Drug Analysis

druas

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

PARENTS BEWARE OF RAVES

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Raves are giving new meaning to night life.  According to Abadinsky (2014,) they became very popular in the late 1980’s, where they originated in the UK and shortly after their popularity spread all over Europe.  The FBI (2010) defines raves as “high energy, all night dances that feature hard pounding techno-music and flashing laser lights.  They can be a ton of fun and a form of expression, but they can also be extremely dangerous.  Drugs run rampant at these overcrowded parties and it is easy for your child to get pushed into using, as the excitement and peer pressure builds throughout the nightly event.   This paper will identify the types of drugs that are used at raves, why it is difficult for law enforcement to identify these events, and what should happen when law enforcement arrives on the scene at one of these parties.

Raves take place at a permanent dwelling, usually a club.  It is advertised that there will be no alcohol or drugs at the event and light security is provided.  Parents of young people that are actively involved in this scene must remain aware what is advertised is a cover up for the limitless drugs that liven up the party.  Raves are the most popular venue for club drugs to be sold and distributed.  The FBI (2010) report the most common club drugs include MDMA (Ecstasy,) GHB and Rohypnol (date rape drugs,) Ketamine, Methamphetamine, and LSD.  These drugs are easy to distribute without being detected as they are odorless and tasteless.  MDMA’s are popular among many ravers.  This drug can last up to three hours and gives the individual the ability to dance the night away without taking many breaks.  It also increases the chance for dehydration, increased body temperature, and liver failure.  Date rape drugs are very common and are usually slipped into the victim’s drink causing amnesia in order for the assailant to commit a sexual assault.  Ketamine and Methamphetamine are snorted and smoked by the user.  Ketamine will cause the user to hallucinate while impairing memory function. Methamphetamine causes the user to become aggressive, violent, and paranoid.  Many ravers choose to use LSD which causes the user to hallucinate, sweat profusely, and increase heart rate.   These drugs are extremely dangerous and have many adverse reactions including, but not limited to: insomnia, dehydration, impaired speech, drowsiness, confusion, and nausea. (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2012)

Law enforcement agencies are challenged with identifying a rave.  Raves can take place in an ordinary night club and drugs can easily go undetected creating a mask for the real event.  Ravers will also set up an event in a desolate area that is low key in order to hide from cops.  It is seldom that undercover agents can obtain information on an upcoming rave on social media. According to The National Drug Intelligence Center (2001) ravers do not promote details to the public, but advertise on flyers found only at record stores, clothing shops, and other rave parties.  Following tradition the location of the rave is kept secret in order to protect those in attendance.  The fliers will advertise a phone number and the city in which the rave is going to be held, more details are provided after calling.  In some occurrences a promoter may provide only a location which is called a map point where ravers can go and retrieve the actual party location.  Due to the extreme efforts in protecting the location of the rave party, law enforcement is typically a step behind.

When a law enforcement team arrives at a rave there isn’t much they can do Gill (2009) reports.  If there has been a noise complaint, officers can test the sound with a decibel meter and if the noise is too loud they can request the dj to quiet the music.  If no legal activity can be seen, officers do not have much control.   Retired Sergeant Juan Flores of the Chicago City Police Department (2015) concurs with Gills argument.  Flores (2015) reflects on his career with Chicago City Police, he stated that when an officer arrives on scene of a rave there is a checklist that is followed before any action can be taken.  First and foremost an officer should check with the facility for a license permitting them to host such an event of such sort.  It is also important to observe the environment; taking note of any signs of intoxication or signs of anyone under the influence of drugs.  In Chicago anyone under the age of 16 is not legally permitted to be out doors past 11:00pm.   It is important to adhere to the curfew and depending on the time, make sure there are no young people attending the rave.  Officers will also observe for any disturbance to the public, illegal substances or alcohol beings served to minors, and occupancy.  If the facility has maxed out on occupancy it is the duty of the officer to notify the fire chief to have the party shut down.  If there is any illegal activity an officer can apprehend offenders.

Law enforcement officers work round the clock to protect our community.  It can be difficult at times to identify the location of a rave, but once found the officer will do all that he is permitted by law to do.  Enforcing the law and safety is of utmost concern.  In order to crack down on rave activity policing agencies are getting the word out to parents and young people.  Informing the public of the dangers that lurk behind the hidden truths is the only way to shut down the dangers inevitably.  Raves are high energy and can be a great time, but they are also where predators hunt for sexual prey.  Overcrowding and the use of illegal substances are a breeding ground for danger.  The only way to ensure your safety is to know the dangers and stay away.

References:

Tips for Parents: The Truth About Club Drugs. (2010, March 17). Retrieved April 14, 2015, from http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/clubdrugshttp://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/club-drugs

Gill, J. (2009, March 17). Police respond to all-night rave at Pharaoh’s Lost Kingdom. Retrieved April 12, 2015, from http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/general-news/20090318/police-respond-to-all-night-rave-at-pharaohs-lost-kingdom

Information Bulletin: Raves. (2001, April 1). National Drug Intelligence Center. Retrieved April 14, 2015, from http://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs/656/index.htm

Club Drugs. (2012, December 1). National Institute on Drug Abuse.  Retrieved April 14, 2015, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/club-drugs

Flores, J. (2015, April 11). Law Enforcement and Raves [Personal interview].

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