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Argumentative Essay On Drug Abuse Free Essays
The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has extremely specific guidelines in place for the testing of a new drug’s effectiveness and safety. Safety refers to the drug’s potential to produce everything from predictable, tolerable, unpleasant side effects to unpredictable, intolerable, severe toxicities. Unfortunately, all drugs have multiple effects, with some effects less desirable. Given that undesirable side effects are unavoidable, the goal is the most favorable combination of the most desired drug effects and the least unwanted side effects. The ED50 is the effective dose that produces the desired effect in 50 percent of the participants. The LD50 is the lethal dose that produces death in 50 percent of the subjects. Typically, the ED50 and LD50 are determined in several species and over many trials to reduce the risk of toxicity in humans. The greater the distance between the ED50 and LD50, the less the risk of drug-induced toxicity at beneficial dosages. The margin of safety is the ratio of LD1 to ED99 (effective dose in 99 percent of the participants). Ratios of one or greater suggest greater safety. Be cautious, though—this margin of safety is under the best of controlled testing conditions, far from the circumstances under which many humans may take the drug (e.g., mixing drugs). One drug can alter the effects of another drug in many different ways. A second drug can have an additive effect, a synergistic effect (a greater effect than would be expected when just adding the two drugs), or an antagonistic effect (the second drug reduces or blocks the effect of the target drug). Even drugs not meant to have any effect (placebos) can influence a target drug’s effects because of the user’s expectations.
The psychoactive effects of THC are dependent upon type of administration, experience with the drug, environment, and expectations. Interestingly, the effects of marijuana on appetite and sexual behavior are culturally dependent, with Americans experiencing “the munchies” and Jamaicans decreased appetite, Americans enhanced sexual responsiveness and persons of India reduced sexual interest. Generally, people use marijuana because it has a mellowing, mildly euphoric effect. Other psychoactive effects include poorer attention, distorted perception of time and colors, altered auditory and gustatory perceptions, diminished anxiety, slowed reaction time, and impaired cognitive processing. Poor learning and memory are due to the numerous cannabinoid receptors in the hippocampus. Impaired balance and abnormal movements occur because of THC’s activation of receptors in the basal ganglia, and the cognitive effects are due to receptors in the cerebral cortex. Poor reaction time, decreased attention to peripheral visual stimuli, difficulty concentrating, and impairment of complex motor tasks under the influence of marijuana hinders driving ability. High doses of marijuana produce panic and anxiety, and extremely high doses produce additional disorientation, delusions, and hallucinations.
Drug addiction is a social evil
Although the hallucinogens lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), methylene-dioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA; Ecstasy), and phencyclidine (PCP; Angel Dust) affect very different neurotransmitter systems, they are grouped here because of their similar psychological effects at nontoxic doses. The commonality among hallucinogens (psychedelic drugs) is their ability to cause users to disconnect from reality and hallucinate. Although there are a large number of natural hallucinogenics, LSD, MDMA, and PCP are all synthetic drugs originally synthesized with hopes of medicinal value. Albert Hoffman accidentally experienced a “psychedelic trip” in 1943, and since then LSD has become one of the most widely known hallucinogens. PCP was used as an anesthetic prior to being taken off the market in 1965, when it made it to the streets as a recreational drug, and MDMA became a club drug in the 1960s. Estimates of first time users of hallucinogens for each year from 2000 to 2005 have been close to one million people age 12 and older per year, with about 615,000 first-time Ecstasy users in 2005 (Department of Health and Human Services, 2006).
Psychoactive drugs can be categorized many different ways. For example, by chemical structure, whether their use is legal or illegal, or the type of CNS or behavioral effects they produce. Stimulants, like cocaine and amphetamines, increase neuronal and behavioral activity. Depressants, like alcohol, reduce neuronal and behavioral activity. Opiates, some having legal uses (e.g., morphine) and others not (e.g., heroin), reduce pain and, in high enough doses, cause an addictive “rush.” Low doses of marijuana have a mellowing, mildly euphoric effect, whereas very high doses can cause hallucinations. Drugs like LSD, MDMA, and PCP are all classified as hallucinogens because at even low doses they cause sensory and perceptual distortions. Although a great deal is known about how many psychoactive drugs act in the brain and affect behavior, researchers continue to identify the most effective pharmacological, cognitive, and behavioral treatments for persons who abuse these drugs.
It has been prevalent in society from time immemorial
Well I, being an avid reader, find myself a self proclaimed addict of books. Being in college I often find myself not focusing on lectures because I was thinking about reading or dreaming about reading or the book I’m on. I often decline friends invitations to hang out because I NEED to know what happens in the next chapter. I lose sleep because I NEED to find out how the story ends. I can spend a whole day and night just sitting in bed reading. I neglect duties like studying and cleaning and sometimes I just skip class completely. I spend over $150 a month in books. In alot of ways books are like a drug to me a constant state of need, even when I have it I crave more.
There is no question that reading enhances our intellectual and society capabilities; especially within a context that values literacy. The idea of reading as an addiction is a way to provoke an assessment of our attitude to reading. Addictions cause us to ignore other things; we are blinded from aspects of reality; we delude ourselves; we persist in behaviour which is counterproductive (not all, even most, reading is effective/useful). My point about reading as an addiction is that it reinforces and confirms a specific view of the world and our selves. And as Ong says, literacy aggressively blocks out other perspectives (and other “literacies”).
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Is Reading an Addiction? | Beyond Literacy
Clearly, not all drugs are equal. Scientists who study drugs, pharmacologists, typically measure many participants’ responses to doses so low that they cause no measurable effect to doses so high that they cease to cause any additional effect. They then plot the number (or percent) of participants who respond to the drug at each of the doses tested (dose response curve). The plot indicates the drug’s potency (number of drug molecules required to elicit a given response), efficacy (the maximum effect of the drug, with additional amounts resulting in no increase in response), and variability (individual differences in responsiveness to the drug).
A search for “reading addiction” turns up over 80,000 hits on Google
Pharmacokinetics is the study of how drugs are absorbed into the body, metabolized once in the body, and excreted from the body. The goal of drug absorption is for the drug to circulate in the blood, and more specifically for a psychoactive drug, the goal is for it to circulate in the brain. Administration for the purpose of absorption in blood and brain can take various forms depending on type of substance (lipid soluble vs. water soluble, gaseous vs. solid) and desired rate of absorption (rapid vs. slow, acute vs. continuous). Most humans administer drugs either orally (swallowed by mouth), sublingually (substance placed under the tongue), subcutaneously (injecting under the skin), intramuscularly (injecting into muscle tissue), intravenously (injecting directly into the bloodstream via a vein), transdermally (applied to outer layer of skin), intrarectally (using suppositories), intranasally (sniffed into the nostrils), or by inhalation (breathing gases and solids into the lungs). Intraperitoneal (into the peritoneal cavity), intraventricular (via a cannula into the ventricles of the brain), and intracranial (directly into a target area of the brain) injections are forms of administration used mostly in research with laboratory animals. Psychoactive drugs administered directly into the brain will have the most rapid effects because they will reach their CNS sites of action most quickly. Drugs administered through all other routes must be lipid-soluble in order to get through the formidable solid lipid barrier of the brain known as the blood brain barrier (BBB). Provided the psychoactive drugs administered directly into the bloodstream can pass the BBB, they will reach their CNS sites of action relatively quickly. Inhalation results in fast absorption into the bloodstream because gases and drugs in smoke (e.g., nicotine) are readily absorbed into the intricate network of capillaries that line the large surface area of the elaborately pocketed lungs. Although swallowing a pill is a simple, common method of drug administration, absorption is a tenuous process. Drugs taken orally must survive the harsh environment of the digestive system (e.g., stomach acids and digestive enzymes). Rates of absorption via other routes of administration are somewhere between those of inhalation and oral administration, depending somewhat on the availability of capillaries at the site of administration. Users of psychoactive drugs choose their favorite drug partially because of how quickly the drug exerts its psychoactive effects. For example, heroin is the preferred drug for some opiate addicts because it is more lipid soluble, is absorbed into the brain faster, and produces a faster, more intense “rush” than morphine does.
A scan suggests that the vast majority use this term ironically
Tolerance is the need to take increasing doses of a drug in order to achieve the same effects as previously achieved with lower doses. Likewise, when the same dose of drug has less and less of an effect with repeated administrations, tolerance has occurred. A good example is the tolerance that some people have for the caffeine in coffee. A novice coffee drinker may feel the stimulatory effects of coffee after a single cup of coffee containing about 100 mg of caffeine. After drinking coffee daily for a few weeks, it may take two or three cups of caffeinated coffee to feel that same excitation. There are several types of tolerance including metabolic tolerance, cellular tolerance, and behavioral tolerance. Metabolic tolerance occurs when, with repeated administrations of the drug, the body produces more and more metabolic enzymes, thereby speeding up the rate of metabolism of that drug. Thus, one must take more and more drug with each administration to maintain the same concentration of drug in the body as during previous episodes. Cellular tolerance is down regulation (reduction in numbers) of the receptors in the brain or reduced sensitivity of those receptors to the drug because of the continuous or repetitive presence of the drug. The result is the need for more drug in order to get the same level of effect in the brain. Behavioral tolerance involves learning. Behavioral tolerance can be observed in the presence of conditioned drug-taking cues and be absent in novel environments or situations. The drug serves as the unconditioned stimulus (US) and the drug effect as an unconditioned response (UR). Drug administering paraphernalia (e.g., white uniform, syringe and needle, bong and roach clips) and a specific location (e.g., doctor’s office, nightclub, crack house) where the drug is administered can serve as conditioned stimuli (CSs) that, when paired with the drug (US), come to elicit conditioned responses (CRs) that are similar to the UR or opposite the UR (compensatory responses). For example, when Siegel (1975) gave rats morphine (US), they showed reduced sensitivity (UR analgesia) to heat applied to their paws, but with repetitive administrations of morphine in the presence of the same environmental cues (CS), the rats showed increased sensitivity (CR hyperalgesia) to those environmental cues.
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