Throughout history people have taken drugs for their mind-altering effects. But any drug-whether it is cocaine, marijuana, nicotine, or alcohol-eventually leads to dependence in people who take it. There are tow forms of dependence: psychological and physical. You are psychologically dependent on a drug if you experience a profound craving and severe emotional distress when the drug is not available. In physical dependence this emotional feeling of need is accompanied by physical symptoms such as cramps and sweating which are caused by withdrawal of the drug. 


Most drugs of abuse have such powerful effects on the brain that a person who is dependent on them is not able to function, think and coordinate normally. He or she cannot safely work, drive a car, or care for a family,9Similar problems my occur in people who abuse prescription drugs such as sleeping pills or tranquilizers.) 
People who use illegal drugs may also rationalize that using these drugs offers little threat to health when it takes the form of occasionally smoking marijuana or using cocaine. All such use of drugs, however, definitely damages health. For example, studies show that marijuana is just as harmful to the lungs as tobacco. 



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