Drugs have become an important element in the history of medicine to cure or increase the immunity in humans against various diseases. Due to continuous innovation, research and development in the past 4-5 decades, drugs are now available to cure majority of diseases. When taken in prescribed amount, drugs are used as pain killers, antibiotics, antiallergic etc. Although, drugs are primarily used for medicinal purposes, they are also abused for their properties. Drugs are classified into three types: Over-The-Counter (OTC), Behind-The-Counter (BTC), and Prescription Only Medicines (POM).
Over-The-Counter drugs are easily available at pharmacies, gas stations etc with less restrictions. Behind-The-Counter drugs are sold by pharmacists and require no prior prescription by doctor, while a physician’s prescription is mandatory to get Prescription Only Medicines.
Act As Stimulants and Relaxants
Drugs are primarily used for any purpose as they act as stimulants and relaxants. Most drugs target the receptor site by binding to it. They either stop the physiological function of protein or produce the same effect. Some drugs also target the enzymes which control the rate of chemical reactions. Thus when drugs reaches the brain through bloodstream they slow down the central nervous system. They can either stimulate or reduce the senses, decrease alertness and consciousness, give sense of relaxation, drowsiness, or hyperactivity. Coffee is the most commonly used psychotropic beverage used as a stimulant.
Drugs are put to variety of medical uses to treat diseases at various levels of severity, reduce pains, psychological disorders, cardiovascular disorders etc. Medicines like aspirin, Paracetamol directly act on peripheral and central nervous system and give relief from pain. Drugs are also used as antibiotic which is used to treat various diseases. They are used as antidepressants, anxiolytics, mood stabilizers, antipsychotic to treat psychological or mental disorders. Illegal drugs like heroin which is synthesized from morphine also have medical uses and is used to relieve pain. Marijuana is used in treatment of glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and chronic pain.
Besides medical uses, prescription and illegal drugs are widely used for recreation purpose. The drug use for having recreation is considered illegal. Some of the major psychoactive drugs that are used for recreational purpose are methamphetamines, cocaine, opium, ecstasy etc. People get addicted to psychoactive drugs as they feel sudden burst of energy, relaxation, calmness, euphoria etc. Recreational drug use may lead to addiction or substance dependence. Recreational drug use can have adverse effects on social, family, and professional life.
Drugs use in sports to improve performance is strictly banned. Many athletes, sportsmen have been tested positive for using performance enhancing drugs and anabolic steroids. Sportsperson uses these drugs to improve their performance as it increases their strength by building mass and muscles and increases delivery of oxygen to tissues. These drugs reduce fatigue, increases alertness, and increases heart beat, breathing rate, and activity of brain.
Masking Pains And Drug Use
Sportspersons often receive injuries during the course of training, matches, or events. To overcome the pain caused by these injuries, the sportspersons use drugs to reduce this pain and mask their injuries and continue participating in events. Narcotics like morphine, methadone, heroin are used to treat pain. Protein hormones like Adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) and cortisone helps to reduce inflammation on injuries. Local anesthetics are also used to reduce pain of injuries.
Sportspersons also use some drugs to mask the presence of other drugs. Drugs like epitestosterone can be used to cover up the use of testosterone, Plasma expanders can be used to dilute concentration levels of banned substance, while use of secretion inhibitors can result in erroneous urine drug test results.
Drugs are also used for spiritual and religious use, which are called ‘Entheogens’. Smart drugs which are also called as ‘Nootropics’ are said to improve cognitive abilities like memory, concentration, mood, thought, intelligence, attention etc by improving oxygen supply to brain and improving nerve growth.
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By James Foster MBA
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