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What is a drug?

A drug is a substance which may have medicinal, intoxicating, performance enhancing or other effects when taken or put into a human body or the body of another animal and is not considered a food or exclusively a food In pharmacology, a drug is "a chemical substance used in the treatment, cure, prevention, or diagnosis of disease or used to otherwise enhance physical or mental well-being. Drugs may be prescribed for a limited duration, or on a regular basis for chronic disorders. Recreational drugs are chemical substances that affect the central nervous system, such as opioids or hallucinogens. They may be used for perceived beneficial effects on perception, consciousness, personality, and behavior. Some drugs can cause addiction

How do Drugs Work?

Drugs are chemicals or substances that change the way our bodies work. When you put them into your body (often by swallowing, inhaling, or injecting them), drugs find their way into your bloodstream and are transported to parts of your body, such as your brain. In the brain, drugs may intensify or dull your senses, alter your sense of alertness, and sometimes decrease physical pain. A drug may be helpful or harmful. The effects of drugs can vary depending upon the kind of drug taken, how much is taken, how often it is used, how quickly it gets to the brain, and what other drugs, food, or substances are taken at the same time. Effects can also vary based on the differences in body size, shape, and chemistry

Different uses of drugs:

1. Medicinal Drugs: A medication or medicine is a drug taken to cure any symptoms of an illness or medical condition, or may be used as preventive medicine that has future benefits but does not treat any existing or pre-existing diseases or symptoms. 2. Religious and spiritual uses: The spiritual and religious use of drugs has been occurring since the dawn of our species. Drugs that are considered to have spiritual or religious use are called entheogens. Some religions are based completely on the use of certain drugs. Entheogens are mostly hallucinogens, but some are also stimulants and sedatives.

3. Self-improvement: Self-improve Recreational drugs use is the use of psychoactive substances to have fun, for the experience, or to enhance an already positive experience. National laws prohibit the use of many different recreational drugs and medicinal drugs that have the potential for recreational use are heavily regulated. Many other recreational drugs on the other hand are legal, widely culturally accepted, and at the most have an age restriction on using and/or purchasing them. These include alcohol, tobacco, betel nut, and caffeine products in the west and in other localized areas of the world drugs such as Khat are common

Administering Drugs:
Drugs, both medicinal and recreational, can be administered in a number of ways. Many drugs can be administered in a variety of ways rather than just one.

1. Inhaled, (breathed into the lungs), as an aerosol or dry powder. (This includes smoking a substance) 2. Injected as a solution 3. Insufflation, or snorted into the nose. 4. Orally, as a liquid or solid, that is absorbed through the intestines. 5. Rectally as a suppository, that is absorbed by the rectum or colon. 6. Sublingually, diffusing into the blood through tissues under the tongue. 7. Topically, usually as a cream or ointment. A drug administered in this manner may be given to act locally or systemically.

Drugs and Pregnant Women: Heavy drug use can damage the health of a pregnant woman, cause complications during pregnancy and possibly damage the fetus. Drugs can affect an unborn baby through the mother's bloodstream. It is relatively rare that this actually causes malformations. Heavy use of certain drugs during pregnancy, particularly alcohol, tobacco, heroin and other opiates and tranquillizers, can lead to premature birth, low birth weight and increased risk of losing the baby around the time of birth.

Suddenly stopping use of these drugs during pregnancy can be dangerous to the fetus and medical opinion is sometimes that it is safer for the mother to continue using till the baby is born. All in all, Mothers-to-be are advised not to use cocaine or crack in pregnancy if they possibly can.

Alcohol: An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing the psychoactive drug and small quantities of other alcohols. They are legally consumed in most countries with over 100 countries having laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption. In particular, such laws specify the minimum age at which a person may legally buy or drink them. This minimum age varies between 16 and 25 years, depending upon the country and the type of drink. Most nations set the age at 18 years. Drinking too much on a single occasion or over time can take a serious toll on your health. Heres how alcohol can affect your body:

Alcohol interferes with the brains communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.

Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including: Cardiomyopathy Stretching and drooping of heart muscle Heart is unable to beat properly in cardiomyopathy Arrhythmias Irregular heart beat

Stroke High blood pressure Research also shows that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may protect healthy adults from developing coronary heart disease.

Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including: Steatosis or fatty liver It is the abnormal growth of lipid cells in the lungs Alcoholic hepatitis (Inflammation of liver) Cirrhosis (Picture)

Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.

Drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk of developing certain cancers, including cancers of the: Mouth Esophagus Throat Liver


Immune System:
Drinking too much can weaken your immune system, making your body a much easier target for disease. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much. Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your bodys ability to ward off infections even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.