Drug abuse is of drugs misuse that has a psychological and physical effect on the body and brain of a person. Drugs that are commonly used and abused are addictive to the extent of causing dependence syndromes. Despite the negative effects of the drug abuse on people’s organisms, they still take drugs even knowing that it is extremely harmful and dangerous. For a moment of fleeting pleasure, people are willing to risk their wellbeing and even lives. Drugs can be taken through smoking, injecting, swallowing or snorting. According to the research by National Institute on Drug Abuse (2011), the most used and abused drugs include Alcohol, Caffeine, Ecstasy, Hallucinogens, Herbal drugs, Inhalants, Marijuana, Nicotine, Opiates, Sedatives, Steroids, and Stimulants. Irrespective of the way a person takes these substances, either by smoking, drinking or snorting any of them, it can cause a severe addiction or even death. Understanding the risks connected with drug abuse can help people to make the right decisions that will positively affect their health and the quality of life life in general.
Alcohol or ethyl alcohol belongs to the sedative-hypnotic drug class. Ethyl alcohol is an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, liquor, etc. Alcohol is produced by fermentation of yeast, sugar or starches. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that is quickly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. Alcohol affects every organ of the body and can damage a developing fetus in pregnant women. When intoxication occurs, brain impairment and motor skills are affected. Alcoholism is a disease characterized by a craving for alcohol and continuation of intake of alcohol despite its negative effect on the state of health and wellbeing of an alcoholic. Alcohol affects some specific neurotransmitters such as GABA and glutamate by increasing the inhibitory activity of GABA receptors and decreasing the excitatory activity of glutamate. Combining alcohol with somnolent, non-narcotic pain relievers or other sedative drugs is extremely dangerous. The bottom line seems to be that if you want to get the medicinal effects of alcohol, you should take it as a medicine a little amount at a time.
Caffeine belongs to the stimulating drug class. Nowadays, it is widely spread and can be easily found in a variety of sodas, energy drinks, pain relievers, coffee, chocolate, and tea. Caffeine at low to moderate doses increases alertness, ability to concentrate and even euphoria; however, high doses can result in nervousness and agitation. Caffeine affects the respiratory and reproductive systems and the eyes. The combination of caffeine with drugs that raise blood pressure is not advisable because caffeine is a stimulant and can add to the effect of stronger stimulants like cocaine. Caffeine is fairly safe if a healthy person takes it in moderate amounts.
Ecstasy, are the group of drugs that belongs to the entactogens drug class. It is represented by a wide range of individual drugs as methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), and methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDE). These drugs increase the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and produce a sense of energy and alertness. These drugs also suppress appetite and affect the mood by causing a state of warm empathy and positive emotions. Overdose of the drug causes clenching of teeth, great elevation of body temperature, hypertension and kidney failure resulting in death. Drug combination with antidepressants such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors can cause elevation of heart rate and blood pressure, which is a dangerous condition. In spite of its euphoric effect, MDMA can be unpleasant and even dangerous in high doses. The actions of MDMA are still a mystery because no other drugs produce an identical state.
Hallucinogens are drugs that change the thinking processes and perception of a person. A few numbers of people have very serious reactions to LSD and similar drugs including prolonged psychotic states. In small doses, such substances cause mild disturbance of perception, thought, and emotions but not the complete fabrication of unreal events. They belong to the drug class of hallucinogens, with individual drugs of a serotonin-like group; lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin, mescaline (peyote), dimethyltryptamine (DMT), ayahuasca; belladonna alkaloid, jimsonweed; dissociative anesthetics, phencyclidine (PCP), ketamine, dextromethorphan, Salvia. These drugs effect varies from drug to drug, but LSD and similar drugs cause racing (or slowed) heartbeat, nausea, numbness, and chills. The hallucinogens are divided into two groups; with the first group that causing psychological changes such as the LSD-like drugs, and the much more physically dangerous groups, belladonna and PCP-like compounds being an example. The most dangerous is the PCP-like drugs which, when combined with alcohol or sedatives, can lead to death.
Herbal drugs are drugs from plant matter and belong to the drug class of herbal drugs. The individual drugs include herbal X-tacy (ephedrine), smart drugs, ginseng, and melatonin. These drugs do not have a strong effect on human organism but are often used to improve the brain function. However, one should be cautious when using these substances since one should keep his/her eyes on scientific research about nutritional supplements and brain function because science is catching up fast.
The biggest danger of such drugs is that many of them are untested and unregulated, which may lead to the damage of organs in the human body. Ephedrine has a positive effect on obese people by increasing the fat dissolving processes and raising the production of energy. However, they have been found to cause high blood pressure and strokes. Melatonin is a neurotransmitter structurally related to serotonin, the pineal gland, eyes, GI tract, and some immune cells secrete it, as well. This drug influences the MT1 and MT2 receptors in the brain. Melatonin affects sleep, aging, and fertility in animals. It is claimed to lower blood pressure and increase immune functions. Ephedrine, when combined with monoamine oxidase inhibitor in depression treatment, can be dangerous due to an increase in blood pressure and heart rate.
Inhalants are a group of mixed drugs administered through inhalation. Individual drugs are the nitrites, anesthetics (nitrous oxide, halothane, ether), gaseous anesthesia agents used for surgery, solvents, fuel, toluene, gasoline, glues, canned spray, and paint. The Nitrates relax the smooth muscles tissues that regulate the size and shape of the blood vessels, bladder, anus, and other tissues. The relaxation causes a drop in blood pressure increases the heart rate and causes a mild euphoria. The nitric oxide is the mildest of anesthetics producing mild euphoria, reduction of pain, reduction of inhibition followed by drowsiness as concentration increases. Risk of lethal overdose with inhaled nitrates is small but can cause palpitation, loss of consciousness upon moving from lying down to standing up, and headaches are also experienced. Long term usage of inhalants can damage the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, blood, and many other areas, in addition to the nervous system. These chemicals are truly not for human consumption. Overdose risk of nitric oxide is related to not breathing enough oxygen while breathing the gas. Other anesthetics cause disruption of heart function and respiratory suppression followed by death. It is dangerous to combine inhalants with any drug that makes someone sleepy.
Marijuana is a dry, shredded green and brown mix of leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds gotten from the hemp of plant cannabis Sativa that is used for psychoactive property. Being one of the most commonly used substances, it has no specific class but is legally considered as narcotics. Individual drugs are; low-grade marijuana (average 1 to 3 percent delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]); high-grade marijuana-sinsemilla (average 7 to 8 percent THC, up to about 20 percent); hashish (7 to 20 percent THC); hash oil (up to 70 percent THC). Smoking marijuana relaxes and elevates the mood of a person. It affects the mental function including learning and memory. Lethal overdose is virtually impossible. However, just because marijuana is not as harmful as other drugs that are not legal does not mean it should go unregulated.
However, people with heart diseases and high blood pressure are at risk when using marijuana because it elevates the heart rate causing a great workload to the heart. When combined with other drugs, it does not have a considerable effect; however, it is not advisable to use it with drugs that elevate the blood pressure or heart disease medications. Additionally, marijuana and cocaine are a dangerous combination that can increase heart rate, as well.
Nicotine can be used as a drug to treat a number of ailments such as headache and cold, for example. It cannot be attributed to any specific drug class. Nicotine individual drugs consist of tobacco, nicotinic chewing gum, nicotinic skin patch, chewing tobacco, snuff, and cigars, cigarettes and pipe tobacco. Nicotine is a specific kind of stimulant that increases attention, concentration and memory. Overdose from nicotine is not dangerous, but if it happens, it causes convulsion, difficulty in breathing, nausea, weakness, and dizziness. However, its negative effect cannot be underestimated. Nicotine causes lung cancer and other chronic lung diseases and the health costs of smoking outweigh any potential health benefits of nicotine.
Opiates are any drug, natural or synthetic that produces the characteristic opiate effects being a combination of dreamy, euphoric state, the lessened sensation of pain, and slowed breathing constipation and pinpoint pupils. Opiates belong to the drug class of opiates analgesics, with individual drugs of opium, morphine, heroin, codeine, hydromorphone, fentanyl, hydrocodone. People who inject opiates experience a rush of pleasure and then sink into a dreamy state. They experience a pleasure state in which they have little sensitivity to pain. Their breathing slows down, the skin may flush, and their pupil pinpoint. Other effects like nausea, vomiting, and constipation might accompany the previous effects. Overdose of opiates is lethal when there is a reduction in breathing to the extent of cassation. Opiates are very dangerous when used with other drugs like alcohol and barbiturates causing the suppression of breathing. There is another extremely disturbing issue of modern society linked with opiates use, the existence of contaminants in illegally prepared injectable forms of heroin represents another major hazard.
Sedatives are drugs that are divided into three drug classes, namely sedative, hypnotic, and anxiolytic. Sedatives are grouped into several individual drugs as, general sedatives, which are; barbiturates (phenobarbital, phenobarbital, secobarbital), amobarbital, chloral hydrates, glutethimide, and others. Benzodiazepine, diazepam, flunitrazepam, restoril, xanax, ativan, valmid, methaqualone are assigned to the second subgroup of sedative drugs. The third subgroup includes the drugs designed specifically to induce sleep; zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunetta), ramelteon (rozerem). Then the last group is gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). They give a sense of relation and reduction of anxiety; if taken in high doses lightheadedness; vertigo, slurred speech, and poor muscle coordination are experienced. This drug can lead to impairment of learning and memory of the events that occur while under the influence of the drug. Risk of overdose is minimal but can cause prolongation of sleep and memory impairment. Sufficient doses of sedatives with exception of benzodiazepine can lead to suppression of breathing and heart failure causing death, however, good medical support earlier on can prevent most of the problems that ingesting GHB will cause. Combination of these drugs with opiates, alcohol, and inhalants is dangerous because it can cause further suppression of breathing and death. Anabolic steroids do not cause changes in the brain that is caused by other addictive drugs, but people develop a compulsive reliance on them and willingly tolerant negative health consequences when they are being used.
Steroids are hormonal or hormonal-like drugs. Anabolic steroids are chemical substances that have the ability to promote cell growth. The drug class is Anabolic steroids, and individual drugs are testosterone, methyltestosterone, stanozol, trenbolone, halotestin, anavar. They take hours to act and are taken on a regimen basis, lasting several weeks. Some users report feelings of euphoria, great energy, and increase of combativeness but complain of depression when they stop the use of anabolic. Overdosing with anabolic steroids does not cause death but can lead to serious heart damage, affect body function, and cause strokes.
Stimulants are drugs that affect the brain causing stimulation; they are also referred to as psychostimulants. They belong to a drug class of stimulants, with individual drugs like cocaine, amphetamine (Adderall, Dexedrine), methamphetamine, methcathinone. These drugs cause a sense of energy alertness, talkativeness, and wellbeing, which the users find pleasurable. At the same time, they experience the signs of sympathetic nervous stimulation, including increased heartbeat, blood pressure and dilation of the bronchioles in the lungs. These drugs also cause psychomotor stimulation. When stimulants are being injected or smoked, they give intensive feelings of euphoria; moreover, with high doses and prolonged usage, they can cause the locomotive activity in becoming focused on repetitive movements.
Overdosing with stimulants has three dangerous outcomes. Firstly, with high doses taken accidentally, death can occur. High doses of cocaine can lead to seizures, sudden cardiac death, stroke, and failure to breath. Secondly, a psychiatric danger arises with the repeated intake of stimulants for over a week can lead to a psychotic state of paranoia that is similar to symptoms of schizophrenia. Finally, profound addiction can develop to any stimulant. It is an interesting fact that, according to the studies, kids with ADHD who get effective treatment (behavioral or drug) are less likely to become addicted to drugs. Combination of these drugs with over-the-counter cold remedies that contain decongestants can be dangerous because the effect of the two can combine to raise the blood pressure to a dangerous level. In addition, stimulants are dangerous when taken with antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, because they enhance the effect of the stimulants. Cocaine can be dangerous when combined with any drug that affects the heart rhythms such as medication taking for heart disease. It should be noted that some of the health risks can be routed to the intake of drugs; for example, injecting drugs can increase the risk of infection through needle contamination with staphylococci, HIV, hepatitis and other diseases (NIDA, 2011). Unfortunately, even after realizing all the negative and destructing effects of this phenomenon, people who have developed both psychological and physical dependence find it impossible to stop substance abuse. Only professional drug addiction treatment can help drug addicts to stop drug abuse, avoid relapses, and successfully recover their lives. Based on the research of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (2011), 13 fundamental treatment methods characterized by the positive outcome effective drug abuse treatment have been developed.