There are four major classifications of drug actions on the human body. These are stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, and narcotics. These are the four main classes of drugs used in most parts of the world (Walsh & Schwartz-Bloom, 2007).
Stimulants, just as the name suggests, “stimulate” or “increase” body activities and processes. Some are legal and widely used in the world. However, all stimulants are addicting. Heavy use of stimulants has both short term and long term effects. The short term effects include depression, headaches, exhaustion and apathy. The short terms effects include addiction, irritability and feelings of hostility and paranoia, abnormally high body temperatures and even occurrence of irregular heartbeat patterns (Maisto, Galizio, & Connors, 2010). Caffeine is the most used stimulant and is found in tea, cocoa, soft drinks and chocolate candies which most people consume every day. Caffeiene is also found in most painkillers.Nicotine is another example of a stimulant whose adverse health consequences have resulted to cigarettes being increasingly discouraged in the society today. Cocaine, which is extracted from the coca tree, is widely declared illegal in most nations due to the adverse side effects it has. In the 1800, Sigmund Freud, a psychological analyst suggested it as a therapeutic solution for psychological disorders but later denounced its use because of its addictive property. However, there are prescription stimulants have been adopted to treat some physical and psychological disorders like Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Hallucinogens are drugs that cause hallucinations. These are deep and weighty distortions in how a person perceives reality, and include delusions and false notions of things. In such a state, people see images, hear sounds and sometimes feel sensations that seem real, but do not exist. Hallucination is the main side effect on the human body. Hallucinogens are known to bear unpredictably effects which vary depending on the amount ingested, the personality of the person and the moods of the person at that particular moment. Physiological symptoms include an abnormal increase in the heart rate and blood pressure, convulsions and even seizures.
Depressants, unlike stimulants, are drugs that inhibit, or as the name suggests, “depress” the functioning of the Central Nervous System. The function by affecting neurons in the central nervous system and, therefore, have the effect of lowering levels of awareness in the brain. Side effects of using depressants include drowsiness, relaxation, anesthesia, sleep, decrease in the rate and level of inhibition, and even worse, death. Most common used depressant is the ethyl alcohol. It is the second most used psychoactive drug after caffeine.
Narcotics is dugs with the following effects; one; Produce analgesia, simply put, they relieve pain, two; produce narcosis, meaning they lead to a state of stupor or sleep, and three; lead to addiction, that is, physical dependence on it. For some people, narcotics have an euphoria effect, provokes a feeling of great unrealistic elation.
Narcotics were primarily produced to relieve pain. Their main therapeutic use is pain relief. An example of narcotics is heroine, however; there has been rein in the over prescribing of the medications (Donald, 2013) leading to the progressive use of narcotics in large doses that cause undesirable side effects on the human body. An overdose leads to depression of the central nervous system, respiratory failure and even death. It is easier to notice the euphoric effect and relaxation in most narcotic drug users. The increase in the use consequently leads to an increase in the effects and eventually this leads to body tolerance of the drug and the same pleasurable effects. Once the drug wears off in the body, the painful symptoms of psychological withdrawal begin to develop causing the user to begin the cycle again. This is notably the addiction effect. (Britannica, 2013)
There are many ways people adopt when ingesting narcotics. Persistent users of heroine and other narcotic drugs progressively start by inhaling, and then later advance to inject subcutaneously or inject intravenously using the hypodermic needle. You often note black marks on the hand of those who use injections.
Narcotics drugs interactions with other drugs produce both the undesirable and desirable effects very well. For example, Suboxone is a drug that contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is commonly known as an opioid medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. Naloxone, on the other hand, is a special narcotic drug that reduces the effects of other narcotics. Suboxone is used to treat narcotic (opiate) addiction. It is, however, not for use as a pain medication. When taken in large proportions can slow or stop the breathing system. Fentanyl, on the other hand, is a drug that requires that one should not use transdermal patches unless they have been regularly consuming moderate to large amounts of narcotic pain medication. Otherwise, it may cause overdose (even death). The drug is also known to result to slow breathing rates. Here we use the use of narcotic drugs as a good thing.
Earlier uses of narcotics are evident as seen in Laudanum; a crude mixture of alcohol and opium was ingested or smoked in the ancient Greek times to relief the body and produce euphoria. Excessive use of laudanum could also result in addiction, an undesirable effect. The substance referred to as narcotic antagonists are used in medicine and medical research to counter the effect of narcotics. These are just examples that show combining of narcotics drugs with other drugs can be a good or bad thing. However it is noteworthy that the use of narcotics should be in moderate amounts and to serve their main purpose, pain relieving.
All the above drugs have one common underlying side effect, addiction, which is not a desirable effect of any drug. They also lead to grave consequences such as death. It is for such reasons that governments have taken strict legal measure to control the use of the drugs through statutory impositions. Most countries have statutes dealing with controlling of the drugs. Breaking of the law poses great implications such as imprisonment for even over ten years. Drug trafficking is also one of the most dangerous crimes with a higher penalty in most jurisdictions. However, people still engage in the consumption and trafficking of the drugs and perhaps this can be tied to addiction. Medical practitioners like the physicians and the clinicians make it worse by misusing their licenses to over prescribe the said drugs. Statistics has also proven that the youth is the most affected in drug and substance abuse. Rehabilitation centers have been put up in various places to help people cope with and overcome drug and substance addiction.
Britannica, T. e. (2013, December 6). Narcotic. Retrieved from www.britannica.com: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/403484/narcotic
The essay discusses the history of drug abuse in the world. It discusses some of the useful drugs that have been abused overtime. It also discusses the health impact of abusing drugs.
Donald, B. T. (2013, March 16). Explaining the rise in legal narcotic misuse and addiction. Retrieved from www.kevinmd.com: http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2013/03/explaining-rise-legal-narcotic-misuse-addiction.html
Maisto, S., Galizio, M., & Connors, G. (2010). Drug Use and Abuse (6 ed.). New York: Cengage Learning.
This book outlines the various categories of drugs. They are classified according to their effect on the human body. It discusses the difference between those different categories.
Walsh, C., & Schwartz-Bloom, R. D. (2007). Pharmacology: Drug Actions and Reactions (7, revised ed.). New York: CRC Press.
This book discusses the pharmacological properties of drugs. It also discusses how those properties impact the human body. This source was relevant in discussing the biological impact of drug abuse to the human body.