According to the American Psychological Association - Addiction is a condition in which the body must have a drug to avoid physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Addiction’s first stage is dependence, during which the search for a drug dominates an individual’s life. An addict eventually develops tolerance, which forces the person to consume larger and larger doses of the drug to get the same effect.
The recent passing of the talented Amy Winehouse did not come as a shock as many people saw it coming to an end. One can only imagine how her loved ones, the ones who loved her, tried to get help for her. However, the truth is, the addict has to recognize that they have something that needs to be fixed. no one can convince them as somehow they feel confident that they are either in control, it is not as bad as others think or they can stop whenever they want to. Sadly, that is not the case. When the world of the rich and famous are surrounded with people who can make it happen for them and introduce them to just about any drug known to man, it becomes an addiction that no one can save them from not even themselves.
The media was a buzz with the passing of Amy Winehouse and quickly termed it as being a part of the 27 Club. A reference to the stars who died at the very young age of 27. Being dead at 27 is not a club anyone should be a part of and using the term club sends a message that takes away from the serious issue of drug abuse and addiction.
As long as I can remember, some people have had to struggles with various addictions. Every decade welcomed a new drug that took over a segment of the population and destroyed lives. As a child, I just could not understand the power of drug abuse. I wondered how could anyone watch the deterioration of others due to drug abuse and then somehow they too become an addict. I had to get my research on, heading to the National Institute of Health, specifically the National Institute of Drug Abuse to get the full understanding of the science of drug abuse and addiction.
Let's take a look back. It was in the 1950's when the famous PCP (phencyclidine) was developed as an intravenous anesthetic. It is a white crystalline powder that is readily soluble in water or alcohol. It has a distinctive bitter chemical taste. PCP can be easily mixed with dyes and is often sold on the illicit drug market in a variety of tablet, capsule, and colored powder forms that are normally snorted, smoked, or orally ingested. PCP was often applied to a leafy material such as mint, parsley, oregano, or marijuana when it was being used to smoke. Depending upon how much and by what route PCP is taken, its effects can last approximately 4–6 hours.Its use has since been discontinued due to serious adverse effects.
The 60's added other psychedelic hallucinogens. Heroin ruled, LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide) is one of the most potent mood-changing chemicals. It was discovered in 1938 and is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. It was taken most often orally as it was sold in tablets, capsules, and, occasionally, liquid form. LSD is often added to absorbent paper, which is then divided into decorated pieces, each equivalent to one dose. The experiences, often referred to as “trips,” are long; and usually lasted around 12 hours.
The 70's ushered in a more glamorous form of drug - cocaine. It was a major part of the fashion world, the artists, musicians and professionals were a part of the "elite" group who used cocaine. Cocaine is a powerfully addictive central nervous system stimulant that is snorted, injected, or smoked. Cocaine usually makes the user feel euphoric and energetic, but also increases body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. Users risk heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures, abdominal pain, and nausea. In rare cases, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly afterwards.
The 80's who can forget the Crack Decade..... Crack is cocaine hydrochloride powder that has been processed to form a rock crystal that is then usually smoked. This drug took hard working people and brought them down to homeless, street dwellers who would steal in some cases, kill to have another hit of this powerful and deadly drug.
Moving on to the 90's club goers got their fix in E. Ecstasy also known as X,XTC, Love Drug or Adam is is a synthetic drug that has stimulant and psychoactive properties. It is taken orally as a capsule or tablet. Short-term effects include feelings of mental stimulation, emotional warmth, enhanced sensory perception, and increased physical energy. Adverse health effects can include nausea, chills, sweating, teeth clenching, muscle cramping, and blurred vision. Ecstasy is an MDMA(3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine)which can interfere with the body's ability to regulate temperature; on rare occasions, this can be lethal. This drug had its way with the teen population and proved to be quite a finisher as many ended up in the emergency rooms or the morgue.
Next comes the turn of the century, Y2K - 2000's had it's cocktail drugs as the former drugs maintained their presence and more were added to the scene. The residuals of the heroin, cocaine, crack, etc. left an awful mark. Lives were ruined as once beautiful/handsome women and men lost their glow and became gaunt and ashen. Some lost their teeth, their eyes sunken into the sockets, the face now resembles a skeleton covered with skin and their ability to hold a conversation is no longer engaging as it becomes clear that they are left behind in an era that has long gone by.
Saying goodbye to another talented artist is sad for all who share in the loss. However, everyday some family is saying goodbye to a loved one who many of us will never know of.
Drug addiction and abuse is a very serious health concern. There are programs and facilities that assists those who are addicted, abusing or using drugs.
US Drug Rehab Centers
National Institute of Drug Abuse