Essay Example on Classifications of Drug Actions

Published: 2023-01-26
Essay Example on Classifications of Drug Actions
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Pharmacology Drug Drug abuse
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 967 words
9 min read


There are various classifications of drug actions on the human body. These include stimulants, hallucinogens, depressants, and narcotics. Each of these classifications has a specific effect on the body, on how it relates to other drugs and how it impacts society at large.

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Stimulants, also known as "uppers," are drugs that temporarily increase one's energy and alertness. In this category, I'll focus on cocaine, being among the most commonly used drugs in this category. Cocaine has both short-term and long-term effects on the body. Some of the short-term effects of the drug include headaches, mood problems, convulsions and seizures, sexual trouble, lung damage, heart disease including heart attack and stroke, loss of smell through nosebleeds and runny noses and bowel decay if swallowed ("WebMD," 2019).

The drug has a very high dependence aspect. Once used, one develops strong cravings for the drug and the high that it brings. However, the more one takes the more the brain will adapt to it and would require a stronger dose to feel the same high. Its dependence can lead to dangerous overdose and addiction. The drug mainly speeds up the activity of the user's central nervous system including the brain. Its interaction with other drugs such as alcohol (depressant) would result in the production of coca-ethylene which is poisonous. Cocaine contributes significantly to crime rates in the U.S. since the users become more active and engage in organized crime groups and violence to get funds that will sustain their drug use.


Depressants, also known as relaxants, slow down the activity of the central nervous system and the brain. They result in the user feeling more sleepy and relaxed. Alcohol is a major example in this case. Alcohol has various effects on the body, some of which include behavioral changes resulting in one's inability to make smart decisions, hallucinations, slurred speech, shrinking of the brain due to shrinking of the frontal lobes of the brain, heart damage, liver damage, infertility, sexual dysfunction, diabetes, stomach distress and diabetes among others ("Healthline," 2019).

Alcohol dependence varies from one user to another. However, one may become physically dependent on the drug if drinking alcohol starts to negatively affect the person's ability to perform basic activities. This involves chronic addiction to the drug. Interaction between alcohol (a depressant) and cocaine (a stimulant) can result in a strain in the heart which would be fatal. It may also result in the production of coca-ethylene, which is poisonous to the body. Alcohol may also suppress the effect of cocaine and result in an overdose of the drug. Alcohol contributes highly to crime rates in the U.S. studies indicate that 86% of homicides and 60% of rape and sexual abuse were under the influence of alcohol.


Hallucinogens alter one's state of consciousness and perceptions. They alter ones' sensory perceptions thereby distorting the messages carried in the CNS. An example is LSD. LSD results in physical effects on the body such as loss of appetite, sleeplessness, tremors and dry mouth and mental effects such as visual hallucinations, delusions, impaired time and depth perceptions and artificial sense of euphoria among others (Davis, 2017). The dependence levels of LSD are quite low compared to stimulants and depressants. This is the case because LSD is not physically addictive, as a result, there exist no withdrawal symptoms after stopping its use. However, it may result in the development of some psychological addiction (Davis, 2017).

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant. Therefore, a combination of LSD and cocaine may trigger paranoia, hallucinations and delusional thinking. When used together with alcohol, alcohol with tend to dull the effects of LSD. According to Starr (2017), psychedelic drugs which include magic mushrooms and LSD contain an active ingredient (peyote) that could potentially provide a way to prevent violent crime. These drugs can, therefore, be used to treat illnesses such as cluster headaches and depression. LSD would, therefore, reduce crime rates in the U.S.


Narcotics diminish the perception of pain while sending signals to the CNS. They also produce rewarding and euphoric effects that make them targets for abuse. Heroin is a good example in this case. The physical effects of heroin include dry mouth, itchy skin, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, impaired mental judgment and slipping in and out of consciousness. It may also result in brain damage and even death. The dependence levels for heroin are high due to its high levels of tolerance and addiction. Heroin, among other opioids, is extremely addictive and some of its users started off by being addicted to pain medication such as oxycodone. A mixture of heroin and cocaine would increase the risk of overdose and permanent damage to the body (Bezrutzyk, 2019).

Some of the effects of the interaction between heroin and other drugs include drowsiness, blurred vision, incoherence and confusion, paranoia, mental impairment due to inability to sleep, uncontrollable movements and high risks of stroke, heart attack, and respiratory failure. The addiction to heroin and other opioids contributes highly to the high crime rates in the U.S. According to Bezrutczyk (2019), Studies indicate that the onset of heroin addiction was the beginning of criminal behaviors and an increase in the types and frequencies of crimes that were committed by addicts of heroin.


Bezrutczyk, D. (2019). Speedball (Heroin & Cocaine) Abuse And Recovery - Addiction Center. AddictionCenter. Retrieved from

Davis, K. (2017). LSD: Effects and hazards. Medical News Today. Retrieved from

"Healthline," (2019). 23 Effects of Alcohol on Your Body. Retrieved from

Starr, M. (2019). Psychedelic Drugs Appear to Make People Less Likely to Commit Crimes. ScienceAlert. Retrieved from

"WebMD," (2019). Cocaine: How It Works, Effects, and Risks. WebMD. Retrieved from

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