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Com 220 Final - Damaging Effects of Drugs

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Adam Buetts

Damaging Effects of Drugs

Axia College

Why have drugs become so popular in our day? Drugs have always been a problem but it seems as if they are getting worse. People realize that drugs are addicting and cause one to be counter productive. Still, drug abuse goes on every day and it destroys families and lives. Here is a question. Does everyone realize the damaging effects that they have on the body? It does not matter if the drug of choice is marijuana, cocaine or prescriptions. Each drug, if taken once or abused, has a damaging effect on the human body. Drugs damage the brain, heart, lungs nervous system and that is just a short list. If people knew what different prescriptions or drugs like marijuana did to us, maybe the abuse would slow down.

Drugs have been around for a long time, there in not a specific time period or precise dates of their beginning, but there are journal excerpts and other findings that date back to the 1800s and even further for other types of drugs. Opium was one of the first drugs to enter into the United States. Our Government did not know how to handle the distribution of such drugs so they decided to tax it. This was set out during the term of Abraham Lincoln. Taxing opium did not stop the distribution of opium; it only increased the sales and made the Chinese mob stronger. The government set a 6 dollar a pound tax in the beginning and later raised it to 300 dollars a pound. People continued purchasing opium, taxing was not working because the suppliers were distributing tax free; the same way drugs are distributed today. Finally the government decided to make opium illegal. That did not take place until the 19th century. Alcohol was another problem during the 1900s so the government decided to pass a law to make it illegal. Why would the government make opium illegal? What was it doing to the people to make the government get involved? It was killing the people and making them rely on a drug. Jobs were in jeopardy and lives were becoming lost. Our government saw this and had to put a stop to it.

Later the government tried creating legal opium prescriptions for patients with medical problems. Patients could get a set amount during set periods of time, this was supposed to control drug abuse but once again people found ways to abuse the drugs. We know why the government illegalized drugs like opium and alcohol back in the 1900s; now let us dive into the problems drugs cause to our bodies. We have many types of drugs in our current day. Not all of them are bad and many of them were designed with good intentions but abuse is what causes the problem.

Some drugs can cause sleep deprivation, like, caffeine, cocaine, alcohol, birth control, steroids and the list goes on. Bradbury, a doctor in sleep apnea says "Alcohol is a drug many people associate with deep sleep and falling asleep quickly. However, while alcohol can help you fall asleep, the sleep alcohol induces is not the deep sleep that your body requires to function properly. People who drink before bed also wake more often during the night, constantly disturbing their bodies natural sleep pattern." (Bradbury, 2002). If we do not receive the sleep we need this will interfere with our work and the American people will be worse off. Bradbury also believes "Three drugs that can have a large impact on your ability to fall asleep and/or to stay asleep are nicotine, alcohol and caffeine". (Bradbury, 2002).

What would our work force be like without these stimulants? If everyone could find natural energy and sleep well at night we would work harder and have more energy to do a better job. It only makes sense that the government saw the threat against the nation and knew if they did not intervene our nation would head in a downward spiral. The drugs that have been mentioned are used on a daily basis; most of them are not illegal but still pose threats to our bodies and minds. Sleep deprivation is only one harmful outcome of the drugs mentioned.

Death is associated with nicotine and alcohol, every day someone dies from lung cancer or stomach cancer from alcohol. Now let's look into some of the more serious drugs that are taking our youth and nation.

Firs lets take a look at prescription drugs because as mentioned earlier not all drugs are bad. Prescriptions are used every day by 100s of thousands of Americans. High blood pressure is a common problem; there are prescriptions to help get this under control. This next excerpt was taken from the Mayo Foundation for Medical Research "The first medication your doctor may suggest is a diuretic - also called water pills. Diuretics work by flushing excess water and sodium from the body, thus lowering blood pressure, which may be enough along with lifestyle changes to control your blood pressure." (Mayo Foundation, 2008). There are many precautions to follow before taking such medications; if the patient has kidney or heart problems the medication can worsen the existing problem. There are many prescriptions that are good but even the good ones pose threats. Examine the graphs below to discover risk to benefit.

Benefit/ Risk Ratios which describe most pharmaceutical medications -


(Mayo Foundation, 2008).

This graph represents the 7 most commonly used prescriptions and the risk to benefit factor. It is easy to see that most medications risk out weigh the benefits. If prescriptions have such high risk when taken under direction, think how much the risk increases when abused. With such risk factors, death is the only outcome, or severe injury to the body.

In our current time popular prescriptions being abused are Oxycontin, Perkecet, and Oxy Codeine. These prescription drugs are used for treating tremendous amounts of pain. They are prescribed to patients who have broken bones and go trough severe surgery. Doctors are only to prescribe these drugs for a short amount of time. The problem is they are very addicting and patients become hooked. It does not take long for the word to spread that these prescriptions are fun to abuse. The next thing you know they are being distributed across America. Ronald Libby is an author of The Criminalization of Medicine: Americas War on Doctors and he says "In a March 2003 issue of the Journal of Analytical Toxicology found that of the 919 deaths related to Oxycodone". (Libby, 2007). This is a substantial number of deaths. Libby says "in 2000 there were 7.1 million prescriptions of Oxycodone without Aspirin or Tylenol, 5.8 million of them were Oxycontin" (Libby, 2007). There were approximately "464 deaths related



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