Drugs are abused for many reasons, and with a number of motives. Legal drugs like alcohol and nicotine tend to be abused most often, because they are readily available, and socially acceptable in the eyes of many people. Certain classes of legal and illegal drugs tend to be abused more often than others. These classes include Central nervous system depressants, Opioids and Morphine Derivatives, Stimulants, and Cannabinoids. Anabolic steroids, not discussed here, are frequently abused by athletes who wish to increase muscle mass and stamina in competitive arenas.
Alcohol is a commonly abused drug, because it is readily available, easy to obtain and has no legal consequences if you do not attempt to drive while drinking. Alcohol is used to lessen inhibitions, and for its sedating affects. Intoxication from alcohol causes impaired motor skills, slurred speech and reduced inhibitions. Prolonged use can lead to tolerance and alcoholism.
Nicotine is another legal drug that is frequently abused. Cigarette smoking is highly addictive, and few people can smoke cigarettes long without becoming physically addicted to the nicotine in them. Nicotine produces a feeling for the smoker of general well being; however, prolonged use of the drug is strongly linked to many potentially fatal health problems such as lung cancer and heart disease.
Marijuana and Hashish are frequently abused drugs by people who wish to reach a somewhat euphoric state, without the intensity of harder drugs. Cannabinoids are chosen often, because they lack the stigma of many illegal substances, in fact, many argue that marijuana should be legalized for medical and social use. People who are under the influence of cannabis tend to doze frequently, crave junk food and experience a creative and wondering state of mind. Some users also experience mild paranoia. Prolonged use of cannabis can impair short-term memory, and cause similar health problems to nicotine use if the drug is smoked frequently.
Barbiturates such as Amytal, Membutal, Seconal and Phenobarbital are depressants frequently abused to produce an un-natural state of calmness, lowered inhibitions, and a general feeling of well being. Benzodiazepines include Ativan, Halcion, Librium, Valium and Xanax, and are generally abused by prescription drug users. They are used for their anti-anxiety affects. Impaired motor skills, and slurred speech are signs of depressant use. Prolonged use of central nervous system depressants can cause addiction, and overdose of depressants can cause respiratory depression and arrest, causing death.
Opioids and Morphine Derivatives
Opioid drugs include many prescription and street drugs, generally used to kill pain (in the case of prescription drugs), and to reach a state of euphoria (street drugs such as heroin, or prescription drugs when abused). Opioid drugs are addictive, though many are legally prescribed for pain, and some prescription drugs of this class, such as Oxycontin, are extremely addictive. People who abuse Opioids experience drowsiness, nausea, constipation and confusion. Overdose from Opiates can be fatal.
Stimulant drugs include amphetamine, cocaine, MDMA, methamphetamine, caffeine and nicotine. Stimulant drugs are generally used for their high energy and mental alertness producing affects, euphoria and rapid weight loss. Sleep deprivation, rapid weight loss, irritability, paranoid delusions, addiction and psychosis are common in those who frequently abuse stimulant drugs. Overdose on stimulant drugs may cause death by cardiac arrest.
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