Drugs Affect College Students Essay
While advancing to college, countless students begin to possess habits that have a negative effect on his or her health, emotions, and relationships with others. These habits include drugs, lack of sleep, unhealthy eating routines, and numerous others. College can be a very stressful environment for students, causing them to obtain new habits that are very harmful. Students feel as though these habits will help with the stress in their lives, but unfortunately it only makes them sick and harms their emotions and relationships. One major habit that students experiment with is drugs.
There are many drugs or harmful substances that only harm college students. These harmful substances include alcohol, ecstasy, meth, and caffeine. Students use these drugs to obtain a “high” but are unaware of the fact that many times students become addicted. A substance that once gave a student energy, may turn into a substance that drastically changes their life. Alcohol is a major drug abused among college students. This drug has been traced back as early as 3,500 B. C. Experts believe it was first introduced in Egypt in the form of wine.
Alcohol has been the main item at social gatherings, religious ceremonies, and for personal use. The students tend to use alcohol to have a good time and to relieve some stress. Although alcohol is used to have a fun time, it is a depressant. It is common that users are unaware of the dangerous side effects of this drug, both short term and long term. The most immediate effect of this drug is mood change. Individuals have different reactions to the drug. These reactions include becoming quiet, loud, funny, or even angry. When an individual is under the influence of alcohol they reduce his or her sensitivity to pain.
This effect becomes very dangerous because individuals may become unaware to an injury. The use of alcohol also affects the vision of the user. It is common for individuals to believe they are sober enough to drive or believe they are able to drive under the influence. Studies have shown that one third of all fatalities in New York State involved drivers or pedestrians who were under the influence. Many individuals do not take into consideration that driving under the influence may result in fines, revocation of the license for a year, and even jail time.
If alcohol is used regularly over a larger span of time, individuals may cause their body great harm. Alcohol abuse is linked to medical conditions such as organ failure and even cancer. College students begin to drink alcohol very irresponsibly among friends. Alcohol is a common drug among college students and has a negative effect on studying, along with school grades. Seventeen Magazine explains to individuals that alcohol alters their ability to think and causes them to see the world through “beer goggles. With “beer goggles” on, students don’t always make the best choices. It is common that an individual under the influence of alcohol takes part in activities he or she normally would not. These activities could include drugs, unprotected sex, and being distracted from school. Individuals often do not remember the activities they were included in under the influence of alcohol. Through research and studies, it is believed that 60 percent of young women with sexually transmitted diseases acquired them while having sex under the influence of alcohol (Fine 32).
Alcohol causes students to become careless with school and sluggish with school work. It is apparent that alcohol is harmful to an individual’s health and life. Ecstasy, another common drug used by young adults, has some positive effects, along with many negative. Ecstasy, also known as X, MDMA, XTC, Eve, Adam, and the love drug, is part of the Entactogens drug class (Kuhn, Swartzwelder, and Wilson 80). The word entactogens also mean “to touch within” (Holland 22). Ecstasy was first introduced in 1912 by two German Chemists.
It was later made popular in 1978 by Sasha Shulgin and Dave Nichols. The group of psychotherapists believed the drug would be useful in psychotherapy. They thought it would be a useful drug to aide individuals in opening up to counselors and being able to find a state of mutual understanding. Although the drug was meant for psychotherapy use, it found its way into the drug scene (Kuhn, Swartzwelder, and Wilson 81). Ecstasy comes in a tablet form and is usually swallowed or crushed up and snorted. This drug is commonly found at rave parties and other dance parties.
It is used to enhance the mood among the party members. Ecstasy is extremely popular among young adults due to the effect it has on an individual. Ecstasy is known as the love drug because of the warm feeling it provides the user with. Kuhn, Swartzwelder, and Wilson note that it causes the user to have “good feelings for all those around them” (80). It also provides the user with an extreme feeling of empathy. Encarta Dictionary defines empathy as the ability to identify with and understand another person’s feelings or difficulties.
A first time user described the effect of the pill, ecstasy: What happens is, the drug takes away all your neuroses. It takes away you fear response. You feel open, clear, loving. I can’t imagine anyone being angry under its influence, or feeling selfish, or mean, or even defensive. You have a lot of insights into yourself, real insights that stay with you after the experience is over. It doesn’t give you anything that isn’t already there. It’s not a trip. You don’t lose touch with the world. You could pick up the phone, call your mother, and she’d never know. (83)
It is true the drug gives individuals a warm feeling towards others, but it also has negative effects that may harm the user. The short term effects that are associated with ecstasy is involuntary teeth clenching, transfixion on sounds and sights, nausea, chills, and even blurred vision. Ecstasy may also cause an increase in heart rate, which may result in seizures. The drug gives users an increase in energy. This allows users to dance for extended periods of time. This effect is extremely dangerous due to the fact that users are usually in crowded, hot places.
The user is unaware of the fact that he or she is becoming dehydrated and may have to be hospitalized. Studies have shown that ecstasy begins to interfere with memory after several uses. This is a dangerous drug for college students since it is easy to find and has negative effects on the body. Next is the drug Methamphetamine, most commonly referred to as meth, also called crank or speed; is a drug which is quickly gaining popularity across the nation. Described as the being the possible crack of our generation; its even been the center of the award winning television show “Breaking Bad”.
The history of methamphetamine is a short one, as it is one of the drugs which has been manufactured by pharmaceuticals. Meth’s history starts in 1919 when it was synthesized in Japan as a recreational drug; that is until its side effects were found out. The drug saw widespread use in World War II with its greatest villain, Hitler, being a meth addict. Japan stockpiled the drug and gave it to kamikaze pilots so they could fly longer and be more alert. In the United States the Mexican drug cartels and the hells angels brought it into mainstream where it remains to this day.
One of the biggest draws to using methamphetamines is the hyper focus many people get while using it; this heightened sense of alertness is a huge draw for college students struggling under a heavy school load. Meth can be taken a number of ways including smoking, intravenously and orally through pills. Surprisingly meth pills can actually be prescribed by a doctor; although the prescribed doses are smaller than what the typical drug user digests. Meth causes a release in dopamine’s and block the reuptake of it; making the drug extremely physically addicting.
Many college students try the drug and enjoy a quick jump in their grades; as their attention focuses and they sleep less and accomplish a lot more work. However the addiction can quickly take hold in the midst of their studies, and the use of the drug switches from a study drug to a way to get high. The drug changes the brain at a molecular level, with changes persisting for up to a year after the user quits. Although very similar to cocaine to the other stimulants, such as cocaine or amphetamines, the side effects are worse and the addiction more gripping.
Long term use can cause weight loss, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, violent behavior and more. Another more obvious effect is the physical transformation which heavy users undergo; with dental problems and gaunt faces, ads of people before and after meth have been pasted all over the internet and television. These ads are one of the reasons why usage has actually been decreasing over the years; however in many poor areas students still get hooked on the drug attempting to help up out their school work. As one of the manufactured drugs meth is made with chemistry equipment and household items.
Which brings college students to another issue, the drug is extremely cheap to make, and for a person studying chemistry a seemingly simple one to make. The most difficult ingredient for meth is the common cold drug ephedrine, which has been picked out by the government and made difficult to acquire in mass. However being a effective and popular cold drug named Sudafed the government can’t completely ban it. While searching for the many recipes to make meth, chemicals that commonly show up are sodium hydroxide, also name lye which can be used to dissolve bodies. Ammonia, red phosphorous which are used in match heads, ether another xtremely flammable liquid, Drano, butane, hydrochloric acid, and lithium which probably taken from old batteries rather than a dealer authorized to sell lithium. All of these chemicals could be bought in a trip to Wal-Mart or a local hardware store. Flammable chemicals combined with people using cheap and dirty equipment the odds of disaster increase by a large margin. More alarming are the new methods of making meth are easier and safer, with one using only a few of the above ingredients and a couple of two liter soda bottles. All of these factors make meth a simple drug for college students to acquire.
While many will enjoy the quick boost in grades and attention span, the horrible addiction and dangerous ingredients make it an extremely hard drug to quit. Another common harmful substance among college students is caffeine. Caffeine is the most widely consumed substance that has a significant effect on the mind by individuals. Caffeine is a “potent and quick-acting drug which produces an effect similar to the stress response in our bodies” (pe2000). It was made popular in the 17th century throughout Europe. It was seen as a fashionable, delightful drink and individuals began to produce cravings for the substance (Burchfield).
Caffeine is a chemical that is produced naturally in over one hundred plants. It is found in many different beans that are usually crushed up into powder, which is used for numerous different drinks. Caffeine is usually taken in as a drink. It is found in coffee, soft drinks, teas, energy drinks, and several other beverages. Caffeine is extremely popular among college students due to the effects it has among the body. Individuals tend to use caffeine to aide in staying up late to finish homework assignments or studying for tests.
College students tend to become dependent upon the substance even as it starts to harm them over time. This substance is found in many different everyday food products and effects individuals differently. Depending upon a person’s sex, weight, and build, caffeine will affect him or her differently than others. This substance has an almost instant effect upon the user’s mind and body. It continues to affect the user for six to eight hours after the initial intake. Caffeine stimulates the heart and nervous system. It causes the users blood pressure to rise and quickens blood circulation throughout the body.
Caffeine tends to upset an individual’s stomach due to the fact that it causes the stomach to produce more acid. This causes an individual’s lining in their stomach to become irritated. Short term effects can be accompanied by long term after excessive use. Although caffeine stimulates the brain, too much caffeine may cause the “jitters. ” Individuals who are addicted to caffeine may suffer from headaches, irritability, or agitation (pe2000). Caffeine addiction is very difficult to break. It is best for an individual who is addicted to caffeine to ease off the substance slowly over a period of one to two weeks.
It is beneficial to attempt to cut off the greatest source of caffeine to start with, usually coffee. Easing off the use of caffeine reduces the user’s chance of a dramatic drop in blood pressure. Caffeine withdrawals have many side effects of their own. The side effects can begin in as little time as six to eighteen hours after the sudden stop of caffeine intake. Withdrawal effects include drowsiness, irritability, restlessness, and reduced concentration. The user may also suffer from headaches or muscle cramps. It becomes a dangerous substance to be addicted to and is a very difficult addiction to break.
Many college students become addicted to this harmful substance and are unaware of the harm they are causing their bodies. Alcohol, ecstasy, meth, and caffeine are all harmful substances that are found among college students. They are substances that at first give students energy to accomplish the tasks at hand. They eventually cause great damage and cause harm to a student’s life. They affect a student’s dedication to school, friends, and family. Harmful substances are difficult to avoid, but a student should set it as a goal to avoid such substances.