Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Drug and substance abuse


Drug abuse is the excessive and self-damaging use of drugs or substances leading to addiction or dependence, serious physical injury and/or psychological harm or death. It can also be referred to as substance abuse. Certain chemicals from various drugs abuse are used purposely for the creating of pleasurable effects on the brain. There are over 190 million drug users around the world and the problem has been increasing at an alarming rate, especially among young adults. Drug abuse occurs among various age groups and people from diverse backgrounds and socio-economic strata. 

Drug abuse has been a major issue in Ghana over the years, especially among the youth. According to the head of education, Ernestina Adjei said that ‘the UN world report on drugs indicated that about 21% of Ghanaians of school going age are engaged in drug abuse’. Many writers have extensively written on this disturbing issue. It’s mind blowing to discover that about 70% of the youth in Ghana engage in drug abuse.

Pain Killers are the most commonly abused form of drugs, such as; Tramadol and Codeine.

People abuse drugs for many reasons. Some people abuse drugs to prove their masculinity to their friends and to impress the opposite sex. Curiosity has also been a main cause of drug abuse. For the desire to learn or know more about something which will be due to its undue nicety or fastidiousness. Also, a lot of people abuse drugs because they lack adequate education on the appropriate use of these drugs. This mostly occurs among the aged. Influence and pressure from one’s peers has also been a contributing factor to drug abuse among the youth of Ghana. Another pushing factor to drug abuse is the unrealistic perception by abusers that it’s a solution to their problems. People suffering from anxiety and depression commonly abuse these drugs with this perception. Also, people going through emotional trauma are easily lured into drug abuse with this mindset.

There are many effects that come with the abuse of drugs. Theseeffects vary on the drug of choice and to the extent to which one is exposed to the drug. Some of these can be immediate, but others can be long-lasting and impact lives for many years and sometimes forever. These effects can be anything from organ failure to chronic fatigue syndrome, where you feel tired all the time. In a worst case scenario, one can become a living-dead or die from drug abuse.

Because drug abuse is a worrying issue among the youth of Ghana, the PAGSUNG ICS team decided to carry out activities to tackle the high rate of drug abuse. On the 21st of May, 2018, the team decided to lead an Awareness Raising Session on drug abuse at the Bagabaga Demonstration Junior High School. We interacted with the final year pupils of the school to ascertain how much they knew about drug abuse. The session was a successful one where the pupils shared with us the drug abuse issues they know. Pupils were educated on a number of drugs that are being abused by the youth. So they were equipped with information on the short term and long term effects of the drugs and also what to watch out for when consuming prescribed drugs. Halfway through the presentation we decided to have a quiz on the topics we had been discussing with the pupils. We were very pleased with their responses as they got every question correct. In order to bring to light the negative effects of drug abuse, we showed a few pictures of some celebrities who had ruined their lives through the abuse of drugs. We ended the session by introducing them to ways in which they can seek help from others, and gave them some advice on how to help themselves if they are struggling with drug abuse.

People who abuse drugs are often struggling with issues they find difficult to deal with, so they turn to drugs. This could be because they feel as if they can forget about their issues and reality by using drugs. It is very important to support friends and family who are abusing drugs. You can do this by letting them know that you care and that you are trying to help them. You could also suggest attending counselling or group therapy sessions and even accompany them to said sessions. Sometimes people just need someone to talk to or a small support network to help them with their issues. You should always treat people who are abusing drugs with respect and try to understand why they are relying on drugs. This is the best way to find the root cause of their addiction. If you can find out why someone started taking drugs in the first place, then it is much easier to help them. You’ll be able to assist them in tackling the issues they are facing and let them know that they are not alone. Educating someone on the consequences of drug abuse is a vital part of the support process. The individual might not know about the long term effects drug abuse can have on their body and mind, so it is important that they are taught about it.

If you are abusing drugs and want to free yourself from the addiction, there are many ways in which you can help yourself. All it takes is one positive change in your life to start a chain of events that can lead to a happier and healthier life. It is important to note though, that there is no quick fix to drug addiction, it is a difficult and long term process. Which is why you should try to surround yourself with positivity and go through the healing process one step at a time. If you talk to friends and family about the issues you are facing, they can support you and help you battle the addiction. This can be through emotional support, by accompanying you to group therapy sessions or by setting up some counselling sessions with a medical professional. If you feel as though you can’t talk to friends and family about your drug abuse issues, you can set up a private counselling session with a drug abuse expert by yourself. These sessions are run by medical professionals with a lot of knowledge on mental health, drug abuse and how to fight addictions. These sessions are also confidential, so your friends and family don’t have to find out. If you discover that the guidance and counselling sessions aren’t helping, you can take the next step and enter into a rehabilitation center. If you decide to enter into a rehabilitation you will become a resident and live there along with other people who are dealing with drug abuse or alcoholism. You will often engage in group therapy sessions with the other residents, where you will talk about your issues and support each other. This is an integral part of the healing process and can be very beneficial to everyone involved. You aren’t just helping yourself, but you are helping others, which can instill you with a sense of belonging and purpose. In a rehabilitation center you also have constant support from counsellors and medical experts who will be helping you through the entire process.

As long as you want to be helped, there will always be people who are willing to help. But the most important thing is that you make positive changes in your own life, whether that be through developing a healthier diet or by exercising regularly. It is important not to lose hope, because there is always a way back to where you started before drugs came into your life. You are never too far gone; you don’t have to continue the downward spiral. You can fight the addiction and you never have to do it alone.



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