This article will mainly give you the basic knowledge of drugs, such as the definition of drugs, classification of drugs, and the types of drugs. At the end of this article, you will gain an insight into drugs, which will enable you to understand the other topics related to drugs, like drug abuse.
Definition of drugs
A drug is a substance consumed by the body to change the functioning of the body. This change can be both positive and negative to the body, depending on the drug consumed. There are both legal and illegal drugs and it must be noted that too much of any kind of drug will harm the body eventually. Drugs can affect every part of our body and some of the drugs are habit-forming, which may lead to addiction.
History of drugs
The earliest drugs were believed to be from plants. They were said to be discovered after the prehistoric people realised that some animals recovered from illness after consuming certain plants. However, most of such prescriptions were found to be useless as the people thought they would recover eventually, rather than rely on these prescriptions. However, some drugs which actually had some effect on the body were also discovered at that time. Opium was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as painkillers.
This is a picture of raw opium.
Middle Ages (400’s to 1500’s)
The people in the Middle Ages had little interest in science, so there was limited development in drugs. However, the people in the Middle East made some improvements to those drugs that were already discovered in the prehistoric times, reducing the number of useless drugs by a small margin. Due to this superficial knowledge of drugs, many people then continued consuming useless or harmful drugs.
1500’s to 1900’s
The period between the 1500’s to 1600’s was the time when scientists began to learn more about how our bodies operated, the effects of drugs had on our body, as well as bacteria. These discoveries sparked off the new discoveries of drugs later.
1543: Andreas Vesalius published a description of Man's body structure
1600s: William Harvey discovered the way blood was being circulated in the body.
Anton van Leeuwenhoek was the first to see bacteria through microscopes
1976: Edward Jenner discovered the vaccine to cure smallpox
1806: Morphine is the first drug to be chemically separated from the poppy plant
Morphine can be individually extracted from the poppy plants
1840s: Anesthetic drugs were used in surgeries; Robert Koch invented a way to find out which bacteria was linked to which illness
1898: John J. Abel, discovered adrenalin after extracting hormone epinephrine
1903: Barbiturates, a sedative, was introduced
1910: Paul Ehrlich discovered chemotherapy and arsphenamine, which was used in chemotherapy
1922: Hormone insulin was discovered and it was used to treat patients with diabetes
1928: Penicillin (antibiotic) was discovered by Alexander Fleming
1930s: Amphetamines (stimulant drugs) were used for medical purposes
1950s: Tranquilizers introduced
This is a picture of liquid Ketamine drying up. Ketamine is a tranquilizer and can be addictive
Later: Scientists began using recombinant DNA methods to produce new drugs.
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- Fenderson, Erik. Raw Opium. 2005. Image: Raw Opium.Jpg - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 4 Dec. 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Raw_opium.jpg>.
- Image: Malwapoppy.Jpg. 2005. Image: Malwapoppy.Jpg - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 4 Dec. 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Malwapoppy.jpg>.
- Image: Ketamina.Jpeg. 2007. Image: Ketamina.Jpeg - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 4 Dec. 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Ketamina.jpeg>.