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Illegal Drugs and Its Impacts

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According to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse in 2001, 12% of Americans ages 12 and older reported illegal drug use in the past year (Drug Policy Information Clearinghouse, 2003). Some of the most popular drugs include marijuana, cocaine, and heroine. With such widespread use worldwide, illegal drugs have serious social and political impacts. Socially, drug use spreads quickly and is closely related to crimes. Politically, drug use sparks the debate between prohibition and legalization. The most widely abuse drug in the United States is marijuana, or cannabis. It has been used since ancient times in South and East Asia. It spread quickly to the Middle East, and later to North Africa. In 1545, the Spanish brought the plant to America. The cannabis plant was grown to produce fiber until it was replaced by cotton in the late 1800s. Between the 1850s and the 1940s, marijuana was used as a prescription drugs, as well as an intoxicant. In 1970, the government classified marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance. This means that the drug have high potential for abuse with no accepted medical use. Since then, it is illegal to prescribe, use, or possess marijuana. (History of Marijuana, n.d.) Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that can be used to produce euphoria. It can be smoked, mixed in food, or brewed as tea. The main chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC. This chemical affects the parts of the brains that control pleasure, memory, and perception, among others. Therefore, while smoking marijuana produces pleasure, it also causes distorted perception and difficulty in memory and learning. Furthermore, marijuana also has other physiological effects on the users. Marijuana intoxicat... ... middle of paper ... ...e of National Drug Control Policy website: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/factsht/drugdata/index.html Drug related crime. (n.d.). Retrieved from National Center for Victims of Crime website: http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbName=DocumentViewer&DocumentID=32348 History of marijuana. (n.d.). Retrieved from Narconon International website: http://www.narconon.org/drug-information/marijuana-history.html NIDA InfoFacts: Marijuana. (2010, November). Retrieved from National Institute on Drug Abuse website: http://drugabuse.gov/infofacts/marijuana.html Should marijuana be legalized under any circumstances? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.balancedpolitics.org/marijuana_legalization.htm United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (1995, March 12). The social impact of drug abuse. Retrieved from http://www.unodc.org/pdf/technical_series_1995-03-01_1.pdf