Drug Abuse And Addiction Essay

1456 words - 6 pages

Drug addiction has become a very destructive element in our society. So when does the social use of a drug become an abuse? The effects of drugs depend on whether they are used moderately or abused. Almost no one ever starts using with the intentions of becoming 'hooked'. Addiction may be defined as the continuing, compulsive nature of a drug despite physical and/or psychological harm to the user and those around them. Addictive drugs are basically pain killers, they chemically kill physical or emotional pain and alter the minds perception of reality. The difference between an addict and a non-addict is that the addict has chosen drugs as a solution to their unwanted problem or discomfort. There are a number of reasons and excuses why people begin to use drugs and when they do they usually do not know the consequences or what exactly they are getting themselves into. Two known and highly addictive drugs are Heroin and Cocaine. Once the user begins to use heroin or cocaine they put themselves at risk for short and long term effects of the drug. What is the history behind heroin and cocaine? Who is a common user in society and what are its short and long term effects?

The history behind Heroin and Cocaine dates back to the late 1800's. Originally produced in 1874, heroin was thought to be not only non-addictive, but also useful as a cure for respiratory illness and morphine addiction, and capable of relieving morphine with drawl symptoms. Later, it was discovered to have the same effect as morphine and to be just as addictive. Heroin as sold legally in the United States until 1920 when Congress recognized the danger of it. By the time this law passed, it was too late. In many parts of the world it was used as a relief of pain for the terminally ill. Although in the United States the manufacture and importation of the drug was illegal. A market for Heroin had been created. One of the reasons for that were it was much easier to smuggle into countries than morphine because Heroin was less bulk. By 1925 there were an estimated 200,000 heroin addicts in the U.S. alone. The market for heroin persists until this very day. Heroin is processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian Poppy plant. It usually appears and sold as a white or brown powder but also can be sold as a hypodermic tablet. "Many addicts need between $20 - $50 per day or more in order to purchase heroin for their levels of addiction." ( book ) As for cocaine it was first extracted from the Cocoa plant in the 19th century and was at first announced as the miracle drug. Before this was known Andean Indians had long chewed the leaves of the Cocoa plant to decrease hunger and increase their stamina for work. By the 1880's in the United States it was freely prescribed by physicians for such maladies as exhaustion,...

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