‘How Much Does the Internet Weigh?’
Thursday October 21st 2012
‘What are the dangers from using drugs?’
Tuesday February 19th 2013
The Dangers of Drugs – Commentary
I aimed this piece at a younger audience, namely teenagers. In order to grasp their attention from the start, I decided to include elements of graphology to make it more clear and appealing to the target audience. Firstly, the use of pictures to give visual representations of the drugs will make it obvious what it is that they should avoid. It also contrasts with the text, which could give the impression that there’s not as much text as there appears, because the colours and the space that they take up is eye-catching. On top of this, I changed the colour of the paper to be slightly yellow, which makes it slightly more interesting for youths, because it gets away from the idea of work and school. The use of bullet points allowed me to compress the information into smaller chunks, which adds to the sense of there isn’t that much text to read. Lastly, the second page ends in a direct question to the audience, and the way it is shown is intimidating, much like the Drugscope website. The use of blood red to poise a direct question has the connotation of severe consequences, and will make the reader think hard about the risk.
The beginning and end of my piece poises a question directly at the audience, which allows them to make their own decision, but the semantics gives it a negative feeling towards drugs. “Have you considered the consequences” focuses on the negative aspect of drugs, already implying negative connotations to the topic. This continues with “What could, and probably will happen if you start”. Through my choice of wording, the idea that something bad is likely to happen sticks in the reader’s head whilst reading “what probably will happen”.
This piece is directed in a general sense, not specifically to a group. This means that I had to explain some things, like what stimulants, sedatives and hallucinogens are, but I was able to keep it simple and relatable to teens, by using terms such as ‘worlds’ and ‘trip’ instead of the scientific terms. These lexical choices were key the maintaining the reader’s attention, and still being able to communicate the information that I intended to get across, whilst keeping the word count down through not explaining more complex terms.
There were many examples of the consequences of drugs that I could have used, but I decided to use few, with more relevance to the reader. I did each list in groups of threes, except the ways of taking drugs, because the triplets rule usually works well, and I feel that it did here. Using triplets creates a sense of rhythm to a piece of writing, helping it to stick with readers and get the message across. This semantic choice was also influential in the overall piece, as it helped to shape each section and also made me decide to use triplets for each section.
The Dangers of Drugs
There are three main types of drugs;
Stimulants – These make the user hyper and very energetic. They can also be dangerous, creating a sense of panic if taken in large quantities. Stimulants are dangerous for people with heart or blood pressure problems.
Sedatives – These can cause a lapse in concentration, making the risk of accidents much higher. They are very dangerous, and an overdose can be fatal.
Hallucinogenic – These sometimes produce very disturbing and odd ‘worlds’ for the user. This can be dangerous to the user and to the people around them.
Drug use is a dangerous thing, and can lead to devastating consequences, but that depends on a number of factors.
• The first is the drug itself, as some drugs are more lethal and addictive than others.
• How much is taken also effects the outcome, as taking small amounts may not lead to addiction, whilst larger doses could even lead to death.
• The user also has an effect, because it depends on whether or not the person has taken before, and how well their body can cope with the drugs.
The way in which the drug is taken also has an effect on how lethal it can be.
• Injection is a particularly risky method as it risks obtaining blood infections if equipment is shared.
• Eating or drinking is risky too, because the effects are slow to start, but when they kick in there is nothing you can do.
• Snorting the drug is often less dangerous, however this can cause damage to the nasal membranes.
• Inhaling is also a less dangerous way of taking, but some ways of doing this, such as squirting the drug into a bad and placing it over your head, can lead to death. Nevertheless, the most common way of squirting it onto a rag is not so dangerous.
• Smoking is another way that has minimal side effects, but, as with all forms of smoking, can lead to damage of the respiratory system.
The person using the drug has a huge effect on the experience they have. A person who is unhappy, depressed, or anxious is likely to have a bad experience when using drugs. They could become more anxious and possibly violent, whereas a person in a good mood is likely to be more responsible and have a better experience. Other user-related points are;
• Health problems. If the user suffers from heart disease, diabetes, or epilepsy, taking drugs could be more dangerous or could make their health problems worse.
• Energy levels at the time of consumption have an effect on the user’s experience. Oddly enough, having lower energy levels can cause the ‘trip’ to be more extreme than if they are full of energy.
• Lower body weight could make the effects of the drug worse. Also, taking a drug when you have an eating disorder such as anorexia could make the disorder worse.
Where drugs are taken could make doing so a life-threatening act. Taking drugs in remote places; alleyways, abandoned buildings, motorway underpasses, could mean that emergency services are not easily called. Even if the setting is not remote, taking drugs in a school has often led to expulsion, meaning that the user’s future has been ruined. Drug use also lapses the users concentration. This can lead to an increase in the likelihood of accidents. Not only that, but it also means that they are not thinking straight, and so things like unwanted pregnancies, STIs such as HIV and more become issues because the user may not focus on the safety of sex.
There are a lot more dangers to drugs than the drug itself. Think about all of the above, and not only that, but the people around you, and how they will view the use of drugs. Really think. Is it worth it?