Drug misuse

Drug misuse

Drug abuse is the misuse of recreational or therapeutic drugs that may lead to addiction or dependence, serious physiological injury (such as damage to kidneys, liver, heart), psychological harm (abnormal behaviour patterns, hallucinations, memory loss), or death. 

This module is under construction. If you have relevant content you are willing to share, we would appreciate your contribution. Contact admin@pharmacologyeducation.org, or complete the webform on the Contribute to the Project page.

Marijuana

Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The plant contains the mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other related compounds. Extracts with high amounts of THC can also be made from the cannabis plant.

Cocaine misuse

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. Although health care providers can use it for valid medical purposes, such as local anesthesia for some surgeries, cocaine is an illegal drug.

Opioid misuse

Opioid drugs (e.g. morphine) are derived from a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. 

Opioid use in chronic pain treatment is complex and although it does provide benefit, it is also assocaited with a level of harm for the patient. Prescription opioids present a high degree of abuse liability. Substantial increases in prescription rates and consequent increases in morbidity and mortality are indicative of problematic opioid (mis)use, that can lead to abuse and addiction. In the US, overdose deaths due to prescription opioid pain relievers have more than tripled in the past 20 years (PMID: 24264508). There is growing evidence to suggest a relationship between increased non-medical use of opioid analgesics and heroin (diamorphine) abuse.

The abuse of and addiction to opioids such as heroin, morphine, and prescription pain relievers is a serious global problem that affects the health, social, and economic welfare of all societies, and the consequences of this abuse (e.g. unintentional overdose deaths) are on the rise.

Having partly contributed to the problem (using aggressive marketing strategies for example), the pharmaceutical industry is now working very hard to develop new opioid drug formulations with abuse-deterrent properties, which maintain the maximum relief from suffering whilst minimizing the associated risks and adverse effects. For example, OxyContin is an oxycodone tablet that is coated with a plastic polymer designed to prevent chewing, cutting, or crushing of the tablet, and both Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) and Embeda (morphine and naltrexone) are examples of extended-release opioid agonist-antagonist combinations, in which the antagonist agent is sequestered if the medication is taken as directed, but is released if it is tampered with (e.g, chewed, crushed, or dissolved).

A 2014 report presented by Nora D. Volkow, M.D. to the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. This report contains data on the levels of opioid misuse (mainly US derived), and describes the impact of this misuse on health and society.

No votes yet

Opioid drugs (e.g. morphine) are derived from a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. 

Opioid use in chronic pain treatment is complex and although it does provide benefit, it is also assocaited with a level of harm for the patient. Prescription opioids present a high degree of abuse liability. Substantial increases in prescription rates and consequent increases in morbidity and mortality are indicative of problematic opioid (mis)use, that can lead to abuse and addiction. In the US, overdose deaths due to prescription opioid pain relievers have more than tripled in the past 20 years (PMID: 24264508). There is growing evidence to suggest a relationship between increased non-medical use of opioid analgesics and heroin (diamorphine) abuse.

The abuse of and addiction to opioids such as heroin, morphine, and prescription pain relievers is a serious global problem that affects the health, social, and economic welfare of all societies, and the consequences of this abuse (e.g. unintentional overdose deaths) are on the rise.

Having partly contributed to the problem (using aggressive marketing strategies for example), the pharmaceutical industry is now working very hard to develop new opioid drug formulations with abuse-deterrent properties, which maintain the maximum relief from suffering whilst minimizing the associated risks and adverse effects. For example, OxyContin is an oxycodone tablet that is coated with a plastic polymer designed to prevent chewing, cutting, or crushing of the tablet, and both Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) and Embeda (morphine and naltrexone) are examples of extended-release opioid agonist-antagonist combinations, in which the antagonist agent is sequestered if the medication is taken as directed, but is released if it is tampered with (e.g, chewed, crushed, or dissolved).

A 2017 report to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations presented by Wilson M. Compton, M.D., Deputy Director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This report provides an overview of what is known about the role of fentanyl in the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic and how scientific research can help us address this crisis.

No votes yet

Hallucinogen misuse

Hallucinogens are a diverse group of drugs that alter perception (awareness of surrounding objects and conditions), thoughts, and feelings. They cause hallucinations, or sensations and images that seem real though they are not. Hallucinogens can be found in some plants and mushrooms (or their extracts) or can be human-made. Common hallucinogens include LSD, mescaline and psilocybin.

Alcohol misuse

Alcohol, or more precisely ethyl alcohol (ethanol), is an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor. Alcohol is produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches. It is a central nervous system depressant that is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. 

Tobacco and nicotine misuse

Tobacco use is a leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death worldwide.