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Free Essay on Drug Addiction

Free example essay on Drug Addiction:

In a community, there are both individual and social problems. When individual problems affect a large number of people, they become social problems. One of the present day social problems is drug addiction. Drug addiction is defined as a state of periodic or chronic intoxication detrimental to the individual and society produced by the repeated intake of habit-forming drugs.

Drug abuse has reached an alarming proportion in recent years. “Drug culture” is fast making inroads into the lives of young people from all walks of life.

To call a person drug addict, the following criteria must be satisfied:
1. Psychological dependence: There is as overpowering desire (compulsion) to take the drug and obtain it by any means.
2. Physical dependence: when the drug is withdrawn, the person shows “withdrawal symptoms” such as irrational and violent behaviour, nausea, diarrhoea, watering from the eyes and nose, etc.
3. Development of tolerance: there is a tendency to increase the dose.

The term “Drug abuse” is the excessive, maladaptive, or addictive use of drugs for non-medical purposes despite social, psychological, and physical problems that may arise from such use.

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The discovery of the mood-altering qualities of fermented fruits and substances such as opium has led to their use and, often, acceptance into society. Just as alcohol has a recognized social place in the West as well as in Bhutan, so many other psychotropic substances have been accepted in different societies.

What is a drug?

World Health Organisation defines drug as any substance, with the exception of food and water, which when taken into the body, alters its function physically and/or psychologically.

Scientifically or biologically drugs are substances used to treat diseases or relieve symptoms. Some drugs are used to replace a missing substance essential for normal health, like vitamins. Some drugs are used to combat against germ-causing infection. While a third category of drugs include those substances which work on the nervous systems and act either as STIMULANTS to excite it or as DEPRESSANT which slows down the activity of the brain. Some may act as SEDATIVE and other causing ‘hallucination’.

History of drug:
The narcotic and sleep-producing qualities of the poppy have been known to humankind throughout recorded history. Sumerian records from the time of Mesopotamia (5000 to 4000 BC) refer to the poppy, and medicinal reference to opium is contained in Assyrian medical tablets. Homer’s writings indicate Greek usage of the substance at least by 900 BC; Hippocrates (c. 400 BC) made extensive use of medicinal herbs including opium. The Romans probably learned of opium during their conquest of the eastern Mediterranean; Galen (AD 130–200) was an enthusiastic advocate of the virtues of opium, and his books became the supreme authority on the subject for hundreds of years. The art of medicinals was preserved by the Islamic civilization following the decline of the Roman Empire; opium was introduced by the Arabs to Persia, China, and India. Paracelsus (1493–1541), professor at the University of Basel, introduced laudanum, the modern tincture of opium. Le Mort, a professor of chemistry at the University of Leyden (1702–18), discovered paregoric, useful for the control of diarrhoea, by combining camphor with tincture of opium.
There is no adequate comprehensive history of the addictive aspects of opium use in spite of the fact that it has been known since antiquity. Because there were few alternative therapeutics or painkillers until the 19th century, opium was somewhat of a medical magic potion. Thus, although at least one account in 1701, by a London physician named Jones, spoke of an excessive use of opium, there appears to have been no real history of concern until recent times, and opiates were easily available in the West in the 19th century, for instance, in a variety of patent medicines. Physicians prescribed them freely, they were easy to obtain without prescription, and they were used by all social classes. At one time, the extensive use of these medicines for various gynaecological difficulties probably accounted for the high addiction rate among women (three times the rate among men). Today, in the United States, only one addict out of six is a woman. The invention of the hypodermic needle in the mid-19th century, and its subsequent use to administer opiates during wartime produced large numbers of addicted soldiers (about 400,000 during the U.S. Civil War alone); it was thought mistakenly that if opiates were administered by vein, no hunger or addiction would develop, since the narcotic did not reach the stomach. Toward the end of the 19th century, various “undesirables” such as gamblers and prostitutes began to be associated with the use of opiates, and narcotics became identified more with the so-called criminal element than with medical therapy. By the turn of the 20th century, narcotic use had become a worldwide problem, and various national and international regulatory bodies sought to control traffic in opium from the Near and Far East.
In the 20th century, until recently, narcotic use was largely associated with metropolitan slums, principally among poor and culturally deprived. Currently, narcotic use has begun to spread to middle class youth, and, interestingly, there is evidence that the middle class is now beginning to look at narcotic addiction as a mental health problem. When it was confined to the slums, it was considered a police problem.

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