Alcohol, Smoking and Drugs
Alcohol, Smoking and Drugs
Before anyone ever takes a hit, or a drink, or a smoke, there is a decision made in the mind – a healthy decision or an unhealthy one. Sometimes as ourselves making a healthy choice is hard because we are tired, stressed, angry, pressured, or influenced by another person – e.g why we end up eating chocolate instead of fruit as eating things like chocolate stimulates our minds. As nicotine is legal to take at the age of 16 by law it has become a well known behaviour for 16 year olds and sometimes younger individuals to do. It’s also socially acceptable within a crowd at school and is almost promoted by older peers and even role models in the media. Suggested reasons for the use of alcohol and tobacco fall into wide categories: Drugs may increase the desired effects of the person, or may decrease the toxic or unpleasant effects of the person.
These interactions involve processes of reinforcement or acceptance. Some drugs may change the metabolism of the person, there by affecting there intake, distribution, or elimination from the body has not been truly accepted. Part of the process of growing up involves trying new things (especially at my age 16), and one of the easiest adult thing to try is alcohol or sex but for this reason Alcohol. Teenagers end up using alcohol for many reasons, including reducing stress – which as performers we are up against a lot -, to feel grown up and fit in – ‘if my friends are doing it, it persuades me to do it’-, because it feels good, out of curiosity, because our parents do, and because it is easy to get. My personal experience of alcohol started when I was a boy, my dad liked to make me feel like a man, so every couple of weeks or so when we went to the pub after his work, he would slip a straws worth of beer in to my lemonade to make it a weak shandy, and as time went on I was allowed a little stronger shandy and then last year at Glastonbury he treated me to my first beer (well he thought it was).
I ended up having my first full alcohol experience when I was a late 14 year old. I have always been the youngest in my year so when we went to parties they would always be that extra bit older than me (which made me feel a little left out), so when they drank, I drank and so on, but it was every couple of months and it wasn’t an excessive amount. I have always been careful with alcohol as my grandpa died of excessive use of alcohol. Experts estimate alcohol is responsible for at least 33,000 deaths in the UK each year. Moving on to smoking. Reinforcement refers to the physiological processes by which a behaviour such as consumption of a drug becomes habitual. Nicotine is the primary ingredient of tobacco that triggers reinforcement, ultimately, nicotine brings about the release of dopamine in the nucleus acumens. Alcohol consumption also leads to dopamine release, although the mechanism by which alcohol produces this effect is incompletely understood.
Tolerance is decreased sensitivity to a given effect of a drug such that increased doses are needed to achieve the same effect. Cross-tolerance can develop to the aversive effects of drugs. For example, smokers may reduce their tobacco intake when they begin to feel its aversive effects (e.g nervousness or an increased heart rate). Alcohol’s sedating effects may reduce these effects on nicotine, making possible, continued tobacco use. Long-term administration of nicotine in animals can influence tolerance to some of alcohol’s reinforcing effects, and chronic alcohol administration induces tolerance to some effects of nicotine. I have never ever tried a cigarette and I never will, from the age of 14 I have been around a lot of smokers, as nearly all my friends have tried it or frequently do it. I am asked a lot if I want a cigarette and I always say ‘no’ and occasionally I get grief for it but if don’t want something I won’t have it.
It’s almost a habit with them and they find it hard to come to terms with the problems they may face in the future. Drinking influences smoking more than smoking influences drinking. Smokers are 1.32 times more likely to consume alcohol as are non smokers. Drug use interferes with young peoples ability to learn and improve those skills. Whether it’s alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, or other illegal drugs, the bottom line holds true: teens who use drugs put their future in danger. Here are a few facts on drugs Almost 1/3 of teens report that they have used illegal drugs at some point in their lives. Using alcohol and tobacco at a young age – especially before secondary school-increases the risk for using other drugs later, such as marijuana and cocaine.. Over one quarter of secondary school students report that they have been offered, given, or sold an illegal drug on school grounds. Poor judgment while using drugs puts us teens at risk for car crashes, falls, drownings, violence, unplanned and unsafe sex, and suicide.
Drug use can cause serious immediate and/or long-term damage to the brain, liver, kidney, heart, and lungs – just to name a few. Drugs (illegal or psychoactive) offer ways to alter our everyday consciousness. Near where I live in somerset a lot of my friends take drugs, mainly marijuana but a few of them have tried everything and anything and I have witnessed and seen a lot. Psychoactive drugs produce powerful experiences. Whether taken for fun, high energy, spiritual transcendence, to explore feelings or escape problems, the side effects are equally powerful. Psychoactive drugs also affect the central nervous system. Stimulating drugs (“uppers”) increase heart rate and metabolic functions.
Drugs that depress the central nervous system (“downers”) slow heart rate and respiration, decreasing muscle coordination and dulling the senses. These drugs also distort perceptions and induce hallucinogenic (psychedelic) effects. The influence and adverse side effects of these drugs varies according to the user’s physiology, personality traits and the setting where the drugs are ingested. Drug dosage and purity also varies. Research is mounting that links various forms of drug use with health and safety risks. The people that I know who use drugs also deal with other consequences (such as legal, academic and interpersonal problems). The use of drugs and the abuse of prescription drugs can become a serious problem.
references – http://www.talktofrank.com/drug/alcohol
http://www.ash.org.uk/media-room/press-releases/teenage-smokers-the-fool-themselves-about-the-risks-but-love-might-make-them-quit-price-might-stop-them-starting http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/studenthealth/Pages/Smoking,alcoholanddrugs.aspx Smoking, drinking, and drug use in young adulthood – Book by Jerald G. Bachman
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 16 December 2016
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