Different people use different drugs in different ways. Each method has advantages and drawbacks depending on the situation and the properties of the drug.

Basically there are four methods of drug administration: swallowing (oral), applying the drug to mucous membranes and to the skin (transdermal), inhalation and injection.

Users usually make a choice based on convenience, desired speed that they want the drug to come on, and how long the effect will last for. Over the next few weeks we will take a close look at these different methods of use and examine their risks, benefits and problems. This week we will look at swallowing.

The oral route is the most common method of taking drugs provided as pills, capsules, tablets, liquids and powders. Drugs taken orally are generally absorbed primarily in the small intestine rather than the stomach.

Absorption from the stomach and intestine is sometimes affected by the presence of food in the digestive tract. Any food present can delay the stomach emptying or it can dilute the concentration of a drug.

This in turn can slow the drug’s absorption and reduce the peak drug level in the blood. Furthermore, food can occasionally cause the drug to pass out of the body without being absorbed.

This is why many drug users don’t eat a meal before a big night out partying, believing the food may reduce the effect of the drug. Although this may be correct in theory, it is still wise to ensure that you have eaten well during the day.

Good food strengthens your immune system so that you can handle the physical effects of the drug you are taking. Having absolutely nothing in your stomach can cause far more problems than simply slowing down your drugs coming on.

The oral route is ineffective for certain drugs because the stomach destroys them or makes them less effective. Heroin, for example, is changed into morphine in the stomach, and once the morphine has been absorbed into the bloodstream, it passes through the liver on its way to the brain.

During this journey through the liver, so much of the morphine is destroyed that only a fraction of it reaches the brain. Therefore, swallowing heroin does not give the user the required rush.

This is why the classic myth of smacky pills simply makes no sense at all. The amount of heroin that could possibly be found in an ecstasy pill would very quickly be broken down in the stomach and would have little to no effect at all.

An important feature of the oral route is the slow speed at which most drugs are absorbed into the bloodstream. As a result, drug users who are looking for an immediate or intense rush usually avoid taking drugs orally.

Although swallowing a drug brings it on slowest and weakest of all, it also lasts the longest and the comedown appears to be more bearable. Users who swallow drugs also don’t build up so much tolerance and will be able to resist the urge to use more if they wish to cut back their use.

Remember: if you do not want any negative consequences, do not use the drug and, no matter how many times you have used a substance, never be blas?/p>

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