Sometime around the just concluded Christmas holidays, I was at a house party and the experience made me wonder about the use of social drugs- what social drug one would use if they were all laid out on a table. I also wondered if we actually know the various types of social drugs and their various effects (both positive and negative). So here is my attempt to educate the youth and give them a guide as to which "poison" to choose (if they must).
Firstly for the still very innocent ones, social drugs (or recreational drugs) are drugs taken with the primary intention of altering the state of mind of one's consciousness and triggering an emotional response- This is what is known as a "high".
Recreational drugs have gained global popularity and are used by those with a predisposition of boredom, curiosity, low self-esteem, desire for risk, for meditation, desire to escape from or cope with difficulties, to relax, to increase energy, and to improve focus, concentration, or creativity. For this post, i'll focus on and explain the the recreational drugs popularly used in Nigeria, which are Marijuana, Codeine, Alcohol, Rohypnol and the slowly popular Cocaine.
DISCLAIMER: This article is in no way intended to encourage the use of drugs
So lets start..
Marijuana: Also know as weed, it is by far the most used and controversial drug. Marijuana is basically a plant that if smoked or eaten is able to alter the state of the brain, which then alters every other part of one's being. What Marijuana does is it over activates parts of the brain, stimulates thinking and exaggerates experiences. The brain become so active that one can hardly focus on one train of thought before getting distracted by another- This is why marijuana is believe to have a direct link with improving one's creativity. Because it enhances experiences, among other things, one is also able to see colors brighter and pick sounds better.
Other effects include impaired body movement and impaired memory and hunger. The drug has been linked with various culturally relevant individuals such as Bob Marley, Fela, and even William Shakespeare. Study show that Shakespeare may have written his best pieces of poetry under the influence of Marijuana. The drug is also used by various musicians for creativity
In terms of health effect, Marijuana has the least possibility of being addicted to and has not been directly linked with terminal illnesses such as lung cancer. In fact, Marijuana's health benefits outweigh its hazards. It is recommended by doctors to patients undergoing chemotherapy, struggling with depression, seizures and anorexia. The world is slowly embracing this drug and has been made legal in various states of the U.S.
Codeine: This drug is a derivative of Morphine which suppresses pain. It binds to the receptors of the brain responsible for transmitting pain. What this means in essence is you are able to party hard even after hurting yourself. It numbs parts of the body such as the lips, skin and face , makes one very slow and drowsy. It has little or no creative benefits compared to marijuana and can become very addictive. Nowadays it is mixed with sodas such as Sprite to create a concoction widely known as "lean"or "syrup" or "purple drank". Long term use of this drug can result in seizures, chest pains and even death. U.S rapper Pimp C, died in 2007 and in March 2013, Lil Wayne was hospitalized with seizures after a reaction to the drug .
Alcohol: This is the most popular and socially accepted drug of them all. In fact its so popular that i bet you know the characteristics and its effects on the body so i wont cover this drug extensively. It causes impaired, speech, coordination, body control, thoughts, and just about everything that makes you, you. It is VERY addictive and continued use of it increases the chances of cancer, and organ failure (liver, kidney)....its crazy how this drug, being one of the most dangerous, is not illegal or at least controlled
Cocaine: If there is any drug that makes you feel invincible and on top of the world its Cocaine, a.k.a Crack. This is a stimulant drug that when snorted or smoked delivers a great surge of energy to your nervous system, making you more alert and restless. Think of the effects of cocaine as a 5 year old having a sugar rush.. Unlike a sugar rush, cocaine comes with very deadly physical effects such as high blood pressure, increased heart rate, blood vessel constriction and increased body temperature, which can lead to abdominal pain, and sudden stroke or heart attack, .
If smoked, the high lasts for 5-10 minutes while if snorted, lasts for about 15 to 30 minutes. With repeated use, cocaine can cause long-term changes in the brain's system, which may lead to addiction. With repeated use, tolerance to cocaine also often develops and forces users to increase their dose in an attempt to intensify and prolong their high- This makes cocaine one of the most (if not the most) addictive drugs out there today.
Because of its reputation and popularity, especially with celebrities, it has adopted various street names such as coco, coke, white charlie, etc. It has clamed the lives of various popular celebrities, one of the most devastating being Whitney Houston.
Trust me guys, "crack is wack", and if combined with other drugs such as heroin (called "speedball") increases your chances of an overdose, and eventually, death.
Rohypnol: Also known as 'roche' and 'roofies', this is an odorless and tasteless pill which was originally created as a sedative for people suffering from insomnia and probably about to undergo surgery. Its abuse by users has made it infamously called the "date-rape" drug. This has to do with the fact that between 20-30 mins after consuming the drug, the patient (or victim) becomes virtually paralyzed- able to observe, but unable to act. The person also experiences loss of muscle control, confusion, drowsiness and amnesia. .
It is very popular among kidnappers and rapists who slip the tablet into their victims drink which dissolves unsuspectingly because all traces of the drug in the victim's system passes out in 24hrs, which makes legal prosecution very difficult
Why is this a social drug?...because regardless of its infamous reputation, if consumed in the right amount, is able to provide a high which includes slowness and muscle relaxation. Because it is a pill,m it can be crushed to be snorted, mixed with marijuana or alcohol. When its use is mixed with these other drugs, it can slow breathing and heart rate to dangerously low levels, which can result in coma or death.
Now i believe you are better educated on the use and effects of recreational drugs. Knowing all these facts, which poison will you pick?