Explore BrainMass

The effects of different drugs

You are interested in finding out more about the effects of different drugs . For each of the following drugs: amphetamine, MDMA (ecstasy), and nicotine, use your available resources to research those drug and then discuss the following:

---What are the current demographics and trends for usage of the drug?
---What are the short- and long-term effects of the drug on the brain and behavior?
---What are the short- and long-term effects of the drug on physical health?
---What are the symptoms of withdrawal from the drug?
---Which of these drugs do you think presents the most serious public health issue for the United States currently? Explain your answer.

Solution Preview

I will answer this posting by addressing each drug separately.

Current demographics/trends/statistics: Please note that the most recent information that I could find from a reliable source is from 2005.
The Federal Department of Health and Human Services found these trends when they last retrieved data on amphetamine usage:
In 2004, approximately 318,000 people in the United States over the age of 12 tried amphetamines for the first time. The rate was at approximately 195,000 in 2005. Based on these numbers, you see a downward trend in the use of amphetamines. Data showed that amphetamine usage is more prevalent in large, metropolitan areas and the highest rates for amphetamine usage was found in the western part of the United States.
SOURCE: http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k7/meth/meth.cfm

In 2007, the National Institute of Drug Abuse found the following trends and statistics for amphetamine usage:
The percentage of 10th grade students across the country that reported amphetamine use declined (consistent with the decline from 2004 to 2005), however they did not give statistics.
SOURCE: http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofacts/HSYouthtrends.html

As you can see, the overall trend and demographics for amphetamine usage is that while there is an overall decline across the county, young persons, middle school and high school are the primary users of this drug.

Short-term: Increased heart rate, increase in blood pressure, decreased appetite, dizziness, blurred vision, headaches, restlessness, hallucinations, insomnia, overly happy or elated, feelings of power
Long-term: Like any other drug, it is addictive and habit forming; your brain and body can become dependent on the drug, paranoia, violent and/or aggressive behavior, insomnia, weight loss, tremors

The brain can be permanently damaged by the use of amphetamines which in turn can result in a decreased life span; there can be a lost sense of reality and even possibly permanent brain damage that can leave a person in almost a vegetative like state (this is in extreme cases).


Solution Summary

A detailed explanation of the short-term and long term effects and the physical, emotional and mental effects of various drugs. An in-depth look of trends among certain drugs and drug categories, including death rates and usage among various age groups.