Drug abuse kills - My key question.
Drug abuse can kill!
Drug abuse kills – My key question.
This will be my hypothesis. I have chosen this key question because I have a lot of information and drug leaflets/books on drug abuse and how it kills its abusers.
I already have some leaflets on death caused by drug abuse, but I still need more information on this subject. I’ll collect more information on drug abuse from my library (John Harvard library) and the chemist close to borough station. My mother will also get me some general drug information which I will use to explain the functions of different drugs, what their medical use it and what their abusive use does.
After the I finish the drug information, I will show some pictures of victims of drug abuse and a plotted map with the place which contains the most drug abusers.
The types of drugs:
Barbiturates – Barbiturates are any group of drugs that depress brain function, they come from barbituric acid, a combination of urea and malonic acid. Depending on the dosage or formulation, they can have a sedative, sleep-inducing, anticonvulsant or anaesthetic effect. Short acting barbiturates such as thiopental are injected to induce rapid anaesthesia before surgery. Phenobarbital, a long acting barbiturate, is prescribed with other with other medications to prevent epileptic seizures. Other barbituric acids, like secobarbital, were used as antianxiety medication until the development of the tranquilliser. Some are still used for a short-term treatment of insomnia.
Barbiturates are commonly abused drugs. Producing symptoms similar to drunkenness: Loss of inhibition, violent behaviour, muscle incoordination, depression and sedation. They are physically addictive and produce severe withdrawal symptoms; overdoses can cause profound shock, coma or even death.
Hallucinogen, any large number of natural or synthetic Psychoactive drugs that produce marked distortions of the senses and changes in perception. Hallucinogens generally alter the way time is perceived, making it appear to slow down. As the name suggests, hallucinogens may produce hallucinations, which are shape and colour shifts in the appearance of the outside world or, in extreme cases, the replacement of external reality with imaginary beings and landscapes. Hallucinogens may also lead to bizarre and antisocial thoughts as well as to disorientation and confusion. Evidence suggests that hallucinogens work by inhibiting the availability of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter in the brain. Hallucinogens are banned in the United States except in government approved research. The best known and most potent hallucinogen is lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Other hallucinogens include psilocybin, which comes from certain species of mushrooms, and mescaline, which comes from a cactus called peryote. These drugs are of medical interest because they produce effects similar to the symptoms of schizophrenia, a severe mental illness accompanied by distortions of reality. Some researchers believe that a hallucinogen-induced state can be used as a model to study schizophrenia. Hallucinogens may be taken orally, injected, or, in the case of marijuana (a mild hallucinogen), smoked and inhaled. They usually take effect within an hour and cause increases in blood pressure, body temperature, and pulse rate as well as dilation, or enlargement, of the pupils of the eyes. These drugs may also cause nausea and numbness. Individual reactions to hallucinogens are unpredictable, especially when these drugs are used recreationally--that is, for the pleasurable effects they produce and not for medical purposes. The experience of the drug may be pleasurable one day and highly disturbing the next, depending on the setting and circumstances in which the drug is taken and the individual’s personality and mood at the time. The effects of hallucinogenic drugs may last from a few hours to several days, and may recur months later in what are referred to as flashbacks.
This is a preview of the whole essay
Narcotics, originally applied to all compounds that produce insensibility to external stimuli through depression of the central nervous system, but now applied primarily to the drugs known as opiates; compounds extracted from the opium poppy and their chemical derivatives. Also classed as narcotics are the opioids, chemical compounds that are wholly synthesised, but which resemble the opiates in their actions. The most important attribute of narcotics is their capacity to decrease pain, not only by decreasing the perception of pain, but also by altering the reaction to it. Although they do have sedative properties when used in large doses, they are not used primarily for sedation. The major constituent of opium and the prototype of all narcotic analgesics is morphine, which was isolated and chemically analysed by a German F. W. A. Seturner between 1805 and 1817. Other narcotics used are meperidine (trade name Demerol), codeine, and propoxyphene (trade name Darvon). Heroin, synthesised from morphine, is a potent analgesic, but its use is forbidden in the some countries. Some of the newer synthetic compounds are 1000 to 10,000 times more potent than morphine. In addition to their painkilling properties, the narcotic analgesics cause a profound feeling of well being (euphoria). It is this feeling that is in part responsible for the psychological drive of certain people to obtain and use these drugs. When taken chronically in large doses, the narcotics have the capacity to induce tolerance (whereby a larger and larger dose is required by the body to achieve the same effect), and psychological and physical dependence, or addiction. In this case, they are similar to the barbiturates and to alcohol. These properties make the medical use of narcotics extremely difficult and have led to strict regulation of the prescription and dispensing of this class of drug. Even so, they are widely abused.
Recent research has determined that specific regions of the brain and spinal cord have an affinity for binding opiates, and the binding sites in the brain are in the same general areas where pain centres are believed to be. This research has also succeeded in isolating compounds, called enkephalins, that are produced in the body to reduce pain; the compounds consist of five amino acids. Apparently they can depress neurons throughout the central nervous system. They belong to a group of larger compounds called endorphins, consisting of many amino acids, that have also been isolated in the body and that are produced by the pituitary gland. Administration of endorphins, including the enkephalins, results in effects similar to those produced by opiates.
The discovery of a class of compounds that are specific antagonists to the action of the opiates has made it possible to treat opiate overdosage quickly and efficiently. The standard drug for this use is naloxone. Some of the antagonists also have opiatelike properties, and this has led to the introduction of a new class of analgesics, the mixed agonists-antagonists. It is hoped that these drugs will produce analgesia without euphoria, reducing their potential for abuse. The three drugs of this class approved so far are - pentazocine, butorphanol, and nalbuphine, are as analgesic as morphine for many uses and induce little or no euphoria. All appear to have a lower abuse potential than morphine or propoxyphene.
Sedative, any of the drugs used to reduce nervous tension or induce sleep. Often referred to as sedative-hypnotic drugs, these substances generally have a calming and relaxing effect on the central nervous system and muscles when taken in small doses, and a hypnotic, or sleep-producing, effect when taken in larger doses. For centuries alcohol and opium were the only substances known to produce these effects, but in recent decades over 50 other substances have been discovered, each differing slightly in its effect on the user. Among the sedatives prescribed for calming patients are the tranquillisers Librium (chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride) and Valium (diazepam), which are commonly used to relieve emotional stress. Drugs administered to produce sleep include barbiturates such as secobarbital, pentobarbital, and phenobarbital, which produce short, medium, and prolonged duration’s of sleep, respectively. Chloral hydrate, paraldehyde, antihistamine, and Quaalude (methaqualone) are other sedative-hypnotic drugs. Sedatives are habit-forming and can cause severe addiction problems. Easily obtainable from physicians, they have become, since the 1960s, among the most abused drugs.
Depressant, any drug or chemical that decreases the activity of any bodily function. The term most often is used to refer to drugs that reduce the activity of the central nervous system. The sedative effects of these agents tend to reduce pain, relieve anxiety, and induce sleep. They include the barbiturates, tranquillisers such as diazepam and meprobamate, and the narcotic analgesics morphine, codeine, meperidine, and propoxyphene. At higher doses, depressant drugs can cause coma or death. Narcotics in particular can fatally depress the respiratory center. All these chemicals can also cause physical and psychological dependence if taken for too long, for the wrong reasons, or in too large a dose. Perhaps the most widely used non-medical depressant is ethanol, or grain alcohol, taken in alcoholic beverages. The paradoxical stimulating effect of low doses of ethanol is due to its depression of the inhibitory centers of the brain.
Stimulant, any of a group of drugs that excite the central nervous system, increase alertness, and reduce fatigue. Caffeine is perhaps the most socially acceptable and commonly used stimulant. Other stimulants include cocaine and amphetamines, which create intense feelings of euphoria (well-being). Amphetamines, commonly known as pep pills or diet pills, also decrease appetite. Stimulants work by mimicking the fight-or-flight response, in which the hormone epinephrine (also known as adrenaline), is released during stressful situations to produce an increased heart rate and increased blood flow to the muscles. Stimulants produce a similar, but often more powerful, response by increasing levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.
Stimulants also appear to act on the limbic system, a group of cell structures in the center of the brain that reward behaviors beneficial to the continuation of the species. These behaviors; sexual intercourse, eating, and drinking, are normally accompanied by positive sensations, which may primarily result from increased levels of dopamine in the limbic system. Stimulants produce an even more potent, euphoric sensation by directly increasing dopamine levels in the limbic system. The appetite-suppressing effect of amphetamines is also thought to derive from the manipulation of this brain reward system: The brain no longer requires food to elevate dopamine levels because the drug has already induced both this elevation and the desired euphoria. For similar reasons, sex drive is often reduced in heavy users of stimulants like cocaine and amphetamine. To achieve these potent feelings of well-being, some stimulants are used for recreational purpose, that is, they are used to produce pleasurable effects rather than for medicinal purposes under a physician’s supervision. But the recreational use of stimulants is dangerous because the drugs can both inspire erratic behavior and produce unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. When the stimulant is eliminated by the body, dopamine levels in the brain fall, producing drug craving, depression, and anxiety. In some cases prolonged use creates a tolerance for the drug, requiring larger and larger doses to produce a comparable effect. And in many instances stimulants are highly addictive. Cocaine and amphetamines produce closely related biological effects that include excitement, alertness, euphoria, a sense of increased energy, and decreased appetite. Both cocaine and an amphetamine derivative called methamphetamine, commonly known as speed, come in forms that are particularly potent when smoked. They are also highly addictive. Cocaine is sometimes used clinically as a local anesthetic, and amphetamines are commonly prescribed to treat hyperactivity in children, and narcolepsy. Amphetamines were once prescribed as appetite suppressants, but this practice is now discouraged because of negative side effects and the potential for abuse. Nicotine, a highly addictive stimulant found in tobacco, also directly affects dopamine release in the limbic system. The drug, which is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream from the lungs when smoked, causes muscle relaxation, increased heart rate, and release of epinephrine. Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, anger, restlessness, and insomnia. The basic mechanisms involved in nicotine addiction are nearly identical to those of cocaine and amphetamine addiction. Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, cola drinks, and chocolate, is a highly popular stimulant. Caffeine produces increased mental alertness and reduced fatigue, and increases the heart rate slightly. Caffeine is relatively nontoxic, but clearly has addictive potential. Withdrawal symptoms in heavy users can include severe headache, fatigue, and difficulty in concentrating. Overuse can lead to insomnia, gastrointestinal disturbances, and hypertension.
I started writing up the questionnaire on my computer. When I finally finished them I printed them out and went to all my friends/mum’s friends to give them a questionnaire to fill in. Most of the people seemed to be very busy, so I had to give it to them and get them back at a later date.
When I finally got them back, I read all the answers they put in and wrote their names on a sheet of paper so I can see who answered what.
After reading everything, I’ve found that most of the people who did the questionnaire had the same views and answered most things similarly. The other people had different views on drugs and the questions I wrote down on the questionnaire.
I made 20 questionnaire sheets for 20 people to answer. Most of the people I asked were friends, or friends of friends and my mum’s friends. Some of the people I asked were complete strangers in the street (My friend helped me out with asking the strangers the questions).
The questions I have written down are general drug related questions (i.e. what people think of drugs, do they take them, should they be banned etc), the are no in-depth questions which take a lot of time to answer, just quick fire questions used for people who do not have much drug knowledge, but just enough to know what the questions mean.
All the questions I wrote were intended to be non-biased, evenly rounded questions. The questions where not put in any particular order, just questions which can’t think about before they answer them because they don’t know what the next question will be. When I did the questions, I decided to make them non-biased, because non-biased questions answer more then biased ones. Biased questions only show one side of the story and the answers will be for that side. I think that I got some good answers and they are enough to allow me to write up a conclusion about what ordinary people think of drugs.
I personally liked the way I did the questionnaire, I thought that I put the correct questions in the correct slots and that they weren’t too hard to answer. If I got the chance to do It again, I would probably keep all the questions and keep most of their orders. I would also put in more questions and change a few of them around. I would put in some questions with more than just yes or no, something with multiple choice questions and one question which requires at least a sentence worth of an answer.
Friend of the family who abused an illegal drug.
The person who I’m talking about, his name is Juan Rodriguez. He was a very good and close friend of the family. He knew my mother from university and quickly became friends with my grandmother, uncles and their families. Juan was married and had 3 children, he lived close to my mother when she lived in Chile.
My mother knew him for 15 years and she had no clue of his cocaine addiction until he died of an overdose. His wife told my mother and my family the whole story after he died 1985. It seemed that when he went of out university, he became a financial director in one of the biggest law firms in Santiago, Chile. His wife told everyone that he had many pressures put on him….He had to work 15 hours a day, 6 days a week. The stress became too much for him and the only way he could relax was by taking the illegal drug known as Cocaine. He told his wife that it made him feel happy and stress-free. Unfortunately, he took too much one day trying to regain that high he had experienced before. Cocaine addicts need more and more to satisfy their needs for it. The buzz of the drug can only be simulated by taking more as their bodies become tolerant to the drug.
His family, a wife and 3 children, were devastated by the loss of their husband and father. Even to this day, they mourn over Juan’s death. They say that it was a “Tragic waste of life. To lose life because of a drug is just stupid…”.
The family, as I heard, had many counselling sessions to cope with the loss. At one point, the wife threatened to kill herself by jumping of the very law firm that Juan used to work for.
The tragic death of Juan Rodriguez proves that my hypothesis is correct. Drug abuse can be fatal. Especially with Cocaine users, who have to use more and more of it to receive the same effects that got before. Many people die because of drug abuse. Drug were never meant to be abused, but obviously they are and it is a major problem in most cities around the world.
I think that Juan had a very big problem and the smartest way of resolving it was NOT to abuse drugs. Juan was trying to find a quick escape from his troubles and stress and by taking Cocaine, he did…Temporarily. Unfortunately, the constant use of it probably made him resistant to the drug, that he had to take a very high amount of it to give him what he needed….Or wanted.