On July 20, the Seoul Central District Court sentenced Top, a member of the leading idol group BigBang, to ten months in jail with two years of probation, as well as a fine of 12,000 won. Bongu Oh, the CEO of Bongus Rice Burger chains, who single handedly built a burger chain of over 900 stores from a snack stall after quitting from Hongik University, was also found guilty of using narcotics and was sentenced to a year and half of imprisonment with three years of probation. Narcotics are illegal in this country. They are terrible substances that we only know the names of, things that we only get to see in the movies as white powder being smuggled. But recently, illegal drug abuse problems are getting more serious. Not only famous people, but overseas residents are also starting to use illegal drugs as well. So, why should we be aware of narcotic drugs? What are they? In this issue, we will discuss different types of drugs, their effects, and the risk that goes along with them.
International convention and drug organizations classify narcotics using the following criteria: First, whether it is addictive, second, whether tolerance of the drug develops, third, whether there is a withdrawal related symptom, and fourth, whether it can inflict damage to not only the user, but to their neighbors as well. If three or four of these criteria are met, then the substance can be classified as a narcotic.
Narcotics can be broadly classified into three categories: stimulants, inhibitors, and hallucinogens. Stimulants and inhibitors work on your central nervous system. Stimulants, as you can guess from their name, stimulate your central nervous system, making your heart beat faster. It makes you feel more confident and full of energy. Cocaine is an example of a stimulant. This drug is often seen in movies. For example, Ah-in Yoo in Veteran and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street both acted out characters doing cocaine in their respective films. Unlike stimulants, inhibitors inhibit your central nervous system. They make you calm and have an analgesic effect. Morphine, which you often see in war movies, is an example of an inhibitor. Because this drug is a strong inhibitor, terminal cancer patients receive it. Lastly, there are hallucinogens. Unlike stimulants or inhibitors, they work on your brain. Hallucinogens distort all senses such as sight, hearing, and tactile senses. An example of a very strong hallucinogen is LSD.
We will now discuss specific drugs. The first drug I will introduce is marijuana. It is also known as cannabis. I introduce this drug first because this is one of the weakest narcotics and many parts of the world are starting to legalize it. Why is this so? It is because marijuana does not really fit into the four criteria set by international narcotics conventions. So what is the effect of marijuana, and why do people want it legalized? Simply put, the drug amplifies your senses. One of the effects of marijuana is enhancing your sense of hearing, taste, touch, and vision. It is said that you can see objects as if you are in a 3D movie, with an amplified sense of dimensions and shaking visions after you smoke marijuana. Also, your auditory sense becomes heightened. When you listen to music, the drug allows you to hear beats that you may not have noticed before being under the influence. Such heightened senses help with inspirations and ideas. That is why artists who do drugs often use marijuana. Marijuana, also called a gift from gods, is not harmless, but recent research suggests that it is not more harmful than alcohol or cigarettes, and even possesses anticarcinogenic properties. In some countries, marijuana is used for treating depression and anorexia because of its ability to enhance appetite and feelings. Although there are many good things about marijuana, we should always remember that it is an addictive substance, and Korean law forbids Koreans from smoking it.
The next drug to discuss is LSD. It is called the strongest hallucinogen on earth. Made by Dr. Hoffman using ergot fungus, LSD acts directly with your brain to show strong audiovisual distortions. You can experience strong audiovisual hallucinations, described often by intense colors. It is also known as acid. This substance is tasteless, odorless, and colorless, and often sold in the shape of a postage stamp, as you can see in the picture. LSD is also known as a drug that is not easily detectable because it does not leave any trace in the body. Marijuana leaves its trace in your body hair for six months, and drugs like MDMA, cocaine, and methamphetamine all leave their trace, but LSD disappears from your brain completely in 10 hours. However, its effect lasts 8 to 12 hours, a much longer time than other narcotics. The effect of the drug starts about five minutes after consumption with strong sensations around the chest. The effect gets stronger for 2 to 3 hours until it reaches its peak. This is when you see and hear hallucinations. The effect lasts 2 to 4 hours, and then gradually disappears, which often leads to many thoughts, repentance, and reflection. It is said that the Beatles used this drug to get inspiration. Because of its strong hallucinogenic effect, it is classified as a very dangerous drug.
The third drug I want to introduce is called ‘magic mushroom’. Also called psilocybin mushroom, it is a hard drug and a hallucinogen like LSD. Although visual hallucination is weaker than LSD, audio hallucinations are stronger than LSD. Unlike LSD, it gives a rollercoaster ride between scary and fantastic feelings. This mushroom is famous in Bali and Laos. Some say that it is a good idea to avoid any dishes that include 'happy' or 'mushroom' in their names when traveling there.
The fourth drug I will introduce is MDMA, a very famous club drug. It is also known as ecstasy or simply ‘E’, and you may find it at house parties or clubs in the United States. You feel very confident, vigorous and energetic when you take this drug because this drug makes you secrete a huge amount of serotonin in just 3 to 4 hours that should ordinarily take 3 days to produce. When its effect disappears, you get depressed and feel weakened as a side effect.
The last drug I will introduce is cocaine. It is one of the most often featured drugs in movies. Those of you who have seen Veteran or The Wolf of Wall Street may know of it, but cocaine is a symbol of wealth. This is because cocaine is less addictive and destructive than most hard drugs, enabling you to have a normal daily life. This is why the wealthy and powerful love this drug. The effect includes a tremendous sense of self-esteem and confidence. It makes you think that you are doing something very important and makes you happy and energetic. However, it gives you a nasty hallucination that makes you think there are many bugs crawling under your skin. When you stop taking cocaine you may scratch yourself until you start bleeding.
Narcotics, no matter how good a drug they might be, have very nasty side effects. If they were really beneficial to us, they would be classified as normal drugs. If you are curious about taking drugs, I hope you turn your attention to something else.
Lee Hun firstname.lastname@example.org
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