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Drugs and Drug Abuse

Drug and abuse pose potent problems in the world today, ruining the lives of countless millions. However, what is more alarming is the still more alarming lack of awareness about the problem amongst the masses.

What is Drug Abuse?

Now this is one issue that not many people have agreed to. However, apart from the specifics, all the definitions of drug abuse harp on the matter of misuse or overuse of certain specified substances. To elaborate, these substances are psychological stimulants and performance-enhancing drugs that have been used for non-healing purposes.

Alcohol, amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, methaqualone, opium alkaloids and mild tranquilizers are some of the substances that are most widely misused. The use of these substances brings on criminal prosecutions against the user, apart from the obvious physical and psychological damages. And add to it the social discrimination that will follow.

What Drug Abuse Entails?

The consequences of using drug and abuse of it span fatal frontiers. There are some drugs that affect the central nervous system (CNS) leading to mood disorders, loss of sensations and feelings of disorientation and dizziness. Then there are drugs that further go on to affect other organs and systems of the body. Studies in USA have shown that certain drugs have led to escalation of comorbid psychiatric syndromes amongst its users.

The long-term use of drug and abuse of it also leads to health complications like lung cancer or emphysema from smoking tobacco.

However, in this context, it is worth remembering that all drugs that act upon the CNS do not have the “abuse potential”, that is to say, they are not subject to misuses.

Apart from the obvious health problems, psychological addiction is one of the most severe consequences of usage of drug and abuse of it.

While not apparent on the surface, drug abuse has other far-reaching consequences, mostly societal. The use and the consequent addiction on drugs has had many a family subject to immense stress levels and ultimately reduced to penury. Furthermore, social studies have conclusively proven that drug abuse is one of the primary causes behind the rising levels of violence in many nations.

The practice of sharing needles amongst the drug users has led to the spread of many a disease, HIV/AIDS being the chief among them.

Measures To Counter and Cure Drug Abuse

The truth is indeed depressing, but the silver lining in the cloud is the fact that government agencies are implementing measures, and quite stringently too, to counter the menace of drug abuse.

There are strict laws in many countries that deem the use and even the possession of certain drugs as illegal. And infringement of these laws can even bring death penalty in some countries. These laws have been formulated to act as deterrents to criminal behavior.

Most of the countries reeling under the evils of drug abuse have active social awareness programs wherein the masses are educated about the ills wrought by drug and abuse of it and how to avoid over-dosage.

An innovative new program, termed Harm Reduction, concentrates on the distribution of free syringes to curb the spread of blood-related diseases and opioid substitution therapy which is aimed at bringing down the instances of criminal offences related to drug trafficking. Though in conflict with the prevalent global norm of treating drug trafficking and drug abuse as illegal and therefore liable to prosecution, this therapy has had quite a success in Brazil, bringing down AIDS mortality by as much as 50%.

For the drug addicts there are several medicinal therapies that promise to both cure the drug-related complications and curb the dependence on the drug. And the newest form of cure is Pharmacotherapy. Herein you have immunotherapies that concentrate on preventing drugs like ocaine, methamphetamine, phencyclidine, nicotine, and opioids from affecting the brain, the use of Buprenorphine to stem the effect of opioids on the brain or Naltrexone to curb alcohol addiction.

The world has woken up to the problem of drug and abuse and one can surely hope to be optimistic that the problem can be henceforth nipped at the bud.


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