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Understand Drugs and Drug Trials

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

There are several different types of drugs - some legal (such as caffeine and alcohol) and some illegal (such as ketamines and cannabis). But there are also drugs that are a lot more complicated,  for example it is not legal for you to have chemotherapy drugs unless they are prescribed to you, or you have a pharmaceutical licence to make them. Today, we will be looking at some of the different types of drugs and how they affect your body. 

 

Drugs can be harmful, but also beneficial when they are medicinal and prescribed by a doctor. There are five types of drugs:

 

depressants which slow down the brain

hallucinogens which change perception of sight and hearing

painkillers which stop nerve impulses so pain is reduced or not felt at all

performance enhancers which develop muscles

stimulants which speed up the brain

 

Some drugs can be addictive,  for example nicotine in tobacco. Becoming addicted to a drug means it is really hard to give it up, so it is better not to start using it! Withdrawal symptoms (such as shaking or bad temper) may be observed. In the case of illegal (not medicinal) drugs, rehabilitation is often needed to give them up. This means addicts need to stay in special institutions to prevent them gaining access to a drug, and they are under medical care. Tolerance is built up when a drug has been taken for a long time and bigger doses are needed to feel its effects.

 

Classification of drugs

There are three classes of drugs, depending on how dangerous they are:

 

Class A: Seven years in prison and a fine for possession, life sentence for supplying. Examples include heroin, methadone, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy

Class B: Five years in prison and a fine for possession, 14 years in prison for supplying. Examples include amphetamines and barbiturates

Class C: Two years in prison and a fine for possession, 5 years in prison for supplying. Examples include anabolic steroids, valium and cannabis

 

Cannabis, specifically, had been classified before as Class B, because there are very dangerous types of cannabis that can cause mental illness.

 

Even legal drugs, like nicotine and alcohol, can have severe effects. Medicinal drugs are sometimes misused and that can lead to extreme consequences. Medicinal drugs need to undergo several trials in order to be considered safe for humans.

We will see more about drug effects and trials in the questions.

In the context of drugs, what does tolerance mean?

A person can consume more of the drug without being harmed by it

A person will not go to prison if supplying the drug because it is not harmful

A person needs more of the drug to feel its effects

Which of these drugs are stimulants?

Alcohol

Caffeine

Nicotine

Cannabis

What type of drug is aspirin?

Stimulant

Painkiller

Hallucinogen

Depressant

What happens if you are caught supplying a Class B drug?

Five years in prison and a fine

Up to fourteen years in prison

Life in prison

The main chemicals in tobacco smoke are carbon monoxide, nicotine, tar and particulates. When smoke enters the lungs, there is no way out. It damages epithelial cells that line the trachea and bronchioles in the lungs. Some epithelial cells have tiny hairs on their surface called cilia. See if you can spot the epithelial cells in the diagram below:

 

An image showing different types of cells

 

Cilia move and clear the lungs of dust, as well as producing mucus. Our body produces mucus, which is the sticky substance that traps bacteria and comes out as we cough. Using this information and also your wider knowledge, tick any diseases or conditions that can be caused by smoking tobacco.

Lung cancer

Depression

Migraine

Heart disease

Smoker's cough

In your exams, you may be asked to analyse a graph about drug consumption. Let's have a look at this graph about smoking:

 

A graph about smoking.

 

Using information from the graph, calculate the percentage of smokers that are under 16. 

16%

17%

23%

Excess alcohol consumption destroys liver cells because they have to overwork in order to break alcohol down. Eventually, this can cause liver cirrhosis, which basically means that the liver is completely destroyed. Look at this graph illustrating worldwide consumption of different types of alcoholic drink over the years. The graph shows information about the years 1997 to 2016, but the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 are estimated results.

 

A graph showing alcohol consumption.

 

How has the consumption of beer changed since 1997?

 

In your exam, you may be asked to describe the changes, rather then choose one of many answers. Do not despair! Just study the graph carefully and follow the graph from the first year (1997 in this case) to the last year shown and describe what happens to the line (or the bars if it is a bar graph). Include numbers in your answer for maximum marks.

The consumption of beer worldwide has increased from 13 litres per person in 1997 to 18 litres estimated in 2015

The consumption of beer has decreased from 13 litres per person in 1997 to 18 litres estimated in 2015

The consumption of beer has increased from 10 litres in 1997 to 19 litres estimated in 2016

Thalidomide was a drug that was given to pregnant women to ease morning sickness in the 1960's, but led to birth defects, such as babies born with underdeveloped or deformed arms and legs. Eventually, it was banned.

 

Therefore, it is very important that drugs are tested thoroughly before being allowed for human consumption. First, the drugs are tested using computer models and human cells. If they pass this stage, they are then tested on animals and if successful, are given to humans during clinical trials in small doses to start with. If there are no side effects, the optimum dose is determined during further trials.

 

Bearing all this information in mind, tick any statements that are true about drug development and trials.

Drug trials are expensive and time consuming

After drug trials, drugs are always safe

Even after clinical trials, drugs can have severe side effects

Drug trials take place very quickly

It is really important that a drug has clear positive effects before being judged appropriate to be used to cure illness and disease. Therefore, double blind trials are designed to research the placebo effect.

 

A placebo drug (a drug that looks like the real drug but does not contain any of it) is given to usually half of the patients. Patients and doctors do not actually know who takes the real, and who the placebo, drug.

 

Why are they not told which drug they are taking?

Placebo drugs sometimes work

Due to psychological reasons, it is possible that patients feel better because they think they are receiving medication, even if it is a placebo

Real drugs may be defective

What is the addictive substance in tobacco smoke?

Ethanol

Nicotine

Cocaine

  • Question 1

In the context of drugs, what does tolerance mean?

CORRECT ANSWER
A person needs more of the drug to feel its effects
EDDIE SAYS
Don't be confused by other meanings of the word - it doesn't mean that the police will be tolerant with you and let you off, if you're caught in possession of drugs (as option two suggests)! Tolerance is developed when a drug has been used for a long time and more of it is needed to feel its effects. The body gets used to it and naturally tries to compensate for the effects of the drug. It's trying to make you feel 'normal', even if normal means you are in a lot of pain.
  • Question 2

Which of these drugs are stimulants?

CORRECT ANSWER
Caffeine
Nicotine
EDDIE SAYS
Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants. They tend to speed up the rate at which neurons are able to fire in your brain, either directly or indirectly. You find nicotine in cigarettes and caffeine in many types of drink, most obviously, coffee.
  • Question 3

What type of drug is aspirin?

CORRECT ANSWER
Painkiller
EDDIE SAYS
Aspirin is used when we are in pain, so it is a painkiller. It has lots of other properties as well, such as possibly lowering your chance of having a heart attack.
  • Question 4

What happens if you are caught supplying a Class B drug?

CORRECT ANSWER
Up to fourteen years in prison
EDDIE SAYS
If someone is caught supplying a Class B drug, they can get up to fourteen years in prison. For possession, the sentence can be up to seven years in prison and a fine.
  • Question 5

The main chemicals in tobacco smoke are carbon monoxide, nicotine, tar and particulates. When smoke enters the lungs, there is no way out. It damages epithelial cells that line the trachea and bronchioles in the lungs. Some epithelial cells have tiny hairs on their surface called cilia. See if you can spot the epithelial cells in the diagram below:

 

An image showing different types of cells

 

Cilia move and clear the lungs of dust, as well as producing mucus. Our body produces mucus, which is the sticky substance that traps bacteria and comes out as we cough. Using this information and also your wider knowledge, tick any diseases or conditions that can be caused by smoking tobacco.

CORRECT ANSWER
Lung cancer
Heart disease
Smoker's cough
EDDIE SAYS
It doesn't sound an attractive habit, does it! Smoking causes lung cancer and heart disease. Heavy smokers may also develop a smoker's cough as the lungs try constantly to remove particulates from smoke that have gathered in the lungs. This is made even worse as the hot smoke tends to damage the cilia that remove the soot from your lungs. Depression isn't caused by smoking, but it can lead to depression as trying to give up can be a very difficult and painful process for people.
  • Question 6

In your exams, you may be asked to analyse a graph about drug consumption. Let's have a look at this graph about smoking:

 

A graph about smoking.

 

Using information from the graph, calculate the percentage of smokers that are under 16. 

CORRECT ANSWER
17%
EDDIE SAYS
The graph shows smokers in numbers out of 100, so you don't need to calculate anything in this question. The answer is 17 out of 100 which means 17%.
  • Question 7

Excess alcohol consumption destroys liver cells because they have to overwork in order to break alcohol down. Eventually, this can cause liver cirrhosis, which basically means that the liver is completely destroyed. Look at this graph illustrating worldwide consumption of different types of alcoholic drink over the years. The graph shows information about the years 1997 to 2016, but the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 are estimated results.

 

A graph showing alcohol consumption.

 

How has the consumption of beer changed since 1997?

 

In your exam, you may be asked to describe the changes, rather then choose one of many answers. Do not despair! Just study the graph carefully and follow the graph from the first year (1997 in this case) to the last year shown and describe what happens to the line (or the bars if it is a bar graph). Include numbers in your answer for maximum marks.

CORRECT ANSWER
The consumption of beer worldwide has increased from 13 litres per person in 1997 to 18 litres estimated in 2015
EDDIE SAYS
Did you work out the answer from the graph? The first answer is correct because it mentions an increase and it also gives the correct numerical data taken from the graph.
  • Question 8

Thalidomide was a drug that was given to pregnant women to ease morning sickness in the 1960's, but led to birth defects, such as babies born with underdeveloped or deformed arms and legs. Eventually, it was banned.

 

Therefore, it is very important that drugs are tested thoroughly before being allowed for human consumption. First, the drugs are tested using computer models and human cells. If they pass this stage, they are then tested on animals and if successful, are given to humans during clinical trials in small doses to start with. If there are no side effects, the optimum dose is determined during further trials.

 

Bearing all this information in mind, tick any statements that are true about drug development and trials.

CORRECT ANSWER
Drug trials are expensive and time consuming
Even after clinical trials, drugs can have severe side effects
EDDIE SAYS
There is always the danger of side effects, even after drug trials, and the development of drugs takes a lot of time and money. Options one and three are correct.
  • Question 9

It is really important that a drug has clear positive effects before being judged appropriate to be used to cure illness and disease. Therefore, double blind trials are designed to research the placebo effect.

 

A placebo drug (a drug that looks like the real drug but does not contain any of it) is given to usually half of the patients. Patients and doctors do not actually know who takes the real, and who the placebo, drug.

 

Why are they not told which drug they are taking?

CORRECT ANSWER
Due to psychological reasons, it is possible that patients feel better because they think they are receiving medication, even if it is a placebo
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get this one? Sometimes patients may feel better just because they are receiving medication due to psychological reasons, and not because the drug is effective.
  • Question 10

What is the addictive substance in tobacco smoke?

CORRECT ANSWER
Nicotine
EDDIE SAYS
Cigarettes and tobacco, in general, contain nicotine which is addictive. All three of the options are addictive substances - but nicotine is the only one in tobacco smoke. Another activity completed! Hopefully, you will be feeling a lot more confident about your knowledge of drugs and their use now. Another topic to tick off!
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