Most people know that there's more than one way to take a drug, but it's less common knowledge that the method of administration can also affect how easy it is for a user to become addicted. One of the main reasons for this is that different methods of administrating will speed up or slow down how quickly that drug gets into your blood stream.
Most drugs need to get to the user's brain to have their characteristic effects, so the quicker a drug hits the blood stream, the faster it will get to the brain and kick in the effect the user is trying to create. This is where the connection between the method of administration and the likelihood of addiction comes into play.
A big part of whether or not you'll become addicted to a drug is based on how quickly it can start affecting your brain chemistry. Many drugs work by making the brain release chemicals like dopamine or blocking the re-uptake of these same chemicals (causing them to stick around and affect the body longer.) The quicker the "pleasure chemicals" like dopamine can get released, and thus the harder they hit your system, the higher the likelihood that you will get addicted to the drug that caused the reaction to take place.
Because of this connection, it's important for families to know how the ways of taking drugs will affect the body and how addictive they can make a drug.
Inhaling is one of the most common ways of taking a drug. Inhaling means taking a smoke, vapor or other gas into the lungs, and is this is the method used every time someone smokes cigarettes or marijuana. It is also the method used when someone "huffs" chemical vapors.
When tobacco or marijuana smoke (or any other drug vapor) enters the lungs, it is very easy for these chemicals to cross into the bloodstream. This is because the lungs are designed to let oxygen and carbon dioxide quickly pass into and out of the bloodstream as well. Due to this, inhaled drugs can start to affect the body and brain very quickly.
Snorting means inhaling a drug into the nasal cavity. It is the main method of administration for powdered cocaine. Because of the mucous membranes in this cavity (which are similar to the mucous membrane in the lungs), snorting can also lead to a quick high, but this method usually takes longer than inhaling a drug.
For this reason, some uses will try to smoke a drug in a form like crack cocaine instead of using a form that can be snorted.
One of the most common drugs on the planet is alcohol, and it is used by ingesting it (drinking it.) Other drugs that can be ingested include prescription drugs and marijuana. Marijuana is ingested by mixing it in with foods like "pot brownies."
When these drugs are brought into the stomach and digested, they pass into the bloodstream through the stomach lining. This is usually a slower method of bringing the drug into the blood stream, however.
Injecting a drug is the fastest way to administer it to the brain. The reason for this is that the drug is being introduced directly into the bloodstream through a needle, and from there it can reach the brain in moments. Heroin is one of the main drugs used by injection.
Because it is the fastest method of administration, injection can also cause higher rates of addiction than other drugs. This method hits the brain like a sledgehammer, causing spikes in brain chemicals that can quickly cause the user's body to start adjusting into a state of addiction.
By knowing these methods of drug administration, families have that much more education about this major problem in society. Use this information to help your family stay drug-free.