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In the early days opium was traded by sea merchants and was commonly used to ease pain. Doctors prescribed opium-based medicine for all kinds of illnesses. At the turn of the century heroin could be sold legally and was considered to be a harmless 'cure-all'. At that time, most of the users who became addicts were medical addicts. There were hardly any users that took drugs for recreational use.
In 1910 ,however, addiction abounded and drugs were blamed to be an encouragement to crime. As a consequence the import of opium into the U.S. was banned. In the 20īs Marijuana was brought to America in large quantities, especially by Mexican immigrants. In the 1950īs people began using LSD. It had for them a meaning beyond just getting high. Youngsters wanted to rebel against government and war and the fact that drugs horrified parents were the main reasons . Nowadays the drug abuse market is a multi-billion dollar business, and no one exactly knows how many drug addicts there are in the world. The most important and dangerous quality of a drug is of course its addictiveness. The most common addictive drugs are: alcohol, morphine, heroin and cocaine. All these drugs have one thing in common: they are capable of creating a state of mind in some individuals, which is termed psychological dependence. They affect thinking processes, moods and emotions. But there also exist a lot of misconceptions. Alcohol is often not thought of as a drug - largely because its use is common in social purposes in most parts of the world. It is a drug, however, and compulsive drinking in excess has become one of modern society\'s most serious problems. There are also examples of people who became dependent on drugs that cause no long-term changes in the body at all, like cannabis. But itīs important to distinguish between physically addictive and non-addictive drugs. Hardly any person who got hooked on a drug is able to come off. Withdrawal symptoms make abstinence difficult and often contribute to relapse. Changes in family, work and social life generate a great deal of stress, which some people never learn to cope with without reusing. Common withdrawal symptoms are: poor concentration, memory problems, emotional over-reactiveness, sleep disturbances, clumsiness, frustration or emotional numbness. Each year the United States Government spends in excess of $16 billion waging a War on Drugs. The money is used for medical programs providing narcotics maintenance and clean needle exchange. Despite these high expenditures, drug use in America is more common now than ever before, drugs of all kinds are more readily obtainable throughout all classes of American society, drug prices are generally cheaper than they were 20 years ago, and violence related to the illicit drug trade is on the rise.

Main reasons for taking drugs:

m People take them because they have a weak personality, in order to escape from their problems they have with their family, friends, job or in school.
m People take drugs because they just like the effects.
m Young people use drugs just because itīs illegal. They are curious about the effects or want to rebel against parents or society.
m Peer pressure-Youngsters take them to be accepted by others because itīs fashion to take them.
mPoverty-People want to escape from their financial problems by taking drugs, especially in poor countries with economic problems like.
m Others take them because they canīt refuse them when they are offered to be not called a 'chicken'.
mAdvertising-Especially drug and alcohol adds on TV or in Newspapers make youngsters keen on trying them because they promise a better life.

Consequences of drug taking:

Crime: Once a person is hooked, the craving for drugs can become so great that a drug dependent would do anything to get money so that he can buy them. Girls may turn to prostitution, boys to mugging or they might even steal from their parents.
Family: A person on drugs often becomes moody. His relationship with his parents or friends may become strained and may break down altogether.
Work-Job: Drug taking may affect oneīs work. It may become difficult to concentrate and the sack may be the result.
Health: Drug taking may affect a personīs health. He may become so dependent on drugs that he becomes physically ill. Especially people on injected drugs often catch infections from sharing needles, which often leads to fatal diseases like AIDS. Most addicts die from overdoses, accidents and lethal mixtures of drugs. Other effects that are harmful to health are: unconsciousness, problems while breathing, panic attacks, physical deterioration, depression and anxiety, lose self-control, act drunk, death and psychological dependence-you are dependend on the psychological effects of drugs which means that you are less sensitive to pain and worry, you are very moody, feel more alert, able to stay awake and active longer without becoming tired, feel tense and more relaxed , give you a feeling of unreality.

Major types of drugs:

Drugs that depress the nervous system:

m Alcohol
m Barbiturates-downers

m Tranquillisers-valium
mGases and solvents-glues, lighter fuel

Drugs that reduce pain:

m Opiates-opium, morphine

Drugs that stimulate the nervous system:

m Amphetamines-speed

m Cocaine-crack
m Caffeine-coffee

m Tobacco
m LSD-acid

Drugs that alter perception:

m Mushrooms
m Cannabis-grass, marijuana

How they can be taken:

m As pills, tablets, injections, drink, sniffed, piped, smoked, cooked.

Sorts of Drugs:

Cannabis is perhaps the most widely used psychedelic in human history, with a corresponding variety of methods of ingestion. Cannabis can be smoked, eaten, or drank, in a number of different ways. While opponents claim that the drug is addictive and dangerous, supporters claim that in 10,000 years no one has ever died from marijuana use.

Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant that heightens alertness, inhibits appetite and the need for sleep, and provides intense feelings of pleasure. High danger of addictiveness.

Ecstasy has become the drug of choice for raves around the world. It produces a unique experience of emotional bonding and exuberant happiness.

First synthesized in 1938 , lysergic acid diethylamide is perhaps the most widely used of all synthetic hallucinogens and is frequently the target of government propaganda.

Psychedelic mushrooms have been a spiritual tool used by countless cultures for thousands of
years. They provide a trip which is commonly described as smoother and more natural than that of LSD or other synthetic hallucinogens. Mushroom trips can be very visual, and users
have reported encounters with both gods and devils.

Used medically for a variety of purposes (including weight loss), amphetamines are the drug of choice for those who like getting wired and staying that way.

Opiates are effective painkillers and are used for many medical uses. Heroin in its pure form is a white powder which is easily soluble in water. Methadone is often prescribed for heroin and opiate addiction. Opioid powders can be swallowed or dissolved in water and injected. Heroin is sometimes sniffed or inhaled.


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