Useful drugs, made from natural substances, have been used by indigenous people for a long time. When new drugs are developed we have to test them over a long time to make sure that there are no serious side effects. For example, Thalidomide was used as a sleeping pill and to prevent morning sickness in pregnant women. It had very serious side effects on fetuses developing the the womb, but it is now used to help cure leprosy. However, there are many problems with legal drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco that are widely used and abused.
Recreational drugs are used by people for pleasure. Heroin and cocaine are recreational drugs and are very addictive and illegal. Cannabis is a recreational drug and its also illegal. Its argued that using cannabis can lead to 'harder' drugs. If you try to stop taking addicitive drugs you will suffer withdrawal symptoms.
Legal and Illegal Durgs
Medicinal drugs are developed over many years and are used to control diseases or help people that are suffering. Many medicinal drugs are only available on prscriptions from a doctor. Recreastional drugs are used only for pleasure and affect the brain and nervous system.
Recreational drugs include cannabis and herion which are both illegal. As recreational drugs affect the nervous system it is very easy to become addicted to them. Nicotine and caffine are legal drugs which are used recreationally, alcohol is also legal for many people over the age of 18 in this country. Some drugs are used for medicinal purposes can be illegal, eg. stimulants people use in sport.
Alcohol - The Acceptable Drug?
- Alcohol slows down the nervous system and therefore slows down your reactions. This will cause problems when driving.
- Too much alcohol leads to loss of self control.
- Drinking too much may cause a person to lose consciousness or go into a coma.
- The use of alcohol over a long time will damage the liver and brain.
- Alcohol may be legal but it causes many more problems than illegal drugs.
- Alcohol is a recreational drug.
Smoking and Health
- It's not illegal to smoke tobacco over the age of 18.
- The nicotine in tobacco smoke is addicitive.
- Tobacco smoke also contains cancer causing chemicals (cariongens.)
- The carbon monoxide in tobascco smoke reduces the amount of oxygen the blood can carry.
- Pregnant women who smoke have babies with lower birth weights, as the babies do not get enough oxygen.
- Smoking leads to early death.