Its time to talk about drug and alcohol abuse-This week is National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week so lets go over some facts! We all know about alcohol and the general effects they can have on our body-but here are some interesting facts regarding the substances we encounter each day. Keep reading in the upcoming pages to learn about some unknown but unique from the book Buzzed. Authors Cynthia Kuhn, PhD., Scott Swartzwelder, PhD., and Wilkie Wilson, PhD., of Duke University and Duke University School of Medicine have provided an extensive amount of knowledge on abused drugs and alcohol.
Drug and Alcohol Abuse Facts
1. “Chocolate and marijuana stimulate the same receptors in the brain. It takes essentially 25 pounds of chocolate to have the same effects as one joint.”
Both chocolate and marijuana activate neurotransmitters in the body sending happy messages to our brain. These happy messages translate into good feelings that we all enjoy. The good feeling is dopamine moving through our body. Dopamine is a substantial reason why people continue to drink alcohol or use drugs because they enjoy the “good feeling” associated with it.
2. “Ecstasy was first popularized by California psychotherapists who tried to use it for “empathy training” in marriage counseling.”
Ecstasy in today's time is now popularized in clubs because it gives a euphoric and fun feeling that users love. It raises the heartbeat and makes the individual focus on positive experiences, hence why it could have been helpful in marriage counseling.
3. “Amphetamine (the popular recreational drug), was originally developed as a treatment for asthma.”
A significant portion of drugs in today’s society are developed for specific purposes, but when they get into the wrong hands, it can lead to problems. For example, oxycodone can be used as a painkiller for patients after surgery, but if the intake is increased, an opioid addiction can develop.
4. “Ketamine, the popular nightclub drug, is actually an animal tranquilizer.”
This drug has a minimal difference between the amount used to receive a high, and a fatal dose. Ketamine is a hazardous drug because if a user increases their dose by even the smallest amount, it can lead to overdose or death.
5. “Valium, and other drugs in its class, are prescribed each year to millions of Americans, and significantly impair memory.”
Valium, when taken over a long time can cause memory loss. This memory loss can occur sooner rather than later because if the user takes too much, or uses very frequently, the brain can develop a dependence quickly. Like any drug, there are effects that can cause problems in the short and long term. Unfortunately, with valium, it has very detrimental effects on the brain.
6. “Alcohol has a higher death toll from overdose than LSD.”
Even though LSD can have stronger effects and cause hallucinations, the amount of individuals consuming alcohol is more prevalent than those who use LSD. As the years go on, LSD’s popularity is currently in decline.
7. “Marijuana is the highest used drug at this moment in time. 77% of drug users use marijuana.”
Marijuana is a drug that is somewhat easy to obtain. Because it does not have a terrible association, a lot of individuals are more likely to try it than something harsher like cocaine. While there are side effects linked to marijuana use, they are less severe than subsequent drugs.
8. “Ecstasy, popularized within high schools and the club scene, causes definitive brain damage in rodents and monkeys.”
This drug is very popular with younger adults because of the high it delivers. Scientists often utilize animals for drug testing since they can be easy to monitor compared to human counterparts.
9. “Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach is especially risky.”
When there is food in the stomach, it helps absorb some of the alcohol being ingested into the body. If there is no food in the stomach, the alcohol can enter the bloodstream quicker, thus allowing the side effects to kick in faster. While some individuals prefer to drink on an empty stomach because they can feel the effects quicker, individuals are more likely to pass out or get sick from drinking.
10. “Even the earliest historical writings make note of alcohol drinking, and breweries can be traced back some 6,000 years to ancient Egypt and Babylonia.”
The use of alcohol seems as if it has been around forever. While some used alcohol for celebrations and others drank it every day, it is crazy to know that there are historical writings in caves describing activities that we still engage in today.
11. “Five areas of mental ability are consistently compromised by chronic alcohol abuse: memory formation, abstract thinking, problem-solving, attention/concentration, and perception of emotion.”
Many side effects can arise from drinking alcohol. The longer the alcohol abuse occurs, the more dangerous the side effects become. The brain seems to be the organ that has the most severe side effects from the extremities of drinking.
12. “By far, alcohol is the substance used most often by high school seniors.”
Although marijuana and ecstasy are utilized by high school students, alcohol use is the most prevalent among this age demographic. It could be because they might have access to alcohol within their home or because of the social pressures to drink at parties. Regardless of the reasoning, the younger the individual starts drinking, the higher the chance they have of developing a chemical dependency.
13. “In the 1500’s tobacco was used to treat a number of ailments, from headaches to colds.”
Once again, we see that drugs can be created for one use, and utilized for another. Like alcohol, tobacco is a substance that has been around for a very long time, and it is still popular in today’s society.
14. “Opiate overdose can be lethal whether users inject it or take pills.”
Opioids are dangerous no matter what form they come in. If users inject the drug or take them via a pill, they are putting themselves and their body at the same level of risk. Even though individuals who inject opioids may feel the high faster, they are still risking overdose compared to if they took a pill.
15. “How a drug enters the body makes a huge difference in its effects.”
Like opioids, when drugs are injected into the body, the enter the bloodstream and allow the effects to kick in quicker. Some drugs even last longer when taken a certain way.
16. “It is very clear that alcoholism, like diabetes, runs in families… Although genetic influences significantly affect the risk of alcoholism in both men and women, these influences are to be particularly powerful in men.”
It is unknown why men are more genetically predisposed to developing alcoholism if it already runs in the family, but it something to be aware of. If a loved one already has an issue with alcohol, it is essential to know that you are more susceptible to problems with alcohol because of it.
17. “People who start drinking in their early to mid-teens are far more likely to develop alcohol dependency, and to experience recurring episodes of dependency, than are people who start drinking at age twenty-one or older.”
The brain is still developing and growing until about age 23. The younger an individual starts drinking, the more likely they are to develop a chemical dependency. Their brain is underdeveloped and more susceptible, but they also don’t have the life experience to realize they have a problem when they start drinking at a young age.
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