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Drugs can be categorized as either substance for medical use or illegal recreational purposes. While many drugs in medicine are necessary to use for health and pain management purposes, they have side effects that cause addiction. Meanwhile, illegal drugs are chemical substances that are developed specifically for the purpose of intoxication and achieving a “high” feeling. In both cases, the drugs that cause concern are known as psychoactive drugs which alter a person’s perception and consciousness. These experiences are considered pleasant but can lead to physical and emotional unpredictability and changes (Insel and Roth 143). There are consequences for health and physical function, as well as clouded judgment.
Furthermore, psychoactive drugs trigger chemical reactions in the brain that cause addiction. Over time, consistent users of drugs demonstrate dependence on these substances and it begins to interfere with normal functioning and relationships. Addiction is considered a chronic disease that is exemplified in uncontrollable behavior in pursuit of a reward (in this case, the “high” as a result of drug use).
Drug addictions commonly share certain characteristics such as dependence, compulsion, unhealthy coping behaviors, and loss of control or escalation intolerance (Insel and Roth 145). An example of this can be a nurse that violates ethical and legal standards by stealing medication or a parent that disregards their child while abusing drugs. In either case, addicts demonstrate behavior that is abnormal and irresponsible, and may potentially be indirectly harmful to others.
There is an inherently controversial debate in many Western societies currently on whether marijuana should be legalized for recreational use similar to tobacco and alcohol. While marijuana has always been considered a drug, its plant-based nature, uses in medicinal pain management, and place in the popular culture has recently led to the social trend of advocating for its legalization with an appropriate level of regulation.
Marijuana carries certain health risks such as the effect of its psychoactive ingredient THC which causes intoxication and can influence cognition, behavior, addiction, and memory. However, arguments for legalization state that it also has numerous benefits for pain management and mental relaxation. Furthermore, legalization will allow regulating the current black market for the drug, ensuring the quality and safety of the product (Brennan 116-117). Marijuana legalization is a topic of social trends and beliefs that are based not only on health but political and economic factors as well.
Brennan, Mary. “Should Marijuana Be Legalized.” The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, vol. 13, no. 2, 2017, pp. 116-117.
Insel, Paul M., and Walton T. Roth. Connect Core Concepts in Health, Brief (15th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education, 2016.