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Medicine and drugs have been used throughout history in order to improve upon the well being of the world’s population. Both are used most commonly as a way to improve health by altering the physiological state, sensory sensations, and emotions which in some cases could all be the result of the placebo effect. Nonetheless, these drugs and medicines offer a unique advantage to our societies because of the ways that they can offer so much support to our bodies. An important thing to remember about these drugs and medicines is how unique each particular one is to a specific function of the body, meaning the chemistry behind it is also very unique for the many different functions.
What makes medicines and drugs so unique in our particular society is their use as pain relievers, deficiency supplements, as well as their use to balance systems and organs in the body. However, in order for any of these uses to actually take effect it requires for that medicine or drug to somehow be ingested into the bloodstream so that it can travel to its necessary location in the body. One of the most common ways that this is done is through oral ingestion with tablets, syrups, or drops.
These oral methods are much slower than the rest because of how much slower the rate of absorption into the bloodstream from the stomach is. A more common way as far as more extreme medicines go is something like an IV, where a needle is stuck directly into a vein so that the medicine is immediately worked into the bloodstream. However, the oral methods will most likely remain the most common because of how comfortably and easily they can be ingested by people.
Prior to ever considering working a medicine or drug into the bloodstream, a long and extensive set of procedures must be carried out. This first begins with the isolation of the new product from other variables that could alter the testing. This new drug is then prescribed to laboratory testing where its effects can be observed and measured. If these established effects from the experimentation prove to be significant, a market is observed as a possible window for the drug to be sold in. Once the window has been considered, more of the final tests begin on actual humans where a placebo effect has been considered as well. After these final tests have been finished, the medicine must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration as either an over the counter drug or one that requires a prescription.
Antacids are bases that neutralize the excess acidity and thus relieve the pain associated with heartburn and peptic ulcers (Brown). The most commonly used bases for the reduction of excess acidity in the stomach are those that are weak since strong bases would offer a support that would be much too corrosive to the body tissue. The most effective of these commonly used bases is aluminum hydroxide because of the fact that it can completely neutralize three moles of hydrochloric acid for every one mole of aluminum hydroxide that is used. Another common metal oxide that is used is magnesium oxide because of how quickly it reacts and thus offers relief, however since it reacts so quickly the relief does not last for as long as it does with the other bases. The metal carbonates used as bases offer an alternative to the metal oxides but they also react to create carbon dioxide which results in antifoaming agents being required as well to make sure that the users are not throwing up.
As discussed above, there are specific types of drugs that can be known to help with pain relief; these drugs are known as analgesics. There are really two different type of analgesics, strong ones that are more commonly known as narcotics, and milder analgesics that are typically the over the counter pain relievers. The stronger analgesics work by binding with the actual pain receptors in the brain to block the transmission of the pain signals between brain cells (Jordan).
These stronger analgesics are also able to trick the body’s brain cells by producing analgesia to produce a false sense of well being. The most common of the stronger analgesics are ones such as heroin, codeine, and morphine. In contrast to the stronger analgesics, the mild ones actually work by attacking the source of pain at that same location by helping to slow down with the production of prostaglandins, which are the actual chemicals that cause pain. The other way that these milder analgesics more commonly reduce pain is my reducing the inflammation by constricting the blood vessels near the pain source. The more frequently used of these milder analgesics are ones such as aspirin and ibuprofen that are typically in every household.
Depressants are drugs prescribed by a doctor that affect the central nervous system by changing the concentration of neurotransmitters causing a decrease in brain activity and breathing rate (Jordan). There are three main types of depressants being barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and alcohol. Alcohol is probably the most well known of all three because of the large dependencies on it in our society today. While under the influence of alcohol, a person’s judgment and decision making becomes severely impaired which is what can so commonly lead to so many incidents involving alcohol. Aside from being temporarily impaired from alcohol, it can also lead to permanent brain damage as well as a high level of dependency on the alcohol which can completely alter one’s behavior.
Stimulants are the type of medicine or drug that seems to have the complete opposite effect of the depressants. The most common of these stimulants are drugs such as amphetamine, adrenaline, nicotine, and caffeine. Adrenaline and amphetamine have many similarities as far as how they actually stimulate the body but they are different in the sense that adrenaline can be naturally produced by the body where as amphetamines are solely synthetically produced. Nicotine being another stimulant is best known for its role in the addiction of smokers to their cigarettes. Nicotine can be very harmful to the body however as it can lead to cancer and it is very difficult to stop using after it has first been used.
Looking back on the drugs and medicine in our culture today it can easily be seen that they do have a very positive role in our society but because of the power that they possess they can also be dangerous when not used properly. It is sometimes heard on the news of people dying from drug overdoses that involve heroin or codeine but the only reason that these occurrences are even a problem at all is because of the personal abuse from those using those drugs. When used properly and only when suggested to by a doctor, the drugs and medicine that are in our culture today provide a huge advantage for us as we try to improve upon how well we live our lives today. The important thing to remember here is that it is nearly always necessary to regulate the changes in medicine and drugs in our society despite how well we may seem to have it under control.