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In today’s Basic Science class, We will be discussing Drug Abuse. We hope you enjoy the class!
TOPIC: DRUG ABUSE 1
Drugs are meant for us to cure our illnesses and regain good health but a lot of people ignore the prescriptions that come with drugs and then go ahead to abuse it. Drug abuse is the taking of a drug for non-medical purpose and in a manner that can damage a person’s health or ability to function. Taking a drug without a proper prescription or the self-administration of drugs in a way that deviates from the approved medical or social pattern is termed drug abuse.
METHODS OF DRUG ABUSE
When people take drugs, they are usually trying to get the substance from outside their body to receptor cells inside their body. The different ways of getting substances into the body depend on the type of drug and the form which it takes. The different methods are as follows:
- Swallowing: Many drugs can be swallowed and since the human stomach is capable of getting substances into the body, swallowing tends to be a relatively safer way of taking some drugs. Swallowing drugs offers two key advantages to other methods of taking drugs. Firstly, the body has a safety mechanism for dangerous substances which are swallowed and secondly, drugs are absorbed more slowly through the gut and therefore, the effects of the drugs tend to be less extreme but last longer.
- Smoking: Some drugs can be smoked and are absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. The main problem with smoking drugs is the amount of tar and other substances in them that lead to chest and bronchial infections. Longer-term effects of smoking drugs can be quite significant such as cancers of the lung and throat.
- Injecting: The use of needles and syringes to introduce drugs directly into the bloodstream is a fairly recent development in the history of drug-taking. There are significant risks in injecting drugs directly since this method bypasses the body’s initial line of defence. The second major issue around injection is that of contamination. The drugs and injection equipment may carry potentially dangerous organisms like viruses and bacteria which would normally be destroyed in the gut or not penetrate the skin. By injecting directly into the bloodstream, these normally innocuous organisms are able to gain access into the body. HIV and the various viruses which cause Hepatitis are primarily spread by the sharing of injection equipment which causes blood to blood exposure.
- Snorting/Sniffing: Often confused with smoking, snorting introduces drugs to the mucous linings of the nose where they are absorbed into the bloodstream. Powdered drugs like cocaine and heroin are commonly snorted. Snorting drugs tends to destroy the tissue in the nose and snorting becomes progressively more difficult as the amount which is absorbed reduces. The other side effect of snorting is that the body reacts by producing more mucous to coat and protect the delicate membranes and such a person tends to sniff and snivel a lot.
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In our next class, we will be continue our discussion about Drug Abuse. We are very much eager to meet you there.
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