Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Drugs in our Society

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Drugs Assignment

Research and report on the following drugs;


1) Alcohol, specifically ethyl alcohol (ethanol), is produced by fermenting the starch or sugar in various fruits and grains. Alcoholic beverages produced by fermentation and distillation include beer (usually about 5% alcohol), wine (usually 1 to 15% alcohol), and hard liquor(which is about 45% alcohol).

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) Immediate Effects - The effects of alcohol may appear within 10 minutes after consumption and peak at approximately 40 to 60 minutes. Alcohol remains in the bloodstream until it is broken down by the liver. If an individual consumes alcohol at a faster rate than it can be broken down by the liver, the blood alcohol concentration level rises. When ingesting the same amount of alcohol as a man, a woman will have a higher blood alcohol concentration because of gender-related physiological differences.

Long Term Effects - As a depressant, alcohol depresses the breathing rate, heart rate, and the control mechanisms in the brain. The effects of such depression may include

· impaired ability to perform complex tasks (such as driving)

· reduction of inhibitions which may lead to embarrassing behavior

· reduction in anxiety

· decreased attention span

· impaired short-term memory

· impaired motor coordination

· prolonged reaction time

· less rapid thought processing

) Driving experts and medical researchers have tested the effects of alcohol on driving and have found that drinking at any level

· reduced the ability to judge distances, speeds, and turns

· reduces the ability to judge accurately ones own capabilities and limitations

· increases the tendency to take risks

· slows reflexes

· adds to forgetfulness of taking precautions such as using signals when turning

· reduces the ability to concentrate

Cannabis -

1) Cannabis is a leafy plant which grows wild in many of the tropic and temperate areas of the world. It is cultivated both indoors and out for the production of its flowering tops. The most commonly used form of cannabis are the leaves and flowering tops (buds) which may be either smoked or eaten; It also comes in a more concentrated resinous form called hashish, and as a sticky black liquid called hash oil. There are three distinct species of cannabis Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis, though there is some argument as to whether these should be considered varieties rather than species.

) Effects - Duration is affected by dose, tolerance, and individual reaction. Note that most cannabis smokers smoke multiple times in single session which extends the duration.

The effects of smoking Cannabis are usually lighter than those of many other recreational psychoactive substances. People are generally capable of carrying out normal actions and activities while high.

mood lift relaxation, stress reduction creative, philosophical or deep thinking ideas flow more easily

pain relief (headaches, cramps) general change in consciousness (as with many psychoactives) increased appetite, snacky-ness slowness (slow driving, talking) tiredness, nausea, especially in combination with alcohol, some pharmaceuticals, or other psychoactives coughing, asthma, upper respiratory problems difficulty with short term memory during effects and during periods of frequent use.

)Effect on Drivers - Though driving under the influence of any controlled substance is a matter of concern, there is no evidence that cannabis use alone is a significant cause of motor vehicle accidents. Field studies have demonstrated that cannabis is one of the most prevalent drugs discovered in fluid samples taken from drivers. However, assessment of the causal role of cannabis in accident occurrence is complicated by the fact that alcohol is also present in the majority of samples.

Valium (Diazepam)

1) Diazepam is an antianxiety agent ( benzodiazepines. ) Used primarily for short-term relief of mild to moderate anxiety. It may also be used to treat symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawals, to help control epilepsy, or to relieve muscle spasms.

) Diazepam is used for the short-term relief of symptoms related to anxiety disorders. Diazepam is also used for the treatment of agitation, tremors, delirium, seizures, and hallucinations as a result of alcohol withdrawal. Diazepam is also used for relief of muscle spasms in certain neurological diseases. Diazepam is used to abort active seizures and can be combined with other drugs in treating severe recurrent seizures.

) A study of Valiums effects on driving linked it to problems in speed control and concentration, even at normal doses. In fact, dose for dose, Valium proved as dangerous on the road as alcohol.

10 mg of Valium can cause greater driving impairment than a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1 (at or above the legal limit in all states).


1) Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder. Street names for heroin include smack, H, skag, and junk. Other names may refer to types of heroin produced in a specific geographical area, such as Mexican black tar.

) effects - The short-term effects of heroin abuse appear soon after a single dose and disappear in a few hours. After an injection of heroin, the user reports feeling a surge of euphoria (rush) accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth, and heavy extremities. Following this initial euphoria, the user goes on the nod, an alternately wakeful and drowsy state. Mental functioning becomes clouded due to the depression of the central nervous system. Long-term effects of heroin appear after repeated use for some period of time. Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, cellulitis, and liver disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health condition of the abuser, as well as from heroins depressing effects on respiration.

) The effects on the driver

· slows the drivers reaction time

· distorts drivers perceptions of distance and speed

· greatly reduces ability to concentrate

· decreases ability to coordinate appropriate reaction when driving

· greatly increases the risk of having a crash.

Cocaine (crack)

1) Crack is the street name given to cocaine that has been processed from cocaine hydrochloride to a free base for smoking. Rather than requiring the more volatile method of processing cocaine using ether, crack cocaine is processed with ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and water and heated to remove the hydrochloride, thus producing a form of cocaine that can be smoked. The term crack refers to the crackling sound heard when the mixture is smoked (heated), presumably from the sodium bicarbonate.

) . The drug induces a sense of exhilaration in the user primarily by blocking the re-uptake of the neurotransmitter in the brain. The short-term effects of cocaine will be noticed right away which in some cases of use can cause serious bodily damage and in some cases lead to death. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizures followed by respiratory arrest. Increased energy, decreased appetite, and increased heart rate and blood pressure are some short-term effects that will be noticed by most first time cocaine users.

Short-term Cocaine Effects

Increased temperature

Dilated pupils

Constricted vessels

Increased blood pressure

Mental alertness

Increased energy

Decreased appetite

Increased heart rate

Long-term cocaine effects come into play as cocaine abuse continues and tolerance builds. Cocaine is a highly addicting drug, which can lead to enormous medical complications. Some of these complications are as follows heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures, and gastrointestinal various complications. Some physical symptoms are as follows convulsions, nausea, blurred vision, chest pain, fever, muscle spasms, and coma.

Some other long-term effects are lying to others about the use of cocaine, lying to oneself about becoming addicted, stealing to support the sometimes very expensive cocaine habit, and absenteeism at work.

Long-term Cocaine Effects





Auditory Hallucinations

Mood Disturbances

) The changes in a persons perception, mood, and thinking during cocaine intoxication are particularly relevant to driving skills. Cocaine may cause a higher sensitivity to light, halos around bright objects, and difficulty focusing. Many users say that cocaine actually improves their driving ability, which is not surprising because the drug induces euphoria and feelings of increased mental and physical abilities.


1) LSD is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. LSD, commonly referred to as acid, is sold on the street in tablets, capsules, and, occasionally, liquid form. It is odorless, colorless, and has a slightly bitter taste and is usually taken by mouth.

) The effects of LSD are unpredictable. They depend on the amount taken; the users personality, mood, and expectations; and the surroundings in which the drug is used. Usually, the user feels the first effects of the drug 0 to 0 minutes after taking it. The physical effects include dilated pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors. Sensations and feelings change much more dramatically than the physical signs. The user may feel several different emotions at once or swing rapidly from one emotion to another. If taken in a large enough dose, the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations. The users sense of time and self changes. Sensations may seem to cross over, giving the user the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds. These changes can be frightening and can cause panic.


Amphetamines (speed)

1) Amphetamines belong to a group of drugs called psychostimulants, commonly known as speed, that stimulate the central nervous system. They speed up the messages going to and from the brain to the body.

Most amphetamines are produced in backyard laboratories and sold illegally. People who buy amphetamines illegally are often buying the drugs mixed with other substances that can have unpleasant or harmful effects.

) effects - Soon after taking amphetamines, the following effects may be experienced

· Speeding up of bodily functions Amphetamines speed up the bodys activity. Heart rate, breathing and blood pressure increase. A dry mouth, increased sweating, enlargement of the eyes pupils and headaches may occur.

· More energy and alertness Users can feel energetic and full of confidence, with a heightened sense of wellbeing. Other effects include feeling wide awake and alert, becoming talkative, restless, excited, and having difficulty sleeping. Panic attacks may also be experienced.

Regular repeated use of amphetamines may result in chronic sleeping problems, anxiety and tension, high blood pressure and a rapid and irregular heartbeat. Other possible effects include

· Malnutrition Amphetamines reduce appetite, resulting in people being less likely to eat properly.

· Psychosis Frequent heavy use can cause amphetamine psychosis. Symptoms may include paranoia as well as delusions, hallucinations and bizarre behaviour. These symptoms usually disappear a few days after the person stops using amphetamines.

) It is even unsafe to drive after using amphetamines, as once the amphetamines have worn off the user may feel tired. Amphetamines can also increase confidence, making drivers more likely to take dangerous risks.

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