Pubdate: Mon, 07 Apr 2008
Source: Labradorian, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2008 The Labradorian


When you say the word "Addiction", most people relate this with
illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin or other hard drugs, but the
truth of the matter is, there are more people addicted to legal drugs
such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, then hard drugs.

Just take a drive by Tim Hortons around 7:30 a.m., and watch as cars
line up in the drive through, with drivers in a rush to get their
morning fix.

Most people don't think of caffeine as a drug, but it actually is.
It's a stimulant that's found in pain relievers, cold medications,
coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolate and other foods and beverages.

A person who consumes two to four cups a coffee per day can become
addicted. If you stopped drinking coffee you could experience such
side effects as headaches, sleep problems, irritability and depression.

Some long term side effects of caffeine use can include increased
blood pressure and urination, tremors, insomnia, irregular heartbeat,
decreases iron absorption, nervousness and anxiety.

Alcohol is another legal drug that is widely abuse. A recent study by
Health Canada estimated alcohol accounted for $14.6 billion of
Canada's total social costs (death, illness and economic cost) of
substance abuse.

Health Canada estimates there are four to five million Canadians who
engage in high risk drinking, which is linked to motor vehicle
accidents, fetal alcohol disorder and other health issues, family
problems, crime and violence.

Alcohol can have tremendous effects on judgment, behaviour and
attitude. Extreme intoxication can kill. People who are dependent on
alcohol can experience such withdrawal symptoms as sleeplessness,
tremors, nausea and seizures. Some people experience delirium tremens,
or "the DTs," which consists of frightening hallucinations, extreme
confusion, fever and racing heart. If untreated, severe alcohol
withdrawal can result in death.

Tobacco continues to be the leading cause of death in Canada and
accounted for $17 billion in social costs to combat the effects.

A Health Canada report revealed that more than 37,000 people would die
this year due to smoking. Of those, more than 300 non-smokers will die
of lung cancer and at least 700 non-smokers will die of coronary heart
disease caused by exposure to second-hand smoke.

Smoking is responsible for one in five deaths in Canada, which is five
times the number of deaths caused by car accidents, suicides, drug
abuse, murder and AIDS combined.

Withdrawal effects can include such symptoms as irritability,
frustration, anger or anxiety, difficulty in concentrating,
restlessness, increased appetite, problems falling asleep or frequent
waking, slight depression or feeling down.

Some of the health effects of smoking include, lung cancer, heart
attack, emphysema, lung disease, asthma, respiratory problems, oral
cancer, blood circulation problems, bronchitis, stroke, addiction,
yellow teeth, bad breath, breast cancer, poor physical condition, gum
disease, high blood pressure, smaller babies, premature birth,
wrinkles, allergies, coughing, headaches, impotence, gangrene,
dizziness and nausea.

No one is too young or old to become addicted to legal drugs. No one
is above the hold that these drugs can have on your system, not
doctors, health care professionals or Hollywood stars.

For some, beating the addiction can be done easily, for others it can
be a life long battle.

As parents and members of this community, we teach our children about
the dangers of illegal drugs, but how many of us don't think twice
when handing our child a can of pop or a chocolate bar.

When children ask for more, parents simply respond with "too much will
make you sick," which is true, but there is the problem of addiction
and the side effects of too much, that should be explained to children.

While illegal drugs continue to be a serious problem in our community,
it is the legal drugs that claim more lives in Canada.

Education is always the key, so taking time to do the research and
passing along our knowledge will go a long way in helping to combat
addiction problems, legal and illegal, in our community.
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