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Drug Addiction

Published on Oct 05, 2018


Drug abuse, also called substance abuse or chemical abuse, is a disorder that is characterized by a destructive pattern of using a substance that leads to significant problems or distress. Teens are increasingly engaging in prescription drug abuse, particularly narcotics (which are prescribed to relieve severe pain), and stimulant medications, which treat conditions like attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy.

Any substance, other than food, used in the prevention, diagnosis, all aviation or treatment of a disease is called a drug. Drug is also known as a medicine. Generally, the term drugs applied to any stimulating or depressing substance that can be habituating or addictive. A drug, broadly speaking, can be categorized in many ways; hard or soft, uppers or downers, addictive or non-addictive, most harmful or least harmful, legal or illegal.

Classification of Drugs

There are a large number of drugs on which people become dependent. These are classifies into four major groups: sedatives and tranquillizers, opiate narcotics, stimulations and hallucinogens.

Drug Addiction

Some Harmful Drugs

1. Heroin:

Commonly used as smack Heroin is chemically diacetylmorphine which is a white, odorless, bitter crystalline compound. This is obtained by acetylation of morphine which is extracted from latex of poppy plant Papaver somniferum. Generally taken by snorting and injection, heroin is a depressant and slows down body function.

2. Cannabinoids:

Natural cannabinoids are obtained from the inflorescences of the plant Cannabis sativa. The flower tops, leaves and the resin of the plant are used in various combinations to produce marijuana, hashish, charas and ganja. Generally taken by inhalation and oral ingestion, these are known for their effects on cardiovascular system of the body.

3. Cocaine:

It is obtained from coca plant Erythroxylum coca, native to South America. It interferes with the transport of the neuro-transmitter dopamine. Cocaine, commonly called coke or crack is usually snorted. It has the potent stimulating action on central nervous system, producing sense of euphoria and increased energy. Excessive dosage of cocaine causes hallucinations.

How drug addiction Begin?

There are many factors that lead people to drug addiction.

1. Curiosity: Frequent references to drugs by public media create curiosity for having a personal experience of the drugs.

2. Friend’s pressure: Frequent appreciation of drug experience by friends allures others to start the use of drugs.

3. Frustration and Depression: Some people start taking drugs to get relief from frustration and depression.

4. Desire for More Work: Students sometimes take drugs to keep awake the whole night to prepare for examination. It is not desirable as it may cause mental breakdown.

5. Looking for a Different World: A wrong notion that the drugs open up a new world tempts some young pupils to start taking-drugs.

6. Relief from Pain: A prolonged use of pain-relieving drugs with physician’s advice at times leads to addiction.

7. Family History: Children may take to drugs by seeing their elders in the family.

8. Excitement and Adventure: The young take to drugs to satisfy their instinct for excitement and adventure.

Smoking, Drinking and Use of Drugs

Smoking and drinking and use of drugs frequently or regularly are social diseases. Young people take to these habits for fun, show off or curiosity, as an adventure or feeling of freedom, or as a gesture of defiance against the elders who themselves indulge in these activities but check the youngsters. Temporary escape from the life problems and mental relaxation felt on taking the drugs in the beginning increase people’s interest in them. Soon they become habitual and find in difficult to leave. The daily dose to get the desired effect increases with time.

Short-Term Effects

• Loss of appetite

• Increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature

• Contracted blood vessels

• Increased rate of breathing

• Dilated pupils

• Disturbed sleep patterns

• Nausea

• Hyperstimulation

• Bizarre, erratic, sometimes violent behavior

• Hallucinations, hyperexcitability, irritability

• Tactile hallucination that creates the illusion of bugs burrowing under the skin

• Intense euphoria

• Anxiety and paranoia

• Depression

• Intense drug craving

• Panic and psychosis

• Convulsions, seizures and sudden death from high doses (even one time)

Long-Term Effects

• Permanent damage to blood vessels of ear and brain, high blood pressure, leading to heart attacks, strokes and death

• Liver, kidney and lung damage

• Respiratory failure

• Infectious diseases and abscesses if injected

• Malnutrition, weight loss

• Auditory and tactile hallucinations

• Sexual problems, reproductive damage and infertility (for both men and women)

• Disorientation, apathy, confused exhaustion

• Irritability and mood disturbances

• Increased frequency of risky behavior

• Delirium or psychosis

• Severe depression

• Tolerance and addiction (even after just one use)

Drug Addiction

Harm caused by Drugs:

Drug Addiction



It is a native of South Africa, where the Red Indian first started smoking. Now the tobacco plant has spread the world over. It has large, quote to Lancelot leaves and terminal clusters of tubular, white or pink flowers.

Modes of Use:

Tobacco is used for smoking, chewing and snuffing. Its main stimulating component is poisonous volatile alkaid nicotine, which causes addiction. Nicotine synthesis occurs in the roots of the plant but it is stored in the leaves. The leaves contain 2 to 8% nicotine. Inhaling tobacco smoke from cigars, cigarettes, biddies, pipes and hubble-bubble is called smoking. Cigar is a roll of tobacco leaf. Cigarette is cut tobacco wrapped in paper. Bidi is tobacco wrapped. In a piece of leaf. Tobacco smoke is drawn directly from pipe and through water is hubble-bubble. Smoking may give some temporary relief to the strained nerves but in the long run it proves a dangerous health hazard. The quantity of nicotine contained in one cigar may prove fatal if injected intravenously into a person. When smoked only 10% of the smoke is inhaled. Hence, no immediate ill effect is observed. Smokers may develop a physiological craving for nicotine and then they cannot give up smoking.

Effect of Nicotine:

Nicotine is a low concentration.

(i) Stimulates conduction of nerve impulses.

(ii) Relaxes the muscles.

(iii) Releases adrenaline, increasing heart beat rate and pressure.

(iv) Increased blood pressure due to smoking chances the risk of heart diseases.

(v) Retards fetal growth in expecting mothers and

(vi) Causes tobacco addiction. High concentration of nicotine paralyses nerve cells.

Harmful components of Tobacco Smoke:

Besides the poisonous nicotine, the tobacco smoke contains carbon-monoxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and tar.

Other Effects:

(i) Smoking affects economy:

A smoker not only waste money, but also runs risk of burns and fires.

(ii) Smoking mars personality:

Teeth may become stained. Lips may get discolored and breath becomes foul. A person with a cigarette hanging from the mouth look odd.

(iii) Smoking is annoying to others:

Cigarette smoke is quite annoying to non-smokers. It may prove even more harmful to them. A smoker should avoid smoking. When in the company of non smokers. A smoker makes the nearby people passive smokers through inhaling smoke released by him.


An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol, although in chemistry the definition of alcohol includes many other compounds. Ethanol is a centrally-acting drug with a depressant effect. Beer is an alcoholic beverage and thus has the same harmful effects as other kinds of alcohol, depending on the quantity consumed.

Reasons for Drinking:

• Psychological factors are curiosity, poor stress
control, escape from reality, poor impulse control, low self – esteem, positive attitudes towards alcohol, to get rid of problems, to overcome loneliness, relief from tension and to gain courage.

• Social factors are peer pressure, modeling, easy availability of alcohol in the market, party culture, family environment (Parent/s drinking alcohol), lack of family support, to keep up social norms and to show their masculinity.

• Biological factors are genetic vulnerability like family history of alcoholism in parents or near relatives and to get sleep.

Impact of Drinking Alcohol:

Unlike other foods, alcohol does not require digestion. When one drinks, alcohol is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the walls of the stomach and the intestine.

Once alcohol enters the bloodstream it circulates throughout the body. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver and is changed to carbon dioxide, water and some calories of energy which gets converted into fat. A small amount of alcohol goes out of the body through breath, urine and sweat. Regular, excessive use of alcohol causes acute and chronic problems related to health, occupation, family and social relationships.

Health Problems:

Alcohol can damage every system of our body.

Gastro intestinal system (stomach and intestines): Increased acid secretion leading to acidity, ulcers, gastritis, and cancer

Liver : Hepatitis, jaundice and vomiting of blood due to cirrhosis of liver, liver cancer, acute liver failure.

Pancreas : Pancreatic damage due to inflammation of pancreas and acute pancreatitis leading to sudden death.

Central nervous system: (brain and spinal cord): Permanent damage of brain resulting in memory disturbances, other nervous problems, fits and mental illnesses.

Cardio vascular system: High blood pressure, increased tendency to heart attacks, enlargement of the heart.

Hangovers: Excessive drinking can lead to hangovers, thus causing problems like headache, nausea, vomit and body aches.

Weight gain: alcohol consumption in larger quantities can lead to weight gain, because alcoholic beverages are usually high in calories.

Weak immune system: alcohol consumption makes your immune system weak, thus making your body more susceptible to infections.

Cancer: alcohol when consumed in excessive quantities puts you at a higher risk of developing cancer

Fetal alcohol syndrome: Drinking alcohol in pregnancy may cause the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (physical abnormalities, growth retardation and developmental delay).


Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, flammable, colorless liquid having a penetrating odor and burning taste. It is one of the products of the distillation of fermented grains, fruit juices and starches with the help of yeast enzymes. It is the principal constituent and the in toxicating principle of wines.

Modes of Use:

Alcohol is taken in low concentration, as the beer, toddy and wine and in relatively high concentration as arrack, brandy, whisky, rum, gin, vodka etc.


Drug Addiction


1. Comprehensive Laboratory Manual In Biology-XII 2. Biology Text For Class XII – NCERT