The millennials and the Gen-Z represent the young working class and the teenagers of our current society. They are the representatives of the young, vibrant future of the nation. But this section of society is also the major consumer of drugs and addictive substances. You will find a huge fraction of the youth population who are into drug and substance abuse. Not only it causes harm to the behavioral and physical attributes of a person but also it takes a drastic toll on one’s health. There are severe health hazards caused by drug abuse on the cardiovascular system. Let us get into the matter in detail.
Common drugs used by the youth
If we dig deeper into the matter, we will be able to analyze the reasons for drug abuse among youngsters. The most common age group prone to drug and substance abuse is between 18 to 25 years. There can be several reasons for drug abuse and the most common is peer pressure. Poor self-image, poor academic performance, lack of family involvement, rejection, and lack of discipline are some of the common causes. Some of the victims of drug abuse are due to a relevant history of addiction in the family. Even parents who hold the harness too tight or too loose on their teenage children often find them gripping onto drugs.
The most common drugs and substances used by the youth are marijuana, hash, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, bath salts, hallucinogens, LSD, magic mushrooms, brown sugar, inhalants, and sedatives. Some of these drugs and substances are readily available in the market at inexpensive prices. The teenagers are able to reach, consume, and later become victims of drug abuse. Being ignorant about the health hazards caused by these drugs on their cardiovascular system, we have an entire generation of drug abuse victims.
Health hazards caused due to drug abuse
As we read further, we will be able to know about the extremely ill effects of drugs and addictive substances on the cardiovascular health of a person. Some of the drugs cause nervous dysfunction like in case of hallucinogens, inhalants, and sedatives. They make the nerves weak and reflex actions start to deter with their regular usage. But the other drugs and substances cause severe damage to the visceral organ systems of the human body. Here is a list of the most common drugs and the health adversities they cause:
Some numerous drugs and substances come under stimulants. The names worth mentioning are cocaine, meth, MDMA (Molly or ecstasy), and Adderall (study drugs).
Stimulants have a hear-damaging effect as they activate the sympathetic nervous system. These kindles up the following cardiovascular phenomena:
- Adrenaline rush into the bloodstream.
- Tachycardia or increased heart rate (over 100 beats per minute).
- Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat
- Vasoconstriction or contracted blood vessels.
- Stiffened arteries.
- Thickened cardiac muscles.
- Hypertension or high blood pressure.
All of the aforementioned phenomena contribute to sudden heart attacks. This is one of the major causes of youngsters getting heart-attack. If you do a case study, you will find that most of them were victims of stimulant drug abuse.
These drugs originate from opium found naturally in the poppy plant. Poppy plants are extensively grown in our country. Hence, opioids are some of the most common drugs used by the youth in India. Heroin, brown sugar, codeine, and morphine are the prominent forms of opioids consumed by youngsters. Opioids act opposite to stimulants. They restrict the sympathetic nervous system and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Opioids make the person slow and sluggish when consumed. The cardiovascular alterations created by opioids are:
- Bradycardia or reduced heart rate (less than 60 beats per minute).
- Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat.
- Hypotension or extremely low blood pressure.
Marijuana and hash:
Marijuana and hash are obtained from the same hemp plant. These are known as the “gateway drugs” as these are the first drugs that teenagers try before getting addicted to cocaine or heroin. However, marijuana and hash or hashish have serious effects on the cardiovascular system. It acts in a more complicated way than stimulants or opioids.
- Smaller doses of marijuana or hash kindle the sympathetic nervous system. Therefore, one experiences tachycardia, arrhythmia, and hypertension.
- Larger doses of marijuana confine the sympathetic nervous system and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. The consumer experiences Bradycardia, arrhythmia, and hypotension.
- This transition from low doses to higher doses of marijuana or hash causes a dangerous alteration in the cardiovascular system often leading to heart attacks.
These drugs can be stimulants, opioids, and hallucinogens but they are not inhaled or ingested. They are rather injected directly into the bloodstream using a hypodermic needle. Some of the common intra-venous drugs are cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, Valium, etc. These drugs cause the potential harm caused by stimulants and opioids but are more dangerous variants of the same. The needle that the victim inserts again and again causes is not a sterilized one.
- Bacterial infections in the veins and capillaries.
- Scarred and injured veins due to repeated injections in the same spot.
- Infections in the myocardium, endocardium, and valves of the heart.
- Again, there may be potential contaminants in the cocaine and heroin which do not get dissolved while liquefying them. These contaminants get injected along with the drugs in the veins and block the passage of the blood. The oxygen supply to the heart, lungs, kidney, and brain gets disrupted leading to several visceral infections and tissue death.
Drugs and substance abuse is one of the commonest forms of threats that we face in modern-day society. Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder often starts as a form of experimentation and becomes a form of dependency due to regular usage. The only way to stay safe from being a victim of drug abuse is when you “say no to drugs.” If any of your close ones are victims of a substance use disorder, you should contact the experts in the rehabilitation center for genuine help. If you are facing any cardiovascular ailment, you can get in touch with Prof. Digvijay Sharma.
Please contact www.professordigvijay.com to know more about your cardiovascular health.