This will be my hypothesis. I have chosen this key question because I have a lot of information and drug leaflets/books on drug abuse and how it kills its abusers. I already have some leaflets on death caused by drug abuse, but I still need more information on this subject. I’ll collect more information on drug abuse from my library (John Harvard library) and the chemist close to borough station. My mother will also get me some general drug information which I will use to explain the functions of different drugs, what their medical use it and what their abusive use does.
After the I finish the drug information, I will show some pictures of victims of drug abuse and a plotted map with the place which contains the most drug abusers. Drugs information. The types of drugs: Barbiturates – Barbiturates are any group of drugs that depress brain function, they come from barbituric acid, a combination of urea and malonic acid. Depending on the dosage or formulation, they can have a sedative, sleep-inducing, anticonvulsant or anaesthetic effect. Short acting barbiturates such as thiopental are injected to induce rapid anaesthesia before surgery. Phenobarbital, a long acting barbiturate, is prescribed with other with other medications to prevent epileptic seizures. Other barbituric acids, like secobarbital, were used as antianxiety medication until the development of the tranquilliser. Some are still used for a short-term treatment of insomnia.
Barbiturates are commonly abused drugs. Producing symptoms similar to drunkenness: Loss of inhibition, violent behaviour, muscle incoordination, depression and sedation. They are physically addictive and produce severe withdrawal symptoms; overdoses can cause profound shock, coma or even death. Hallucinogen, any large number of natural or synthetic Psychoactive drugs that produce marked distortions of the senses and changes in perception. Hallucinogens generally alter the way time is perceived, making it appear to slow down. As the name suggests, hallucinogens may produce hallucinations, which are shape and colour shifts in the appearance of the outside world or, in extreme cases, the replacement of external reality with imaginary beings and landscapes. Hallucinogens may also lead to bizarre and antisocial thoughts as well as to disorientation and confusion.
Evidence suggests that hallucinogens work by inhibiting the availability of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter in the brain. Hallucinogens are banned in the United States except in government approved research. The best known and most potent hallucinogen is lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Other hallucinogens include psilocybin, which comes from certain species of mushrooms, and mescaline, which comes from a cactus called peryote. These drugs are of medical interest because they produce effects similar to the symptoms of schizophrenia, a severe mental illness accompanied by distortions of reality. Some researchers believe that a hallucinogen-induced state can be used as a model to study schizophrenia. Hallucinogens may be taken orally, injected, or, in the case of marijuana (a mild hallucinogen), smoked and inhaled.
They usually take effect within an hour and cause increases in blood pressure, body temperature, and pulse rate as well as dilation, or enlargement, of the pupils of the eyes. These drugs may also cause nausea and numbness. Individual reactions to hallucinogens are unpredictable, especially when these drugs are used recreationally–that is, for the pleasurable effects they produce and not for medical purposes. The experience of the drug may be pleasurable one day and highly disturbing the next, depending on the setting and circumstances in which the drug is taken and the individual’s personality and mood at the time. The effects of hallucinogenic drugs may last from a few hours to several days, and may recur months later in what are referred to as flashbacks.
Narcotics, originally applied to all compounds that produce insensibility to external stimuli through depression of the central nervous system, but now applied primarily to the drugs known as opiates; compounds extracted from the opium poppy and their chemical derivatives. Also classed as narcotics are the opioids, chemical compounds that are wholly synthesised, but which resemble the opiates in their actions. The most important attribute of narcotics is their capacity to decrease pain, not only by decreasing the perception of pain, but also by altering the reaction to it. Although they do have sedative properties when used in large doses, they are not used primarily for sedation.
The major constituent of opium and the prototype of all narcotic analgesics is morphine, which was isolated and chemically analysed by a German F. W. A. Seturner between 1805 and 1817. Other narcotics used are meperidine (trade name Demerol), codeine, and propoxyphene (trade name Darvon). Heroin, synthesised from morphine, is a potent analgesic, but its use is forbidden in the some countries. Some of the newer synthetic compounds are 1000 to 10,000 times more potent than morphine. In addition to their painkilling properties, the narcotic analgesics cause a profound feeling of well being (euphoria). It is this feeling that is in part responsible for the psychological drive of certain people to obtain and use these drugs.
When taken chronically in large doses, the narcotics have the capacity to induce tolerance (whereby a larger and larger dose is required by the body to achieve the same effect), and psychological and physical dependence, or addiction. In this case, they are similar to the barbiturates and to alcohol. These properties make the medical use of narcotics extremely difficult and have led to strict regulation of the prescription and dispensing of this class of drug. Even so, they are widely abused.
Recent research has determined that specific regions of the brain and spinal cord have an affinity for binding opiates, and the binding sites in the brain are in the same general areas where pain centres are believed to be. This research has also succeeded in isolating compounds, called enkephalins, that are produced in the body to reduce pain; the compounds consist of five amino acids. Apparently they can depress neurons throughout the central nervous system. They belong to a group of larger compounds called endorphins, consisting of many amino acids, that have also been isolated in the body and that are produced by the pituitary gland. Administration of endorphins, including the enkephalins, results in effects similar to those produced by opiates.
The discovery of a class of compounds that are specific antagonists to the action of the opiates has made it possible to treat opiate overdosage quickly and efficiently. The standard drug for this use is naloxone. Some of the antagonists also have opiatelike properties, and this has led to the introduction of a new class of analgesics, the mixed agonists-antagonists. It is hoped that these drugs will produce analgesia without euphoria, reducing their potential for abuse. The three drugs of this class approved so far are – pentazocine, butorphanol, and nalbuphine, are as analgesic as morphine for many uses and induce little or no euphoria. All appear to have a lower abuse potential than morphine or propoxyphene.
Sedative, any of the drugs used to reduce nervous tension or induce sleep. Often referred to as sedative-hypnotic drugs, these substances generally have a calming and relaxing effect on the central nervous system and muscles when taken in small doses, and a hypnotic, or sleep-producing, effect when taken in larger doses. For centuries alcohol and opium were the only substances known to produce these effects, but in recent decades over 50 other substances have been discovered, each differing slightly in its effect on the user.
Among the sedatives prescribed for calming patients are the tranquillisers Librium (chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride) and Valium (diazepam), which are commonly used to relieve emotional stress. Drugs administered to produce sleep include barbiturates such as secobarbital, pentobarbital, and phenobarbital, which produce short, medium, and prolonged duration’s of sleep, respectively. Chloral hydrate, paraldehyde, antihistamine, and Quaalude (methaqualone) are other sedative-hypnotic drugs. Sedatives are habit-forming and can cause severe addiction problems. Easily obtainable from physicians, they have become, since the 1960s, among the most abused drugs.
Depressant, any drug or chemical that decreases the activity of any bodily function. The term most often is used to refer to drugs that reduce the activity of the central nervous system. The sedative effects of these agents tend to reduce pain, relieve anxiety, and induce sleep. They include the barbiturates, tranquillisers such as diazepam and meprobamate, and the narcotic analgesics morphine, codeine, meperidine, and propoxyphene. At higher doses, depressant drugs can cause coma or death.
Narcotics in particular can fatally depress the respiratory center. All these chemicals can also cause physical and psychological dependence if taken for too long, for the wrong reasons, or in too large a dose. Perhaps the most widely used non-medical depressant is ethanol, or grain alcohol, taken in alcoholic beverages. The paradoxical stimulating effect of low doses of ethanol is due to its depression of the inhibitory centers of the brain.