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The Truth About Drugs

Florencia Giraudo, Staff Writer

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Drug abuse is an issue in numerous countries regardless of the culture that their citizens follow. Different associations try to raise awareness for these substances, which, after one small taste, can change your life. Many drug abusers end up in the streets, in jail, or dead due to a drug overdose. Drugs can also increase a person’s chance of contracting a disease or illness.

Drugfreeworld.org estimates that about 208 million people internationally consume drugs. As teenagers, we hear constantly that drugs are dangerous, but is it true? In this article, we will depict some of the most commonly used drugs such as heroin, cocaine, hallucinogens, and marijuana and go in depth to see the consequences that their abuse can have.

Heroin is an opioid, which means that the drug affects opioid receptors in the brain and produces morphine-like effects. Heroin is extremely addictive and is usually injected. After long-term use, the injection can cause your veins to collapse and your blood vessels to become infected. And these two consequences can lead to tuberculosis and arthritis. It can also cause coma, respiratory illnesses, and muscular weakness.

Meanwhile, cocaine is a stimulant drug that increases alertness and attention. At the same time, it can elevate blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2014 about 1.5 million people over the age of 12 were cocaine users. In addition, cocaine is also characterized as a Schedule II drug, meaning that the drug has a high potential for abuse or addiction but can be prescribed by a doctor for medical uses.

Cocaine is called numerous different names on the street, from Coke or C to Snow, Powder, and Blow. After taking cocaine for a long time, the abuser becomes tolerant to the drug; his or her brain circuits involved in stress become less sensitive to cocaine. As a result, the person has a bad mood or feels negative if he or she does not take the drug. Other long term effects include sleep deprivation and loss of appetite.

Hallucinogens are drugs that cause hallucinations and perceptual anomalies. They can either be man-made or extracted from certain plants. Hallucinogens are divided into two categories: classic hallucinogens and dissociative drugs. Classic hallucinogens and dissociative hallucinogens have similar effects, some of which include intense emotional swings and seeing images, hearing sounds, and feeling sensations that aren’t there.

Finally, marijuana, also known as cannabis, is usually smoked by either hand-rolled cigarettes or pipes. The person usually feels the effects after 30 minutes to an hour because once smoked, it passes the lungs, towards the bloodstream, and from there it reaches the brain.

Some of the short-term effects of marijuana are short-term memory problems and increased risk of stroke, as well as increased heart rate. Some of the major long-term effects include the possibility of becoming addicted to a stronger drug, impaired thinking, and inability to learn new complex ideas.

As you can easily see, drugs are dangerous, and the adults in your life are right. If drugs don’t cause death, they cause mental disabilities or can lead you to a path of stronger drugs, without counting the numerous other effects it has in your life. Drugs may give you minutes of happiness, but you can give yourself a wonderful life without trying them.

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The School Newspaper of Harriton High School
The Truth About Drugs