Depressants/sedatives: alcohol, opioids and barbituates
Refer to these questions for your presentation:
--Where does this drug come from?
--What does it do physiologically to the human body?
--What are some common medicinal uses of this drug, if any?
--How is this drug illegally or legally dispensed?
--What are some ways this drug is used non-medicinally?
--Are non-medicinal uses of this drug legal? Why or why not?
Alcoholism, Gender and Ethnicity
Alcoholism: A term used to describe alcohol dependence, characterized by:
impaired control over the use of alcohol and
development of a physiological dependence on the drug
Gender: Men are much more likely than women to develop alcoholism.
Ethnicity: While some ethnicities have low alcoholism rates (Muslims, Jews and Asian groups), others have disproportionately high rates (Native Americans).
Effects of Alcohol
The effects of alcohol vary with the dose and the duration of use.
Minor usage = mildly stimulating
Higher doses = relaxing or sedating effect.
Physiological effects: Alcohol relaxes people, deadens minor pain, impairs cognitive functioning, slurs speech and reduces motor coordination.
Due to increased inhibitions, drinkers may do things that they normally wouldn’t (such as engage in sexual activity on the first date).
Alcohol and Health
Alcohol is responsible for more than 100,000 deaths in the United States each year (mostly due to motor vehicle accidents and liver disease)
Positive health impacts: light to moderate drinking is associated with a lower risk of heart attacks, and strokes, decrease the risk of alzheimer’s (small amounts of alcohol may help maintain a healthful flow of blood to the brain).
However, these benefits disappear when people drink heavily.
Many treatment approaches are available to aid people who suffer from alcoholism.
The most widely used program is Alcoholics Anonymous which utilizes a 12-step program.
However, Cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy have been shown to be equally as effective as Alcoholics Anonymous.
Research is also investigating the use of medications in the treatment of alcoholism.
group of depressants derived from the opium poppy,
used to relieve pain but than can also provide a euphoric rush.
classified as a Narcotic. Narcotics have pain-relieving and sleep-inducing properties and strong addictive potential.
Common Opioids are Morphine and Heroin.
Addiction is often treated with a combination of Methadone and psychological treatment.
used to relieve anxiety, induce sleep, pain relief, treatment of epilepsy.
lead to quick addiction.
Withdrawal symptoms include severe convulsions.
It is dangerous to mix alcohol with these depressants .
Nicotine is a mild, but highly addictive stimulant drug found in tobacco.
Smoking causes 430,000 deaths in the United States each year. This is the equivalent to two jumbo jets colliding in mid-air every day and all passengers dying.
While smoking has decreased from 40% of adults in the mid-1960s to 25% in recent years, it has increased amongst younger and lower socioeconomic classes in our society.
More Perils of Smoking
Nicotine is not the most dangerous aspect of smoking. Carbon monoxide and tars are responsible for decreased oxygen in the blood and the development of lung cancer.
Cigarette smoking causes death due to heart disease, chronic lung and respiratory diseases, lung cancer and other problems.
Pregnant women who smoke have a higher risk of miscarriage, preterm births, low-birthweight babies, and stillborn babies.
Passive Smoking (inhaling smoke from another’s tobacco product) is also connected with respiratory illnesses, asthma, and other health problems. Prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke as child is a risk factor for lung cancer.
increase states of alertness, induce pleasurable feelings, and provide euphoric rush.
first used during WWII to help soldiers remain alert at night.
Also called speed, uppers, bennies, and dexies.
regular use of methamphetamine can lead to physiological dependence.
Heavy usage of methamphetamines can lead to cognitive and emotional problems, and possibly to neurological damage .
Powerful stimulant that produces feelings of euphoria and can curb hunger and pain.
Ways of use: brewed from coca leaves as a tea, snorted in powder form, or injected in liquid form.
Snorting causes vasoconstriction and if repeated over time, can lead to deterioration of nasal cartilage.
Cocaine is highly addictive and withdrawal symptoms include intense cravings for the drug, depressed mode and failure to experience pleasure from ordinary activities.
Cocaine is quite dangerous as it stimulates sudden rises in blood pressure, constricts the coronary arteries and thickens the blood. Overdoses may result in respiratory and cardiovascular collapse.
LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide )
LSD produces vivid and colorful hallucinations known as “trips”.
Some LSD users experience flashbacks, that are distorted perceptions or hallucinations that mimic the LSD “trip” but occur days, weeks or longer after usage.
High doses may induce frightening hallucinations, impaired coordination, poor judgment, mood changes, and paranoid delusions.
Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States with one in three US residents aged 12-50 reporting having used marijuana at least once in their lives.
Marijuana can induce feelings of relaxation, elevate mood, and produce mild hallucinations.
Marijuana may have some legitimate medical uses such as reducing eye pressure in glaucoma patients or curbing vomiting in chemotherapy patients.
People can become psychologically addicted, and recent research suggests that regular users may experience signs of physiological dependence.
Research also suggests that marijuana may interfere with memory, impair learning ability and lead to smaller brains in males who began using marijuana before age 17.
Finding Healthful Alternatives
At times, we all feel depressed, tense, or bored. Some feel inadequate to face the challenges of life while others see their future as bleak and unrewarding.
We all have these feelings every now and then. Do we turn to drugs to provide magical answers or do we seek healthy alternatives ?