Quiz 27: Pharmacology of Substance Abuse


Delirium tremens is a syndrome that includes intense agitation, confusion, panic attacks, uncontrollable tremors, paranoia, and terrifying hallucination. About 35% of the patients are reported to be dead due to the delirium tremens. Patients with the delirium tremens are treated by the administration of benzodiazepire such as lorazepam (Ativan), or diazepam (valium). Benzodiazepire is under the class of central nervous system depressants. It is also known as the antianxiety drug. This drug is used in the treatment of the seizures, sleeping disorder, and muscle spasms.

The drugs and substances are abusive in nature and regulated as these cause harm to the user as well as the surrounding people. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as primary legislation, which establishes the scheduled drugs. The classification of controlled substances is based on their toxicity and abuse potential. The first major law that was passed in 1914 in United States to control narcotic use is Harrison Narcotics Tax Act. Its major provision is to regulate the production, distribution and import the opioid substances along with the coca products. It also imposes tax on the persons or companies who manufacture, distribute, sale, produce and compound the opioids and coca products. As per this Act, the warning "May be habit forming" should be mentioned on labels, package inserts of the products containing opioid and cocaine in them.

J.C. Wilkins went to the counselling clinic to know the information about her pregnancy in addition to the usage of drugs. She has got a long history of substance abuse. Her continuous intake of drug is classified under both the physical and psychological dependence. The body adapts to the substance with repeated usage that leads to the alternation in normal physiology. J.C. Wilkins was using marijuana and heroin that might produce physical dependence rapidly with repeated doses. The alcohol is classified under the central nervous system (CNS) depressants and it is an example of physical dependence. However, when she stops drug intake her physiological conditions will be affected due to the withdrawal. J.C. Wilkins takes alcohol and other drugs daily because of the intense emotions as a result of her abused childhood. She produces a sign of psychological dependence. Her negative economic, physical or social consequence made her to continue the drug intake daily. The physical dependence of the substance abuse can be terminated within few days or weeks but the psychological dependence might persist for months or year or life time. J.C. Wilkins substance abuses come under both the physical and psychological dependence she might be affected with physiological symptoms after her discounting the drug intake.

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