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A drug is any substance which when taken will change the chemical processes in the body. It may change how you feel, act and behave.
Types of drugs
When the word drug is mentioned, many people may just jump and think 'cocaine, weed' etc. There are more drugs than these, lets get this clarified.
1. Classes based on the use of the drug
Medical drugs: These are drugs used to treat an illness. There many classes under this group, for example:
Recreational drugs: These are drugs that people use for pleasure. they include both legal and illegal drugs, for example:
2. Classes based on perceived harm to health
Governments and the international community have asked scientists to classify drugs according to how much damage they cause to human health. This had led to the classification of drugs into legal and illegal drugs
Legal drugs - e.g. alcohol (in many countries), caffeine, tobacco (nicotine)
Illegal drugs- cause major harm to health in the short term. They are classified into classes A, (very harmful), B, C, D (less harmful).
3. Classes based on their effect on the body
Stimulants- Speed up reactions, for example, caffeine, ecstacy, nicotine
Depressants- Slow down responses, for example, alcohol
Hallucinogens- Confuse senses, for example cannabis
Narcotics- Sleep inducing, for example cocaine, heroin
Effects of smoking
Tobacco smoke contains 3 harmful substances:
Nicotine- Is addictive, also affects blood vessels
Carbon monoxide: Is produced by incomplete burning of tobacco. It binds to red blood cells and reduces their ability to carry oxygen. It affects the cardiovascular system (heart and circulation).
Tar- A mixture of hundreds of chemicals, some of them are carcinogenic= They cause cancer of the lungs.
Effects of alcohol
Alcohol is a depressant, it slows down reactions
Short term effects: Speech becomes slurred, causes loss of balance, poor judgement.
Long term effects: Long term overconsumption of alcohol my lead to : High blood pressure, liver cirrhosis (hardening of the liver).
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