You’ve most likely heard that “Drugs are bad for you” about a thousand times from your family, school, and doctors. But is it just that simple?
Simply put, Drugs are chemicals that change the way a person’s body or mind functions. Drugs are not all the same, different drugs cause different effects. Drug use is never completely safe, no matter what drug it is. The true dangers of a drug depend on how much is used, the environment, and the drug itself.
The use of drugs such as marijuana and cocaine has been considerably popularized in media in recent years. Although marijuana is an illegal drug, it has been legalized in many states of America and other countries like Canada. Several states even allow doctors to prescribe the drug in some conditions.
Lately, with such a large number of influencers and social media users preaching about the “Benefits” that drugs can provide without considering the terrible effects they cause, we’re here to shed some light on the truth.
What Are the Most Common Drugs?
Some of the most commonly used drugs include cocaine, alcohol, ketamine, meth, marijuana, tobacco, etc. In most countries around the world, the question “Is alcohol considered a drug?” has a majority voting of “No”. Even though the long-term effects of alcohol addiction have proven to be quite lethal. An estimated number of 95,000 people annually or 261 people daily die from alcohol-related causes in the US.
There are mainly three groups of drugs in this bracket:
A Sedative drug slows down the user’s mind and body functions. It has a sort of dulling effect that makes the user tired and numb. Alcohol and heroin both fit in the sedative category. They also affect muscle and mind coordination which makes the user’s body difficult to control. This is why drinking while driving or driving under the influence is illegal. It can be fatal if the amount of use is unmonitored.
LSD, marijuana, and “magic” mushrooms have hallucinogenic effects on the user’s five senses and alter them. Though they may seem less dangerous, these drugs can sometimes have adverse effects on the user by hallucinating disturbing and bizarre experiences.
As the name suggests, these drugs stimulate, or in other words give the user a sudden burst of energy and makes them more vigilant. But this can also go in the wrong direction causing panic attacks, anxiousness, and stress. These side effects can prove to be fatal for people with cardiac problems and high blood pressure.
What Serious Threats Do They Pose?
Now that you know how the drugs work and their basic groups, it’s time to understand the short-term and long-term effects they cause in users and how damaging they can truly be.
The ring leader of drugs, where a lot of people’s drug addiction problems begin and regrettably end forever. It is included in the Top 10 of the most dangerous drugs worldwide with an estimated 15,883 deaths associated with cocaine just in 2019.
Cocaine is a powerful and addictive stimulant drug taken from the leaves of the Coca plant. Its short-term effects make very quick and permanent changes to the body like enlarged pupils, narrowed blood vessels, insomnia, violent behavior, an internal increase of body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. While the long-term effects are nothing short of terrifying. They include permanent lung damage, loss of sense of smell, nasal damage, and difficulty in swallowing.
As mentioned before, alcohol isn’t even considered a drug by many countries around the world. It is instead used for celebration on special events and occasions or to have fun and relax. One serious effect alcohol can have on people is AUD or Alcohol Use Disorder. It is a medical condition where the user can not stop or control alcohol use despite social and health complications.
The severity of the short-term effects of alcohol depends on its use and the individual. It can go from less dangerous effects like drowsiness, vomiting, headaches to higher-risk problems such as coma, unconsciousness, anemia, and breathing difficulties. While long-term diseases can be as deadly as mouth and throat cancer, malnutrition, ulcers, and permanent damage to the brain.
Heroin is a highly addictive drug processed from morphine. Due to its highly addictive nature, heroin immediately affects the body’s central nervous system, which makes the user dependent on the dopamine rush it provides. A common sign of heroin addiction is when the person needs to take more and more to feel the same sensation once again.
A heroin overdose can cause a dry mouth, shallow breathing, dilating pupils, discoloration of lips and tongue.
Methamphetamine, commonly referred to as Meth, is an extremely addictive amphetamine drug that targets the central nervous system. The desired effect or “high” of the drug lasts very little, which leads people to take repeated doses of the drug. In some extreme cases, people even give up food and sleep for some days to consume the drug in its natural essence. Long-term addiction to meth can cause weight and memory loss, sleeping issues, anxiety, hallucinations, and permanent changes in brain functions.
Marijuana also called weed or pot, is a mind-altering drug that affects both mind and body. People’s misconception of marijuana is that it gives relaxation and calmness to the user. While in actuality it can have the complete opposite effect causing the user to be anxious, afraid, panicked, and even worsen or raise depression along with other mental disorders they may already have.
What You Can Do to Help
If you believe that you or someone you know has been affected or their health has declined with the use of Illicit Drugs, you should seek medical attention immediately. If you personally need help with drug use and want to stop taking drugs, there are many facilities and support resources available.
Caring for someone else that has a drug problem can be quite difficult and stress-inducing since you don’t know exactly how to help. But remember to never lose hope. There is aid and support available for you and the person you may care for to help you through this difficult time.