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Explain the Harmful Effects of Drugs Such as Ecstasy on the Individual and Society

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In recent years, the rising use of addictive drugs has become one of the biggest social problems menacing certain countries. The illicit use of a variety of drugs appears to be increasing. Generally, a drug can be a substance, other than those required for the maintenance of normal health, which by its chemical nature alters the structure or function of a living organism. In this essay, drugs are more appropriate defined as psychoactive drugs such as ecstasy and cannabis, which lead to the influence of the central nervous system in mood, thought and behaviour. In addition, drugs can be classified into three categories ÐŽV depressants, stimulants and hallucinogens (McGill, 2002, 78). It is widely believed that taking drugs can lead to harmful consequences on the individual and society. Therefore, this essay is concentrated on explaining the physical and psychological effects on individuals and the social impacts on society.

Despite the belief that the perceived benefits outweigh the negatives, the negligence of the harmful consequences and dangers of drug taking results from the little or no drugsÐŽ¦ knowledge among the drug takers. The truth is taking drugs may bring physical and psychological effects on individuals. Taking ecstasy as an example, also known as MethyleneDioxyMethAmphetamine, is a drug made with Lysergic Acid Diethylamide and amphetamines. The effects of ecstasy begin about thirty minutes after use and may last for four hours (Hurwitz, 1992, 21). Owing to the new development of youth ÐŽ§clubЎЁ or ÐŽ§raveЎЁ culture, there is a rise of ecstasy use as recreational drugs among the young generation. Referring to National Drug Strategy, it explains that 40 per cent of the Australian population aged 14 or older has tried cannabis which is the most widely used illicit drug in Australia. This is followed by ecstasy which is the most frequently used amphetamines due to the substantial rise in the use and availability of amphetamine-type substances (1998, Internet).

Although the drug takers may experience positive changes in feelings and emotions, a high energy level and increasing confidence in the first few hours after taking ecstasy, there are harmful effects afterwards. According to Ecstasy Organization, it states that the short term effects of taking ecstasy include having dilated pupils, jaw clenching and teeth grinding, sweating, a rise in body temperature, heart rate and pulse and also resulted in confusion, hallucinations, perceptual disorders and panic attacks, depersonalization and derealisation as well as insomnia. At the same time, it also points out the long-term effects of ecstasy taking. The experience of increasing risks of liver and brain damage, the failure of kidney and cardiovascular system and the impairment consequent memory are most likely caused by ecstasy taking (1997, Internet). However, it can be argued that the ecstasy pills may contain a variety of substances instead, sometimes in dangerous combinations. Evidence from the Australian Federal Police, it claims that up to 80 per cent of all ecstasy tablets contain no MDMA at all (cited McGill, 2002, 93). It can be said that the chance of intoxication and association of metal illness would be raised.

Nevertheless, it can be seen that even more threatening is the tendency of participants to experiment with a variety of combination of drug used, sometimes including alcohol. This is known as polydrug use that defines by Australia Drug Foundation (2002, Internet). For example, in Netherlands, it is reported that apart from the use of ecstasy, taking cannabis (41 per cent), amphetamine (34 per cent), cocaine (7 per cent) are potentially part of polydrug use (Bogt, et al., 2002, 166). This will often result in adverse or any unpredictable effects on individuals. Moreover, as National Drug Strategy mentions, the use of unsterile equipments for taking or injecting the drugs leaves the user more open to catching diseases such as Hepatitis B and C or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (1990, Internet).

It is no doubt that the serious problem of excessive and continued use of drugs may fall into fatal consequences. It is considered to be ЎҐacuteÐŽ¦ death, which is when death occurs as an immediate consequence of the use of illegal substances or the misuse or abuse of licit drugs. Typically such deaths will be from poisoning or overdose. For instance, according to European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, it is recorded that the overall numbers of drug-related poisoning in England and Wales rose steadily from 2252 in 1993 to 2943 in 1999 (2002, Internet). Hence, it is still an incontrovertible fact that taking drugs is more associated with addiction, however with a general deterioration of health and personality which is inimical to oneÐŽ¦s life and future.

On the other hand, there is no denying that the drug effects may extend beyond the individual to include social and economic impacts on society. Firstly, there is a possibility that



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