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Substance Abuse And Genetics Essay

2355 words - 9 pages

A drug is a chemical substance that acts on the brain and nervous system, and changes individual's mood, emotion or state of consciousness (Health Service Executive 2013).
Drugs classified by the effect they produce:
• Stimulants, such as cocaine, make people feel full of energy;
• Depressants (or sedatives), such as heroin and alcohol, make people feel relaxed;
• Hallucinogens, such as LSD, make people see, feel or hear things that are not real (Health Service Executive 2013).
Legal drugs.
Under Irish law, most drugs are illegal. However, some drugs are legal, they include:
• Caffeine;
• Alcohol;
• Cigarettes (Health Service Executive 2013).
What is alcohol?
Alcohol is a legal, sedative drug which can alter feelings (Drugs.ie n.k). Alcohol is a colourless, odourless and highly inflammable fluid. It is a legal drug which does not contain any nutrients for the body. Alcoholic beverages used in most societies, for different purposes.
No one knows exact timeline, of first confrontation with alcohol by human race. Like many other discoveries it is lost in time. Best one can speculate is that discovery occurred in the early infancy of humanity by the meaning of a chance.
Carey (2008) states that, for 300 years “alcohol” is a term identical to “spirituous” liquid. Furthermore alcohol consumption and means of limiting it go back 1700 B.C. There are four main types of alcohol:
1. Methyl;
2. Ethyl;
3. Propyl;
4. Butyl (Carey 2008).
The type that is used in production, of alcoholic beverages - ethyl (ethanol) (Carey 2008). Its chemical formula is C2H5OH Royal Society of Chemistry 2014). Correspondingly methyl, propyl and butyl alcohol are toxic and consumption of even a small dose of such, could potentially lead to blindness and death.
Yeasts acquire food from fructose, glucose, and other monosaccharaides or simple sugars, which are found in fruits (HowStuffWorks 2014). Furthermore the process of breaking down of sugars called- fermentation. During fermentation yeasts produce such by-products as:
• Ethanol (alcohol C2H5OH), and
• Carbon dioxide (CO2) (HowStuffWorks, 2014).
Fermentation turns fruit juices into wine and helps turn diluted grain mash or wort, into beer or whiskey (HowStuffWorks 2014). Additionally CO2 produced by fermentation makes the bubbles in beer and some types of wine.
National/international trends of alcohol consumption.
‘Alcohol is frequently associated with many aspects of Irish social and cultural life and its use has become deeply woven into our national identity. For many, alcohol is also seen as a gateway to illicit drug use, particularly for young people, while poly - drug use - which very often includes alcohol - is now the norm among illicit drug users’ (National Drugs Strategy, Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, 2009, p.14).
The use of alcohol is an accepted part of social life around the world, and especially in Ireland. Relationship with this drug created much interest for...

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