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Hard and soft drugs

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Drugs function on the nervous system, such as the brain, and impact a person's mental state.

There is much disagreement about what can be called hard drug or soft drug.

So-called Hard drugs are drugs that lead to physical addiction and sometimes death. As late as 2008, Cdc.gov (wrote or) published an article that called crack cocaine and heroin, hard-drugs.[1] So-called Soft drugs are not thought to cause physical or psychological addiction or dependence to the extent of hard drugs; however, they are still considered unsafe. Examples of soft drugs are hallucinogens like cannabis, mescaline, psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca, iboga, and DMT. While they do not cause physical addiction, some of them may still lead to psychological dependence.[2] Making, selling, or using these drugs other than for approved medical purposes is illegal in almost every country. Hard drugs include opioids like heroin, hydrocodone, oxycodone (Oxycontin) and morphine. Benzodiazepines are another class of hard drugs and has diazepam, alprazolam, clonazepam, and lorazepam. Hard stimulant drugs also has methamphetamine (meth), cocaine, and nicotine.[2] Some drugs have therapeutic uses.[3]

Despite the general agreement on the dangers of Alcohol and nicotine, unlike most hard drugs mentioned above, continue to be legal to sell in many countries, although they are usually taxed and highly regulated to account for negative impacts on users and society.[2]

Effects of drug addiction

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Most addictive drugs like nicotine, alcohol, and cocaine affect the brain’s “reward” circuit, which is part of the limbic system. This area of the brain affects instinct and mood. Drugs target this system, which causes large amounts of dopamine—a brain chemical that helps regulate emotions, feelings of pleasure, and motivation to execute tasks—to flood the brain.[4] This flood of dopamine is what causes a “high” in some drugs, and is generally the main cause of drug addiction.

Although initial drug use may be voluntary, drugs can alter brain chemistry. This can change how the brain performs and interfere with the way that we make choices. [source?] Using drugs with a high danger of physical dependency (which most hard drugs fall into) can lead to cravings, compulsive and habitual usage. Over time, this behavior can turn into a substance dependency or addiction.[5]

Hard drugs can negatively impact almost every organ in the human body: [source?]

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Legal penalties for hard drugs are usually, but not always, harsher than for soft drugs. Opioid trading and trafficking are treated seriously by the law in many countries due to the potential harm caused by this hard drug.[6] In contrast, cannabis, generally considered to be a soft drug, is increasingly tolerated in western countries. Especially beginning in the early 2000s, legislation has been passed to legalize the usage of marijuana for medical, cultural, and recreational purposes; however, there are significant differences in the legality of cannabis between different countries and municipalities. Generally the medical use of cannabis is allowed in many more countries.

Alcohol is considered to be a drug.[7]


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  1. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/14/9/07-0654_article. September 2008. Retrieved 2024-05-22. "crack cocaine users, other hard-drug users (predominantly heroin users but excluding those who used only alcohol and marijuana), and those not known to use drugs."
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Commonly Used Drugs Charts". National Institute on Drug Abuse. National Institute on Drug Abuse. 2020-06-26. Retrieved 2020-06-24.
  3. "Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research". Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research. Retrieved 2020-06-24.
  4. "Your Brain on Drugs: Dopamine and Addiction". Sunrise House.
  5. "The Connection Between Impulsive Behavior and Addiction". American Addiction Centers. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  6. "Fighting the Opioid Scourge | U.S. Customs and Border Protection U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Fighting the Opioid Scourge". www.cbp.gov. Retrieved 2020-06-24.
  7. "Alcohol | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)". nida.nih.gov. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved 2024-07-08.

Other websites

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