Comparing and Contrasting Drug Categories

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Comparingand Contrasting Drug Categories

Comparingand Contrasting Drug Categories

Thereare many types of drugs, but they can be put into seven broadcategories. These categories include depressants, hallucinogens,opioids, cannabis, stimulants, inhalants, and dissociative substances(Teen Rehabilitation Center, 2017). Although most of the drugsincluded in these categories have medicinal values, a largepercentage of them can be abused. Illicit drugs that can be used toachieve different objects, other than the treatment of diseases, arenormally sold in the black market. In this paper, depressants andstimulants will be compared and contrasted.


Boththe depressants and stimulants are addictive substances. In mostcases, the two categories of drugs are prescribed for medicalpurposes, but they end up being abused by patients or people who areclose to them (National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens, 2017).Some patients abuse the drugs by taking them in a manner thatcontradicts the doctor’s prescription, which may occur by mistake.However, the majority of those who abuse stimulants as well asdepressants do it for the fan. Some depressants (such as heroin) andstimulants, including ephedrine are illegal.

Trendsin the abuse of the two categories of drugs differ in several ways.First, individuals who abuse these substances take them for differentreasons. Stimulants are taken by those who wish to feel high whiledepressant are consumed by individuals who would like to contain theeffects of other drugs (NIDAT, 2017). Secondly, stimulants are abusedat a lower rate than depressants, which is attributed to the impactthat each one of them has on the body. For example, stimulantsenhance alertness while depressants tend to diminish the normalbrain’s functioning, which help people forget their problems. Thedifference in the prevalence of abuse of the two categories of drugsis confirmed by data showing that depressants are abused by 2.2Americans compared to stimulants that are misused by 1.1 millioncitizens (Talbott Recovery, 2016).

Effectsof the Two Categories of Drugs on the Body

Stimulantshave different effects compared to the impacts of depressants. Theyact on different types of transmitters. Stimulants act on monoamineswhile depressants affect gammaaminobutyric acid (National Instituteon Drug Abuse, 2016). Depressants inhibit these brain chemicals whilestimulants tend to enhance their effects. The difference in theeffects of the two types of drugs is confirmed by their respectivesymptoms. Depressants reduce the blood pressure as well as the heartrates while stimulants increase these activities. By inhibiting thebrain activity, depressants cause drowsiness as well as the calmingeffects (NIDA, 2016). The consumption of stimulants, on the otherhand, increases the blood glucose, opens up the breathing airways,and constricts the blood vessels.

Depressantsand stimulants have negative effects on the body. The side effectsassociated with stimulants include analgesia, muscle relaxation,euphoria, somnolence, sedation, dissociation, and anxioysis (NIDA,2016). The side effects of depressants, on the other hand, includedepression, hard time when urinating, low blood pressure, feelingtired, depressed brain function, and difficulty that is experiencedwhen trying to concentrate. It is easy to detect individuals whoabuse these drugs since both of them have some physical side effects.However, some of the symptoms (such as the change in the rate ofheart beat and blood pressure) are detected in the clinical settings.Most of these effects are short-term and they can be detected in allindividuals who consume these drugs, irrespective of whether theyabused them or they were consumed as part of a medical prescription.

Althoughmost of the effects of stimulants and depressants are different, alarge number of long-term symptoms are psychological in nature forboth categories of substances. For an instant, stimulant addictssuffer from hallucination, anxiety, and paranoia (NIDA, 2016).Similarly, people who are addicted with depressants suffer fromdepression, chronic fatigue, panic, and anxiety.

Identificationand Packaging

Theidentification of stimulants and depressants is difficult, especiallyfor people who have not seen them before. Many people identify themby reading the labels. However, this means of identification ispossible for legal drugs only. Illegal substances do not requireproper packaging and labeling (Takahashi &amp Aldridge, 2015). Thepackaging of medical stimulants as well as depressants variesdepending on the manufacturer and the type of drugs. Some of them arepackaged in plastic bottles as the primary container and a carton asa secondary packaging material. Bottles are used to package drugsthat are produced in liquid form. However, most of the stimulants aswell as depressants that are used in the medical settings arepackaged in blister packs, which make them easy to carry and abuse.Some of the depressants as well as stimulants that are produced inthe form of powder are packaged as capsules.

Thedifficulty of identifying stimulants and depressants by looking atthem forces the law enforcers to rely on laboratory tests in order toclassify them, especially when they are found in the hands of thepeople who abuse them. Some depressants (such as alcohol) are commonin the society and they can be identified easily by smelling(Takahashi &amp Aldridge, 2015). The use of a similar method toidentify stimulants can only be achieved by experts or people whohave seen and smelt the drugs before.

Methodsof Ingestion

Methodsof ingestion differ depending on the state (liquid, gas, or solid) ofthe drug. It does not matter whether the substance is a stimulant ora depressant. The largest percentage of drugs from the two categoriesis ingested orally. Drugs that are taken via this method are liquid,solid tablets, or powder that is packaged in capsules (Brande, 2016).Secondly, a large number of these drugs are ingested by smoking. Thismethod of ingestion is common among those who abuse the twocategories of drugs. Consumers who rely on this method are interestedin the smoke that comes from the drug. Snorting is not a commonmethod of ingestion, but it is used to abuse stimulants as well asdepressants that are produced in the form of powder. This approach isalso common among those who abuse the substances.


Thetrafficking of stimulants and depressants is a phenomenon that hasbeen in existence for many years. One of the key factors that arecommon for the two categories of drugs is the fact that traffickingof both of them is done by organized gangs (Sacco, 2014). Some ofthese gangs, especially those that operate in Mexico, are armed andrisk the lives of citizens and law enforcers. Most importantly,stimulants and depressants are the most common types of drugs thatare transported across the borders by these organized gangs. Recenttrends indicate that the traffickers are moving away from traditionalstimulants (such as cocaine) and depressants (including heroin) tosynthetic drugs (Sacco, 2014). Both categories are equally affectedby the new trend where methamphetamine is the most common type ofsynthetic stimulants while cathinones are the popular types ofdepressants that are distributed in the black market. These syntheticdrugs are attractive to traffickers because they are easy to make inlaboratories. This implies that the gangs can produce them in largequantities and earn more money. In addition, the criminal groups cantransport precursor chemicals for stimulants as well as depressantsacross borders without being noticed by the law enforcers. The newtrend has resulted in the establishment of the black marketlaboratories for production of synthetic stimulants as well asdepressants.

Issuesin Criminality

Theabuse of stimulants and depressants is considered as a crime. Thereare many people who have been incarcerated for consuming ortrafficking stimulants as well as depressants that are classified asillegal substances. However, the rates of those who have beenimprisoned for the two categories of drugs differ slightly. Accordingto Bureau of Justice Statistics (2017) the population of people whohave been incarcerated for consuming stimulants is higher (5 %)compared to those who are imprisoned after being caught in possessionor consumption depressants (2 %). Apart from being a crime, theconsumption of stimulants and depressants subjects people to the riskof breaking other laws. The data published by BJS (2017) indicatedthat about 28 % of the people who are arrested for driving whileintoxicated abuse stimulants while 14 % of them use depressants. Thissuggests that people who abuse stimulants are more likely to commitother crimes than those who use depressants.


Depressantsand stimulants are different categories of drugs that can be used formedical purposes, but they can also be abused. In some cases,patients abuse the two categories of drugs after using them againstthe doctor’s prescription. However, the largest percentage of thenstimulants as well as depressants that are abused annually isobtained from the black market. They affect the human body indifferent ways where stimulants increase the effect of stimulantswhile depressants inhibit these chemicals. The two categories ofsubstances have side effects, but they differ depending on the typeof drug that one has taken. The production of synthetic stimulants aswell as depressants has expanded the black market for thesesubstances. However, people who are held in the incarcerationfacilities for abusing stimulants are more than those who werearrested after using or trafficking depressants.


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