Health Education 44, Chapter 7 1. People use drugs to alter their consciousness. Dugs work because they physically resemble the chemicals produced naturally within the body. Most bodily processes result from chemical reactions or from changes in electrical charge. Drugs affect our physical functions by mimicking these natural chemicals in our body. 2. Synergism, also known as potentiation, is an interaction of two or more drugs in which the effects of the individual drugs are multiplied beyond what normally would be expected if they were taken alone. Synergism can be expressed mathematically as 2 + 2 = 10. Antagonism, although usually less serious than synergism, can also produce unwanted and unpleasant effects. In an antagonistic reaction, drugs work at the same receptor site so that one blocks the action of the other. The blocking drug occupies the receptor site and prevents the other substance from attaching, thus altering its absorption and action.
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