There are many cases of drug abuse in the media. Often they have chosen to share their stories as a warning to help others not get involved. Other times their stories come out afterwards and are used by others. Not all involve addiction to illegal drugs.
Some examples would include:
The damaging effects of drugs
Not all damage is to the individual. Drugs have social and cultural effects as well. These are dealt with elsewhere in this book.
As far as the individual is concerned, there are obvious physical and psychological effects of taking drugs:
- It can cause damage to the brain by killing off brain cells, which prevents the brain working properly;
- It can be linked to impotence (decrease sexual function) and infertility;
- It can cause heart problems;
- It can damage your liver and stop it working properly;
- It is a depressant, so it can make you depressed;
- It can make you fat, as it contains a lot of calories;
- It damages blood vessels making your skin redden and damaging circulation.
The long term effects of smoking are widely known. They include:
- Heart disease;
- Emphysema (making it hard to breathe – often sufferers are reliant on oxygen tanks);
- Cancer of the lungs, mouth and airways;
- It can damage babies if pregnant women smoke.
Many illegal drugs not only damage your body but often they are mixed with other substances that can also cause damage. Because drugs are illegal there is no list of ingredients and no one is checking what else goes into them, from drain cleaner to cat litter; anything to ‘bulk it up’!
Drugs and Culture
Many people think that one advantage illegal drugs have had is on the culture of our society. Particularly in Literature, music and art, drug use has been used to ‘enhance’ our experience or allow us to see the world in new ways.
Examples might include: