INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST DRUG/SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND ILLICIT TRAFFICKING (JUNE 26)
Drug abuse refers to the use of drugs only (not alcohol), illegal drugs, prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, in excessive amounts, for the purpose of creating/achieving pleasure effects on the brain.
Substance abuse refers to excessive use of psychoactive drugs such as alcohol, pain medications, use of prescription and over the counter, illegal drugs which can lead to physical, social, or emotional harm.
Drug abuse and substance abuse are used interchangeably. However, the American Psychiatric Association (AHA) and World Health Organization (WHO) no longer use the term “drug abuse” as a medical diagnosis.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) defines illicit trafficking as the global trade that deals with the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to Drug Prohibition Laws.
Illicit drug trafficking means illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs , Psychotropic substances and other controlled substances.
The most commonly trafficked drugs are cocaine, heroin, Morphine, cannabis sativa (Indian Hemp) and crystal methamphetamine.
TYPES OF DRUGS/SUBSTANCE ABUSE
- Prescription medications e.g Stimulants, used to treat Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD); Opioids, used to treat pain; Sedatives, used to treat anxiety disorders.
- Illegal drug abuse (also called recreational drugs) e.g Marijuana, Heroine, Cocaine.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs e.g cough medicines, cold medicines etc.
CAUSES OF DRUG ABUSE
When looking directly at the primary reasons that people begin abusing drugs or alcohol, one common cause of abuse and addiction is a belief that using the drugs will make something better. Drug use disorders have no single cause and are not the result of a lack of discipline or self-control. There are a number of biological, psychological, and social factors;
– A genetic predisposition to addiction
– Long work hours.
– Previous addiction problems
– Mental health disorders
– Early experimentation with drugs or alcohol
– Regular use or misuse of highly addictive substances
– Family history of addiction
– Poor social support
– Peers that use drugs and/or encourage drug use
– A history of trauma or other stressors
– Self-Medication & Escape
– Adults exposed to negative events (poverty, lack of parental supervision,presence of parental substance abuse, witnessing domestic violence, or being the victim of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.
– Performance Improvement: performance-enhancing drugs or stimulants are used in order to meet the expectations of their parents, teachers, employers or coaches.
COMMON SIGNS OF DRUGS/SUBSTANCE ABUSE
- Increased energy & restlessness.
- Inability to fall asleep.
- Sleeping or waking up at odd hours.
- Losing interest in things that you used to enjoy.
- Decreased performance at work.
- Unusual eating habits.
- Mood swings.
- Losing interest in self-care
- Increased need to self-isolate.
- Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
THE EFFECTS OF ILLICIT TRAFFICKING AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE AMONGST THE YOUTHS, ECONOMY AND SOCIETY.
Drug misuse has become a devouring beast in recent years amongst the youth and teens. It’s literally found in every area you turn your head to; a lot of individuals especially the youth resort to drugs and substances as a getaway medium from the vicissitudes of life, for others as a kind of recreational activity and others as to quench their inquisitiveness about drugs. The trafficking as well as abuse of illicit drugs has various adverse effects on both the users, traffickers and the nation at large.
Here are some of the significant repercussions of drugs and substance addiction amongst the youths
Emotional difficulties: Drug addiction may create or disguise as emotional disorders such as anxiety, sadness, mood swings, suicidal thoughts and schizophrenia. Unfortunately, drug use may also enhance the severity of these mental disorders. For example, teens who use marijuana weekly quadruple their risk of despair and anxiety.
Behavioral issues: Youths who take drugs have an increased risk of social issues, depression, suicide thoughts and aggression. There’s typically difficulty to link with their peers and coworkers correctly, you can practically taste the tension inside their space when they attempt striking talks and hanging out with their fellow peers.
Family feuds: In addition to personal challenges, the misuse of alcohol and other drugs by youths may result in family crises and jeopardize many elements of family life, sometimes ending in family dysfunction. Both siblings and parents are significantly impacted by alcohol- and drug-involved youths. Substance misuse may deplete a family’s financial and emotional resources.
Physical health: The potential effects of substance abuse include damage to organs (such as the heart, brain, and liver), diseases (such as heart disease, HIV), permanent changes to hormonal or nervous systems, Infertility, Bone damage, Asthma, Neonatal abstinence syndrome, Insomnia, Cancer (Men who start using marijuana as teens put themselves at the highest risk of testicular cancer).
Furthermore, Injuries due to accidents (such as vehicle accidents), physical impairments and illnesses, and the effects of probable overdoses are among the health-related repercussions of drug and substance usage.
Socioeconomic Effects: Drug abuse impacts the social functioning of individuals and creates a burden for society as well. These disorders contribute to medical or psychiatric conditions, disability, and death as a result of accidents or diseases caused or worsened by substance use, or higher rates of suicidality, all of which affect society. Other social problems associated with drug/substance abuse includes Domestic violence, House instability, Homelessness, Criminal behaviors (victim or perpetrator), Incarceration, the transmission of HIV due to IV drug use or high-risk sexual behaviors, Unemployment or dependence on welfare.
Illicit trafficking is costly for society. The costs associated with these social problems are staggering, creating an economic burden for families or payors who spend considerable sums of money on treatments for addiction, medical or psychiatric disorders, and other related problems such as those associated with welfare dependence, unemployment, or involvement in the criminal justice or social services system.
Loss of life: The trafficking of illicit drugs poses a major risk to the life of the trafficker. There have been several cases of traffickers losing their life to this Act. This is just one of so many tragic events that take place as a result of young people attempting to smuggle drugs. According to UNODC, seven (7) convicted drug traffickers from Nigeria were executed in Indonesia for drug trafficking, in April 2015.
Increased crime rate.
- Drug/substance abuse refers to the use of drugs, including alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, in excessive amounts.
- The trafficking of illicit drugs has a significant effect on the crime rate. Research has shown that a large majority of violent crimes namely murder, rape & robbery take place under the influence of these controlled substances especially Indian hemp. In addition to the large amount of money involved in the trade where drug traffickers would go to extreme lengths including resorting to violence to protect their business.
- Children are at higher risk of developing drug abuse and addiction disorders.
- The Primary harm of illicit trafficking includes; the damage to health from drug use, Increased corruption through enrichment of local Powerful elites that may be acting in collusion with criminals, Violence resulting from competition among groups that control the markets and increased armed protection, thus facilitating and intensifying organized criminal activity, which in turn threaten lives, social stability and peaceful communities.
*Crowe AH, Bilchik S. Consequences of youth substance abuse in Drug Identification and Testing Summary 1998. [cited 2011 17 November] Available from: http://www.ojjdp.gov/PU/drugid/contents.html. WHO. Substance abuse [cited 2011 17 November]
BY PHARM. AUGUSTA.