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Running head: DRUGS OF ABUSE 1
SOWK 6103 Week 1 Assignment
Racquel Walsh
Walden University
There are seven di'erent various groups that drugs can be categorized into. The seven
di'erent categories gives researchers and social workers the opporunity to be able to
acknowledge and iden.fy how the various drugs a'ects the individual’s body as well as the how
the di'erent drugs are used. Drug researchers are given proper training so they are able to
recognize certain impairments that are related to drug use within the seven di'erent categories
(King 2017). The seven categories that have been iden.4ed are; Narco.c Analgesics, Inhalants,
Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants, Hallucinogens, CNS S.mulants, Dissocia.ve
Anesthe.cs, and Cannabis.
Narcotic Analgesics
Narcotic Drugs
Although all illicit drugs can be referred to as narco.cs, narco.cs are reserved for
certain types of drugs that in the opioid category. Fentanyl, Vicodin, Morphine, Heroin,
OxyCon.n, Methadone, Morphine, Oxycodone, Codeine, and Roxicodone are some of the drugs
that belongs to the Narco.c Analgesic category.
History of Narcocs
In early 3400 BC, Opium was referred to as the joy plant by Sumerians. The 4rst-ever
documented use of Opium for medical purposes dates back to 400 BC. During the 1800s a
German chemist was able to isolate and separate Morphine from the Opium plant. Between
the late 1800s and the early 1990s, there was a noted increase in the addic.on of Opium which
led to the 1909 Opium Exclusion Act. More recently, there has been a lot of media aCen.on on
individuals overdosing on Opiates which can be related to how easy it is for an individual to get
a prescrip.on for Opiates such as Fentanyl, OxyCodone, and Roxicodone.
Methods of Administraon
The method of administra.on is intravenously (IV) (also known as shoo.ng up),
smoking, and or snor.ng (Capuzzi & Stau'er 2016). IV use seems to the most commonly used
method of administra.on because of fast and quickly the drug can enter the bloodstream,
allowing the individual using the substance to feel the “high” almost instantly.
There are three di'erent types of Opioid receptors; delta, kappa, and mu, which are
known to assist with opening up potassium channels interring with calcium openings. Opiates
can interfere with neurotransmiCer’s endorphins as well as enkephalin in order to cause a
response that is euphoric to the individual.
Physical Impact
Using Opiates can generate a sense of bliss and euphoria for the individual using. A
sense of .redness, extreme happiness, and drowsiness are also physical impacts of using
Opiates. Cons.pa.on, confusion, nausea, slowed breathing, cons.pa.on as well and itchy skin
are other physical impacts and result of using Opiates (NIDA).
Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulant Drugs
CNS Stimulant Drugs
CNS stimulants are substances known for stimulating an individual’s nervous system.
Caffeine and tobacco products are used every day across the world by millions. Nicotine is
highly addictive stimulant that is found in tobacco products. Many consider Caffeine and
Tobacco products to be CNS stimulants. Despites it’s wide use and poten.al to be highly
addic.ve, Caffeine and tobacco products are not at all as lethal as CNS stimulant drugs such as
Crack Cocaine, Methamphetamine, and Cocaine. Prescription medications such as Ritalin,
Adderall, Concerta, and Dexedrine are other examples of CNS stimulant drugs.
History of CNS Stimulant Drugs
Between the mid to late 1800s Cocaine became very popular in the United States.
Cocaine comes from the coca leaf and was once used in one of the World’s most popular and
drank soft drinks, Coca-Cola (Ciccarone 2011). In 1914, the Harrison Act was put into place due
to rising concerns about Opiates and Cocaine. Through the Harrison Act, Opiate and Coca
products being distributed, produced, and imported into the United States were taxed and
regulated. During the 1930’s Amphetamines became very popular by prescription inhalers
(Ciccarone 2011). The popularity of Amphetamines resurfaced in the 1960s as well as during the
1990s. Prison sentences for Crack Cocaine and Cocaine for individuals caught with either drug
was included in The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 . Many believed that The Anti-Drug Act of
1986 mostly targeted Blacks/African Americans. Dating back for many years, various drug
policies have all used the moral model of addiction which can be backed and proven by the
castigatory outcomes of overcrowding jails and prisons. The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 had the
intention of putting an end to consequences considered to be inequitable, in regard to the Anti-
Drug Act of 1986. The ratio between Cocaine and Crack Cocaine was reduced from 100:1 to
18:1 in order to put an end to the consequences considered to be inequitable (Cockroft 2017).
DPA holds the position that drug laws the came become the Fair Sentencing Act was directed
toward the Black/African American and poor communities.
Method of Administration
There are multiple ways in which an individual can administer a CNS stimulant. The
most commonly used method of administration for CNS stimulant drugs intranasally (snorting),
intravenously (IV, injecting, “shooting up”), smoking, as well as by ingesting it. The intravenous
method of administration seems to be the most commonly used method due to how quickly the
drug can reach the bloodstream. Individuals who have difficulty with finding a vein to inject the
drugs into turn to less commonly used methods of administration such as using a syringe without
the sharp needle tip and injecting the drugs rectally.
Norepinephrine and Catecholamines Dopamine are affected by CNS Stimulants Drug,
with Dopamine being responsible for the reinforcement of rewarding behaving while
Norepinephrine affects an individual’s blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar breathing, and
flow of blood through the blood vessels (NIDA).
Physical Impact
Due to the mechanism of action, CNS stimulant drugs give the individual using the drug
a great sense and feeling of euphoria. The Catecholamines Dopamine are active as soon as the
individual uses the stimulant drug heart rate and blood pressure is increased and his/her breathing
is increased which gives the user a sense and feeling of wakefulness as well as a decrease in
his/her appetite (NIDA). Long-term use of CNS stimulant drugs can cause the individual using
the drug to experience extreme weight loss, paranoia, hallucination, delusions, anxiety,
confusion, loss of memory, disturbance in sleep, and dental issues (Drug Policy Alliance).
Similarities and Differences Between Narcotics Analgesics & CNS Stimulant Drugs
The main similarity between Narcotics Analgesics and CNS Stimulant Drug is the high
probability of long-term dependence and abuse of the drug being used. Narcotic Analgesics and
CNS Stimulant drugs both have effects on the reward system in an individual’s brain by
releasing Dopamine and Endorphins (NIDA). The main difference between Narcotics Analgesic
and CNS Stimulant drugs is the effects that each of the drugs will have on the individual using it.
Narcotics tend to have depressive effects on the individual using it while on the other hand, CNS
Stimulants stimulate the individual.
Treatment Approaches
Medical detox along with the use the Methadone or Suboxone is a commonly used
treatment method for Narcotic treatment. Methadone or Suboxone can be to assist with
withdrawal symptoms that the individual is likely to experience (Capuzzi & Stau'er 2016).
Unforuntely, at the present, there are no medical treatment for withdrawal from CNS stimulant
users that have been approved. Withdrawal symptoms are usually the opposite of the effects of
the drug being used. For example, individuals who use CNS stimulant drugs experience
increased sleep and an increase in appetite during withdrawal, whereas individuals actively using
CNS stimulants tend to experience a lack of sleep and a decrease in appetite. The detox phase
and withdrawal stage of the main difference between Narcotics and CNS Stimulant drugs. As a
social worker is it very vital to have a clear understanding of the addiction model as well as
various withdrawal symptoms. According to the disease model, “addiction is progressive and
incurable” (Capuzzi & Stau'er 2016). This can give the indication that being completely
abstinent from all substances is the one and only way to achieve true sobriety, which can cause
some individuals to believe that the assistance of medication does not equate to true sobriety. As
a social worker, it is also very important to have knowledge of any biases that could interfere
with the progression of a client. The Various drugs being categorized can assist social workers
with being to have a clear understanding of the similarities and differences that lies between each
drug. Drugs belonging to the same drug group will tend to have the same results as one another.
Although Narcotics and CNS Stimulant drugs operate and affect the body differently, they are
both equally highly addictive with the same potential to cause the individual to become
dependent on the drug being used. It is also very vital as a social worker, to have an
understanding and knowledge of how the drugs are administered, the drug's mechanism of
action, the physical effects of the drug, as well as the similarities and differences when rendering
services and treatment to clients. Having an understanding and knowledge of these things is also
helpful in assisting the social worker with developing an effective individual treatment plan for
the individual.
Anderson, L. A. (2019, April 1). Understanding opioid (Narcotic) pain medications.
Drugs.com. https://www.drugs.com/article/opioid-narcotics.html
Capuzzi, D., & Stauffer, M. D. (2016). Foundations of addiction counseling (3rd ed.). Pearson
Education, Inc.
Ciccarone, D. (2011). Stimulant abuse: Pharmacology, cocaine, methamphetamine, treatment,
attempts at pharmacotherapy. PubMed Central
Cockroft, A. (2017). Congress Blewett by not explicitly making the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010
Retroactive. The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 107(3), 325-360.
Drug Policy Alliance. (n.d.). Drug facts. https://www.drugpolicy.org/drug-facts
King, M. (2017, May 5). 7 categories of drugs identified by drug recognition experts.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Drugs of abuse. National Institute on Drug Abuse
(NIDA) |. https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse
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