Is Alcohol a Gateway Drug?

March 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Health

Many argue that, given the accepted nature of it within society, alcohol is far removed from the likes of cannabis in being classified as a “gateway drug”. Most people regard Marijuana, with its varying legality in different parts of the world, as the flagship of gateway drugs (along with tobacco) although recent studies have indicated alcohol to be far more influential. There is also a valid argument that alcohol can provide the perfect setup for the taking of illegal and harmful drugs.

Alcohol is an accepted part of society, providing, for many, a basis for socializing and night-life and, when handled responsibly, it can be enjoyed in social scenarios and facilitate a laid-back and lively atmosphere. Yet the dangers of alcohol and the responsibility that comes with its consumption are underlined by the fact that it is unavailable to those under 21 and, as such, is for adult consumption only. At 21, one is expected to have an inherent level of maturity to understand their own limits and yet, even then, alcohol, in its lowering of inhibitions and relaxing of self-awareness, is regarded as a gateway for harmful drugs. Studies in August 2012’s ‘The Journal of School Health’ have proven alcohol as a far more influential drug in the taking of illicit drugs than marijuana, often regarded as the gateway drug.

When one exceeds their own personal limits, they find themselves in a state where their understanding of right and wrong is blurred and, as such, the idea of taking illegal drugs becomes more attractive. When under the influence of alcohol, one is far more likely to give into peer pressure than when they are sound of mind. Any poll taken, within the United States in the cold light of day, would highlight that, whilst sober, there is a unanimous aversion to the taking of illegal drugs and yet the same people could just as easily fall victim to peer pressure at a time when their inhibitions and sense of reason have been dramatically lowered. Most addictions to illegal drugs begin from an off-hand taking during social situations and almost all of these situations are facilitated by alcohol.Is Alcohol a Gateway Drug

When one surpasses the point of moderation and alcohol becomes a central part of a person’s life , studies and testimonials from drug addicts have shown that people often seek harder drugs as a means of finding a new thrill and high, beyond that which they have come accustomed to via alcohol. Alcoholism has a deep rooted effect on the personality of the sufferer, leading to what is theoretically known as an “addictive personality”. Studies at the Las Vegas ‘Adult Drug Court Program’ showed that 27% of the harder drug addicts said their addiction began via an earlier alcohol addiction.

Although alcohol can be largely detrimental, its legality is a testament to the fact that, as long as one understands their own limits and the potential risks of alcohol, it can have positive impacts in social situations and continues to benefit the wider economy. However, it is important that users do not drink in excess to the point where their sense of rationality and reason are lowered or to the point when an alcohol dependency creates a pathway to illegal drug use. Although harder drug addiction has been linked to a number of contextual and psychological factors, alcohol has an undeniable influence in creating a pathway towards harder drugs and as such, if one feels the need to drink, it is always essential that they do so responsibly.

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Should Advertisement Promote Positive Images of Alcohol?

March 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Health

Marketing and advertising is a crucial part of the alcohol supply chain given that sales of alcoholic beverages have been fairly flat or declining for the past two decades. This is seen from the 1.57 billion dollars spent in America on traditional media (television, radio, print and outdoor advertising) in 2001, which rose to two billion in 2005. Therefore it is clear that promotion of positive images of alcohol is needed to some extent to support the industry and the jobs and livelihoods of those working within it. However young people are often the main target audience for such advertisement, with significant evidence suggesting that there is a strong link between such targeting and increases in underage and teen drinking. Therefore it seems whilst it is greatly important to the industry to promote such positive images of alcohol, caution must be exercised when targeting younger audiences.

There is a wealth of evidence that points towards links between exposure to advertising that promoted positive images of alcohol and underage drinking. A study in 2006 concluded that each additional advert seen by an underage individual caused a one percent rise in their drinking and each additional dollar spent per capita on advertising caused youths to drink three percent more. Not only were there links to increases in general underage drinking but advertising made binge drinking more likely. In a group of 2250 middle school students in Los Angeles, those who were more exposed to traditional forms of Should Advertisement Promote Positive Images of Alcoholmedia that promoted alcohol were more likely to drink three or more drinks on one occasion. Promotion of positive images of alcohol glamorizes it and portrays it as enhancing attractiveness to the opposite sex and social popularity, qualities which are particularly valued by the younger population and those under the legal drinking age. Therefore, it seems promotion of alcohol has direct correlation to underage drinking, which is bad in itself, and underage binge drinking which can be seen as much worse given its links to alcoholism in later life.

Although such positive adverts do frequently feature ‘Drink Responsibly’ slogans, these slogans are often placed away from the focus of the viewer and hence are easily go unnoticed. Furthermore, phrases like ‘Drink Responsibly’ are ambiguous and subjective, as what is deemed to be responsible drinking will vary between individuals whilst especially amongst younger audiences, other values such as ‘fitting in’ may seem more important than responsible drinking. Such adverts that promote these positive images of alcohol also completely fail to notify the viewer of the significant negative effects alcohol poses, such as alcoholism and various threats to both mental and physical health. Therefore the nature of the targeting of the younger bracket of legal drinkers affects and has an impact on those approaching, but still under, the legal drinking age. Furthermore, alcohol companies seem to be misinforming people about alcohol by failing to give the full picture to the consumer. In this sense, promotion of positive images of alcohol is clearly having a negative impact.

Whilst it is important to recognize that the alcohol industry and its dependents need to some way to promote its consumption to survive in a competitive world, promotion as it is currently is having a negative impact through underage drinking and failing to give consumers the full picture. Giving alcohol a positive image is permissible but the targeting of younger audiences is where the issue lies. Therefore perhaps advertising should promote positive images of alcohol amongst older audiences who have spent years around alcohol and so will be better informed. In this way positive images of alcohol, not necessarily should, but may be promoted but only if such promotion is aimed at those who are not near the threshold of the legal drinking age.

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Vaporizing in Hospitals

February 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Health

Every human being wants to live healthy and most importantly look good. People are increasingly getting conscious about their looks and the reason why we see many visiting plastic surgeons to get fixed. While some people would want their faces to be modified, others would opt for some other parts of the body. This is all in an attempt to look glamorous and get all the attention one needs whenever they pass somewhere. Negative comments about yourself maybe because of a disease that you are battling with and can make you feel low. Generally, young children and teenagers lose their self-esteem when their peers give negative comments about their looks.Vaporizing in HospitalsSome diseases are rare but their effects are usually severe. When you look at the case of Edipermolysis Bullosa, research has shown that about 1 in every 17,000 people around the world is suffering from this complication. Patients with this kind of diseases are normally under a lot of pain and their skin normally itches. These itching results to scratching and in turn you end up damaging you skin. Many of the people going through EB are treated with morphine in hospitals. This drug helps in reducing the pain they are feeling but the side effects it has on them is far worse.

A number of patients with EB have tried using medical marijuana together with tobacco. They normally role the two mixtures on a paper and then smoke it. Medical marijuana is meant to help in reducing the pain that you are feeling but this was not the case with the patients who used a mixture of tobacco and marijuana. They found it less effective. There is hope for patients with EB that comes with the use of vaporizers. Medical marijuana has proved very effective in helping individuals living with EB enjoy a comfortable life.

A number of patients living with EB have been able to share the joys they have experienced after discovering vaporizers. However, you need to get advice on the right vaporizer to purchase. This is because you do not want to use a gadget that is not right for people with your condition. One woman in a hospital suffering from EB requested to be helped so that she can get started with a vaporizer. She was able to get assistance so that she can use the vaporizer from her comfort zone.

A number of international organizations have talked of the benefits of using vaporizer and medical marijuana as an alternative for pain management. Even though vaporizers are widely accepted, whenever you are having one of these gadgets and in a hospital, you need to check with the authority to find whether they have rules prohibiting its use. This allows you not to violate the laws of the hospital and get the treatment that you went looking for without rubbing shoulders with anyone. However, hospitals normally have vaporizer machines and they use them for different purposes.

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