1. Causes of drug consume. There are over 200 million drug consumers worldwide. From "natural" to synthetic ("designer") drugs, they are aimed to induce an excitation and euphoria state; when we talk about stars, actors, famous singers, they usually go on with their addiction being pressured by the entourage (many singers and actors are famous for their drug consume). The media builds a magical aura around the drugs, and famous designers prefer skinny models, with an expression devoid of punch, reflecting the image of the junkie.
Other factors pushing people towards drug consume are disillusion, depression and the lack of a goal in life, economical problems, unemployment and the parents' negative example. Those who relate with difficulty to other people apply drugs to face social situations, as they believe drugs make them more secure, funny, pleasant, sexy and clever. Others consider that it is easier to appeal to drugs than taking control of their own lives, assuming the responsibilities involved in this. Boredom and lack of discipline are also involved in some cases. Some find it funny.
Generally, teenagers ignore the warnings about the effects of the drugs because they bounce back quickly and are so full of energy that they believe their health won't suffer. The feeling of invulnerability makes them believe toxicomania is an issue of the adults.
Some have even a tweaked formula so that
they can elude the restrictions imposed on illegal narcotics and hallucinogens. But they are equally strong. Crack cocaine causes an addiction higher than that caused by common cocaine, being even able to kill at the first use, and new types of cannabis have even a more powerful hallucinogen effect.
Synthesis drugs, like ecstasy, do not even have to be transported to other countries and pass through customs, since they can be produced locally in clandestine labs, from Netherlands to Australia.
2. Social effects. The drug trafficking is the largest illegal business in the world, making about 8% of the international trade, translated in about $400 billion annually. This trade enriches the drug barons, gangsters, corrupt police forces, bribe politicians and finance terrorism, and at a world level, police manages to confiscate just 10-15 % of the trafficked drugs.
Drugs can corrode a whole society, hitting in all that a normal human society requires: stable families, healthy work hand, trusty governments, honest police, and law respecting citizens.
Robbery and violence are connected with the drug consume. Drug consumers often appeal to delinquency or prostitution to satisfy their vice. A person addicted to cocaine needs about $ 1,000 weekly to pay for the drugs! Rival bands fight and kill to keep control of drug distribution. In many cities, drugs are the main cause involved in homicide.
In some countries, rebels too are involved in drug trafficking. Half of the income of a guerrilla group from South America comes from protecting drug traffickers. Some of the most bitter ethnic and religious conflicts worldwide are fueled by drug income.
Drugs are also connected with disunited families. Addicted parents can seldom offer a stable family life to their children. The link parent-child may even be destroyed. Drug addicted parents often get indebted, steal from friends or family or lose their job. Many of these children run away from home living on the streets and the probability of them becoming addicts in their turn is quite high.
The drug consume can lead to physical abuse on the partner and children. Cocaine, especially when mixed with alcohol, can induce a violent behavior even on persons that are normally calm and quiet. 17% of the drug consumers become aggressive after taking the drug. 73 % of the children beaten to death in New York had drug addicted parents. In African countries experiencing civil wars, drugged teen soldiers committed horrible crimes.
In countries like those in South America, with general low incomes, drugs corrupt governmental, police and army officials, as the money amounts fluttered by the traffickers are too high for people earning too little to survive. Judges, majors, policemen and police officers specialized in anti-drug fight can fall in the trap of corruption. Politicians whose electoral campaigns have been funded by drug barons cannot take position against trafficking. Honest officials starting courageous campaigns against the drug traffic were killed.
Traffickers try to corrupt or intimidate officials for removing burdens in the drug transit and even have private armies. To clean their money, the traffickers train in their actions banks and lawyers for covering up the tracks of the money got from the drugs. They even depose a large part of the profits in financial centers which ensure confidentiality and attractive gaining from investments. They can this way clean up their money transferring them electronically all over the world, while the officials haven't got many tools to control them.
Drugs also menace the soil, forests and the species inhabiting in them. The greatest part of the cocaine production is made in the forests of west Amazon, while the greatest part of opium (for heroine) production is made in forests in southeastern Asia, sensitive areas to environmental damage. The devastations are considerable, and attempts to eliminate the drug crops bring huge damages due to the employed toxic herbicides.
Also for the poor farmers of Afghanistan (where opium is produced) or Andes (where coca for cocaine is cultivated), where people struggle to survive, the cultivation of plants producing drugs is a relief, and in most cases, the farmers are controlled by local traffickers, so even if they want to quit, they are forced not to do it.
We all pay for the damages brought by the drugs: decreased productivity, the cost of medical treatments, robbed or destroyed properties, and the cost of applying the law. The decreased productivity due to high absenteeism, accidents, medical assistance and compensations given to the employees cost the US trade and industry $75-100 billion annually. Not to mention that in the US, the police arrests annually about one million people accused in connection to drugs.
All this money is paid by the ratepayers and consumers. In Germany, the overall drug consume per inhabitant was of $120. In the US, this number is of $300. Most of the American and Euro banknotes have traces of drugs, especially cocaine, as the banknotes are used for snoring the drug.
3. Health effects. The classic image of the drug addicted is that of a person devoid of punch injecting in his/her vein the drug in a dark room. But many drug consumers manage to bear an apparently normal life, even if the drug consume affects their daily life. Thousands of persons die annually because of drug overdose. About 22 % of the HIV positives in western world are drug consumers injecting drugs with infected needles.
Some cocaine consumers inject the drug tens of times in a sole reprise and their bodies covered by swells and punctures look awful.
About 10 % of the children born in the US are exposed to drugs (from cocaine and heroine to marijuana) while still in the womb. This translates to mental and physical effects, and also craving in newborn children.
Driving under the influence of marijuana or LSD is as dangerous as driving drunk. The drug consumers have a 3-4 times higher risk of causing/experiencing work accidents than non-consumers do.
Ecstasy (MDMA, a derivate of the amphetamines) is popular at rave parties. The drug would cause without any risk a state of euphoria and a surplus of energy that makes you dance all night long. The young can dance for hours, till the enter a 'trance' state. "You start feeling tingles of emotion in your toes, than a heat wraps up you and an incredible love, which gradually includes your head", a consumer described what attracts the young to this drug.
Brain tomographies showed nothing inoffensive in this drug: it destroys the brain cells and decreases the levels of serotonin. These brain lesions can be permanent and in time can cause impairments like memory loss and depression, even death. Moreover, some traffickers mix ecstasy with heroine to make their clients dependent.
Marijuana is advertised as an effective stuff against sickness induced by chemotherapy and would help AIDS patients regain appetite. But researchers showed that marijuana decreases adaptability in consumers. 3-4 marijuana cigarettes are more harmful for the lung and respiratory apparatus than 20 tobacco cigarettes. A marijuana cigarette releases 3 to 4 times more tar than a tobacco cigarette and marijuana smokers inhale deeper and keep their breath longer. The immune cells from the lungs of the marijuana smokers had a 35 % lower capacity of fighting bacteria than those from the lungs of tobacco smokers.
Methamphetamine, a powerfully addictive drug, can destroy your teeth. Once in your body, it causes a release of a great amount of dopamine, leading to the typical euphoria. Short-term effects include extreme wakefulness, a lasting boost of energy and a lack of appetite. Long-term effects include high blood pressure, stroke and serious heart problems.
Methamphetamine (also called meth, crank, crystal and speed) has been used by more than 12 million people in the US. It can be taken orally, injected, snorted or smoked. Most users are 18 to 34 years old. In just one year, the drug users' teeth become more sensitive and they even fall, a condition called "meth mouth".
Meth mouth frequently leads to full-mouth extractions and a lifetime of wearing dentures, being characterized by rampant tooth decay and teeth described by meth users as blackened, stained, rotting, crumbling or falling apart. The drug stops the salivary glands' activity and without the diluting saliva, food or bacteria produced acids in your mouth start dissolving tooth enamel. Moreover, the drug consumers may neglect their oral hygiene. The methamphetamine effect can last up to 12 hours, a period when personal hygiene is clearly neglected. The drug also causes cravings for high-calorie carbonated beverages, tooth grinding and clenching.
4. Drug effects on sex. Many consider drugs sexual stimulants and aphrodisiacs. The effect can be strong, but far from the desired one.
Cannabis drugs (marijuana and hashish) are regarded as aphrodisiacs, increasing the good mood and arousal and stimulating sexual activity. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical of cannabis, indeed increase mood and decrease inhibitions, but effects on libido vary: some say it significantly boosts sexual drive, but many experience opposite effects. Some say marijuana eases a more beautiful, spiritual connection. But others say that marijuana creates personal spaces and distances between partners. "It creates a separating, fuzzy, dreamlike quality that diffuses the reality of sex."
In fact, marijuana distorts the sense of time, so that consumers can experience an illusion of prolonged arousal and orgasm. But chronic cannabis smokers present low fertility (lower sperm counts and low testosterone) and women can have abnormal ovulation (but do not think that marijuana works as a contraceptive method, pregnancies can happen!...).
Smoking marijuana during pregnancy is as harmful for the fetus as tobacco smoking; THC crosses the placenta, inducing pregnancy loss, birth defects, and impairment on the baby's growth and development.
Ecstasy, the "Love Drug", is said to improve communication between people, being regarded as an aphrodisiac, which is quite false. Ecstasy does spur sensations (touching, physical closeness etc.) but it lowers sexual pleasures. It reduces inhibitions, easing sexual encounters, but it also plummets sexual response. Both partners can lack lubrication while under the effect of ecstasy.
Ecstasy also impedes erections and orgasms for both genders. The delayed male orgasm can lead to sexual marathons, devoid of pleasure. Ecstasy consume is also linked to risky behaviors (multiple sex partners, unprotected sex etc.).