Drugs are a common part of everyday life. In fact, it is highly likely that there are drugs of some sort in your cupboard. They are classified into two categories: legal and illegal. Legal drugs include alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical drugs, while illegal drugs include marijuana, amphetamines and heroin. The media often portrays a biased, negative view on illegal drugs, however legal drugs often have the same effects as illegal drugs, if not worse. Illegal drugs can cause severe damage to the body, especially those of a teenager, whose bodies are still growing.
The brain, heart, and other important organs are all affected by drugs. . For example, cocaine can cause heart attacks and in severe cases, deaths may occur. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as well as other published literature, researchers estimate that between 149 and 271 million people worldwide use illegal drugs, and data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests that a quarter of a million people die from this drug use in 2004. This amount is relatively small compared with the 2. 25 million deaths caused by alcohol, and the 5. 1 million deaths caused by tobacco, which are both legal drugs.
However, it cannot be denied that illegal drugs can lead to harsh physical health problems, and are a serious problem. Although illegal drugs may provide a short-lived burst of pleasure, longer-lasting harmful effects are often experienced afterwards, leading to long-term mental health problems. They affect the mood, behaviour and perspective of an individual, and often cause serious misjudgements. In severe cases, this may lead to death. LSD is one hallucinogenic drug that can cause serious mental health problems. After taking LSD, flashbacks may occur, days or even moths afterwards.
The sudden appearance of these flashbacks result in disorientation, anxiety and distress. In fact, the experience of hallucinating may cause paranoia, phobia and ideation, which all may last for long periods of time, if not permanently. Often, a growing tolerance to illegal drugs may occur, leading to users being forced to take higher dosages in order to achieve the same result. This is extremely dangerous. Long lasting psychoses such as schizophrenia or severe depression may manifest as a result of a discontinuation of a drug, as well as prolonged anxiety and depression.
The mental state of an individual will almost indefinitely deteriorate trough the use of illegal drugs. The use of illegal drugs can have devastating effects on your life. Due to the difficulty in obtaining these drugs, the street prices are much higher. Cannabis, for instance, costs $30/gram. Therefore, to support an illegal drug habit, you may have to be involved in criminal activity, such as theft. This will indefinitely have legal consequences. Just this month, in Malaysia, police have uncovered a new trend where youngsters are stealing motorcycles in order to trade them for drugs.
Twenty -three motorcycle thieves were arrested, aged between 17 and 38. In addition to the illegal behaviour itself, the use of illegal drugs may make you less likely to keep appointments or engage with health services, making it much harder to seek help. Illegal drugs can cause vast disruption and destruction to your life, and is extremely hard to seek support for. On the other hand, in Australia, there are far more health problems and drug-related deaths from legal drugs. Legal drugs are approved after testing on limited populations.
Everybody reacts differently, and there is a chance that you may be the person with the genetic predisposition that reacts differently than any other person who had previously been tested. These side effects can damage serious organs, and possibly be fatal. In June 2012, one such instance occurred. Nineteen-year-old Alex Heriot died after taking Benzo Fury at a Scottish music festival, which is a legal substance with a similar effect to ecstasy. Benzo Fury is one of the cheap new legal highs developed to bypass the banning of similar, illegal drugs.
In the US, at least 106,000 people die each year even from properly prescribed drugs, with more than two million suffering serious side effects, which is an extremely high amount compared to the 10,000-20,000 deaths per year in America due to illegal drugs. Although pharmaceuticals may be prescribed by a doctor, there may still be serious side effects, and pose a high risk to your health. The false sense of security provided by pharmaceutical companies feeds into dependency and outright addiction more than illegal drugs.
Although they were created to help individuals cope with the effects of illness and injury, many prescriptions drugs have become the “substance of choice” for the addicts who use them illicitly. The most commonly abused prescription drugs fall into three categories: Opiods, which produce a euphoric effect due to their pain killing abilities for short-term or chronic pain, Central Nervous system depressants, which have a calming, relaxing effect on the brain, and Stimulants, which increase brain energy for alertness and energy, and they are often abused for these effects. Xanax, for example, is a highly addictive benzodiazepine.
Usually used to treat panic disorder and serious anxiety, many people have become addicted to it due to its fast acting sedation and relaxation effects. In Victoria alone, Benzodiazepines were responsible for 3, 135 deaths in 2010 and 2011, and in terms of drug related deaths, they were the second highest to alcohol. A 2012 Victorian report found that 65% of all forged Benzodiazepine prescriptions were for Xanax. Pharmacists have also reported that it is not uncommon for them to see prescriptions for 100 or 200 tablets, which is extremely worrying for a product that has no proven benefit beyond short-term use.
Legal drugs are highly addictive and commonly abused. Alcohol and tobacco are one of the leading contributors to drug –related deaths. There are many effects of alcohol, including cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, obesity, physiological disturbances, and many more. Similarly, tobacco and smoking also lead to many adverse physical health effects, such as various forms of cancer (predominately lung cancer), infertility, and cardiovascular disease.
According to the Government of South Australia, alcohol is a leading contributor to 30% of road accidents, 12% of suicides, 44% of fire injuries, and 34% of falls and drownings. There are roughly 3000 deaths and 65,000 hospitalisations from alcohol, each year, costing a community a sum of around $15 billion, according to the Australian Government, whilst an illegal substance such as cocaine is the cause of only 15-25 Australian deaths every year according to the ABS.
In Australia, smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and disease, and around every 28 minutes, an Australian dies from tobacco-related diseases. In fact, more deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. From a survey conducted in 2002, by the age of 14, around 90% of children have tried alcohol some time in their lives. These two drugs are one of the most dangerous drugs, and the increasing number of people abusing them is highly worrying.
In conclusion, both legal and illegal drugs pose a great danger. Illegal drugs are prohibited due to their strength and addictive qualities, however many legal drugs replace the illegal ones, and cause thousands of deaths and millions of diseases every year. I believe that legal drugs are worse than illegal drugs, as they are both cheap and easy to abuse due to their availability. However, with the right prescriptions and control, I believe that legal drugs could become less of a problem.
Courtney from Study Moose
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