A Road to Nowhere
Drug usage for pleasure has been a common practice for thousands of years and is well documented throughout history. Egyptians used wine, narcotics were consumed as early as 4000 B.C. and marijuana was applied medicinally in 2737 BC China. A desire to consume substances that enhance relaxation, invoke stimulation or create euphoria has always existed.
Opium is a prime example of a highly addictive drug introduced early on in human history. Originally from the poppy plant, this drug was used primarily for treating pain, although it was also liberally used for any ailment ranging from coughs to diarrhea. The use of opium spread from Asia to the West, peaking in the 19th century. A variety of stronger painkillers, such as morphine, were eventually isolated from the opium poppy. During the American Civil War, morphine was used freely and wounded veterans returned home with their kits of morphine. Cocaine and heroin were sold as patent medicines in the 19th and early 20th centuries and marketed as treatments for a wide variety of ailments. By the early 1900s there were an estimated 250,000 addicts in the United States. Due to their addictive properties, strict laws prohibiting their use were developed. In 1908, Canada prohibited the import, manufacturing and sale of opium, the first Western nation to do so. Even with these laws, illegal drugs are still produced from morphine, such as heroin which causes major harm in terms of addiction and the resulting crime associated with illegal drug use.
Addictive drugs work by increasing the chemical dopamine that stimulates the pleasure center of the brain. Initially there is a feeling of euphoria, however with continual use, the drug actually changes the chemistry of the brain, requiring larger amounts of the drug to produce the same effect. This is known as tolerance. When people rely on the drug to feel normal they have developed physical dependence. At that point, many are willing to do whatever it takes to get their next “fix”, including engaging in risky behavior and crime, in order to avoid any withdrawal symptoms. During periods of withdrawal, other physical symptoms can develop including muscle and bone pain, insomnia, restlessness, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes, involuntary tremors and much more.
Top Ten Street (Recreational) Drugs
- Solvents (gasoline huffing)
- Benzodiazepines and barbituates
- Opium and opiates
- Cannabis (marijuana)
- Ecstasy (MDMA)
- LSD (aka acid)
While there are many different street drugs being used, all have the potential to cause harm to your health with many having life-threatening consequences. Each drug often has specific side effects. Some of the common ones experienced are: blood shot eyes, dilated pupils, blurred vision, increased body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, nausea, abdominal pain, headaches, chills, sweating, muscle cramping and tremors. The life-threatening outcomes may also vary by dosage and intensity of the drug. These include changes in heart rhythm, heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures and even death.
The dangers to your body and the warnings against addictive street drugs are something we have all heard throughout the years. There are many resources and centers available for drug rehabilitation. It is also important to properly detoxify these drugs from your system and support the body as it attempts to regain control over its necessary functions (please refer to Detoxification for more information). The long-term consequences of street drug use and addiction should not be easily dismissed. IV vitamins and minerals have proven to be very effective in healing the body and brain from substance abuse (please refer to Intravenous Myers Cocktail for more information).