The Effects Of Alcohol And Tobacco On Drugs Essay

The Effects Of Alcohol And Tobacco On Drugs Essay

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The term addiction can be interpreted in many ways, concering both illegal and legal substances. Not only can one become addicted to a substance, but also activities like gambling, shoplifting, and sex. Prior to considering addiction, one must first understand what constitutes a substance. Levinthal (2002) describes a drug as a chemical substance that changes the functioning of the body when ingested (4). Although illegal drugs may come to mind when hearing this definition, alcohol and tobacco fit under this criteria as well. For the purpose of this essay, controlled and regulated (licit/legal) substances will be focused upon. Alcohol is a regulated substance that can be thought of as a social drug (Levinthal, 2002, p.192) and arguably tobacco as well. As a result of their social acceptance and regulation, alcohol and tobacco’s role in addiction is often overlooked. In Thirteen, Tracy Freeland falls victim to addiction to tobacco and alcohol after being exposed to social, biological, and psychological factors which perpetuate addiction in a cyclical nature. Tracy Freeland succumbs to peer pressure and begins to drink and smoke cigarettes, develops a physical dependence, which is reinforced by her depression and self harm, by using drinking and smoking as a crutch. Through the examination of Tracy Freeland, the impact of regulated and socially permitted substances leading to addiction will be illustrated.
Social factors are one of the three elements that contribute to addiction. They include the economic effects, drug’s exposure, and acceptance in society (Nutt, 2012). Tracy Freeland is introduced in the movie as an innocent and naive seventh grader. At first glance she seems to be a well rounded young tween; but, it is not unt...

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... non adrenaline circuit and reduces one’s bodily capability to stay alert (Nutt, 2012, p. 117). According to Nutt (2012) regarding tobacco, “Stimulants release the amines noradrenaline and dopamine, triggering the “fight or flight” response, making you feel alert and full of energy, and suppressing the needs for food and sleep,” (2012, p.72). Substances such as alcohol and tobacco have the ability to inhibit our ability to make decisions - decisions not to use - which weakens our defences against cravings, ultimately leading one to fall victim to cravings (Nutt, 2012, p. 159). Furthermore, after ingesting these substances, our reward centre is activated by the neurotransmitter dopamine and the body releases its own version of opiates, which tells us that we are getting pleasure, hence why an individual’s body enjoys the feeling of intoxication (Nutt, 2012, p. 159).

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