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Drug Abuse and Drug Addiction and Various Policies Related to Drugs

Banned Drugs

Metamizole Sodium

Metamizole Sodium is a drug which is seen as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and it has been widely used as a very strong pain killer on medical grounds and it is also used to reduce fever. It has a wide usage all over the world and it has been seen as very effective in pain killing and reducing fevers. In medical grounds, it is referred to using various names such as Analgin, Dipyrone, Melubrin and Novalgin. It was first introduced in the market by a German company known as Hoechst AG which is now part of the corporation known as Sanofi Aventis. It was first introduced in the market in the year 1920 and subsequently its mass production was underway in the year 1922. It remained accessible freely in various markets throughout the next decades until the 1970s when medical experts determined that it carried the risk of bringing about agranulocytosis, which is a very risky condition and at times a fatal condition (Nestler, 2004).

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This discovery did not take full effect because there was no evidence to determine the level of risk that this medicine carried. Controversy has remained high as to the levels of risk that the drug has of causing the condition. However, a significant number of medical authorities of many countries have banned the use of Metamizole Sodium and those who have not banned the use have also restricted the use of the drug. However, there are still various medical authorities that have not completely banned or restricted the use of and in their jurisdictions the drug is still found to be bought over the counter by patients. There are still other jurisdictions where the use of the drug is restricted to medical prescription by a medical doctor (Farrell, 2005).

Fen-Phen

Fen-phen was a medication that was widely used in the United States as an anti-obesity medication. This drug consisted of the drugs phentermine and fenfluramine and later the substance dexenfenfluramine was incorporated into the drug. It had been used for a number of decades in the United States to fight obesity and there had been no medical complications associated with it until later. Its ban was precipitated when there were cases of pulmonary hypertension and valvular heart diseases on its users especially the female users of the drug. The Food and Drug Administration of the United States banned the use of the drug in the country due to these side effects which proved to be fatal on the patients. Its withdrawal from the market was enacted in the year 1997 (Poling, 2006).

The ban was fuelled when doctors determined that the use of the drug had a negative effect on the patients who used them. These effects were mainly connected to the functioning of the heart and a significant number of the patients who used this drug had their hearts adversely affected. This led to such conditions as pulmonary hypertension and also such conditions as vulvular heart conditions. These conditions were deemed fatal by the medical doctors and this fueled the FDA to ban the use of the drug in the United States of America. After its ban its availability started to dwindle in the market and by the year 2004 the drug could hardly be found over the counter as well as many drugs outlets in the United States (Schäfer, 2006).

Ways of looking at drugs

Legal way of looking at drugs

One way of looking at drugs is the legal legislations which are concerned with drugs. In many countries there are medical agencies which are mandated to look into the legal issues that concern drugs. These institutions are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the various activities that are involved in the drugs strictly adhere to the legal framework of their jurisdiction. These activities include such activities as the drug testing and researching which must adhere to various legal stipulations and this is deemed to ensure the safety of the end user of the drug products. Another activity is the production of the final product which must adhere also to various legal stipulations and this is deemed to ensure that the processing of drugs does not jeopardize the health of the end user. It has come to the attention of these institutions that various aspects can undermine the quality of the drugs and in this way also put the health of the end users of the drugs at risk (Shearer, 2005).

Medical families have also to be put under some legal scrutiny because some of the medical families have had substances that have been putting the patients at risk. These risks are varied on various fronts and include the precipitation of dangerous and fatal conditions to the people to other aspects like addiction. Many drugs have been banned from various countries a good example being Fen-Phen which was banned in the United States on the basis that it precipitated fatal heart condition on the people who were using it to fight obesity. Other drugs have been deemed to be very addictive and this have led to their ban or restricted use a good example being morphine in various countries in the world (Roozen, 2004).

Safety of the drugs

Another important way of looking at drugs is the safety and this is ensured by various institutions in various countries around the world. A good example of one such institution is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States of America. In this way of looking at drugs, the drugs are subjected to various research programs to verify the levels of their side effects and if the drugs is worthy to be used by the population. These institutions view the issue of drugs in such way as to determine whether the usage of the drug is beneficial to the population on the grounds that the drugs would be used to cure or as a remedy of a condition which is more serious and a greater threat than the side effects that the drugs will bring about. It is important to note that a significant percentage of all drugs in use in the modern world today are dotted with a number of side effects which can be fatal or not as serious (Hibell, 2004).

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It is the responsibility of these institutions to determine that all drugs that are in use in their jurisdiction do not pose a threat. The pharmaceutical companies have been very active in coming up with new drugs which are seen as remedies to various ailments and conditions that have been a bother to the population. These companies have adopted a very competitive nature of conducting businesses and in their endeavors to be the best companies in the market have come up with various drugs which are deemed to be very effective. However, these efforts have been deemed with various controversies that have noted that the quality of the drugs can be very low and this has led to the fact that these drugs have also been associated with various grave side effects. It is in this respect that the institutions have been mandated to ensure that drugs are safe to be used by the population who reside in their jurisdictions (Higgins, 2003).

Drug abuse policies

There are two types of drugs abuse policies which have been implemented by various administrations authorities and institutions all over the world. These policies are named the Harm Reduction Policy and Zero Tolerance Policy. There have been controversies in the adoption of these policies around the world and this can be attributed to the fact that different quarters concerned with drug abuse have favored one policy over the other. Social factors have also fueled these controversies with some viewing that one policy would work better without jeopardizing the livelihoods of people who are known to abuse drugs (Haasen, 2005).

The harm reduction policy is concerned with reducing or minimizing the risks that are accrued to drug abuse in various societies. This policy is a combination of various pragmatics and policies of public health which are compassionate and they are all deemed by their supporters to reduce the consequences that are attributed to drug abuse especially the illegal drugs in any society. These supporters argue that laws enacted in a country that prohibit the use of drugs put the drug abusers at more risk associated with the drugs a good example being the Prohibition of alcohol in the United States during the 1920s whereby alcohol was grossly abused in the country. The harm that prohibition laws subject the drug users are also gross based on the fact that the users rely on criminal cartels to supply them with drugs (Burrell, 2005).

Zero tolerance on the other hand is concerned with the authorities and the law enforcement dealing with drug abusers and drug peddlers according to their own judgments and according to the laws and legislations that have been passed in a given country. These laws and legislations apply to every offender irregardless of individual culpability or the extenuating and surrounding situation and circumstances. This policy has been used in criminology and has been affected in various forms of social misconduct including drug abuse. These laws mainly target the peddlers who are deemed to be the most dangerous people in any drug abuse scenario and this is because they contribute largely to the vice of drug abuse in the society (Roe, 2005).

When contrasted, these policies have been very instrumental in ensuring that the drug abuse vice in various countries has been kept at manageable levels. However, many feel that the best way of doing this is using the harm reduction policy which ensures that the harm on the drug users is minimal and that people will not have to go through dangerous avenues to get access to the drugs. This will be very efficient because many people generally oppose to oppressive laws and hence if prohibition laws are put in place many people will want to use the drugs (Prinzleve, 2004).

On the other hand zero tolerance is seen by many people as encouraging prohibition laws and these have not realized their objectives in many instances. This laws that are under the umbrella of the policy of zero tolerance have been seen by many people as not realizing their overall objective and many have the feeling that instead the laws only achieve in realizing the extreme opposite of their objectives (Kumpfer, 1996).

Effects of heroin abuse

Heroin is a highly addictive drug that is commonly used and it has many street names. It is one of the most used hard drugs especially in the developed countries like the United States and its use is also being initiated in some developing countries. It has some very harmful effects which can be categorized as short term and long term. These effects can also be termed as acute and principle effects (Chen, 2005).

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After one has used the drug in a single dose the short term effects are revealed almost immediately and they disappear after some time ranging from some minutes to an hour. After an injection, the user immediately feels a surging euphoria and the skin feels a flushing of warmth. This is also accompanied by the mouth going dry and the use experiencing heavy extremities. After this feeling of euphoria a heroin user will then relapse into a condition that is commonly referred to as ‘on the nod.’ This is a mixture of both drowsiness and wakefulness. It is at this state that the functioning of the mind is adversely affected and this can be attributed to the fact that the nervous system of the user is already depressed. This brings about the speech being slurred, the gait of the person being slow, the pupils becoming constricted, the eyelids becoming droopy, the night vision being impaired, constipation and vomiting (Chivite-Matthews, 2005).

The long term effects are revealed after a continued use of the drug over a period of time. One of the effects is the veins becoming collapsed of the users who can be classified as chronic users of heroin. Other long term effects include the lining of the heart becoming infected, cellulites, abscesses and diseases of the liver. Complications of the pulmonary may arise and these are mainly attributed to the fact that the health of the abusers is grossly and negatively affected and many of them have very poor health conditions. Pneumonia and other pulmonary complications are also rooted to the fact that the users of heroin have their respiratory system grossly depressed by the substance (Van den Brink, 2005).

Users of heroin that is obtained from the streets are exposed to more dangers. This is because street heroin may contain some additives that do not dissolve and hence end up clogging the blood vessels that lead to the major and vital organs of the body which include the kidneys, liver, heart and lungs. It is important to also note that heroin users also develop tolerance and this means that they end up increasing in their intake of the drug to keep up their intensity and also the effect of the drug. With the increase of the doses, physical dependence develops and also the addiction develops. Physical dependence is very dangerous and this is because the reduction of the intake sparks off the withdrawal symptoms (Bossong, 2005).

Withdrawal symptoms are very intense and in regular users of the drug may experience withdrawal symptoms as soon as few hours from the last injection of the drug. This is marked by drug craving, pain in the muscle and bone, restlessness, diarrhea, vomiting and insomnia. It can also be characterized by cold flashes and the presence of goose bumps which is referred to as ‘cold turkey’, movements of kicking the habit and also other symptoms. The symptoms mainly start off after forty eight to seventy two hours after the last administration and subside after two weeks. Withdrawal symptoms can be fatal to the weak users who do not have access to a good meal (ONS, 2006).

Methamphetamine

Why is methamphetamine a problem to the rural areas?

There are various reasons why methamphetamine is being used in elevated rates in the rural areas. One of the reasons is that in the rural areas there are many abandoned building which provide apt labs for the processing and production of the drug. Another reason is that the key ingredients of producing the drugs are abundant in the rural areas. These reasons have led to the easier access of the drug by the rural dwellers that have many resources that are necessary for the production of the drug (ONS, 2006).

Another reason why the drug is very accessible to the rural dwellers is that the labs which are used in the production of the drug are mainly portable. This means that the drug lords who operate in the rural areas have all the mechanism at hand of evading the law enforcement agencies as the police and also the Drugs Enforcement Administration in the United States. With the labs being portable and there being the availability of many abandoned building in the rural areas ensures that the tracking of the drug manufacturers is a hard job for the various law enforcement agencies (Kandel, 1996).

The drugs being produced in the rural areas are also cheap for the rural areas and this has brought the situation in which many people can afford the drug. This has increased the drug usage in rural areas in the present days and this has raised the concern to many related organization (Schottenfeld, 2005).

Another fact is that the drug enforcements especially those mandated to tackle the issue of drug abuse and peddling has been concentrating on the urban areas and has almost neglected the rural areas. This means that the rural areas have been enjoying the system under which they are almost free to use drugs. This is also true to such drugs as methamphetamine which the mechanisms of the government to fight this vice has neglected the rural areas (ONS, 2006).

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Problems of methamphetamine use in rural areas

The use of this drug in the rural areas has been rooted as the cause of some of the problems that are being experienced in the rural areas. One of the problems is the rising number of orphans accrued to the parents being dead as a result of the usage of the drug. Many foster homes residents are also children of the people who cannot be meted with the responsibility of bringing up children because they are addicts or children whose parents have died as a result of using the drugs or their parents have been imprisoned for charges related to the drug (ONS, 2006).

There is also the problem of rising crime cartels in the rural areas which are attributed to the sale of the drug. This means that many criminal organizations in the rural areas can be rooted to the sale and production of this drug (ONS, 2006).

References

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Burrell, K., Jones, L., Sumnall, H. et al. (2005), Tiered approach to drug prevention and treatment among young people, National Collaborating Centre for Drug Prevention, Liverpool.

Chen, C.-Y., O’Brien, M.S. and Anthony, J.C. (2005), ‘Who becomes cannabis dependent soon after onset of use? Epidemiological evidence from the United States: 2000–2001’, Drug and alcohol dependence 79, pp. 11–22.

Chivite-Matthews, N., Richardson, A., O’Shea, J. et al. (2005), Drug misuse declared: findings from the 2003/04 British Crime Survey. Home Office statistical bulletin 04/05, Home Office, London

Farrell, M., Gowing, L., Marsden, J. et al. (2005), ‘Effectiveness of drug dependence treatment in HIV prevention’, International journal of drug policy 16S, pp. S67–75.

Haasen, C., Prinzleve, M., Gossop, M. et al. (2005), ‘Relationship between cocaine use and mental health problems in a sample of European cocaine powder and crack users’, World psychiatry 4(3), pp. 173–6.

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Kandel, D. and Davis, M. (1992), ‘Progression to regular marijuana involvement: Phenomenology and risk factors fro near daily use’, in: Glantz, M. and Pickens, R. (eds), Vulnerability to Drug Abuse pp. 211–53. American Psychological Association. Washington.

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Nestler, Eric and Malenka, Robert (2004). “The Addicted Brain”. Scientific American, pg. 78-83.

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Poling, J., Oliveto, A., Petry, N. et al. (2006), ‘Six-month trial of bupropion with contingency management for cocaine dependence in a methadone-maintained population’, Archives of general psychiatry 63, pp. 219–28.

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Van den Brink, W. (2005), ‘Epidemiology of cocaine and crack: implications for drug policy and treatment’, Sucht 51(4), pp. 196–8.

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