Taking drugs is a common measure employed in the prevention and treatment of diseases. However, concerns continue to be raised regarding the rate at which some patients misuse drugs (Finkel 13). Moreover, the increasing number of teenagers and young adults who consume ‘‘hard’’ substances and take beauty pills should cause more worries (Yamey 453).
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Despite the many awareness-raising campaigns that have been carried out against drug-abuse, it remains a prevalent practice in different parts of the world due to poverty and lifestyle trends. Because of this, many governments and medical facilities have formulated programs and hired experts in their efforts to reduce drug abuse practices (Coulter and Willis 584).
Madelon Finkel observes that such worries have emerged mainly because many drugs have side-effects when used frequently over an extended period of time (14). In the end, some serious health outcomes emanate from frequent consumption of drugs, poverty, and stringent adherence to the global trends of beauty.
Regular Consumption of Drugs, Health, and Beauty
A number of health effects are among the most-noted dangers of taking hard substances or consuming drugs ‘‘habitually.’’ For example, Finkel has argued that the excessive use of some drugs leads to ‘‘accidental’’ diseases and deaths (14). According to Stephen Gould, the spread of AIDS (‘‘Black Death’’) begins from somewhere (277).
However, while this reality may be based upon circumstances or accidents, they are confined to real causes (Gould 277). Arguably, factors such as drug abuse and trendy lifestyles that make Americans susceptible to AIDS are common. In the end, a mechanism to fight AIDS must revolve around issues of technology and a change of ‘‘cultural’’ mindsets. Tuchman expresses a connection between AIDS and drugs.
In an arguably reference to AIDS as the ‘‘Black Death’’, Tuchman views the general acceptance of its spread as associated with factors such as alcoholism and other elements of drug abuse as expanding people’s sense of guilt in the spread of the ‘‘plague’’ (239). In any case, the efforts aimed at curbing the disease led to little progress except to address its perennial causes (Tuchman 240).
Although various ethical and medical procedures of taking drugs exist, following the laid-down consumption guidelines in taking specific drugs are sometimes overlooked by patients (Coulter and Willis 585). Often, the nature of such health outcomes depends on the components of the substance being abused.
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For instance, drugs that contain ‘‘antihistamines’’ may have an effect on how the liver processes a substance such as ‘‘acetaminophen’’ (Yamey 455). Progressively, this limitation enhances the chances of liver contaminations. Similarly, the overuse of aspirin may cause problems in the bloodstream. This situation leads to high blood pressure (Finkel 15).
In addition, dangerous chemicals in some drugs, when consumed excessively, cause memory losses and sexual dysfunctions in individuals (Yamey 455). In a popular book, Susan Bordo seems to argue that the search for a ‘‘hyper-skinny’’ look has made some people to abuse drugs (6). Accordingly, body insecurity is being imported by regulating eating ‘‘craves’’ by using some pills and medicines (Bordo 9).
Indeed, it appears that, as many Africans and Asians become more westernized, eating disorders tailored together with drug abuse have become common (Yamey 455). In the end, the industries of body-enhancements, including cosmetic surgeons and anti-aging creams manufacturers, have all watered down the health patterns of many people.
Unsurprisingly, many young men are abusing steroids and in the process of developing various eating disorders (Bordo 19). Taken together, it is important that people are informed that globalization affects cultural perspectives on beauty and drug abuse. In fact, drugs which function as ‘‘mood’’ stabilizers have been reported to have both physical and emotional effects.
While they create moments of happiness, the frequently mentioned side-effects of taking such drugs regularly include distorted vision, ‘‘bloated’’ ankles, impaired attention abilities as well as twitching (Fish 11).
Furthermore, factors that determine the occurrence of some conditions that promote regular consumption of drugs have prompted the intervention of various governments and their respective health agencies. While this may not have a direct bearing on health, the social and health-seeking motivations of many people get compromised (Yamey 455).
Interestingly, even ‘‘alternative’’ medicines have side-effects when taken recurrently. Although factors that may explain the rising adoption of alternative medicine have not been investigated, various commentators speculate that some ‘‘complimentary’’ drugs are being consumed regularly (Coulter and Willis 585).
While the perennial problems of some diseases and the illusions of beauty are the widely talked-about reason for their popularity, the regular use of some ‘‘unscientific’’ herbal drugs has led to deaths. Madelon Finkel contends that a number of herbal substances, which are thought to be more effective in dealing with chronic and lifestyle diseases, have caused drowsiness and severe headaches in patients (41).
In retrospect, whereas some forms of ‘‘alternative’’ medicine seem to provide remedies for different health challenges beyond what ‘‘conventional’’ medical practice offers, they could be more dangerous when taken on a regular basis (Coulter and Willis 585).
Considered together, taking drugs regularly to deal with diseases and enhance beauty does not always produce the desired results. While the practice has been instrumental in the prevention, cure, and management of diseases that have posed serious challenges, it has led to unintended diseases and deaths. Moreover, while the adoption of alternative medicine has led to increased life expectancies, side-effects have been noted.
Tobacco Smoking, Poverty, and Health
Friedman uses figurative language to discuss the relationship between globalization and economy (166). In this regard, the focus is more on industries with global operations. Through the use of subtle humor and classification, modern face of globalization is painted by pointing to issues of ‘‘trends’’ as the main aspects of the modern world (Friedman 167).
In dividing his analogy based on the present and the past, sweeping changes such as increased tobacco smoking spit to mind. Tobacco smoking has been recognized as one of the most dangerous practices in relation to health (Finkel 20). Despite the many awareness-raising programs that have been formulated and implemented against smoking, it remains a prevalent practice in different parts of the world.
Unlike in the past, however, the effects of both direct and passive smoking seem to be generating equal debates (Yamey 455). In fact, the discussions on smoking have been heightened because the use of tobacco products leads to addictions just as it remains one of the major causes of unintended health risks (Finkel 20). According to Thomas Friedman, the increase in tobacco usage emanates from the issues of nations and markets (166).
Predictably, through different categorizations, some multinational corporations and world governments are affecting people’s health by their ‘‘unholy’’ products (Friedman 166). In a way, individuals who use tobacco remain addicted to it for far too long (Coulter and Willis 589). In spite of its health dangers, unrestrained addictive tendencies and poor health issues have remained some of the major outcomes of tobacco smoking.
Many researchers and commentators have demonstrated that while active smoking causes severe health problems and environmental risks, passive smoking lead to ‘‘more’’ toxic effects and social problems (Finkel 21). Although the risks associated with passive smoking may not have been researched exhaustively, different commentators consider a number of its possible and related effects.
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The prevalence of respiratory diseases and conditions is a widely talked-about outcome of direct and indirect smoking (Yamey 459). Often, individuals who smoke tobacco frequently or stay in places with too much tobacco smoke are more exposed to cardiovascular diseases than earlier imagined (Fong 22).
On the other hand, smoking has been linked to ear infections. Often, the traces of the smoke and the resulting suppression of a victim’s immune system make the ear susceptible to a number of bacterial attacks and diseases (Coulter and Willis 589). At any rate, director passive smoking heightens the acquisition of respiratory diseases than any other known factor (Finkel 22).
More disturbing is the connection between poverty and drug abuse and the impact of that connection to health. Barbara Ehrenreich exposes the different challenges that low-paid employees face as tailored around basic necessities such as shelter (8). In a way, she avers that urinary diseases related to poverty and drug abuse practices like smoking ought to be addressed.
In her conclusion, she argues that health care centered on the provision of better living conditions and campaigns against drug abuse ought to be analyzed sufficiently (Ehrenreich 242). Taken out of these arguments, an analysis of the toxic effects of tobacco smoking is in order. According to Calvin Fong, a higher saturation of nicotine leads to the disruption of people’s thinking patterns just as it minimizes their ability to focus on useful day-to-day plans (22).
Indeed, most tobacco smokers are more predisposed to concentration problems and additional tobacco-induced addictions (Yamey 459). Conceivably, most indirect and direct smokers, who are advanced in age, are more predisposed to memory problems (Coulter and Willis 588). In a nutshell, tobacco smoking creates a moment of happiness that leads to addictive tendencies and poor health behaviors.
Moreover, tobacco smoke has been linked to the increasing cases of distortions of many people’s genetic make-ups. To be specific, the smoke from cigarettes may compromise the quality of sperms (Fong 25). According to many commentators, tobacco toxicants may affect a woman’s ovary and lessen her ability to conceive and give birth.
In the end, some smoking and non-smoking men who stay in places where tobacco is smoked frequently are unable to fertilize a woman’s egg (Finkel 23). Likewise, some women may take longer to have a natural pregnancy because of passive smoking. Just like alcoholics, such as men and women experience a lot of sterility-related psychological stress (Fong 26).
The other effect of smoking is to do with physical appearances. Although the ‘‘tobacco-coloration’’ effect on the teeth is common with active smokers, some passive smokers have been affected as well (Finkel 23). Interestingly, there is a growing concern that even passive smokers may ‘‘produce’’ bad breath from their mouths.
Unsurprisingly, however, there are reports of many smoking men being ‘‘denied’’ sexual rights by their wives due to the ‘‘irritating’’ smell of tobacco smoke in their breaths (Fong 27). Often, the resulting ‘‘psycho-social’’ imbalance and a sense of lost self-worth among the affected couples may lead to strains in such relationships and negative social health outcomes (Finkel 23).
Nevertheless, it seems that the propensity to get addicted to tobacco remains a major health concern. The reasons that justify tobacco as a very addictive drug are many. To begin with, the use of tobacco has been on the rise despite its health risks. In a recent study, Yamey reports that first-time tobacco users are more likely to re-experiment with it than with other drugs (461).
It appears that the often-talked about addictive tendencies to tobacco smoking relates to the composition of the substance itself. Various studies show that the ‘‘nicotine’’ constituent of tobacco increases the probability of getting addicted to the drug. Fascinatingly, many people think of themselves as ‘‘invincible’’ to tobacco addictions (Finkel 23).
However, what is clear is that the nicotine component of the drug alters how the brain functions. In the process, users of tobacco increase their tolerance levels to nicotine and become addicted to the drug (Fong 27). Viewed this way, even the most strong-willed individuals may fall victims of frequent tobacco smoking after a first experiment. A higher saturation of nicotine makes it difficult for tobacco users to stop using the drug.
For example, tobacco toxicants may affect an individual’s ability to enjoy eating food unless they consume the drug (Finkel 23). In a way, many users of tobacco experience a lot of psychological ‘‘gaps’’ that necessitates frequent tobacco smoking.
Regardless of these negativities, tobacco is used repeatedly by many people because it does not always lead to unacceptable behavioral activities. Most other drugs generate ‘‘untamed’’ euphoria among their users (Yamey 460). Whenever consumed, such drugs enhance the possibility of engaging in dangerous activities (Finkel 33). Unlike tobacco smokers, users of most other narcotic drugs act in immoral ways.
For instance, people who experiment with drugs such as cocaine may be involved in unprotected sexual acts and careless driving (Fish 22). In the process, results like unintended pregnancies and road accidents become common risks for them (Fong 29). Conversely, tobacco smoking is viewed as a ‘‘safe’’ activity. In the end, however, several people continue to smoke tobacco and suffer because there are no ‘‘added’’ risks common with the use of other drugs.
Together with drug abuse and the often-mentioned dangers of poverty and the ever-changing cultural definitions of beauty, addictive smoking has numerous socio-health risks on individuals. Drug abuse and the modern-day search for beauty lead to lifestyle and chronic diseases, distorted physical appearance, impaired thinking patterns, as well as fertility and relationship challenges.
In a sense, it is unlikely that the ever-increasing acknowledgment of drug abuse, ‘‘globalization’’ of beauty and poverty as ‘‘toxic’’ and socio-medical issues will be reversed.
Although the long-term consequences of misusing drugs, poverty, and an endless search for beauty may not be predicted sufficiently, they lead to uncontrolled addictions, poor health conditions, and unacceptable behavioral trends. Perhaps, it is time that issues of cultural trends on beauty, poverty, and drug abuse be addressed together to curb various health conditions affecting humans.
Bordo, Susan. Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. Print.
Coulter, Ian, and Evan Willis. ‘‘The Rise and Rise of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A sociological Perspective.’’ Medical Journal of Australia 180.11 (2004): 587- 589. Print.
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimmed: On (Not) Getting by in America. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2001. Print.
Finkel, Madelon. Public Health in the 21st Century. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010. Print.
Fish, Jefferson. Drugs and Society: US Public Policy. Lanham: Rowman Littlefield, 2006. Print.
Fong, Calvin. Smoking and Health. New York. Nova Science Publishers, 2007. Print.
Friedman, Thomas. “Prologue: The Super-Story”. The New World Reader 20 Aug. 2005: 164-167. Print.
Gould, Stephene. ‘‘The Terrifying Normalcy of AIDS.’’ New York Times 21 November 1987: 277-288. Print.
Tuchman, Barbara. This is the End of the World: The Black Death. Saint Louis University, 1978. Print.
Yamey, Gavin. ‘‘What are the barriers to Scaling up Health Interventions in Low and Middle Income Countries? A Qualitative Study of Academic Leaders in Implementation science.’’ Globalization and Health 8.11 (2012): 453-465. Print.