What are drugs?
Drugs are chemical substances that have a good or bad effect on the body.
The three types of drugs are:
- Performance enhancing drugs, which improve someone’s performance in sports.
- Medicinal drugs, that help to treat a disease. For example antibiotics.
- And recreational drugs, which are taken for fun.
Performance enhancing drugs
There are two main types of performance-enhancing drugs, steroids, and stimulants.
Steroids increase muscle mass, while stimulants increase the heart rate.
These drugs can have severe side effects and give athletes who take them an unfair advantage against those who don’t.
These drugs can be legal, like caffeine, or illegal, like cocaine.
Many recreational drugs are addicting, where people can suffer from withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop. Furthermore, those that take them can experience severe side effects.
Before a medicinal drug is released to the general public, the drugs must first be tested on human cells and tissues in a lab, then on live animals, and finally on human volunteers in a clinical trial. The most common type of clinical trial is the double-blind trial where neither the doctor or volunteer know if they are getting a placebo or the real drug. This reduces bias and the placebo effect.
When these steps are not followed there may be unknown severe side effects of the drug when ingested. For example, the drug thalidomide was intended as a morning sickness pill, but because it was not tested on pregnant animals, the scientists did not know that it caused birth defects. In response, the drug was banned and more stringent drug testing procedures were introduced.