  • Illusions: mental impression derived from misinterpretation of an actual sensory stimulus.

  • Incidence: number of new cases.

  • Inhalants: group of substances, usually volatile, that are inhaled for their specific effects e.g. petrol, glue, paint, and nitrites.

  • Insomnia: inability to fall or remain asleep.

  • Intranasal: method of administering drugs by sniffing through the nose (snorting).

  • Intravascular coagulation: clotting of blood inside a blood vessel.

  • Intravenous: method of administering drugs into the blood through direct vein injection (shooting up, i/v).

  • Ketamine: anaesthetic used by veterinarians that produces profound hallucinatory effects in humans and may lead to death in toxic doses. Top of page

  • Lethargy: weariness or stupor.

  • MDMA: a synthetic drug structurally related to amphetamines with the added presence of the methylenedioxy group of molecules. Most locally made MDMA contains a large proportion of methamphetamine and ketamine (pills).

  • Median: the central tendency of a set of data i.e. most frequently occurring number.

  • Meta-analysis: a defined systematic method for statistically integrating the results from independent controlled research studies.

  • Metabolite: any compound produced during metabolism.

  • Methamphetamine, methylamphetamine: amphetamines with the addition of a methyl group on the molecular chain, which are typically more potent in effect (can include salt and base forms).

  • Methylphenidate: prescription drug 'RitalinTM'. Synthetic stimulant used primarily to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

  • Microvascular lung injury: injury to small vessels of the lung.

  • Monoamine neurotransmitters: mood regulating substances produced by the body such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.

  • Motivational interviewing: a non-confrontational cognitive behavioural style of interviewing used to assist clients to recognise and address their health concerns leading to behaviour change.

  • Motor: physical activity.

  • Myocardial infarction: see heart attack.

  • Myocardial ischaemia: reduced blood flow to the heart muscle.

  • Neuroadaptation: the body's ability to adapt to exposure to higher levels of a drug, also when an individual requires higher doses of a drug to create the intended effect (tolerance).

  • Neuroendocrine: pertaining to the relationship between nervous and endocrine systems.

  • Neurology: scientific study of the functions and disorders of the nervous system.

  • Noradrenaline: see norepinephrine.

  • Norepinephrine: a neurotransmitter secreted by the adrenal glands promoting energy and alertness.

  • Occupational use: drug use intended to benefit work performance.

  • Oestrogen: female sex hormone.

  • Palpitations: a heartbeat that is unusually rapid, strong or irregular enough to make a person aware of it. Top of page

  • Paranoia: mental disorder characterised by delusions of persecution.

  • Parenteral: by injection.

  • Pathogenesis: origin of disease.

  • Pharmacodynamics: the action of a drug on the body and brain.

  • Pharmacokinetics: refers to the processes involved in mediating the concentration of a substance or drug in the body over time, including absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination.

  • Pills: see MDMA or Dexamphetamine.

  • Platelet aggregation: the binding or clumping of red blood cells.

  • Polymorphism: the quality of existing in several different forms.

  • Potency: relating to the level of effect from a specific dose of the drug.

  • Prevalence: frequency or occurrence.

  • Psychoactive: any substance that activates brain neurotransmitters.

  • Psychomotor agitation: increased motor effects or movement (stimulated).

  • Psychomotor retardation: decreased motor effects or movement (depressed).

  • Psychosis: a mental health disorder characterised by a separation from reality, may include symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disorientation and confusion.

  • Psychosocial factors: involving a range of psychological and social variables.

  • Psychostimulants: a group of central nervous system stimulants, which act to increase the activity of dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin.

  • Pulmonary haemorrhage: lung haemorrhage.

  • Pulmonary oedema: fluid in the lungs. Top of page

  • Pyrolysis: the decomposition of a substance at high temperatures in the absence of oxygen.

  • Rave: dance party where psychostimulant drugs are often utilised to enhance energy for dancing.

  • Recreational use: irregular drug use in a social setting.

  • Regular use: recurring, routine pattern of drug use.

  • Renal failure: failure of kidney function.

  • Residential rehabilitation: medium to long-term treatment option offered in a home-like setting.

  • Respiratory: pertaining to breathing (respirations).

  • Reuptake: reabsorption.

  • Rhabdomyolysis: disintegration of muscle tissue due to very high body temperatures.

  • Rhinitis: inflammation of the nasal passage.

  • Route of administration: path into the body by which drugs are used or administered.

  • Self-detoxification: undertaking withdrawal without professional assistance.

  • Self-mutilation: self-initiated act of disfigurement, which may include cutting, burning etc.

  • Sentinel surveys: studies designed to monitor specific occurrences or trends.

  • Septal: of the nasal septum.

  • Serotonergic agonist: see dopamine agonist.

  • Serotonin: neurotransmitter involved in complex behaviours such as mood, appetite, sleep, cognition, perception, motor activity, temperature regulation, pain control, sexual behaviour and hormone secretion.

  • Sex on premises venues: venues that allow or promote sexual activity on site, usually for gay men, typically anonymous. Top of page

  • Shabu: see crystalline methamphetamine.

  • Stroke: lay term for cerebrovascular accident (CVA), which describes occlusion of a blood vessel in the brain, which leads to varying degrees of brain damage and possibly death.

  • Subacute: a condition that is not a severe acute condition but has not progressed to a chronic, long-term state.

  • Subarachnoid haemorrhage: haemorrhage beneath the arachnoid layer that encases the brain.

  • Substitution therapy: prescription of an agonist or partial agonist drug, which aims to reduce the harms associated with illicit drug use.

  • Suicidal ideation: thoughts or preoccupation with suicide.

  • Supraventricular: above the ventricle of the heart.

  • Sympathomimetic: mimics the action of the sympathetic nervous system.

  • Systolic blood pressure: the degree of pressure placed on the walls of blood vessels when the heart is in contraction (diastolic, degree of pressure when the heart is at rest).

  • Tachycardia: rapid pulse rate.

  • Teratogenic: the ability of a substance or drug to produce specific congenital anomalies. (The period during pregnancy where the foetus is susceptible to teratogens is during the period of organ differentiation (weeks 2-8 from conception in humans). There are fewer than 25 drugs considered to be teratogens; for a drug to be considered teratogenic, it must produce a dose-related, consistent pattern of anomaly, with an incidence higher than the population rate of approximately 2%.)

  • Thermoregulatory: regulation of body temperature.

  • Thromboembolism: obstruction of a blood vessel with a solid mass (e.g. clot). Thromboxane: produced by the body to initiate an inflammatory response and platelet aggregation (clotting).

  • Tic-like movement: involuntary spasmodic twitching movement.

  • Toxicity: the capacity of a substance to produce toxic or poisonous effects.

  • Tremors: shakes, usually of hands, or limbs, can be fine or coarse.

  • Urine drug screen: analysis of a specimen of urine to detect the presence of drug metabolites. Top of page

  • Vasoconstrictive: decreases the size and blood-carrying capacity of a blood vessel.

  • Vasodilation: increases the size and blood carrying capacity of a blood vessel.

  • Vasopressin: water soluble principle from the pituitary gland that increases blood pressure and influences reabsorption of water by the kidneys.

  • Vasospasm: spasm of a blood vessel.

  • Ventricular: pertaining to the larger chambers (ventricles) of the heart.

  • Ventricular tachyarrhythmias: rapid and irregular contraction of the ventricles of the heart

  • Volatile: combustible, able to be ignited.

  • Withdrawal: the progress and time-course of detoxification.

  • Yaabaa: tablet form of methamphetamine (Thai street name).