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Drugs and the Body

In this worksheet, students will look at the different types of drugs that exist and what effects they have in the human body.

'Drugs and the Body' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:  Biology: Structure and Function of Living Organisms

Curriculum subtopic:  Health

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Drugs are simply chemicals that can affect the way your body works. There are many different types of drugs and they can be put into two main categories:

  • Medicines – Used to help people suffering from pain or disease
  • Recreational drugs – taken for pleasure

 

Medicines      Medicine bottles

Medicines contain drugs that help the body when it is not working correctly. Drugs such as antibiotics fight micro-organisms which can interfere with the chemical reactions in the body.

Medicines can be further divided into over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs:

  • Over-the-counter drugs include paracetamol and asprin and can be easily bought in pharmacies and supermarkets.
  • Prescription drugs, such as Glucophage (a diabetes drug) and co-codamol (a pain relieving drug), however, are only available from pharmacies with a prescription from your GP.    


Although medicines can be easily bought or prescribed by doctors this does not mean that they are completely safe.  Medicines can have many different side effects so it is important to read the information leaflet before taking any medicines.

 

Recreational Drugs    Alcohol and cigarette

Some recreational drugs are legal, such as alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. However, most other recreational drugs are illegal, such as cocaine, ecstasy and heroin.  

Effects of drug misuse:

  • All recreational drugs can be addictive
  • Damage to the liver is common as it is the organ which breaks down drugs in the body.
  • The injecting of drugs can also lead to various diseases such as HIV and hepatitis, caught through the use of contaminated needles.

 

Recreational drugs fall under two categories: depressants or stimulants, each having a different effect on the body.


Depressants

Depressant are drugs which slow down messages to the brain and nerves. Examples of depressants are alcohol, cannabis, solvents (such as aerosols and glue) and heroin.

The typical effects of depressants on the body are:

  • Slowed brain functions such as thinking and muscle movement
  • Blurred vision or hallucinations
  • Slowed pulse and lowered blood pressure
  • Impaired judgement and coordination



These effects usually wear off; however, there are some long term effects of the use of depressants.

  • Solvent abuse causes a rash around the nose and mouth
  • Cannabis causes loss of memory and concentration, as well as an increased risk of mental illness.
  • Alcohol can lead to weight gain

 

Stimulants   

Stimulants do the opposite of depressants. They speed up messages to the brain and nerves and make you feel more alert.  Examples of stimulants are caffeine (found in coffee, tea and fizzy drinks) which is legal; then there's cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines which are all illegal.

The typical effects of stimulants on the body are:

  • More energy and confidence (stimulants are often illegally used in sports for this reason)
  • Damage to the liver
  • Damage to the heart
  • Memory loss
  • Lack of concentration

 

Addiction   

Addiction is a dependency on a drug leading to cravings, anxiety or panic. Addiction is a problem with all types of drugs including medicines and prescription drugs.

Person with addiction



The development of withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not available is also an issue.  Withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, weakness and nausea. For continual and high-dose users, agitation, high body temperature and hallucinations can occur.  Unlike withdrawal from most drugs, withdrawal from depressants can be life-threatening.

 

We will now answer some questions on the effects of drugs on the human body.

In the answer box below, write the word which completes this sentence:

 

A _________ is a substance that affects the way your body works.

Classify the following drugs as legal or illegal.

 legalillegal
caffeine
cannabis
cocaine
alcohol
nicotine
ecstasy
heroin
paracetamol

Which of the following is an over-the-counter medicine?

cannabis

paracetamol

nicotine

heroin

Which of the following drugs would be classed as a depressant?

paracetamol

alcohol

ecstasy

heroin

cocaine

cannabis

What effect do depressants have on the human body?

They speed up messages to the brain and nerves.

They slow down messages to the brain and nerves.

Which of the following drugs would be classed as a stimulant?

amphetamines

alcohol

ecstasy

heroin

cocaine

cannabis

What effect do stimulants have on the human body?

They speed up messages to the brain and nerves.

They slow down messages to the brain and nerves.

Which of the following drugs are addictive? Tick any that apply.

alcohol

co-codamol

heroin

nicotine

Which of the following drugs is used in the body to fight micro-organisms?

alcohol

paracetamol

antibiotics

cannabis

The abuse of which drug can lead to a rash around the mouth and nose?

paracetamol

solvents

caffeine

heroin

  • Question 1

In the answer box below, write the word which completes this sentence:

 

A _________ is a substance that affects the way your body works.

CORRECT ANSWER
drug
EDDIE SAYS
So, that was a nice easy start: in an activity entitled 'Drugs and the Body', it's not surprising to find a question asking you about the fact that they affect your body!
  • Question 2

Classify the following drugs as legal or illegal.

CORRECT ANSWER
 legalillegal
caffeine
cannabis
cocaine
alcohol
nicotine
ecstasy
heroin
paracetamol
EDDIE SAYS
Hopefully that was fairly straightforward. Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine (found in cigarettes) and paracetamol are all legal drugs and they are used in loads of everyday substances like coffee, beer and headache pills.. Cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and heroin, on the other hand, are all illegal (although a special type of cannabis oil can now be prescribed by doctors for certain conditions).
  • Question 3

Which of the following is an over-the-counter medicine?

CORRECT ANSWER
paracetamol
EDDIE SAYS
Paracetamol is the only over-the-counter medicine listed above. Nicotine is widely available, but it is not classed as a medicine. In addition, as mentioned before, certain conditions may have cannabis oil prescribed for them, but again this is not over-the-counter.
  • Question 4

Which of the following drugs would be classed as a depressant?

CORRECT ANSWER
alcohol
heroin
cannabis
EDDIE SAYS
Alcohol, heroin and cannabis are all depressants, and slow down messages to the brain and nerves.
  • Question 5

What effect do depressants have on the human body?

CORRECT ANSWER
They slow down messages to the brain and nerves.
EDDIE SAYS
Depressants do what they say - depress the operation of nervous messages. In the short-term this leads to impaired brain response, lack of concentration and general tiredness but the effects of long-term addiction are terrible.
  • Question 6

Which of the following drugs would be classed as a stimulant?

CORRECT ANSWER
amphetamines
ecstasy
cocaine
EDDIE SAYS
Amphetamines, ecstasy and cocaine are all stimulants, and speed up messages to the brain and nerves.
  • Question 7

What effect do stimulants have on the human body?

CORRECT ANSWER
They speed up messages to the brain and nerves.
EDDIE SAYS
Stimulants do what they say: stimulate the brain function. That means that users are on what's known as a 'high' and often very excitable, full of nervous energy. Not surprisingly, the 'down' experienced when the drug wears off leads to depression and exhaustion and extended use tends to make people very aggressive in the short-term.
  • Question 8

Which of the following drugs are addictive? Tick any that apply.

CORRECT ANSWER
alcohol
co-codamol
heroin
nicotine
EDDIE SAYS
All drugs have the potential to cause addiction, even prescription drugs such as co-codamol.
  • Question 9

Which of the following drugs is used in the body to fight micro-organisms?

CORRECT ANSWER
antibiotics
EDDIE SAYS
Antibiotics, like penicillin, are prescribed for bacterial infections. Sadly, their over-use over the years has led to increased resistance of bacteria which means that more and more bacterial infections are simply not cured by antibiotics.
  • Question 10

The abuse of which drug can lead to a rash around the mouth and nose?

CORRECT ANSWER
solvents
EDDIE SAYS
The abuse of solvents can cause a rash around the mouth and nose, due to a reaction with the skin that is caused as they are inhaled.
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