I was hurriedly riding up the Euston Road yesterday and noticed a gathered crowd out front of a pharmaceutical company building of cameramen, reporters and protesters, one placard stood out amongst the others as it read ” ALL DRUGS HAVE SIDE EFFECTS”. We live in a world of addiction and reliance on others for our healing, it’s time to accept our role as self responsible citizens and drug ourselves with love.

There are a few potentially addictive habits most of us have dabbled with at some stage in our lives, I know as a product of generation X that I have explored many different intoxicants, some legal and easy to buy like alcohol and prescriptive drugs, others totally illegal yet just as readily available. Experimentation is a part of growing up, addiction and the side effects of drugs and alcohol is how fine beautiful people grow into self abused and often unfulfilled adults.

Smoking is still one of the biggest addictions of our time, nicotine is a nasty one to break away from and yet a new generation of teenage girls are puffing away like it’s the 80′s. The initial effect from smoking as the nicotine and carbon monoxide enters the body is increased heart rate and blood pressure, while smoking the blood oxygen drops from muscle, the brain and body tissues, the end result from smoking for some is death, it creates a myriad of cancers such as lung, oral, throat, and breast cancer in women. Numerous respiratory diseases can result from smoking such as emphysema, and bronchitis is a common regular complaint .

Along with a fag accompanies the customary and very legal drink, shopping for alcohol in the supermarket is made totally convenient for all of us, yet having a daily tipple easily pours into a bottle of that fav french red, or a beer after work washes down more than a hard earned thirst. Alcohol is in fact a depressant and as such should best be consumed in absolute moderation as it can increase feelings of depression , it slows the central nervous systems processing and effects cognitive functions. Type 2 diabetes is linked with excessive alcohol consumption which then potentially leads to the wonderful world of heart disease , cirrhosis of the liver is the worse case scenario for the avid drinker, as well as cancers of the liver, mouth, digestive tract and breast in women.

Cocaine is often snorted with the belief that it’s cool and glamorous, the heart rate increases as the blood pressure rises alongside initial effects of euphoria and a sense of  being “completely and entirely in control of everything”. Long term addiction leads to psychosis, paranoia, irritability, restlessness, mood swings and potential stroke or death. I have seen too many people destroy their inner beauty to this insipid drug.

Prescriptive drugs are fine when taken as prescribed as they play a significant role within the framework of an integrated health plan, that said, some people are walking medicine cabinets as they rely heavily upon pharmaceuticals to get them through the day. Perhaps we rely too much on the words of our health care professionals and need to accept self responsibility rather than blaming our doctors for our ailments and in some cases our newly prescribed addiction. Opioids are a common central nervous system depressant, these may lead to slower brain function, depressed breathing, and constipation. Stimulants may cause anxiety, paranoia, irregular heartbeat or seizures.

Love is the drug we all need, as afterall, what are most of us looking for?

Love has shown to increase levels of dopamine which creates focused attention and increases motivation. Adrenaline increases blood pressure, body temperature and our capacity to sweat. Serotonin increases our sense of wellbeing. Oxytocin deepens the feelings of attachment as we orgasm, and finally vasopressin influences pair bonding.

I know love is the only drug whose side effects warrant a life long addiction, so get clean, love your self and others, and party like it’s 1999.

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