When psychoactive drugs (potentially addictive) such as heroin are used repeatedly over time, tolerance may develop. Tolerance occurs when it takes a higher dose of the drug to achieve the same level of response achieved initially.
Tolerance develops because of the body’s natural desire for homeostasis (stability). Our bodies abhors dramatic highs and lows. To regain some normal functioning despite continuous presence of a drug in the system,  some adaptations to counter the drug effects is required through increased drug metabolism and/or decreasing it’s receptors.
Tolerance to such drugs is dangerous though. It may result in several adverse effects including:
1. Elevating the risk for dependence and addiction. For example, as alcohol tolerance increases, more and more of alcohol is required to achieve a high which makes dependence more likely.
2. Organ damage. Because drug and alcohol use affect multiple organ systems, increasing doses due to tolerance development increases likelihood of multiple organ injuries with corresponding health problems.
3. Tolerance to desired effects drives many people with addictions to seek out more potent drugs with concomitant risk of severer adverse effects.
In pursuit of more high individuals may mix different types of drugs with disastrous consequences to health. The recently reported use of preservatives water meter by drug addicts in Malindi is one such example.
3. Life-threatening overdose. Individuals who have developed tolerance against a given drug are more likely to increase the dosage taken or switch to more potent ways of taking these drugs, such as snorting or injecting to oobtains high. This scenario raises the risk for overdose and poisoning associated with serious adverse effects such as respiratory depression (slowed breathing rate).  Tolerance does not reduce the risks of adverse effects. Abusers of opiod drugs such as heroin quickly develop tolerance to the euphoric effects but not to the dangerous respiratory depression (slowed breathing).
For this reason, patients on tramadol painkillers should be monitored closely for signs of addictive behavior.
4. The need to obtain more and more of a drug drives individuals  to put themselves in dangerous situations (eg burglary and prostitution) in order to obtain more of the psychoactive substance. This compounds on the  drug use problems.
5. Precipitation of withdrawal syndrome. After prolonged continues use of excessive psychoactive substances, the adaptations necessary for  stability makes the brain to expect certain amounts of the drug for “normal”  functioning of the body. The Inability, for whatever reason, to meet this expected quota causes adverse reactions called withdrawal syndrome.

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