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Stop Drug! Stop Abuse!

18 Jul 2019

Are you a victim of substance abuse or anyone you know is the victim? If you are or anyone you know is substance abused then the foremost important thing to keep in mind is what actually the term Substance Abuse is? In simple way, it can be defined as abusing of substances such as alcohol, tobacco and other drugs for varied and complicated reasons. It refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs. Substance abuse describes a pattern of substance (drug) use that leads to significant problems or distress. For students, it can be failure to attend school. Using substance in dangerous situations like (driving a car) can be proved very harmful. As a disorder Substance Abuse refers to the abuse of illegal substances or the abusive use of legal substances. 

The most common legal drug of abuse is 'Alcohol'. Now the question arises....Is alcohol a drug? Yes, Alcohol Is a Drug. Alcohol is, of course, legal for adults over the age of 21. And there is nothing "wrong" with having a couple of drinks with friends or to unbend on occasions. But, it doesn't take much alcohol to reach a threatful level of drinking, and that's when alcohol use turns to alcohol abuse.

The problem of Substance Abuse is major in teenagers and do you know what substances are most often abused by adolescents? Some of the frequently abused substances by adolescents include Alcohol, Marijuana, Tobacco, Prescription drugs, Hallucinogens, Cocaine, Amphetamines, Opiates, Anabolic steroids, Inhalants, Methamphetamine. 

Do we know who is most affected by substance abuse? Some teenagers are more at risk of developing substance-related disorders, including teenagers with one or more of the following conditions present the children of substance abusers also suffers the same. Even adolescents who are victims of sexual, physical, or psychological abuse, along with the teenagers having mental health problems, especially depressed and suicidal teens can get attracted towards substance abuse.

What actually the symptoms of Substance Abuse are?  If someone is getting high on drugs or getting intoxicated (drunk) on a regular basis? We can also judge if they are avoiding friends and family members even they lie about how much they are using or drinking the substance. People suffering from this also give up activities they used to enjoy such as sports or spending time with non-using friends. Some persons also start talking a lot about drug and alchol on the other hand some hides it. Now the phase starts when they enjoy doing it and start making pressure on others to use or drink.

These people also start creating problem in social world like getting trouble at school resulting their suspension from school for a substance-related incident or missing schools due to substance use and/or declining grades with the law and society rules; even take risks, such as sexual risks or driving under the influence of a substance and at the end the person get depressed, hopeless and have suicidal feelings. Such behaviors may indicate an adolescent is having a problem with substance abuse. However, each adolescent may experience symptoms differently.

Let's have an account of commonly abused substances.

Marijuana: It comes from the plant Cannabis sativa, the active ingredient in the plant is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), associated with intoxication. Marijuana resin is called hashish it contains higher concentration of THC. The drug is usually smoked, but it can also be eaten. The smoke irritates your lungs and contains more cancer-causing chemicals than tobacco smoke.

Cocaine: It is derived from the coca plant of South America; this can be smoked, injected, snorted, or swallowed. The intensity and duration of the drug's effects depend on the amount you take. 

Heroin: It is also known as smack. Heroin intoxication can cause drowsiness, pleasure, and slowed breathing and intense withdrawl can include vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, aches, and sweating. Overdose of drug may result in decreased breathing to the point of stopped breathing and death as heroin is usually injected, often with dirty needles.

Other harmful drug includes Methamphetamines, Anabolic steriods, Club drugs, Ecstasy, GHB, Ketamine, LSD and many more.

If we come to the prevention of Substance Abuse, the primary goal of prevention is to delay the first use of alcohol or other drugs. Also there are three major ways used to prevent adolescent substance use and abuse, including: 

School-based prevention program-This usually provide drug and alcohol education and interpersonal and behavior skills training to the addict.

Family-focused prevention program- This program involves skill training for parents, family, teenagers along with social skills training. The available Research literature suggests that components of family-focused prevention program have decreased the use of alcohol and drugs in teenagers along with the improvement in effectiveness of parenting skills.

Community-based prevention program-These program usually have media involvement and aim to focus on parents and community groups.Programs, such as Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD), are  some of the most well-known, community-based programs.

This process attempts to prevent substance use or ceil the development of problems related with the substances. Prevention effort focuses on individual or their surroundings."Environmental Prevention" is a concept focuses on changing community conditions or policies so that the availability and the demand of substances are reduced.

Effective drug and alcohol abuse prevention is everyone's responsibility so spread awareness to make Indians free from getting substance abused.

Recently, on the same theme, a workshop on Substance Abuse was conducted in Manava Bhawna Public School, Burari where class 8th students participated. The FairGaze mentor ‘Mr. Puneet Gupta’, a renowned psychologist from adhyapann: The Skills Hub led by founder Dr. Bhavna Chadha, a neuro – clinical psychologist informed students about Substance Abuse. The session was aimed to highlight and aware students about all the physical, psychological and long term effects of Substance Abuse. For more details, one can visit the link below on facebook.

By: Saksham Gupta

Posted By - Assistant Editor