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    Drugs And Alcohol Essay (2608 words)

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    One of the biggest problems people cope with today is the addiction of drugs andalcohol. The effects of taking these drugs are dangerous: domestic violence,crimes, accidents, sexual assault or becoming infected with HIV/AIDS.

    Differentstudies of domestic violence show a big involvement of high quantities ofalcohol and other drugs. These increase the level of aggression. Alcoholism andchild abuse, including incest, seem tightly intertwined as well. Parents, beingunder alcohol influence, abuse their children in a bestial way.

    The mostimportant thing in this statement is that not only the abusers tend to be heavydrinkers, but the children abused will also become drinkers or drug dependents,and they will also abuse at that time. In a family, the alcoholic women have anegative verbal conflict with her husband than a non-alcoholic woman has. Thisis a source of misunderstanding between family members, and the results could bevery tragic. The family could end up in divorce or even crime. From violencebetween parents due to abuse of alcohol or drugs, the children begin to feel thepassion and need for taking drugs and drinking alcohol.

    Most of them will havesome experience. Most will understand that taking drugs of any kind doesn’t havea happy-end. Others, will continue to ruin their lives, killing themselves asdays go by (“Teens” 1/2). The first drug accepted by law is alcohol.

    One major reason that alcohol is very wanted by teenagers up to age of 21 isbecause it is prohibited for buying and consuming under that age. As long asthere will be this law of prohibition for buying and consuming alcohol under 21years of age, more and more teenagers will begin to drink more and more alcohol,because this one law of the nature: people try to not respect the law, to showthe others how tough they are. This statement is supported by some researchesmade in parallel in Romania and United States. Even though in Romania the levelof life is much lower than in United States, the percentage of people consumingalcohol and drugs is very low.

    This is not a result of pureness, because for adrug dependent, drugs are his main food. This is a result of a very stricteducation that adults give to teenagers; this is a result of the education thatparents give their own children. As a result of excessive drinking of alcohol,the person involved is exposed to very different illnesses, which affect theirbody (“Alcohol” 1/2). The second important drug accepted by law istobacco.

    Started at a young age, the smoker usually ends up in drugs morepowerful and very likely to tobacco, like marijuana, heroin,cocaine/”crack”, and amphetamines. The smoker is exposed at differentillnesses, like lung cancer and throat cancer. “The American LiverFoundation has developed an innovative program called ‘Foundations forDecision-Making’, to teach young children that alcohol and other drugs areharmful” (“Alcohol” 2/2). Alcohol and other drugs interfere withmessages to one’s brain and alter his/her perceptions, emotions, vision,hearing, and coordination. Alcohol and drugs affect his/her judgment and canlead to dangerous behavior that puts him/her at risk of: accidental injuries,car/boat crashes, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy, sexualassault, fights, and trouble with the law.

    Statistics show that more than halfof drownings and fatal falls are alcohol or drug related. Half of physicalinjuries sustained on college campuses stem from alcohol use. Almost half of allfatal car/boat crashes are alcohol or drug related. Alcohol and drugs are alsoinvolved in many cases of burglaries, and in many acquaintance rapes.

    More than70% of total cases of violent behavior on campuses involves alcohol. Accordingto “Youth, Alcohol and Other Drugs”, last month “about 9. 5million Americans between ages 12-20 had at least one drink”, “ofthese 4. 4 million were ‘binge’ drinkers (consuming five or more drinks in a rowon a single occasion) including 1. 9 million heavy drinkers (consuming five ormore drinks on the same occasion on at least five different days)” (1/4).

    Despite the fact the purchase of alcohol is illegal for most college students,the alcohol is the most widely used drug on campuses. “Among collegestudents in one survey, rates of binge drinking were highest among Caucasians,43. 5 percent for males and 24. 4% for females; among African-Americans the rateswere 24.

    8% for males and 5. 4% for females; and among Asians, 32% for males and20% for females” (“Youth” 2/4). “Among teenagers who bingedrink, 39% say they drink alone; 58% drink when they are upset; 30% drink whenthey are bored; and 37% drink to feel high” (2/4). These incidents, relatedto drugs and alcohol, are costly in two terms: one of human potential and theother, which is money.

    The number of cases of violence and crimes on the streetsis growing. According to Minnesota Institute of Public Health, the records showthat “more than 1. 1 million annual arrests for illicit drug violations,almost 1. 4 million arrests for driving while intoxicated, 480,000 arrests forliquor law violations and 704,000 arrests for drunkenness come to a total of 4. 3million arrests for alcohol and other drug statutory crimes.

    That total accountsfor over one-third of all arrests in this country” (“Violence”1/3). The drugs have the capacity to decrease pain, not only by decreasing theperception of pain, but also by altering the reaction to it. Although they havesedative proprieties when used in large doses, they are not used primarily forsedation. In large doses, the drugs destroy the nervous system. They kill thecells.

    According to Encarta ’98 Encyclopedia, the brain “loses somecapacity of memorization and learning as cells die” (“Aging” np). In addition to their ability of killing the pain, the drugs also cause aprofound feeling of euphoria. The victims involved do not feel responsible forwhat they are doing, either a right thing, or, most of the times, a wrong thing. Taken chronically in large doses, the drugs have the capacity to inducetolerance and ultimately psychological and physical dependence, or addiction. The way that drugs affect the body is not yet fully understood.

    Some researchesconfirm the fact that different drugs and different kind of alcohol affectdifferent parts of the brain and the body, which lead to euphoria. On the otherside, other body parts affected suffer changes in their functions. This way canbe explained the heart functioning process. The “process accelerated byoveruse of alcohol and tobacco” makes the heart “pumps lessefficiently, making exercise more difficult” (“Aging” np).

    Recentresearches show that although the drugs are illegal, the medicine is using apart of them. The doctors prescribe their patients some medications based ondrugs. The most used drugs by doctors are narcotics. They are used only in verysmall doses. “The chief narcotic drugs are Opium, Codeine, Morphine, andthe Morphine derivative Heroin (Drug Addictions 1/5). These drugs are used toalleviate the pain, induce sleep, to calm the respiratory problems and relievediarrhea.

    Another drug is Amphetamine. This is a drug from a powerful class ofdrugs, which stimulates the central nervous system in the way that it”enhance mental alertness and the ability to concentrate” (DrugAddictions 2/5), and also it “cause wakefulness, talkativeness, andeuphoria” (2/5). Taken in large doses, it creates “insomnia,hyperactivity, and irritability (2/5). The final consequences lead to heartproblems like “cardiac arrest” (2/5) or heart trembling. Thehallucinogenic drugs “have been used by primitive societies in both Old andNew Worlds to facilitate meditation, cure illness, placate evil spirits, andenhance mystical and magical powers” (Drug Addictions 2/5). People used tobelieve in their magical powers.

    The hallucinogenic drugs “alteredperceptions of tome and space and of the color” (2/5), and that made thepeople believe that some miracles happen to them. Other effects were seen, like”imaginary conversations, music, odors, tastes, and other sensations”(2/5). These hallucinogenic drugs are not very powerful, but taken regularly andincreasing the quantity taken lead to dependence. The quantities taken willincrease as time go by in order to produce the same euphoria effect. Heroin is ahighly addictive drug derived from morphine, which is obtained from the opiumpoppy, according to Addictions Organization.

    It is a downer thataffects the brains pleasure systems and interferes with the brains abilityof perceiving pain. Heroin can be used in a variety of ways, depending on userpreference and the purity of the drug. Heroin can be: – Injected into a vain(mainlining); – Injected into a muscle; – Smoked in a water pipe orstandard pipe, mixed in a marijuana joint or regular cigarette; – Inhaled assmoke through a straw, known as Chasing the Dragon; – Inhaled as powdervia the nose. Heroin is a very fast-acting drug when injected or smoked. Injected heroin reaches the brain in 15 to 30 seconds while smoked heroinreaches the brain in 7 to 10 seconds. Once the person begins using heroin,he/she quickly develops a tolerance to the drug and needs more and more to getthe same effects.

    Heroin is named after the German word for hero, heroisch(Heroin, 1/2). The substitute of Heroin, Methadone, was initially christenedDolphine in honor of Adolf Hitler (1/2). After, in 1897, Bayer advertisedHeroin as the sedative for coughs (1/2). According to Health Organization(see also Appendix 20), ? Heroin is sometimes used in combination withother drugs.

    Therefore one person could have a heroin mention and a mention ofanother drug during the same episode. Heroin-related emergency departmentepisodes increased by 27 percent (from 30,000 to 38,100) between the first halfof 1994 and the first half of 1995. ? Between the first half of 1994 andthe first half of 1995, heroin-related episodes increased by 32 percent (from16,100 to 21,100) among persons aged 35 years and older and by 27 percent (from9,900 to 12,600) for persons aged 26-34 years. Since the second half of 1990,heroin-related episodes have increased 173 percent among persons aged 35 yearsand older (from 7,700 to 21,100). No changes were observed among persons aged12-17 years or 18-25 years.

    ? Between the first half of 1994 and thefirst half of 1995, the number of heroin-related episodes rose by 39 percent forwhites (from 10,800 to 15,000). No statistically significant differences werefound among blacks or Hispanics. Since the first half of 1988, heroin-relatedepisodes have about doubled for both whites and blacks. ? Between thefirst half of 1994 and the first half of 1995, the number of heroin-relatedepisodes increased by 30 percent for men (from 20,400 to 26,500) and by 17percent for women (from 9,400 to 11,000). ? Among heroin-relatedepisodes, “dependence” was the most commonly reported motive for druguse (30,500) in the first half of 1995. ? The most frequently recordedreasons for an emergency department visit among heroin-related episodes in thefirst half of 1995, were “chronic effects” (10,200), “seekingdetoxification” (9,000), and “overdose” (7,700).

    Cocaine is adrug extracted from the leaves of the coca plant. It is a potent brain stimulantand one of the most powerfully addictive drugs. Cocaine can be usedoccasionally, daily, or in a variety of compulsive, repeated-use binges. It can produce a surge in energy, a feeling of intense pleasure, and increasedconfidence.

    The effects of powder cocaine last about 20 minutes, while theeffects of crack last about 12 minutes. Heavy use of cocaine may producehallucinations, paranoia, aggression, insomnia, depression, and even death. Cocaine effects are short lived, and once the drug leaves the brain, the userexperiences a coke crash that includes depression, irritability, andfatigue. Powder Cocaine cannot be smoked unless chemically altered usingdangerous freebasing technique.

    Late summer of 1985, New York City drugdealers put an end to the need for freebasing powder cocaine. These samedrug entrepreneurs would revolutionize the sale of cocaine and bring terror tothe streets of America (Cocaine 1/2). The exact inventors of crack cocaineare unknown, but the lasting effects of their discovery are well documented. Thebenefits of cocaine base (crack) for the drug dealers have only been surpassedby the problems it has created in general. In many ways, crack is the perfectdrug.

    Powder cocaine is messy and hard to handle, crack however is a hard rock-litesubstance easy to handle and conceal. Powder cocaine has to be inhaled orinjected. Inhaling cocaine creates a variety of sinus and nasal problems. Inhaling also takes longer for the drug to take effect. Injecting powder cocaineto get a better and faster high became very unpopular with advent of the A. I.

    D. S. crisis. Powder cocaine is frequently cut or mixed with a variety of substancesin order to raise profit margins of drug dealers. This made purchasing powdercocaine more hazardous for the drug abuser as they cannot be sure of the contentof the drug they are buying. Finally, freebasing was thought too dangerous aprospect for most cocaine users.

    Crack cocaine overcame all these detractors tococaine usage. According to many studies, crack is easily manufactured frompowder cocaine without dangerous solvents, using common household ingredients. Crack can be smocked, creating an intense and immediate high. There is no needfor needles, nor is there the damage to nasal and sinus passages associated withsnorting cocaine.

    Crack cocaine is nearly pure cocaine. Dosages of crackare smaller, meaning there is no need for diluting the cocaine with varioussubstances. Crack is more profitable for the dealer because of the smallerdosages. These units also mean it is cheaper for the user to purchase a smallamount and get high. The cheaper price per unit also makes it available tobroader market. But there is a greater asset crack provides for the dealer.

    Crack cocaine can be instantly addictive. The symptoms of abuse are consistentto those of powder cocaine, except crack provides a more intense high. Heavyperspiration and ear ringing are also not uncommon when smoking crack. Again,the intense addictive properties of crack often cause the abusers to go onbinges during which they continuously smoke crack until they drop from fatigueor run out of money to purchase more. Marijuana is likely to be mentioned incombination with other substances, particularly alcohol and cocaine.

    Between thefirst half of 1994 and the first half of 1995, marijuana/hashish-relatedepisodes rose from 19,100 to 25,200, an increase of 32 percent. During this timeperiod, statistically significant increases were found in the following agegroups: among persons aged 18-25 years, a 25 percent increase (from 6,400 to8,000); among persons aged 26-34 years, a 39 percent increase (from 5,300 to7,300); and among persons aged 35 years and older, a 37 percent increase (from4,100 to 5,600). No change was observed among persons aged 12-17 years(Marijuana 2/4). Between the first half of 1994 and the first half of1995, the number of marijuana/hashish-related episodes rose by 43 percent forblacks (from 6,900 to 9,800), by 28 percent for whites (from 8,900 to 11,400). There was no change for Hispanics.

    During the same time period,marijuana/hashish-related episodes increased by 34 percent for men (from 13,100to 17,500) and by 26 percent for women (from 5,800 to 7,300). Methamphetamine isa drug from Amphetamines group. Between 1988 and 1991, there was a decrease inmethamphetamine (speed)-related emergency department episodes; however, from thesecond half of 1991 through the first half of 1995, methamphetamine(speed)-related episodes increased 346 percent (from 2,400 to 10,600). Thenumber of methamphetamine (speed)-related episodes continued to increase betweenthe first half of 1994 and the first half of 1995 (from 7,800 to 10,600). Druguse for non-medical purposes occurs throughout society. For this reason the 1978Presidents Commission on Mental Health did not recommend health andmental-health assistance except to persons whose drug use was intense andcompulsive.

    The commission identified heroin as the number one drug problembecause heroin addiction may lead to criminal behavior to pay for the drug. Adding to the problem is the fact that chemically similar drugs can besynthesized and sold on the street because they are not yet classified ascontrolled substances (Encarta np). Bibliography”Drug Addictions and Drug Abuse. ” Internet Nov.

    13, 1998. Availableat: www. addictions. org/drugad. htm Cocaine Co. Cocaine.

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    Internet Dec. 03,1998. Available at: www. health. org Health Org. Marijuana.

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    heroin. co. uk Mediconsult. com.

    “Alcohol andDrugs. ” Internet Nov. 18, 1998. Available at: www. mediconsult.

    com/liver/shareware/liver_info/infoalcdrugs. htmlMental Health – Teens. “Alcohol and Other Drugs. ” Internet Nov.

    11,1998. Available at: www. cmhc. com/factsfam/teendrug.

    htm Microsoft Encarta 98Encyclopedia (2CDs). “Effects of Aging. ” Microsoft Encarta 98Encyclopedia (2CDs). “Alcoholism. ” Minnesota Institute of PublicHealth.

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    htmlThe Council On Alcohol ; Drug Abuse – Houston. “Drinking &Driving. ” Internet Nov. 13, 1998.

    Available at: Care

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