The Effects of Drug Abuse

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 730
  • Published : March 25, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
The Effect of Drug Abuse
Jason Russ

The Effect of Drug Abuse
Many people do not understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. It can be wrongfully assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions. In fact, because drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse, quitting is difficult, even for those who are ready to do so. Through scientific advances, we know more about how drugs work in the brain than ever, and we also know that drug addiction can be successfully treated to help people stop abusing drugs and lead productive lives. Today, thanks to science, our views and responses to drug abuse has changed dramatically. “Groundbreaking discoveries about the brain have revolutionized our understanding of drug addiction, enabling us to respond effectively to the problem,” (Volkow). Addiction is a developmental disease that begins in infancy and adolescence and is influenced by a combination of factors involving genes, environment, and an individual’s age at first drug use. The genes that people are born with in combination environmental influences of their addiction defenselessness. To addition that, gender, ethnicity, and the mental disorders may influence risk for drug abuse and addiction. “Scientists estimate that genetic factors account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person’s vulnerability to addiction, including the effects of environment on gene expression and function. Adolescents and individuals with mental disorders are at greater risk of drug abuse and addiction than the general population”, (Volkow). Few weakness genes have been found for alcohol dependence and nicotine addiction. Alcoholism is a genetically inherited disease. There are several evidences proving that “Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine conducted a genome-wide association study in 2006 and identified several novel genes involved in nicotine dependence. In 2004, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found a protein, called Arc, which may be a culprit in drug addiction. The protein helps the brain retain memories for longer than an hour or two”, (Association of American Medical Colleges). “In 1994, scientists at the Oregon Health & Science University were the first to clone the mammalian gene for the D2 dopamine receptor. Dopamine is a brain neurotransmitter that is thought to be essential to the brain’s response to drugs like opiates and psycho stimulants,” (Association of American Medical Colleges). “Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers reported in 2006 that men’s brains show evidence of up to three times the amount of the brain chemical dopamine as women’s brains when exposed to amphetamines. This is the first clinical study that explains why more men than women abuse amphetamines and could lead to tailored treatments for drug abuse and neurological diseases”, (Association of American Medical Colleges). On the other hand, many people believe that “Addiction is a choice”, meaning anyone can stop or moderate their use of addictive drugs anytime they want to by just going to Meditation, Yoga, Exercise, Acupuncture and Counseling. However, drug addiction is a certain disease because one of the main reasons is called dopamine. “Addictive drugs trigger the release of the brain chemical dopamine, which in turn creates a reward circuit in the brain. This circuit registers that intense experience as "important" and creates lasting memories of it as a pleasurable experience. Dopamine changes the brain on a cellular level, commanding the brain to "do it again," which heightens the possibility of relapse even long after the behavior (or drug) has stopped. Dopamine also helps to explain why intense experiences can be just as addictive as drugs,” (Smithstein). A...
tracking img