Drugs and Crime Midterm

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1.) Many drugs have been used for medical purposes at one time or another. Pick two drugs that have been utilized in this capacity and explain the medical rationale behind their use. Conclude your answer with a description of why each drug was later banned from medical usage. - Besides being an extremely addictive and dangerous narcotic, cocaine has some medicinal use. Cocaine has been used as a local anesthetic for eye and nasal surgery. Besides being an anesthetic, it also is a potent vasoconstrictor (constricts the blood vessels around the area where injected [eye or nose]). The vasoconstriction helps reduce bleeding and the systemic circulation of cocaine (into the heart, specifically). More recently, the use of cocaine as an anesthetic for eye and nasal surgery has diminished, and has been replaced by other local anesthetics. These newer (and safer) local anesthetics have to be combined with a vasoconstrictor in order to do the same effect as cocaine. Pharmaceutical grade cocaine is available in a 4% solution for injection. Studies comparing cocaine to other local anesthetics most often reveal that newer local anesthetics are more effective in reducing pain during surgeries and safer. It is generally accepted by the medical community that the use of cocaine for medical procedures should be limited. However, the need for it to be available is still there. [ (Toor, 2007) ] Cocaine was later banned due to the complications that come with the usage. There are enormous medical complications associated with cocaine use. Some of the most frequent complications are cardiovascular effects, including disturbances in heart rhythm and heart attacks; respiratory effects such as chest pain and respiratory failure; neurological effects, including strokes, seizure, and headaches; and gastrointestinal complications, including abdominal pain and nausea. It has also been linked to many types of heart disease. Cocaine has been found to trigger chaotic heart rhythms, called ventricular fibrillation; accelerate heartbeat and breathing; and increase blood pressure and body temperature. Physical symptoms may include chest pain, nausea, blurred vision, fever, muscle spasms, convulsions and coma. [ (About.com, 2009) ] - Marijuana, or cannabis, as it is more appropriately called, has been part of humanity's medicine chest for almost as long as history has been recorded. Of all the negative consequences of marijuana prohibition, none is as tragic as the denial of medicinal cannabis to the tens of thousands of patients who could benefit from its therapeutic use. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief -- particularly of neuropathic pain (pain from nerve damage) -- nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, the AIDS wasting syndrome, or dementia. Emerging research suggests that marijuana's medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors and are neuroprotective [ (Norml, 2011) ]. The most potent argument against the use of marijuana to treat medical disorders is that marijuana may cause the acceleration or aggravation of the very disorders it is being used to treat. It seems that the potential dangers presented by the medical use of marijuana may actually contribute to the dangers of the diseases which it would be used to combat. Marijuana can damage the cells in the bronchial passages which protect the body against inhaled microorganisms and decrease the ability of the immune cells in the lungs to fight off fungi, bacteria, and tumor cells. For patients with already weakened immune systems, this means an increase in the possibility of dangerous pulmonary infections, including pneumonia, which often proves fatal in AIDS patients. Studies further suggest that marijuana is a general "immunosuppressant" whose...
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