Drug Analysis

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Research shows drug use can be extremely harmful to the human body.  The damage can be extensive and affect the body both physically and psychologically. Yet, since the discovery of drugs more and more individuals find it hard to overcome the addiction.  In fact, surveys conducted by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (2010) reflect an increase on drug use in America, with 23.5 million Americans addicted to alcohol and drugs.  According to Abdadinsky, (2014), “several attempts have been made to explain why some people become dependent on chemicals while others, even those who use the same substances, do not.”  This paper will analyze and evaluate the differences between alcohol, cocaine, and ecstasy; by identifying the composition, manufacture and cultivation of the drug, how it is used, and the physical and psychological effects on the human body.  Furthermore, this paper will identify one theory that best explains why an individual would chose to use one or more of the chosen drugs aforementioned above.

Alcohol is a depressant and is the most common substance that causes addiction in the United States.  Statistics show over 17 million people suffer from alcohol use or dependency, and several more million show patterns that will lead to addiction.  The alcohol abuse affects more than seven million children in the Unites States; forcing them to fall victim of the effects of alcohol abuse in their own home.  (NCADD, 2015) Ethyl alcohol is the intoxicating ingredient in many alcoholic beverages consumed by Americans today.  It is produced by fermenting carbohydrates to ethyl alcohol by growing yeast cells.  The main raw materials that are fermented for the production of alcohol include sugar cane, barley, corn, and flavoring. (Britannica, 2012) The Ethyl alcohol is found in beer, wine, and other spirits that are produced and sold in liquor stores, food markets, and restaurants.  Anheuser Busch is a major manufacturer of beer in the U.S.  The beer is brewed and fermented from malted barley grain and flavored with hops.  The Barley is cultivated on a private farm in Idaho.  Ethanol is a 2 carbon alcohol, the molecular formula is CH3CH2OH. (Britannica, 2012) This depressant has become a social drink, making it even more dangerous.  It is known as the life of the party, has power to drowned out the memory of a bad breakup, and relax the mind.  It can be consumed alone or with a group of people and is very easy to obtain.  For most adults moderate alcohol consumption is not harmful.  Anything over two drinks per day is considered excessive and heavy drinking and can be life threatening.  Alcohol affects all body systems over an extended period of use.  Consumption results in higher risks of liver cancer, ulcer disease, brain damage, chronic active hepatitis, and impairment of the immune system.  Heavy consumption decreases production of all blood cells, lowering the immune system and resistance to infections, and also decreases lifetime expectancy.  The negative effects are limitless and can also damage one’s emotional stability, finances, impact family and other personal relationships stripping the user of the life that he once knew.

Cocaine is a very powerful and very addicting drug that affects the brain instantaneously.   The chemical formula of cocaine is C17H21NO4.  (Britannica, 2012) It is derived from the coca plant and has been abused for over 100 years.  Cocaine comes in two forms; hydrochloride salt which is a powder and dissolves in water.  It is in this form that the user can inject the drug into their blood stream intravenously or snort it through the nasal passage.  The second form of cocaine is known as freebase; in this form the user can smoke the cocaine for a more intense affect.  Cocaine is a stimulant and can cause the user to feel energized, be extremely talkative, mentally alert, sensitivity to sight and sound, and causes the pupils to dilate.  Among these short term effects lie the hidden long term effects which include: restlessness, paranoia, and irritability.  Cocaine is extremely dangerous for the body in a physical stance causing irregular heartbeat, respiratory failure, seizures, and strokes.  This drug is cultivated in Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia.  The cultivation process begins weeding the bad seeds out.  The farmer will plant the crop in the best part of his field where the water drains off into the river.  The crop is maintained for 12 to 24 months and after maturity the leaves are removed, dried, and prepared for cocaine processing.  (Rhodium, 1993)

Ecstasy is a popular hallucinogen that is known in the club world as a date rape drug.  Unlike alcohol and cocaine which come from natural ingredients and plants of the earth, this drug is synthesized in a laboratory.  It is a designer drug created by altering the molecular structure of the amphetamine.  Ecstasy has a molecular formula of C11H15NO2   and contains caffeine, ephedrine, ketamine, and methamphetamine. (Britannica, 2012) This drug is most commonly taken orally and is often slipped unknowingly into an individual’s drink.  It can also be inhaled, injected, and snorted.  Once the drug has entered the body it quickly finds a passageway to the brain.  It is absorbed into the bloodstream very easily and affects the liver, heart, lungs, and brain of the human body.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2014) it will take 15 minutes from the time that the drug is ingested to reach the brain.  It causes short term and long term effects on the human brain.  The short term effects include feeing empathy and warm feelings towards others, decreased anxiety, and mental stimulation.  This is a happy drug that temporarily increases your positivity and mood and will increase sexual arousal.  Ecstasy has also been known to increase paranoia, reduce pleasure, and cause intense depression.  After ingesting the drug the user will experience chills, blurred vision, nausea, hallucinations, and fever.

Most individuals begin using drugs as a means to cope with a social issue or because they have witnessed a friend or family member using the substance at one time or another.  This is an example of the social theory on drugs.  According to Abadinsky (2014) most young people seek out drugs to cope with depression, alienation, or parental disapproval.  Individuals that use alcohol tend to do it in a social setting usually with friends to enhance the mood and liven things up.  It is also a relaxation tool and helps the user unwind in stressful situations, like a first date.  Cocaine is another social drug that is used in secret with a small group that are seeking an escape from reality.  The individuals most likely already share a bound and have experimented with other drugs before.  Young people see drugs as an easy way to connect with peers and to get through the common hardships that come as a teen in a world.

These three drugs are very common in that they change the behavior of the user and increase chances of physical harm to oneself or others.  The chances of death is increased while under the influence of the illegal substances.  Alcohol and Cocaine offer a quick rush while ecstasy requires more time to influence the mental functions of the brain.  One thing remains they are dangerous whether used in a solo setting or with a large group.  The physical and psychological effects will stay with you and may impair you for a lifetime, leaving you in shambles.

References:

Join Together Staff Writer. (2010, September 28). New Data Show Millions of Americans with Alcohol and Drug Addiction Could Benefit from Health Care R – Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://www.drugfree.org/new-data-show-millions-of-americans-with-alcohol-and-drug-addiction-could-benefit-from-health-care-r/

Abadinsky, H. (2014). Drug Use and Abuse: A Comprehensive Introduction (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

Alcohol & Drug Information. (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 22, 2015, from https://ncadd.org/for-the-media/alcohol-a-drug-information

Ethyl alcohol | chemical compound. (2012, January 1). Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/194354/ethyl-alcohol

Cocaine | chemical compound. (2012, January 1). Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/123441/cocaine

Ecstasy| chemical compound. (2012, January 1). Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/378657/Ecstasy

Rhodium. (1993, January 1). Coca Cultivation and Cocaine Processing: An Overview – [www.rhodium.ws]. Retrieved April 22, 2015, from https://erowid.org/archive/rhodium/chemistry/coca2cocaine.html

The Neurobiology of Ecstasy (MDMA). (2014, January 1). Retrieved April 22, 2015, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/neurobiology-ecstasy/section-i/4-what-we-know-about-ecstasy

Juvenile Delinquency

The reduction of juvenile delinquents and the extremities that follow are a major focus in criminal justice agencies today. (Cox, Allen, Hanser, & Conrad, 2014 pp. 3) With an ever changing society come new trending crimes. The question that presents itself is why are these children turning to criminal behavior? There are so many theories that can be used to identify and explain what causes our youth to walk down a cricked path. In this paper, we are going to focus on two case studies and pinpoint the causation theory that best explains the behavior.

In the case study involving thirteen year old Abby, we discover that her step father had been sexually abusing her. Abby displayed signs of withdrawal and she got involved with drugs and alcohol. Abby ran away several times to get away from the abuse. We can look toward the sociological theories for an explanation for Abby’s withdrawal and why she ran away from home. According to Agnew’s strain theory, criminal behavior is evident when things are taken away by a negative and unwanted stimuli. (University of Delaware online, 2014) The abuse that Abby is victim too is stripping away her innocence along with her self-respect. The strain theory suggests that the negative stimuli can cause inert anger and cause the victim to engage in criminal acts. Crime in children have been linked to child abuse and neglect, like Abby is experiencing. With the ongoing abuse, Abby withdraws and her grades drop below her normal standard. These results would suggest a problem or major stressful event in Abby’s life. According to Agnew’s strain theory the abusive adult is the blame for the unlawful acts Abby displays, such as running away and the use of illegal narcotics and underage drinking. Strain theory is most likely prevalent in teenagers that have a hard time coping with stressful or straining situation. Abby was irritable and needed refuge from her step father which caused her to run away. A key factor in strain theory is the desire to blame someone else for the delinquent behavior displayed. Abby told officers that she ran away because her stepfather sexually abused her. She neutralized her delinquent behavior by placing the blame on the step father, however this does not excuse her from her actions. The strain theory best describes Abby’s behavior. Due to the stressor of her step father sexually abusing her, she acts out trying to seek refuge by running away; and to hide the disgust she has for herself and her body she turns to drugs and alcohol. She does not want to hurt anyone, but in order to cope with the situation she makes poor choices. Her behavior meets the defined criteria of the Sociological strain theory. The best way to intervene and help Abby is to remove her from the stimulus causing her grief and provide her with counseling. Abby will also need to go through a rehabilitation program that will help her with the drug and alcohol problem she has developed.
In the case study involving Ryan, a teenage Hispanic boy that has been subjected to domestic violence we can turn to several theories that suggest a reason for the violent behavior that has recently developed with Ryan at school. First looking at the psychopathology theory that suggest the behavior Ryan is displaying has been molded by the interactions he has witnessed at home, between mother and father. (Wolfe, 1999) This theory suggests that Ryan lacks the knowledge of how to handle his aggression and is unable to build a healthy relationship with individuals around him. However, the theory that works best to explain the process of learning this behavior is the Social Learning theory. This theory suggests the behavior is learned by watching and hearing the behavior displayed in the home by both parents. The children are learning that it is ok to display aggression and violence to solve any disagreements or conflicts that may arise. Ryan and his brothers have learned that there are no consequences to hurting someone because it has always been kept a secret family matter in their home. We learn from our environment and the individuals we trust the most. These children have a bond with the father. Dad is the leader and if the behavior works for him and he is able to accomplish the desired outcome by beating mom, then this must work in every volatile situation. These children will need to go through counseling and undergo an anger management program. Ryan and his brothers will need to learn that the behavior is unlawful and not the best way to handle conflict. Due to the lack of remorse the father displayed after becoming violent with the mother, one can only assume that the boys will also lack the ability to feel remorse for the repeated actions. These children will need to follow through with counseling. The parents will also need to undergo counseling, anger management, and parenting courses. In order for the children to understand there is consequences for the violent and abusive behavior their dad will need to be incarcerated. Ryan will need to receive punishment for his behavior in school in order to recondition him. With every bad choice and unlawful behavior there is a consequence that needs to be placed in order to unlearn the behavior.

By studying these two case studies we learn that there are several theories that will suggest the reasoning behind the delinquent behavior. The theory that works best to explain delinquency in juveniles is the social learning theory. Children see a behavior and they will repeat the behavior. We learn through our experiences and our environment around us. It is proven even in small children that what is seen will be repeated unless we have developed the ability to control the id. Freud’s theory tells us that when developed our superego will control the id and provide a balance. Without this control, the environment and those that influence us will shape our behavior, much like it did for Abby and Ryan.

References:

Kam, J., Cleveland, M., & Hecht, M. (6, May 31). Abstract. Retrieved November 3, 2014, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3881184/

Wolfe, D., & Jaffe, P. (1999). Emerging Strategies in the Prevention of Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence and Children, 9(3). Retrieved November 2, 2014, from http://www.princeton.edu/futureofchildren/publications/journals/article/index.xml?journalid=47&articleid=228§ionid=1497

Socioloical Theories of Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Retrieved November 2, 2014, from http://www.udel.edu/soc/tammya/pdf/crju369_theory.pdf