DREXEL PSY 310 - Drug Use as a Social Problem (5 pages)

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Drug Use as a Social Problem



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Drug Use as a Social Problem

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Pages:
5
School:
Drexel University
Course:
Psy 310 - Drugs & Human Behavior

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Drug Use as a Social Problem Two Categories of Problems Problems related to taking the drug risk of developing drug dependence risk of overdose Problems related to drug use as deviant behavior arrests fines jailing expenses associated with drug prevention and treatment Changes in U S Drug Laws U S changed from a laissez faire attitude 1800s to one of tight drug restrictions Three main concerns 1 Toxicity dangerous chemicals 2 Dependence habit forming compounds 3 Crime drug users become dangerous Drug Related Toxicity Toxic poisonous deadly or dangerous Physiological versus Behavioral toxicity Acute versus Chronic toxicity Toxicity Acute Physiological Heroin overdose the user stops breathing Chronic Heart disease Lung cancer Cirrhosis Behavioral Drunk driving Intoxication that dangerously impairs behavioral functioning Deleterious lifestyle changes Strain on interpersonal relationships Drug Abuse Warning Network DAWN A system for collecting data on drug related emergency room visits and deaths Data collected at some U S metropolitan hospitals DAWN collects data on Illicit drugs Misuse of legal prescription and OTC drugs Does not determine whether drugs caused the death or ER visit ER Visits Death 1 Alcohol in combination 1 Prescription Opioids 2 Cocaine 2 Alcohol in combination 3 Prescription Opioids 3 Benzodiazepines 4 Marijuana 4 Cocaine 5 Benzodiazepines 5 Methadone Does DAWN tell us how dangerous a drug is Data are simply number of mentions in total ER visits deaths What DAWN does not tell us Relative danger of a drug o How many problems as a proportion of total drug users Cause of ER visit or death o Drugs are mentioned in every case regardless of the cause of the accident Blood Borne Diseases Specific toxicity for users who inject drugs Not due to the action of drug itself Sharing needles passes infectious agents directly into bloodstream o AIDS HIV infection and hepatitis B and C Syringe exchange programs Example of harm reduction Funded by some local governments Lowers rate of infection Problematic Drug Use What is the definition of addiction Often difficult to define Does it matter What drug is ingested How much time is spent on drug taking How much drug is ingested When does drug use go from recreational to problematic Substance Dependence Three basic processes that may occur with repeated drug use Tolerance Physical dependence Psychological dependence These processes can be defined and studied by researchers interested in understanding drug dependence Tolerance Diminished effect of the drug after repeated use Individual may need to use more of the drug to experience the desired effects The body develops ways to compensate for the chemical imbalance caused by the drug Physical Dependence Physical dependence is defined by the occurrence of a withdrawal syndrome If drug use is stopped suddenly withdrawal symptoms occur ranging from mild to severe Tolerance typically precedes physical dependence Physical dependence means the body has



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