How Drugs Affect the Health Triangle
Illegal drugs were first used way before the history was recorded. On that time, they were used to cure diseases and were legal. However, as time passes by, doctors had discovered that these drugs could do more harm than good. Although some of the drugs were considered useful, their side effects may be costly and not worth the risk. As a child, most of the people were taught that using and taking illegal drugs could harm the body. Yet, according to 2010 National Survey on Drug use and Health, more than 22 million Americans age 12 and older—nearly 9% of the United States population—use illegal drugs (Cooper). And more than 20% of young people in the United States have experimented with inhalants at least once by the time they enter 8th grade (Cavendish 497). Furthermore, in 2010, there were 80,000 drug overdose deaths in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WONDER database (“Which Drugs Actually Kill Americans”). With ignorance, many drug users suffer badly from their own actions, due to the fact that drugs have many lasting effects on the person’s physical, emotional, and social well-being. As a connotation that comes with drugs, they often jeopardize our bodily functions, depreciates the well-being of our physical health. Drugs could corrupt all parts and organs of the body—mainly the heart, brain, lungs, and kidney. Even worse, it could impair the nervous system and could even lead to seizures and paralysis. Although many people are aware of this destructive behavior of drugs, they still take drugs. And as a result, many people’s lives were damaged. Drugs often target and alter neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that allow nerves to communicate at their junctions. Repeatedly taking them could interfere the neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to addiction. For example, drugs like marijuana and heroin mimic natural neurotransmitters. This fools receptors and allows the drug to lock onto and activate nerve cells, leading to the transmission of abnormal messages. All drugs of abuse target the brain’s reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates feelings of pleasure, which leads the brain to adjust to the surges by reducing the number of receptors. This represses the dopamine function and the user must take more and more drugs to reactivate the dopamine release (Grabish 23). Drugs that cause addiction also cause an increase in dopamine levels, so they create dependencies by subverting the reward system. In the case of amphetamine, the drug causes stores of dopamine and other neurotransmitters in neurons to dump their contents onto synapses. On the other hand, cocaine blocks the reuptake mechanism that clears dopamine and other neurotransmitters from synapses and returns them to storage. In other case, rapidly increasing concentrations of synaptic dopamine cause by pleasurable sensations courtesy of the dopamine system. (Cavendish 283) Drugs directly damage fragile developing neural connections in the adolescent’s brain, intervening with the teenager’s developing perceptual skills. The habits and choices associated with the use of drugs slowly become ingrained in the wiring of the brain. Repeated actions becomes habits of though, perception, and reasoning developed in childhood and adolescence and can stay with a person throughout the lifetime (Cavendish 23). Studies of the MRI shows that adults tend to use frontal lobe or logical problem solving to determine facial expressions, while adolescents use amygdala, which processes emotions such as fear and worry. This proves that the adolescents use primitive areas of the brain more associated with emotion. Since the adolescent’s perceptive abilities are not mature, perceptual changes cause by drugs can have long-term complications for adolescent’s development (Cavendish 34). Not only drugs corrupt the brain and its system, it may also be one of the...
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