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From Warren Wade

April 16, 2014
Wetzel Chronicle

Hello from St. Mary's Correctional Center once again.

Drug Addiction: Slave to a Substance.

The trip from first use to abuse of a drug may be a long one or a very short one. Substance abuse may be defined as continuing drug use that interferes with a person's major life roles at home, in school, at work, or elsewhere and contributes to legal difficulties or any psychological problems. Some drugs create a physical or chemical dependence. Others create a psychological dependence. Physical drug dependence comes about as a result of the body's natural ability to protect itself against harmful substances by developing a drug tolerance. This means the user becomes progressively less affected by the drug and must take larger and larger doses to get the same affect or high. Tolerance occurs because the brain adapts to the presence of the drug by responding less intensely to it. In addition, the liver produces more enzymes to break down the drug. The various bodily processes adjust in order to continue to function with the drug in the system.

Once drug tolerance is established, a person cannot function normally without the drug. If the drug is taken away, the user begins to suffer withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms, both physical and psychological, are usually the exact opposite of the effects produced by the drug. For example, withdrawal from stimulants leaves a person exhausted and depressed. Withdrawal from tranquilizers leave a person nervous and agitated.

Four factors influence the addictive potential of a drug: how fast the effects of the drug is felt, how pleasurable the drug effects are in producing euphoria or extinguishing pain, how long the pleasurable effects last, and how much discomfort is experienced when the drug is discontinued. The pleasurable effects of the most addictive drugs are felt almost immediately, and they are short lived. For example, the intense, pleasurable effects of crack cocaine and felt in seven seconds, and only last about five minutes. The discomfort after the pleasurable effects wear off is intense, so a user is highly motivated to take more of the drug. The addictive potential of an addicted drug is higher if it is injected rather than taken orally, and higher still if it is smoked rather than injected.

It is quite simple to avoid withdrawal from drugs. Just say no! Chase your dreams, no drugs!


Warren Wade #31735

St. Marys Correctional Center



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