The Effects Of Drugs Essay Research Paper

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The Effects Of Drugs Essay, Research Paper Introduction Many different drugs have different effects on the body. This paper focuses on the effects caused by three widely used drugs opium, cocaine, and cannabis. They have many common effects between them. Some characteristics of the effects of those drugs are those of stimulants and others are those of depressants. We will describe the chemical effects of each drug on the body. Opium Opium is a drug produced from the capsules of the opium poppy. When fresh from the plant it is a gooey light brown mass (”Opium,” Microsoft? Encarta? Online Encyclopedia 2000). After it is allowed to dry out it hardens and darkens. Its chemical formula consists of 17 carbon atoms, 19 hydrogen atoms, 3 oxygen atoms, and 1 nitrogen atom (Barbara

Hodgson, 1999, p 15). Opium has an extensive history. It was first used about 3400 B. C. In the early 1800?s British opium smugglers illegally smuggled the drug into China. In doing this they made enormous profits and hooked many Chinese citizens on the drug. This illegal trade caused a war, appropriately titled the ?Opium War.? Eventually when the Chinese began migrating out into the world they spread opium use. Opium can be smoked, eaten, drunk or injected. Most commonly it was smoked. This was in part because opium designed for smoking was the cheapest and easiest to obtain. Smokers took their habit very seriously. They usually possessed a smoker?s kit, which included a lamp to light the opium, a box to store it, one of a variety of different pipes, extra bowls for the pipe, a

sponge and bowl scraper to clean the pipe, and a pillow to rest their heads on as they smoked (Barbara Hodgson, pgs.1-46). Most smokers did so in groups, normally in places called ?opium dens?. These dens were located in cities and many in Chinatowns. Chinatowns were areas within cities where the Chinese migrated to, lived, and brought their addictions to. The addicts who ingest opium orally are nicknamed ?opium eaters? (Barbara Hodgson, p.3, 62 ). This edible opium is in the form of pills and it has a horribly bitter taste. The form of opium that can be drunk is called laudanum, which is an opium-alcohol mixture. (Barbara Hodgson, p 3). With the invention of the hypodermic syringe during the American Civil War, injection presented another way for addicts to get their fix. The

opium derivatives that were introduced to the body through a syringe were called morphine and heroine, both of which were extremely addictive. There were commercial drugs that were introduced into the market which were supposed to help addicts kick their opium habit. These drugs did not help very well due to the fact that most of them contained either opium or some other addictive drug, therefore hooking the addict. Other commercial products that contained opium were cough syrups and baby soothing medicines. Of course, opium would make babies stop crying but it had many negative side effects. Many children grew up with deformities and mental retardation. Opium was a very popular drug, but it caused much harm (Barbara Hodgson, p1-7). Opium?s short-term affects include drowsiness,

lightheadedness, weakness, euphoria, dry mouth, urinary retention, and constipation. It is said that the most effective way to smoke opium is by lying on your side with your head on the pillow mentioned in the smoker?s kit. Most people could not sit up and smoke opium because they became too dizzy or tired to remain upright, or were to weak to hold up the pipe. Whenever people smoked opium they went to sleep immediately afterwards. This was quite a sight at the opium dens, where there would be dozens of people passed out on the floor. They smoked just for a few minutes of pleasure and anywhere from 1 to 3 hours of near-paralytic sleep. Opium gave a temporary feeling of euphoria to anyone who used it. This was the main reason why the drug was in such high demand. It let people get