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Essay/Term paper: Synthetic drugs of abuse

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Alcohol and Drugs

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Synthetic Drugs of Abuse

It seems that primitive man at times wished to escape his reality. He or she
probably found some natural herbal drugs to facilitate this desire. In fact
abuse of the coca leaf and the opium poppy has been occuring the last 3000 years,
and probably longer. The mescaline containing peyote cactus has been abused by
the indians for even longer. They thought it was a gift from god because they
often realised profound truths when they where inebriate(at least, thats what
they thought!).

In the 19. century the structure of mescaline was elucidated. It was also
discovered that the synthesis of N-methyl mescaline, would increase the drugs
potentcy, when compared to the precursor. The first acceptet semi-synthetic drug
for medical use was heroine. Many semi-synthetic drugs followed. After a longer
period fully synthetic drugs appeared. Among theese where : ephedrine,
amphetamine, methamphetamine, phenylpropanoleamine (appetite suppresant),
nitroglycerine and amylnitrite. Amphetamine, methamphetamine and amylnitrite
were abused for their pleasant pharmacological response. Amphetamine and
methamphetamine was used as a recreational drug, which made the user restless,
euphoric and alert. Amylnitrite produced strong rushes of euphoria. The average
man could not seem to control his/hers use of the drugs, and as a consequence,
all of theese products where put under federal control. They cannot be obtained
legally without a prescription from a doctor. People with an insight in
chemistry and a lack of morale, startet to produce these compunds for their own
financial gains.

The really clever chemists avoided doing anything illegal by creating
pharmacologically-active compunds, which where derived from known illegal drugs.
Not only where they able to produce similar compounds, but many of the new
compunds where much more potent than the original drug. This created the so-
called designer drug phenomenon. A very common abused drug is a resulat of this
development : MDMA ; or as the ravers prefer to call it, "ecstacy". It is an
amphetamine that produces euphoria, CNS stimulation and mild hallucinations.
Many of the new drugs were also highly addictive. A couple of years ago cocaine
freebase, better know as "crack", gained popularity. The drug gave the user a
ten minutes long "high". The drug is physically addictive the first time it is
used. Another even more addictive and potent drug appeared on the american
market in 1994. It is called methcathinone, or "cat". The user is high for 72
hours after using only 10-20 mg. Although the user does not get physically
addictet right away, the rush is so pleasant, that only very few people has
reported using it only once. The largest problem with this new drug is that it
can, unlike cocaine freebase, be prepared from OTC products and with very
little, or even none, knowledge in chemistry. It has not been seen in Denmark
yet, but will indoubtly pose a serious threat to the experimenting part of the
population in only few years.

To prevent the designer drug trend to develop further, the DEA introduced a new
term called CsA . Drugs with similar structure and effects as controlled
substances were thereby also made illegal. At the same time the substance p2p
was put under federal control. P2p was/is the main source of (meth)amphetamine
precursor material. Because of this the street avability of (meth)amphetamine
fell. Only months after this law modification, the streets where flooded with a
new and even more potent drug : 4-methylaminorex; know as euphoria. This drug is
made from non-controlled substances.

Throughout the history of synthetical drugs, amphetamine(speed) and
methamphetamine(meth), have had the greatest "succes" on the street. In the last
ten years the rate of which new illegal drugs are seen, have grown in ten fold.
Every time the DEA has tried to prevent the production of drugs, either by
putting chemicals under control, or through propaganda, it has resultet in more
initiative from the clandestine chemists. For these people it is a sport til
beat the system, and most of them do not have ethics concerning the health of
other people. The civilized world uses enormous amounts of resources to fight
the drug problem. I personally belive that drugs should be legalized. The mobs
way of living would then become extinct and the worlds largest source of crime
would be erased. A small sum of the money used to fight the former drug problem
could then be used to inform people of the dangers concerning various substances.
Perhaps more people would become addicted this way, but the gouverment would
save so much money that other people could be saved, and thereby making the
score even.


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