Drug is chemical substance associated with district physical and psychological effects. It alters a person’s normal bodily processes or functions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined drug abuse as persistent or sporadic excessive drug use, inconsistent or unrelated to acceptable medical practice .Addiction or physical dependence, is a state whereby the body requires continued administration of the drug in order to function.
Illegal drugs: heroin, cocaine, LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide)
Legal drugs: Alcohol, tobacco and amphetamines.
Types of Abusable Drugs
The abusable drugs may be divided into 6 categories as follows:
1. Alcohol: Some people use it as a normal, pleasant and sociable activity. For some, it is a spur, which enables them to work. Also, alcohol relieves tension and lessens aggressive inhibitions. It also impairs judgment and creates confusion.
2. Sedatives: Relax the central nervous system, induce sleep and provide a calming effect. E.g., Tranquilizers. In higher dose, their effects resemble alcohol intoxication. The ability to think, concentrate and work is impaired and the emotional control is weakened.
3. Stimulants: Activate the central nervous system and relieve tensions, treat mild depression, E.g., Amphetamines, caffeine, cocaine etc. Heavy dose can result in extreme nervousness, irritability, headache, sweating and diarrhea. Abruptly withdrawing the drugs can result in mental illness and a deep suicidal depression.
4. Narcotics: Produce a depressant effect on the central nervous system. E.g., opium, marijuana, heroin, morphine, pethedine, cocaine and cannabis (charas, ganja and bhang). The withdrawal symptoms vary with the degree of physical dependence. The symptoms start after 8 – 12 hours after the last dose – shaking, sweating, chill, mental anguish, abdominal and leg cramps.
5. Hallucinogens: Produces distortions of perception and dream – images. E.g., LSD, which is a man – made chemical. It is so powerful that one – ounce can have 3 lakh human doses. The effect of an average dose to LSD lasts for 8 – 10 hours. An attempt dose of LSD lasts for 8 – 10 hours. An attempt to withdraw from its use can result in panic, depression and permanent severe mental derangement.
6. Nicotine: Includes cigarettes, bidi, cigars, snuff and tobacco. Nicotine has no medical use. Frequent or heavy use of nicotine has no medical use. Frequent or heavy use of nicotine may cause heart attack, lung cancer and bronchitis. The law doesn’t classify this as a drug.
Motivations in Drug use
1. Psychological causes: like relieving tension, easing depression, satisfying curiosity, removing boredom etc. ?
2. Social causes: being accepted by friends, challenging social values.
3. Physiological causes: staying awake, removing pain, getting sleep
4. Miscellaneous causes: improving study, solving personal problems.
Causes of Drug Abuse
It is very difficult to find out a single cause for drug abuse. Being a psychologically and socially complex phenomenon, its roots lie in a complex of socio – cultural, biological, geographical, historical and economic issues.
1. One prominent cause is the effect of drugs in reducing tensions, increasing alertness, inducing relaxation and sleep and alleviation of pain.
2. Individuals personality i.e., those who have problems of adjustment in their family or society suffer from inferiority complex, frustration etc. and in order to overcome these feelings such individuals use drugs.
3. Environmental factors like family history of drug abuse, broken family, slum dwelling, growing mental stress etc induces drug addiction.
4. Peer – pressure is one of the important factors behind drug abuse. Some people start drugs just in order to have a different kind of experience.
5. The modern way of socialization wherein drug use is related to prestige compels various individuals to use drugs.
6. Poor economic conditions compel individuals for drug abuse.
7. Some people are also genetically predisposed to drug abuse.
8. Easy availability and absence of punishment and stringent laws encourage drug abuse.
9. The Weakness of enforcement machinery has encouraged widespread abuse of drugs.
Consequences of Drug Abuse
1. Physical disorders like anxiety, fatigue, depression, vomiting, muscle cramp, convulsions, delirium, headache, lifestyle disorders like high BP, heart disease etc.
2. Injecting the drug may lead to chances of AIDS and Hepatitis.
3. Psychological illness like experiences of flash backs, abstinence, withdrawal symptoms, delusion, mania etc.
4. Drug inhibits the productive efficiency of a person and mood disorders leading to marital problems and poor work performance in the organization.
5. Drug creates destructive co – dependency and therefore, may lead to disruption of family.
6. Permanent drug users have lesser babies and weaker progenies.
7. It deteriorates the work environment and thus hampers productivity.
8. It may also lead to crime, violent behavior and juvenile delinquency.