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Risks Associated With the Use of Substances - Essay Example

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This essay "Risks Associated With the Use of Substances" compares and contrasts the neuropharmacological basis for the risks associated with the use of cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and cannabis as they can cause deadly risks and side effects once taken continuously…
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Risks Associated With the Use of Substances
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Download file to see previous pages This usually leads to tachycardia and vasoconstriction. Moreover, if vasoconstriction combines with platelet aggregation, there will be all sorts of cardiac complications that may occur even in the absence of preexisting heart disease. Such cardiac-related complications also do not depend on taking massive doses of cocaine (Chakko & Myerburg, 1995).
Cocaine intake can also cause risky sexual behavior (DrugFacts: Cocaine, 2013). The reasons for the increased sexual risk associated with cocaine use is usually not due to anything pharmacological but due to poverty and sexual power dynamics as well as the frequent sharing of infected needles and syringes. There is also an increased number of partners with cocaine use, the frequency of unprotected intercourse, as well as an exchange of sex for drugs or money (Ciccarone, 2011). Thus, there is increased sexual risk with the use of cocaine. Nevertheless, perhaps, as sex is often equated as a reward system, then this may actually be internally triggered by the fact that cocaine intake increases the concentrations of extracellular dopamine in the reward circuit. The human reward circuit of the CNS includes these dopamine pathways (Ciccarone, 2011). Thus, when this reward circuit is excessively and repeatedly activated through cocaine, then the frequency of desire for sex is also activated.
Cocaine can also cause severe paranoia or full-blown paranoid psychosis characterized by auditory hallucinations (Cocaine Use and Its Effects, 2014). This is a result of the toxic and dysphoric effects of cocaine as brought about by escalating effective doses of the drug, or the greater amount and more efficient route of the drug. This is because as the amount of cocaine intake escalates, there are changes in brain structure such as a decrease in the volume of the frontal cortex and an enlargement of the basal ganglia, as well as consequent cognitive impairment. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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