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PE40-Study guide

PE40-Study guide - Throughout the last 10,000 years humans...

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Throughout the last 10,000 years, humans have used psychoactive drugs to alter their perception of reality for a variety of reasons. By studying the history of drug use and abuse, a number of historical themes become apparent. 1 . There is a basic need of human beings to cope with their environment and enhance their existence. 2. Human brain chemistry can be affected by psychoactive drugs, behavioral addictions, and mental illness to induce an altered state of consciousness. 3. The ruling classes, governments, and businesses have always been involved in trying to control the drug trade, often using it as a source of revenue through trade and taxes. 4. Technological advances in refining, synthesizing, and manufacturing psychoactive drugs have increased their potency and abuse liability. 5. Users and researchers have discovered new ways of taking drugs so they reach the brain faster, thus increasing their abuse liability. For example, opium was used originally for medicinal and spiritual purposes. As people found that opium had mental effects because of the way it manipulated the brain's own natural chemicals especially endorphins, the body's own painkillers, they used it to change their mental/emotional state . When people learned to smoke it, when it became a lucrative source of income for governments and trading companies, when it was refined to the stronger morphine and heroin, when the hypodermic needle was able to put it directly into the bloodstream, then legal, social, and health problems multiplied. The discovery of various psychoactive plants (opium poppy, coca bush, coffee bean, Cannabis, and tobacco plants) in the past and the subsequent synthesis of hundreds of other psychoactive substances, has led to a medicine chest full drugs, some useful and some desirable but all causing problems when abused. In the twenty-first century alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, opioids (especially prescription drugs), crystal methamphetamine, and ecstasy are the most widely used.
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