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Substance Abuse

*In this post we will be referring to alcohol, all plant-based narcotics (such as cannabis and coca leaf), and traditional intoxicants as “drugs” and “substances”.*


Drugs are chemicals that change the way your body works or affect the way you think, feel and/or behave. Many of these come from natural products (for example, wine comes from grapes, and marijuana comes from leaves of the plant, cannabis sativa). Some drugs, however, are made in laboratories (amphetamines, for example). Others are medicinal, that you might get when a doctor writes you a prescription, or at your local drug store or supermarket. Medicinal drugs include vaccines, which are used to prevent diseases such as polio or tetanus and recently, COVID-19. Lastly, there are drugs in everyday food or drink. For example, coffee, tea and pop contain caffeine, which makes you feel more alert and active. 

Substance abuse is when a person over uses a drug(s) in ways that are harmful to their health. The person is using the drug to alter their brain, which isn’t healthy. When the person uses the drug for a long enough time, they will start to act differently and think that they need a drug. This is called an addiction.

What is an Addict?

An addict is someone who is physically and/or mentally dependent on a particular substance (chemical substance or drugs), and is unable to stop taking it without adverse effects (withdrawal symptoms).

Studies show that many students who are overwhelmed with their workload might turn to drugs or alcohol, or even have suicidal thoughts. Drugs are a very common outlet to relieving stress, but some may turn to more legal solutions, such as therapeutic stress relievers, such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, etc.

Some people don’t know that they are addicted, but in order for them to stay healthy, they need to know if they are or aren’t addicted. If you use it more than once everyday, and you feel like you don’t get enough, you are addicted. If you feel that you can not go on with your day without it, then you are addicted. These rules apply to a friend, although if you tell them that they are addicted, they might not believe you. But keep on insisting them to stop.

Physiological Effects

Abusing mind altering drugs is dangerous. Firstly, drugs alter your judgement, meaning that you might decide to commit suicide or hurt yourself while tripped up. Secondly, you are just growing, you don’t want to alter your mind while it’s still developing. That could lead to so many mental health issues that you will seriously regret it later on. Thirdly, drugs alter your mood and can make you confused and paranoid. Also you can build a tolerance to them, meaning that you’ll have to take more in order to get the same high, which leads to an addiction. Which in turn will make you abuse drugs more.

Drug addiction doesn’t just affect the addict, it can affect the people around the addict as well. Being addicted to drugs has effects on family, relationships, education, employment, finances etc.

It varies from drug to drug, but using drugs can seriously affect your mind and body. Most drugs, with the exception of depressants, speed up your heart rate, which leads to heart attacks and strokes. They can decrease your sex drive as well as make you feel anorexic or like an insomniac. They can also cause violent behavior and confusion. These effects are just on a normal dose. Just imagine how amplified these effects would be when you’ve taken more than you’re supposed to.

The Overall View

In conclusion, drugs, alcohol and cigarettes are very addictive, and getting addicted to them is really easy. However, they will mess you up physically, mentally and socially. They also have some of the highest death rates out of any other cause of death. So, in short: don’t abuse your substances. Be smart. They may help you out in the moment but in the long run they’ll only be doing you more harm than good. 

It can be hard for you to resist the temptation of cigarettes or drugs just as a means of ‘growing up’. This can very quickly lead to addiction. But if not you, then no one else will stop you. If you have a job and an addiction, your employer may start to see a lack of hard work, and more goofing off, and you can be fired. Becoming an addict can also lead to you going bankrupt. Drugs cost a lot of money, and if you’re addicted, you constantly need them. This means that you will always buy more, which can lead to bankruptcy.

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