The Use and Abuse of Drugs 

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  • Created by: LBC0502
  • Created on: 08-06-14 14:02
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  • The Use and Abuse of Drugs
    • A drug is a chemical that alters the way your body or brain works (alters body chemistry)
    • Beneficial drugs: medicines, painkillers, statins prescribed by a doctor (could have harmful side effects.
    • Effects of drugs: side effects, interferes with other medicines, harmful if the patient has a medical condition or has taken drugs too often, heart attack, stroke (from statins).
    • Legal recreational (used for pleasure) drugs: caffeine, nicotine/tobacco and alcohol.
    • Caffeine is not harmful. Nicotine makes people addicted to tobacco/carbon-monoxide, causing cancer. Alcohol is harmful to the nervous system (violence/car accidents)
    • Illegal recreational drugs: athletes use performance-enhancing drugs (anabolic steroids) have harmful side effects/unethical. Stimulates muscle growth (unfair advantage).
    • Hard drugs: people experiment with drugs e.g. heroin/cocaine which are addictive. People who try to stop taking drugs have withdrawal symptoms.
    • Impact on health: alcohol and tobacco have a greater overall harm because they are legal/available/used often. Addictive (alters body chemistry/ dependent on drug/craving).
    • Cannabis is a painkiller for multiple sclerosis symptoms. Smoking cannabis causes mental health and leads to hard drugs, heart disease/stroke (illegal in UK).
    • By taking drugs, people also suffer from social problems and financial problems.
    • Testing New Drugs
      • Drugs are tested before being licensed. They are tested in the laboratory on animals and human tissue to see if they are toxic. Sometime trialled on humans (volunteers).
      • Thalidomide: developed as a sleeping pill between 1957 and 1961. Prescribed to prevent morning sickness.
      • Thalidomide wasn't tested on on pregnant women through clinical trials properly and has side effects on the body: birth defects/babies with short limbs.
      • Thalidomide was banned (doctors didn't check for pregnancies). 1980s-thalidomide used to treat leprosy.
      • How drugs are tested: on human tissue/animals, pass tests on humans (clinical trials).
      • Low doses given to volunteers, then increased. Volunteers are divided in to two groups: one with a placebo and another group with the real drugs
      • Placebo: A substance given to patients in drug trials; doesn't contain the drug.
      • Double blind trial (doctor and patients don't know which group has the drug) to make the trial fair.
      • At the end of the trial, the groups compare results to see if there was ny difference
      • If the drug causes no harm, it is licensed. If some new side effects occur, drugs are recalled even when they have been used on many people.

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