A drug can be defined as a substance that causes a striking change in physiology, psychology, or health. They are distinguished from foods and nutritional supplements, which can often generate the same effects. The use of drugs can involve ingestion, inhalation, smoking, injection, dissolution under the tongue, or absorption from a skin patch or topical treatment.
When you hear the term “drug,” you might have many reactions because drugs can be a blessing, a curse, or an addiction that you embrace. Drugs include medically approved compounds that are proven effective in treating health disorders, physical injuries, and chronic conditions. Drugs also include legal painkillers that can be used legally and illegally.
How Drug Attitudes Evolve Over Time
Street drugs, although illegal, are labeled as such because of social, political, scientific, and moral attitudes, but these can change over time. A great example is a cocaine, which was accepted as a legal, medicinal drug in the past. According to https://riveroakstreatment.com/cocaine-treatment/illegal-history-in-america/, scientists of the early 1800s extracted pure cocaine from the coca leaf, which was more than ten times more powerful than chewing coca leaves. The numbing properties of the crystalline powder were first used in eye surgery by an Austrian ophthalmologist, and cocaine became a popular medicine, food additive, and recreational drug until it was made illegal in the United States by the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914.
Marijuana has a similar history, according to Wikipedia. Cannabis was chewed and smoked for centuries until it was fully outlawed in 1970 by the Controlled Substances Act. That was probably stimulated by the 1960s radical protests and drug culture. Many states have recently embraced the “drug” marijuana as an effective medical treatment and harmless recreational substance that’s no worse than alcohol. Although many states have legalized and decriminalized marijuana use, smoking, selling, and growing the plant remains a crime under federal law.
The Positive Effects of Drugs
Some people take drugs to reduce anxiety, overcome shyness, and engage more normally with others. In that context, drug use is beneficial, and it doesn’t matter if the drug is legal steroids or illegal anabolics. There are plenty of legally prescribed drugs that do the same thing, and they run just as high a risk of becoming addicted.
Drugs are classified by scientists and medical professionals in distinct groups. These usually consist of drugs with similar chemical structures, actions in the body, and treatment targets. The most common drug classification system is The Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System.
The Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, classifies drugs, substances, and some chemicals into five categories, based on valid medical use and the drug’s ability to trigger dependency and abuse. The categories are:
• Schedule I – These are the typical “street” drugs that have no approved medical use and a high potential for addiction. Examples of Schedule I drugs include LSD, heroin, ecstasy, peyote, and methaqualone.
• Schedule II – These drugs are those that have some medical uses, but they have a high rate of addiction. These include cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, opioids Dexedrine, Adderall, and others.
• Schedule III – These drugs have many medical uses and a low-to-moderate potential to become habit-forming. These include
• Schedule IV – These drugs have a low potential for dependence and abuse, but that can change. Examples of Schedule IV drugs include Soma, Darvocet, Ativan, Xanax, Ambien, and others. Tramadol, an over-the-counter medicine with an addition of a low-dose opioid, was also in this category until the government changed its policy and made it a controlled substance.
• Schedule IV – These drugs are those that the government feels to have a low potential for abuse. These include cough syrups like Robitussin AC, Lyrica, Parepectolin, Motofen, and Lomotil.
Pharmaceutical drugs are considered beneficial to patients and society in general, but many people hate the use of pharmaceutical drugs and prefer using only natural products and holistic healing techniques. Some reject modern medicine because of religious beliefs.
As scientists become more sophisticated, more and more companies and individual scientists are developing smart drugs to improve human intelligence. Nootropics help to improve memory, focus, mood, and learning abilities. Ritalin was developed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, but the drug was taken by students to improve concentration and stimulate wakefulness for all-night studying or studying while working a job.
Designer drugs can be highly addictive and cause anxiety, heart issues, and psychosis. However, used in moderation, the drug like SARMs can make the difference between passing or failing a critical course.
Religious Use of Drugs
Religions have long used drugs in rituals, ceremonies, and traditions for spiritual purposes. Religions believe that certain drugs can trigger visions and connections to a higher power. Other religions prohibit all drug and alcohol use for a similar reason – the officials and elders feel that the drugs cloud the mind and prevent establishing a real connection.
Some of the religions that have used drugs include The Native American Church, Rastafarianism, Hinduism, and Bwiti. Hinduism is one of the world’s oldest and most venerated religions, and it doesn’t approve of illegal drug use. However, cannabis and an intoxicating drink called Soma have been used in the past to help Hindus recall past lives.
Rastafarianism is a religion where adherents believe that Haile Selassie is a Messianic deity who will return and lead black people to an Ethiopian paradise. Members eat vegetarian foods and avoid alcohol, but they use marijuana ritualistically to increase their spiritual awareness.
Many native American tribes use peyote and tribal sweat lodges to trigger visions. The Native American Church was founded in 1918, and it regularly uses peyote in certain important religious ceremonies.
Changing Attitudes Define Drug Perception
Apparently, there is no consensus on drugs. They can be good or bad, based on whether they’re used in moderation, used medicinally, or used for recreation. Attitudes change based on the current culture, and people’s opinions and political actions are taken in response to popular opinion.
Even the safest medical drugs are not universally admired, and some appreciate the most dangerous drugs. It’s important to remember that people need an outlet for pleasure and recreation, and many recreational drugs are approved for personal use around the world. Cannabis ranks as the most popular recreational drug in the world, and it is widely accepted culturally.