Abuse Of Legal And Illegal Drugs

2453 words - 10 pages

Drug abuse is “a maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress” (American Psychiatric Association, 2000, p.114-115). The difference between using drugs and abusing drugs depends on three things, what the drug is for, how much of the drug is used, and the effect that the drug has on the person. Drug abuse typically relates to one using drugs in an excessive manner, whether the drug is legal or illegal. For example, marijuana is illegal in some states, but in other states, it is not. It is legal if you are using the drug for a specific reason under written consent of a doctor. You can use the drug, such as marijuana, in an excessive manner, which can result in the person abusing the drug. Just like alcohol, it is legal, but if you drink a lot of it, you can become impaired, increasing the risk of trouble with you and the law. Therefore, there is a thin line between “use” and “abuse”. Abuse has a lot to do with the “law and other social norms” (Macionis, 2010, p. 211). In order to understand what drug abuse is, we would have to understand what a drug exactly is.
What is a drug? Moreover, what types of drugs are there?
A drug is “any chemical substance other than food or water that affects the mind or body” (Goldstein, 2004; Macionis, 2010, p. 208). Six different types of drugs that are legal and illegal in the world that are popular are stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, cannabis, steroids, and prescription drugs. Stimulants affect the person’s mood when using this drug. It also provides alertness and increases your energy (Macionis, 2010). Examples of stimulants are Caffeine, Nicotine, Cocaine and Crack. Caffeine is one of the most popular drugs used in the United States. Caffeine provides energy and alertness in other drinks other than just coffee such as, tea, soda, chocolate drinks, and energy drinks. Caffeine usage depends on the situation you are facing such as college students facing an exam or a long distance truck driver may need caffeine to stay awake for alertness (Macionis, 2010). Nicotine is a legal drug, but it can be has harmful side effects to the person’s body. The use of nicotine comes from smoking tobacco. In effect, nicotine is a drug because it gives you the urge, the motive, the craving to want to smoke cigarettes. Nicotine is a poisonous alkaloid C10H14N2 that is the chief active principle of tobacco and used as an insecticide (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nicotine).
Cocaine and Crack are powerful stimulants that increase your heart rate, your pulse rate, and will raise your blood pressure because of these drugs (Macionis, 2010). Cocaine is a powder form, but when it is cooked, melted down, stirred with baking soda and other ingredients, the powder form becomes hard like a rock and thus you have crack. Cocaine is taken in through the nose and crack is smoked through a pipe or use of white paper, which tobacco can also be used to smoke...

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