With this project, we have tried to find out more about drugs, their side-effects and abuse among youths. We have chosen this specific topic because it is very
interesting, and since we read about the different problems caused by drugs among youths in America, we found it suitable to write about drugs. And we hope
you find this project interesting reading, as we found it interesting to write.
Heroin, abuse and addiction
"I hope information about heroin will inform people about the harmful effects of heroin."
Alan I. Leshner, Ph.D.
National Institute on Drug Abuse
It has never been more important to update people about the facts of Heroin, now, when the heroin abuse and addiction is on the rise. The USA’s youth
has increased their use of Heroin, mostly because of the glamorisation of heroin in music and fashion. And the fact that heroins increased purity and decreased
prices makes it even more imperative that people get more scientific information on this topic. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) have been doing
research on heroin abuse and addiction. NIDA has publicated these research reports on an Internet location
Research shows that Heroin is highly addictive, and it has other side-effects like violence, tuberculosis, fatal effects, crime, and disruption in the family, the
workplace and educational environments. Beside from these side-effects ,for the user, the abuse of heroin cost the government in the USA billions of dollars
All hope is not gone for individuals who are addicted to Heroin. Today’s research has provided positive results with effective ways of treatment.
Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive drug. Heroin is made of morphine, it is typically sold as a brownish or white powder or as a black sticky substance
known as "black tar heroin" on the street. In the rescent years, purer heroin has become more usual, but still most heroin sold on the street is blended with
sugar, starch, powdered milk or quinine.
Heroin has also been known to be "cut" with strychnine or other poisons. Because heroin users never know its effect or strength, they are at risk of
overdose or death. Heroin abuser also put them self in mortal danger when they share needles, this increases the risk of getting infected of HIV or other
In 1996, according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, it was estimated that about 2,4 million people in USA used Heroin at some time in
their lives. The results also show that nearly 216,000 of them also had used Heroin within the month preceding the survey.
The survey also reports that there were 141,000 new Heroin users in 1995, and that there has been an increasing trend in new heroin use since 1992. Many of
these new users had been smoking, snorting or sniffing heroin, and most were under the age of 26. Among youths from 12 to 17 it had been an increase in first
time use from the 1980´s to 1995.
The 1996 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), which collects data on drug related hospital emergency department (ED) episodes from 21 metropolitan
areas, estimates that 14 percent of all drug related episodes involved Heroin. From 1988 to 1994, heroin related episodes increased by 64% (from 39,063 to
How is heroin used?
Heroin can be sniffed/snorted, injected or smoked. A typical heroin abuser may inject himself about four times a day.
Cocaine is one of the most powerfully addictive drugs of abuse. When you have tried Cocaine just once, it is impossible to predict if you will continue using
In USA Cocaine has gone down on the list of trend-drugs among high school seniors. The number of Seniors who had tried Cocaine at least once in their
lifetime dropped from 17,3% in 1985 to 7,1% in 1996.
In 1996, 6,5% of 10th-graders had tried Cocaine at least once. This was 1,5% more than 10th graders that had tried it in 1995. Among the 8th graders who’d
ever tried cocaine the percentage rose from 2,3% in 1991 to 4,5% in 1996.
The use of crack - cocaine increased among the 8th to 12th graders between 1992 and 1996. Over 3 percent had used this drug.
Methods of Use
The use of cocaine can range from episodic of occasional use to repeated or compulsive use, often with different patterns. Some of the most known methods
of using cocaine are sniffing or snorting (when people inhales the powder through the nostrils), injecting and smoking. If people are snorting the cocaine is
absorbed into the bloodstream trough the nasal tissues. With injection the drug is released directly into the bloodstream by using a needle. And when smoking,
the cocaine-smoke is being inhaled into the lungs where the cocaine is absorbed into the bloodstream as rapid as injection. No matter what way you use
cocaine, it is the same great risk. If people smoke cocaine, the chance of an even more rapid use is higher than the other methods. Through smoking very
large doses of cocaine reaches the brain quickly and brings an intense and immediate high. While using the injecting drugs, the users are at risk of catching
HIV infections if the equipment is shared.
The synthetic drug ecstasy has been more popular among college students and young adults in recent years. In America, 8th ,10th and 12th graders use
ecstasy much. NIDA`s study of ecstasy abuse among 8th, 10th and 12th graders show that Nearly 5% of 10th and 12th graders had used ecstasy within the
past year (1996), and about 2% of 8th grades had used it within the last year.
Ecstasy causes heavy brain damage. Before ecstasy became illegal, it was used by some psychiatrists and therapists to help them with psychotherapy.
Ecstasy has side-effects very similar i.e. Cocaine.
· Psychological difficulties are including confusion, depression, sleep problems, severe anxiety, and paranoia-during and sometimes weeks after taking ecstasy.
(Even psychotic episodes have been reported)
· Physical symptoms are such as muscle tension, nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movements, faintness and chills or sweating.
· Increase heart rate and blood pressure, a special risk for people with heart problems/diseases
Many businesses takes advantage of the water need for ecstasy users with forcing people to pay up to $5 for a glass of water.
Ecstasy is mostly used for getting the "extreme" feeling when being to a rave or dance party. With ecstasy in your body you can dance and dance without
sweating. That’s were a great danger is being represented, people can get overheated and collapse and they might even die.
Ecstasy is being produced by underground chemists. In order to go around the law these chemists change the chemical composition of illegal drugs slightly to
make them technically legal. These new "designer drugs" are very often more dangerous than the illegal drug they’ve changed. If you get caught making these
"designer drugs" in USA, you can risk to get up to 15-year prison and a$250,000 fine.
The Future of Drug Abuse
For more than 20 years there have been a study of the extent among young drug - abusers. Over 50 percent of the pupils among the graduation classes have
used drugs before reaching the senior year of high-school. And about 30 percent of the seniors had used drugs.
The use of marijuana has increased quite a bit the last seven or eight years. This increase is biggest among the young people in America, specially among the
8th to 12th graders. After years of research the risk of using drugs has become much clearer, and some of the most damaging drugs are cocaine, heroin and
marijuana. Skills like attention, memory, learning and complex motor skills (those we use to drive a car), can be affected by the use of marijuana. Just like the
cigarette smoking, the smoking of marijuana causes respiration problems, and different studies on animals show that the marijuana use affect the brain and
immune - system. After a monitoring of the daily use of marijuana among 8th - 10th graders in 1996 it shows that the use of marijuana are increasing rapidly.
Each year since 1992 the use of LSD also increased. And in 1996 over 12 percent of the seniors had at least once used LSD in their life. The use of LSD has
doubled among the 8th and 10th graders since 1991, from 1,7 percent to over 3,5 percent
When we first started writing on this project about drugs in USA, we found out that this became a very interesting topic to write about. At first we where afraid
that we could not find enough material for this project, but after searching the Internet, we found an enormous amount of information about drugs and its abuse
among teenagers. We also thought about interviewing a pupil in our class, but as we began writing, we found out that it was not necessary to include this
interview in this project. Both of us are very pleased with the finished work, and we hope that you also enjoyed this project as much as we did.