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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 31-32

Commentary on recreational drugs

1 Department of Psychiatry, Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College, DMIMS, Deemed University, Wardha, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College, Wardha, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication19-Feb-2015

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Prakash B Behere
Department of Psychiatry, Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College, DMIMS, Deemed University, Wardha - 442 004, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Recreational drugs are those drugs, which are taken for the sole purpose to create positive feeling and emotions by altering the conscious state of the user. In recent years, the "rave club drug" scene has changed significantly as many new synthetic drugs have become available. Here is a brief commentary based on the evolving menace of recreational drug.

Keywords: Designer drugs, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances act, recreational drugs

How to cite this article:
Behere PB, Mulmule A N. Commentary on recreational drugs. J Mahatma Gandhi Inst Med Sci 2015;20:31-2

How to cite this URL:
Behere PB, Mulmule A N. Commentary on recreational drugs. J Mahatma Gandhi Inst Med Sci [serial online] 2015 [cited 2022 Jan 26];20:31-2. Available from: https://www.jmgims.co.in/text.asp?2015/20/1/31/151728

  Introduction Top

In recent years, the "rave club drug" scene has changed significantly as many new synthetic drugs have become available. [1] A Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines a recreational drug as "a drug used without medical justification for its psychoactive effects often in the belief that occasional use of such a substance is not habit-forming or addictive." [2]

The recreational drugs are also called as "designer drugs." They are chemical substances generally commonly used for recreational purposes but have no legitimate medicinal assignment. [3] The term "designer" signifies that the chemical compound represents a derivative of a controlled substance, one that is illicit or sometimes to subvert a legal ban. [4]

There is also a term called as "entactogen" sometimes also termed as "empathogen." Empathy is seen to be induced on the use of such a compound. Amphetamine and methamphetamine are primarily potent central nervous system stimulants and known to produce "entactogenic" effects. [5]

The term "new psychoactive substances" had been legally defined earlier by the European Union as "a new narcotic or psychotropic drug, in pure form or in a preparation, that is, not scheduled under the single convention on narcotic drugs of 1961 or the convention on psychotropic substances of 1971, but which may pose a public health threat comparable to that posed by substances listed in those conventions." [6]

India has been ranked among the first 20 major hubs for trafficking of illegal drugs in a 2007 government report, published by United States. The list also included Pakistan, Afghanistan and Burma. [7]

These drugs have a wide range of effects over brain and patients tend to display spectrum of symptoms ranging from agitation, hallucinations, delusions, withdrawn behavior, aimlessness, irritability, confusion, affective symptoms and many more. [8]

Newer drugs mephedrone and methylone act as substrates at plasma membrane transporters for norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, thereby stimulating nonexocytotic release of these neurotransmitters. [9] They increase extracellular levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, similar to the effects of 3 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. High abuse liability of synthetic cathinones is attributed to its property of enhancing dopamine transmission in the brain. [10]

  Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act Top

"Narcotics drugs and psychotropic substances (NDPS) act" came into force on 14 November 1985. Under the NDPS act, it is illegal for a person to produce or manufacture or cultivate, possess, sell, purchase, transport, store, and/or consume any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. Until date, it has been amended twice in years 1988 and 2001. With reference to this act Narcotic Control Bureau was established in March 1986. "Controlled substances" as mentioned in the act defines list of those substances banned or controlled in India under the NDPS act. Under the act a person is granted rigorous imprisonment-up to 10 years and fine rupees 100,000 to maximum 200,000 for activities such as cultivation of opium, cannabis or coca plants without license, engaging in or controlling trade of these substances, financing traffic and harboring offenders etc. However, the law has been criticized as "poorly thought-out" for it similar punishment to all sort of drug use. [11]

Highlights of treatment of unknown recreational drug intoxication in the accidents and emergency settings:

  • Benzodiazepines, especially lorazepam, commonly used to treat both agitation and seizures associated with drug intoxication. Antipsychotics should be used with caution.
  • Restraints may be needed in some circumstances when agitation cannot be controlled with benzodiazepines alone, to ensure safety for the patient, as well as that of others in the emergency department.
  • Routine laboratory tests should be part of the workup of patients suspected of being under the influence of drugs. These include a complete blood cell count, complete metabolic panel, and urine toxicology. [12]

Thus, it has been said "drug addiction can be treated. However, after treatment, unless the addict is rehabilitated and helped, there are high chances that he may return to drugs". The addict needs counseling even after treatment not only to retain him drug free but also to help him return to a normal life. Thus, as proposed by NDPS act in India, a drug addict has to undergo following three phases: Treatment, rehabilitation, social reintegration. [11]

For further modification and advances in handling a drug overdose patient, we need to have more evidence based research to draw a scientific conclusion, which will aid in their treatment and rehabilitation.

  References Top

Haroz R, Greenberg MI. Emerging drugs of abuse. Med Clin North Am 2005;89:1259-76.  Back to cited text no. 1
Recreational Drug definition. Merriam-Webster Online dictionary. Available from: http://www.merriam webster.com/dictionary/recreational. [Last accessed on 2014 Dec 02].  Back to cited text no. 2
Buchanan JF, Brown CR. ′Designer drugs′. A problem in clinical toxicology. Med Toxicol Adverse Drug Exp 1988;3:1-17.  Back to cited text no. 3
Maurer HH, Kraemer T, Springer D, Staack RF. Chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, and hepatic metabolism of designer drugs of the amphetamine (ecstasy), piperazine, and pyrrolidinophenone types: A synopsis. Ther Drug Monit 2004;26:127-31.  Back to cited text no. 4
Nichols DE. Differences between the mechanism of action of MDMA, MBDB, and the classic hallucinogens. Identification of a new therapeutic class: Entactogens. J Psychoactive Drugs 1986;18:305-13.  Back to cited text no. 5
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), World Drug Report. Available from: https://www.unodc.org/documents/. [Last accessed on 2014 Dec 02].  Back to cited text no. 6
Damian Thompson India panics as middle-class kids discover party drugs. The Celegraph. Available from: https://www.blogs.telegraph.co.uk/. [Last accessed on 2014 Dec 04].  Back to cited text no. 7
Prosser JM, Nelson LS. The toxicology of bath salts: A review of synthetic cathinones. J Med Toxicol 2012;8:33-42.  Back to cited text no. 8
Baumann MH, Ayestas MA Jr, Partilla JS, Sink JR, Shulgin AT, Daley PF, et al. The designer methcathinone analogs, mephedrone and methylone, are substrates for monoamine transporters in brain tissue. Neuropsychopharmacology 2012;37:1192-203.  Back to cited text no. 9
Hadlock GC, Webb KM, McFadden LM, Chu PW, Ellis JD, Allen SC, et al. 4-Methylmethcathinone (mephedrone): Neuropharmacological effects of a designer stimulant of abuse. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2011;339:530-6.  Back to cited text no. 10
Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. Available from: http://www.dor.gov.in/. [Last accessed on 2013 Dec 02]  Back to cited text no. 11
Winstock AR, Mitcheson LR, Deluca P, Davey Z, Corazza O, Schifano F. Mephedrone, new kid for the chop? Addiction 2011;106:154-61.  Back to cited text no. 12


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