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Pleasure and pain
Pleasure-Seeking Behaviour
Pleasure and Drugs
Avoiding Pain

HelpLinked Module: LE MARCHÉ MONDIAL DE LA DROGUELinked Module: The Pleasure System, Drugs and SocietyLien :  Politique des deux poids, deux mesures

Over the past few years, there has been much discussion of “doping” in the world of sports. Like people in many other walks of life today, athletes are subject to tremendous pressure to be productive and to perform. Hence more and more of them are engaging in doping behaviour to improve their performance.

Doping behaviour means consuming certain substances to cope with real or perceived obstacles in situations such as sports competitions, school examinations, job interviews, and public speaking. In the world of sports, where performance often translates directly into endorsement income, athletes since the 1950s have been using all kinds of substances (mostly testosterone derivatives) to increase their strength, power, endurance, and aggressiveness and to recover from injuries more quickly. But these substances have secondary effects, including acne, hair loss, masculinization of women’s bodies, and even cancers and cardiovascular problems. They can also lead to physical dependency.

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Certain drugs are prohibited in certain cultures for instance, alcohol in Islamic countries, and cannabis, cocaine, and opiates in Western countries. But how dangerous a drug actually is has nothing to do with whether it is made legal or illegal in a given country (see box below).

The legal restrictions to which each drug is subject vary from one historical period and one country to another. And the continuum runs from total prohibition to freely permitted sale. In Canada, for example, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, and cannabis are all illegal substances, but the consumption of cannabis may be allowed under specified medical conditions. However, the legalization of cannabis is being discussed more and more in many countries of the world.

Psychoactive medications used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and depression are legal, but must be prescribed by a physician, and their use is strictly controlled. Nevertheless, they are still abused frequently.

Lastly, alcohol and tobacco are legal substances that can be consumed freely. The controls over their sale and the regulation of their use do not, however, keep them from being overconsumed by a great many individuals.

But the traffic in illicit drugs is a geopolitical factor that continues to have an extremely heavy impact on our societies.

Tobacco, a legal drug, is the cause of 20% of all deaths in industrialized countries. It is certainly one of the most dangerous drugs, if not the most dangerous. Nicotine, its main active ingredient, very quickly induces tolerance and psychological as well as physical dependency.

For the past 30 years, the tobacco companies have vehemently denied that cigarettes were addictive, even though their own internal studies, which they kept secret, proved otherwise. Children must be warned about the risks of tobacco between the ages of eight and ten. By age 12, it is already too late.

Linked Module: "Calcul de vies" : la preuve par le tabac

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