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8th grade Health Course

Acs Sofia

on 23 March 2017

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Drugs and alcohol are not the solution and they do not make people truly happy. They are an escape from life. While some of the effects of drugs might sound like fun, they do not last long. Many people get depressed and lonely afterwards and start feeling sick. Many completely ruin their lives.
Why do people use drugs and alcohol?
Drugs and Addiction
Addiction Facts
Signs of Use, Long-term Negative Effects and Treatment
All drugs take a big toll on people's physical, emotional, mental and social well-being. Opioids, stimulants, prescription drugs and alcohol are highly addictive and toxic for almost all organs. Hallucinogens and cannabis are dangerous for the mind and often cause mental and emotional disorders. People who are addicted may engage in criminal activities to sustain their habit - they may have problems with the law and some of them go to jail. They often ruin their relationships and families and may become abusive to their close ones, thus destroying other people's lives too. Addicted people often don't perform well in school and work, may become cast out from society or homeless. Many people with an addiction live in denial about their problem until it's too late for help.
Types of Drugs and their Effects
Focus for a Discussion:
Tobacco, Cannabis and Alcohol Use in Teenage Years
'for fun' - some substances stimulate different centers in the brain (for example, the pleasure centers) or change the energy of the body.
because of boredom - some people take substances that give them experiences that are not a usual part of their everyday life.
because of social factors like poverty, crime, overpopulation, discrimination, economical crisis and the resulting difficult life.
because of media hype and peer pressure - many teenagers start to believe that the drug lifestyle will help them fit in an interesting, unique and 'different' circle of friends.
Drug tolerance means that a person will need more and more of a certain drug to feel the effect. For example, when people start smoking, they smoke one or two cigarettes per day - after some time they may reach a pack of cigarettes per day.
Tolerance (the need for more and more) and fear of withdrawal (discomfort or pain upon stopping the use) lead people who experiment with drugs on the path to a serious addiction.
• Tolerance
Withdrawal means separation. It usually describes the symptoms that occur when a person with a physical addiction to a substance stops or decreases the use of it. Withdrawal can be extremely unpleasant, painful or even dangerous. There are different stages of withdrawal. Generally, a person will start to feel worse and worse, hit a plateau, and then the symptoms begin to disappear. However, withdrawal from certain drugs can be fatal and thus requires medical supervision.
We say a person is addicted when he/she is dependent on a substance.
Considered as a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.
Drugs change the structure and function of the brain.
Two types of addiction: physical (when the need for the substance is felt with the body) and psychological (when the need shows as feelings and thoughts of craving, or a strong desire to use the substance). Both types cause significant disruption and negatively impact the person's quality of life.
Drug overdose (or simply overdose/OD) describes the intake of a drug or alcohol in quantities that are greater than what the body can process in a short period of time. It is a dangerous condition and can cause nausea, unconsciousness, coma or death.
• Drug overdose
• Addiction
These are the most destructive, toxic and addictive drugs. Their effect creates relief from pain (physical and psychological), feelings of relaxation, and a sense of pleasure in some cases. They are usually injected, but sometimes it starts with smoking them. Once addicted to opioids, a person can hardly overcome the habit and it is easy to overdose.
Examples: Heroin, Morphine
• Withdrawal
These drugs can make users feel exhilarated and euphoric. Furthermore, users often experience a temporary increase in alertness and energy levels, and a postponement of hunger and fatigue. They are usually taken at parties. Stimulant users tend to abuse them in large quantities in a short time, which can make them become aggressive or psychotic.
• Stimulants
Examples: Cocaine, Amphetamines, Ecstasy
Hallucinogenic drugs alter people's state of consciousness and produce different kinds of hallucinations, delusions and distorted perceptions of reality. Sometimes users have 'bad trips', in which they experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings and believe they are going crazy.
• Hallucinogens
Examples: LSD, Psilocybin Mushrooms
• Cannabis
• Common and legal psychoactives
Alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, prescription drugs
because of personal issues and traits - some people use drugs or alcohol to 'self-medicate' from depression and anxiety; some have problems with family, friends or school/work; some are very rebellious to society; some choose to live a dangerous and risky life.
In all of these cases - taking drugs is some form of an
from life. In

the beginning, drugs may seem as the solution to teenagers' problems, or to their need to belong to a cool group of friends, or to not having enough fun and interesting experiences. After a while, this 'solution' will destroy a person's body, mind and social life, and will affect all that are close to him/her.
Probably the most commonly used illegal drug, cannabis can make users feel relaxed and heighten their sensory awareness. Users may experience a more vivid sense of sight, smell, taste and hearing. Short-term effects include increased appetite and pulse rate. While high, users' intellectual and physical abilities are impaired. With large doses, users may experience severely altered sensory perceptions and slow and confused thinking.
Although legal over a certain age, these substances can be abused in an unhealthy way. Alcohol consumption is a big health and social problem in many countries. Cigarette smoking is responsible for a significant percentage of the lung cancer and heart disease related deaths. There are a lot of people using medication in inappropriate ways that are not recommended by their doctors.
Long-term Negative Effects
Signs of Drug Use in Teenagers
Psychotherapy and group therapy
Drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation centers
Peer support and anonymous support groups
Treatment within the criminal justice system
Gateway Drug Theory
It says that teenage use of alcohol, tobacco and especially cannabis can lead to a future risk of using more toxic drugs and/or crime. For example - although not all people who smoke cannabis start using heroin, almost all who are addicted to heroin have turned to it after using cannabis.
Nicotine is highly addictive and can lead to nicotine poisoning in chain smokers; tobacco smoke contains 45 known or suspected chemical carcinogens.
More than 80 percent of smokers begin before the age of 18.
Adolescents are 13 times more likely to smoke if their peers do. If both parents smoke, adolescents are more than twice as likely to smoke than adolescents with non-smoking parents.
A teen that starts smoking at age 13 will have a more difficult time quitting, have more health-related problems, and will die earlier than a person who begins to smoke at age 21.
Non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke at home or work increase their heart disease risk by 25–30% and their lung cancer risk by 20–30%.
One out of five teenagers who are addicted to cigarettes smoke 13 to 15 a day.
According to the research, teenagers who smoke are three times more likely to use alcohol, eight times more likely to smoke marijuana, and 22 times more likely to use cocaine.
Teens who smoke are more likely to catch a cold than people who don’t, and their symptoms are worse and last longer.
Forty percent of teen smokers who have tried to quit smoking have failed.
Signs of use:
Acting silly for no reason
Being hungry and eating more than usual
Red eyes or use of eye drops
Increased irritability or grumpiness
Reduced motivation and lack of interest in usual activities
Trouble remembering things that just happened
A smell on clothes, or the use of incense or other deodorizers
Owning clothing, posters, or jewelry encouraging drug use
Having pipes or rolling papers
Stealing money or having money that cannot be accounted for

Teenagers who drink alcohol are more likely to experience:

School problems, such as higher absence and poor or failing grades.
Social problems, such as fighting and lack of participation in youth activities.
Legal problems, such as arrest for driving or physically hurting someone while drunk.
Physical problems, such as hangovers or illnesses.
Unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity.
Disruption of normal growth and sexual development.
Physical and sexual assault.
Higher risk for suicide and homicide.
Alcohol-related car crashes and other unintentional injuries, such as burns, falls, and drowning.
Memory problems.
Abuse of other drugs.
Changes in brain development that may have life-long effects.
Death from alcohol poisoning.
In some studies, cannabis use has been related to the development of psychosis, bipolar disorder and a permanent drop of performance at IQ tests. Driving under the influence of cannabis can be very dangerous as it affects concentration and reaction time. Heavy cannabis users may show personality changes and are described by their peers as lethargic, disengaged and lacking motivation to pursue significant life goals.
Google images
A disorder of the brain's reward system which arises through transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms and occurs over time from chronically high levels of exposure to an addictive stimulus (e.g., morphine, cocaine, sexual intercourse, gambling, etc.). ΔFosB, a gene transcription factor, is a critical component and common factor in the development of virtually all forms of behavioral and drug addictions; the addiction arises, with the genetic overexpression of ΔFosB in the D1-type medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens; is used preclinically as an addiction biomarker ΔFosB expression in these neurons directly and positively regulates drug self-administration and reward sensitization through positive reinforcement, while decreasing sensitivity to aversion.
Nearly all addictive drugs directly or indirectly target the brain’s reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, cognition, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. The overstimulation of this system, which rewards our natural behaviors, produces the euphoric effects sought by people who use drugs and teaches them to repeat the behavior.
Some drugs produce significant physical withdrawal (alcohol, opiates, and tranquilizers) whereas other ones produce little physical withdrawal, but more emotional withdrawal (cocaine, marijuana, and ecstasy). Every person's physical withdrawal pattern is also different.
Emotional Withdrawal Symptoms

Poor concentration
Social isolation
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

Racing heart
Muscle tension
Tightness in the chest
Difficulty breathing
Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
Alcohol and tranquilizers produce the most dangerous physical withdrawal. Suddenly stopping them can lead to seizures, strokes, or heart attacks in high risk patients and hallucinations rarely delirium tremens (DTs). A medically supervised detox can reduce the risk of dangerous complications.
Withdrawal from opiates like heroin and oxycontin is extremely uncomfortable, but not dangerous unless they are mixed with other drugs. Heroin withdrawal on its own does not produce seizures, heart attacks, strokes, or delirium tremens.
Tolerance occurs when the person no longer responds to the drug in the way that person initially responded. Stated another way, it takes a higher dose of the drug to achieve the same level of response achieved initially.
Tolerance to drugs can be produced by several different mechanisms, but in the case of morphine or heroin, it develops at the level of the cellular targets. When morphine binds to opiate receptors, it triggers the inhibition of an enzyme (adenylate cyclase) that orchestrates several chemicals in the cell to maintain the firing of impulses. After repeated activation of the opiate receptor by morphine, the enzyme adapts so that the morphine can no longer cause changes in cell firing. Thus, the effect of a given dose of morphine or heroin is diminished.
Drug Overdose Treatment
Treatment will be dictated by the specific drug taken in the overdose.
Gastric lavage (stomach pumping) to mechanically remove unabsorbed drugs from the stomach.
Activated charcoal to help bind drugs and keep them in the stomach and intestines. Often, a cathartic is given with the charcoal so that the person more quickly evacuates stool from his or her bowels.
Agitated or violent people need physical restraint and sometimes sedating medications This is disturbing for a person to experience and for family members to witness. Sometimes the person has to be intubated (have a tube placed in the airway) so that the doctor can protect the lungs or help the person breathe during the detoxification process.
Signs and symptoms of an overdose vary depending on the drug or toxin exposure. The symptoms can often be divided into differing toxidromes. This can help one determine what class of drug or toxin is causing the difficulties.
Its smoking or injecting delivers dopamine very quickly to the brain, where it produces an immediate, intense euphoria.
Because the pleasure also fades quickly, users often take repeated doses, in a “binge and crash” pattern.
Methamphetamine’s ability to release dopamine rapidly in reward regions of the brain produces the euphoric “rush” or “flash” that many users experience. Repeated methamphetamine use can easily lead to addiction
Psilocin activates many neurotransmitter receptors including serotonin ones to modulate activity on excitatory pyramidal and inhibitory GABA-ergic neurons decreasing brain “connectivity” as measured by fMRI.
But while they generally don’t produce physically dangerous side effects and are not considered to be addictive, users can quickly build up a tolerance to psilocybin mushrooms. When that happens, more mushrooms are needed to achieve the same high which may impair judgment, decision-making, and memory, as well as cause changes in personality
Research shows that approximately 9 percent,
or about 1 in 11, of those who use marijuana will become addicted. This rate increases to 17 percent, or about 1 in 6, if you start in your teens, and goes up to 25–50 percent among daily users.
Marijuana affects specific cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are found in brain regions that
influence learning and memory, appetite, coordination,
and pleasure. All forms of marijuana are mind altering (psychoactive),they change how the brain works. Marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals, including THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Since it is the main active chemical in marijuana, its amount determines its strength and therefore its effects. The THC content of marijuana has
been increasing since the 1980s.
One of the most powerful effects of alcohol is to reduce the pace of brain activity in part by decreasing the excitatory actions of the neurotransmitter
glutamate at certain sites of its receptors and boosting the inhibitory actions of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) at its receptor. These actions are among the reasons that alcohol is often thought of as a depressant.Other neurotransmitters involved are dopamine, serotonin (5–HT), and a
family of substances called opioid peptides.
Nicotine is unique in comparison to most drugs, as its profile changes from stimulant to sedative with increasing dosages and use. When a cigarette is smoked, nicotine-rich blood passes from the lungs to the brain within 7 sec and immediately stimulates nicotinic acetylcholine receptors; this indirectly promotes the release of many chemical messengers such as acetylcholine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, arginine vasopressin, serotonin, dopamine, and beta-endorphin in parts of the brain. Nicotine also extends the duration of positive effects of dopamine and increases sensitivity in brain reward systems. Most cigarettes contain 1–3 milligrams of inhalable nicotine. Studies suggest that when smokers wish to achieve a stimulating effect, they take short quick puffs, which produce a low level of blood nicotine.
Heavy drinking as drinking 5 or more drinks on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days.
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