Recreational Drugs: The Use of Alcohol and Cigarette Smoking Essay Sample
There is a wide range of descriptions for the term drug that have been given. For the purpose of our discussion, a drug can be described as any chemical that when taken into the body interferes with the normal bodily functions. This happens through the interference of the normal functions of the brain by the drug. The brain is the most important organ of the body as it acts as the central control system of the body and any interference to it means that the body cannot function normally. Without a brain, the human body is just an inactive mass of flesh. Drugs interfere with brain functions by altering the function of the brain cells such that they send or transmit the wrong signals to the rest of the body. This is dangerous and could be very destructive depending on the effect that the drug has on the user.
A recreational drug is any drug that a person uses for the purpose of bringing a feeling of enjoyment to the body or for the reason of having fun. What starts as an almost harmless habit for most people has often led to the abuse drugs. This is because with most drugs, continuous use normally leads to addiction where a user becomes so dependant on the drug that the body will not function normally without the drug. A wide range of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, tobacco, hashish as well as alcohol have been used for recreation. Most people start using such drugs for fun through the influence of peer groups or immediate family but are ignorant of the effects such habits would eventually have on their lives.
Most people get introduced to alcohol and cigarette smoking at family gatherings, parties and other social gatherings where other people are using them. This is initially done for fun through peer pressure but in the course of time through continued use one gets used to the habit and they will begin to associate with people who are in the same habit. The sole purpose of entertainment or having a good time is what is on the mind of most people oblivious of the dangers that alcohol and cigarettes may be causing to their lives. It is common characteristic that most people who use alcohol will smoke a cigarette or two when at gatherings where cigarette smoking is taking place.
Nicotine that is found in cigarettes gets into the body in very small amounts but it is very addictive and soon a person starts having the urge to smoke because the body has developed an addiction. The same case applies to alcohol whereby through continued use, alcohol gets into the blood system and the body develops a craving for it. This means that people now start drinking to satisfy a craving and this leads to complete dependence on alcohol. Dependence on such products is what is normally referred to as drug abuse. Through abuse, a person will continue to use alcohol or smoke cigarettes with disregard to the effects such a habit brings on the persons health, family life, social interactions, financial status etc. Addiction means that the user is unmindful of what results from their unpleasant habits (Wagner Eric F.)
Alcohol and cigarette smoking addiction have very grave health effects on the users. It is common characteristic with alcoholics and those addicted to cigarette smoking to have very poor eating habits because they will normally drink or smoke when they get hungry. This means that the physical health of such people is at jeopardy. Addiction to alcohol also leads to neurological disorders where the person’s nervous system becomes dependant on alcohol as well as liver dysfunction. It is also a common characteristic with alcoholics to have problems with the circulatory system. Other problems are such as falls, burns that may happen when cooking under the influence of alcohol and the tendency to result to violence at the least provocation.
Cigarette smoking on the other hand has been associated with such serious health problems like congenital heart disease, disintegration of lung tissue (emphysema), as well as various types of cancers such as lung, oral, bladder and cervical cancers. Cigarette smokers also suffer from loss of bone density that leads to brittle bones which are easily breakable. Other sicknesses are such tooth decay, throat infections, common colds and respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Such problems put together have been said to reduce the lifespan of a smoker by about 10 years. Breathing becomes very difficult for cigarette smokers due to the clogging of lungs from carbon monoxide and this gives an irritating cough that is common with most smokers. The breath of a smoker is very unpleasant and will not go well with most people who are non-smokers. All these problems put together weigh heavily on the general health of the persons, their families, social and economic lives http://ezinearticles.com/?Dangers-of-Cigarette-
There are socio-economic problems that result from addiction to alcohol and cigarette smoking. Too much drinking often leads to a general feeling of hangover or the drinker may even blackout. The productivity of such a person slows down as they are incapable of working in such state and they become a burden to their families and to society at large. The alcoholic is also exposed to serious accidents such as being hit by moving vehicles or very serious falls that may lead to fracturing or internal injuries.. Driving under the influence of alcohol leads to dangerous driving and alcoholics have been known to contribute highly to the rate of motor vehicle accidents happening in society today. These accidents have resulted in the death of innocent lives. Alcoholics spend a lot of time in clubs and other places where the product is common leading to the formation of social groups that are very promiscuous.
Because of the effect of alcohol on the level of reasoning of a person, alcoholism has been associated with very loose morals and the reason why such social gatherings are promiscuous. This is detrimental to the family life of such a person and to society at large considering the negative effects that promiscuity brings such as the spread of HIV AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Statistics have shown that smokers spend a lot of money on cigarettes. Considering the fact they also frequent health institutions due to various medical shortcomings, the monetary value fro cigarette smoking as a habit then becomes very high. This will often lead to financial constraints on the person and their family as well. Too much spent on smoking cigarettes means that there’s another part of the person’s life that will be negatively affected financially. Money that would otherwise have been used in developments gets wasted in the habit and related problems. Both alcoholism and addiction to cigarette smoking take place within a social group that shares these habits. This means that people will often find themselves hooked to unpleasant friends brought together only by these habits.
Alcoholism and cigarette smoking lead to very serious problems within the family set up. Because alcoholics tend to spend most of their time in the company of their colleagues, there’s the tendency to neglect marital obligations and family responsibilities. This means that an alcoholic’s family is likely to be suffering financially and most likely even lacking basic needs. Alcoholism has also been linked with surging marital break ups in society that have caused untold suffering to many children. Violence is common in such homes and wife and child abuse are a common occurrence in such families. Women who abuse alcohol are very poor mothers as they have little time and rarely any energy to take good care of their children and this results in child neglect especially to those children who are very young and unable to attend to themselves. Alcoholics have limited time to spend with their children and they are therefore rarely involved in the development of their children. This leads to such children engaging in criminal activities because they lack proper parental guidance.
Children from alcoholic families are likely to get into the drinking habit very early in life and although most of them may get out of the habit in life, alcoholic families have been known to raise children who also turn alcoholic. Cigarette smoking is a major cause of air pollution in society today. Cigarette smokers exhale smoke into the air to give what is commonly referred to as second hand smoke. When released into the air, this kind of smoke is breathed in by everyone else within that environment. Since cigarette smokers have no specific place where they do it, the a pungent smell is to be found on practically everything they get into contact with for example clothes, car, furniture etc. Second hand smoke contains toxic chemicals that are a health hazard to whoever inhales the smoke meaning that smokers risk their lives and the lives of those who are in close contact with them. Children are most affected as their breathing rate is very fast compared to that of adults and they will therefore taken in most of the smoke. This exposes them to common ailments such as respiratory tract infections, ear infections and lung cancers. Some cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome have been traced back to second hand smoke (Schuckit Marc Alan).
At community level, alcoholism and addiction to cigarette smoking have been known to have far reaching effects. Most social places frequented alcoholics and smokers are characterised by high levels of noise. In an instance where such a place will be close to or within a residential area, a lot of noise disturbance emanates from such places and the rest of the community has to live under unpleasant conditions. Alcoholism is a very common phenomenon among low- income groups, those who have no permanent jobs, single men and also people who have a history of an unstable family background. Because of financial constraints, cheap brews are used within such groups and these have been known to lead to very high mortality resulting from accidental contamination during brewing or even carelessness. There is also a likelihood that addiction begins early in adolescence within such communities and the rate of development is thus affected as young people are unproductive. An addict will do anything to get the product that they are addicted to.
This has resulted in criminal activities as young people try to raise some income to service their habits. Alcoholism also leads to high rates of school drop outs mainly due to lack of school fees. A society that is not educated will experience very slow growth as there’s a limited number of people to manage the affairs of such a society. Alcoholism has been linked to such problems as absenteeism from work leading to low production. Nicotine and cyanide are highly toxic chemicals that are found in cigarettes and they gradually get into the body system leading to very serious health problems. A sick person has no economic value to the community and only as they cannot be involved in active development within the community. Most of what they earn if not spent on cigarettes will normally go towards settling medical bills. Such money could have been used on projects that will benefit the person and the community as a whole (Ammerman Robert T, Ott Peggy J. ,Ralph).
If most people were aware that what begins as fun will finally lead to addiction, then many people would probably never engage in a habit in the first place. Fun in the long run becomes a source of misery for most people. Addiction is destructive and if not controlled can lead to adverse effects in society. As a result of the looming dangers associated with addiction, several community based programs have been set up in many communities to help those who have already fallen victim get back into normal life and also to educate society on the dangers of such habits. A good example is Alcoholic Anonymous, a group that helps addicts who are willing to get out of the habit on the recovery process. A community that is sick can neither help itself nor help others. The addiction illness must therefore be checked in order to maintain sanity in society (Ammerman Robert T, Ott Peggy J. , Ralph).
2005 Dangers of Cigarette Smoking(2008) Smoking&id=67255 ezinearticles.com/?
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Connolly Sean, Alcohol
Black Rabbit Books Published 2006
Ammerman Robert T, Ott Peggy J. , Ralph
Prevention and societal impact of drug and alcohol
- Tarter 1999
Schuckit Marc Alan
Drug and Alcohol Abuse: A Clinical Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment By Marc Alan Schuckit Published 2006
Elders M. Joycelyn
Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People:A report of the surgeon general
Wagner Eric F.
Nicotine Addiction Among Adolescents Published 2000