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I. Introduction

“Drug
abuse is one of the top problems confronting the nation today especially among
the youth” (Chesang, 2013, p.126). In today’s society, more and more young
people are in the habit of using drugs. Tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs have
prevalently been utilized among adolescents and young adults in recent years
(Das et al. 2016). The National Institute on Drug abuse (2014) estimated that
more than 20% of students in high school have experienced a prescription drug
for nonmedical purpose and Abdullahi, Deribe & Kura (2014) stated that over
55% of case of drug is being abused, with many reasons given for this. Hence,
as reported by Chesang (2013), they are considered to be the causes of drug
abuse among youngsters, which are stress of problems in school and life, lack
of parental support or peer and social influence. Unfortunately, young people
as those age 16-30 are most affected by abusing drug, which is associated with
many risks of mental and physical health problems, behavior problems and
international relationship (Marshall, 2014). Thus, this paper is aimed at
raising awareness about drug abuse, including causes and effects, as well as
purposing measures that can be taken to control drug abuse among youth.

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II. Discussion of findings

1. Background information about
drug abuse

Most
of the drugs and other chemical substances are helpful for people to maintain
normal health when used properly. Unfortunately, the misuse of drugs including
both legal and illegal, as well as alcohol and tobacco is a growing problem
among young people worldwide (Somani & Meghani, 2016). According to The
World Health Organization (WHO, n.d.), drug abuse is defined as a substance
that is considered abusive if it is used intentionally and incapable of
controlling substance use to cause physiological or psychological effects or
both for purposes other than therapies. The use contributed to health risks or
some combinations of these.

Shocking
statistics have been published to show clearly how prevalent drug abuse is. The
United Nation Drug Control Programme in a 1998 report (cited in Njeri &
Ngesu, 2014) stated that about 60% students abuse substances. Marshall (2014)
conducted that 79% of adolescents used alcohol and 57% of those drink
frequently. In Mauritius, 76% of people aged 15-29 years have been involved in
drug abuse and 10,9% of those injected drugs (Rambaree, Mousavi & Ahmadi,
2017). Meanwhile, in an article by Somani & Meghani (2016), there were over
90,000 case of drug abuse in Central Asia while the number of deaths due to
drug abuse was 1700 people in the United Stated in 2012. Consequently, the
Office of National Drug Control Policy’s prescription drug abuse prevention
campaign was established in 2008 due to the increase in the illegal drug use
cases among youth (Fleary, Heffer & McKyer, 2013).

There
are many factors that contribute to youngsters’ abuse of drug consist of
genetic and environmental factors (Marshall, 2014). First of all, friend and
family are considered to be environment factors which have the most impact on
youth’s behavior as evidenced from a Kenyan study (Njeri & Ngesu, 2014).
Chesang (2013) noted that a friend or peer group can be a sour of information
and entice adolescents to involve in illegal drugs and it accounts for 42% of
all factors. In addition, it was 75% of youths being referred to drugs by
friends in Kenya in 2009 (Somani & Meghani, 2016). Meanwhile, in the same
article, Somani & Meghani (2016) reported lack of parental care can lead
high risk to misuse drug among teens, which constitutes a hefty 58%. The second
factor which is genetic include externalizing problems in youth. According to
Owae (2016), a stage of transition from childhood to adulthood is a
developmental period which is easy for young people to stress or depress because
of problems in school and life. Prakask et al. (2015) conducted that stress and
habit contribute 13% and 50% respectively of impact on youth. Finally, all of
these have led them to abuse drugs.

2. The effects of drug abuse

We
all recognize the serious consequences of drug abuse, no matter where they take
place. In some cases of drug abuse, they can cause short-term effects or
long-term effect of drugs (The National Institute on Drug abuse, 2014).
Short-term effects which depend on the dosage used after just one use can range
from changes in appetite, wakefulness, heart rate, blood pressure, and/or mood
to heart attack, stroke, psychosis, overdose, and even death while long-term
effects can include heart or lung disease, cancer, mental illness, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis,
and others (The National Institute on Drug abuse & the effects of drug
abuse n.d.).Furthermore, researches have shown that abusing drugs can affect
the body in many different way associated with disastrous consequences of
physical and mental health problems or antisocial behaviors (The effects of
drug abuse n.d.).

The
first and direct impacts of drug abuse are health problems. According to
Effects of drug abuse and addition (n.d.), drug abuse can weaken the immune
system while increasing susceptibility to infection. Concurrently, it causes
various heart diseases, ranging from abnormal heart rate to heart attack, liver
diseases and cancer (Hagell, 2013). Alcohol directly attacks the liver cells
and can be permanently contracted and hardened, which is called cirrhosis, can
reduce the liver’s ability to metabolize fat, commonly called alcoholic
hepatitis. Also it is the cause of gastritis (Drug Addiction Health Effects,
2017). Moreover, drug injection is rooted in epidemics such as HIV, hepatitis B
and C, lung cancer and brain disorder (Somani & Meghani, 2016).

However,
drug abuse not only affects the physical health but also mental health. As
reported by Chesang (2013), long-term use of alcohol and use of drugs can lead
to mental disorders hallucinations and long-term dementia, even death due to
alcohol poisoning. Besides, there is also an increased risk of developing
depression, psychosis, paranoia, anxiety, aggression and other problems (Drug
Addiction Health Effects, 2017).

In
addition, drug abuse can exert drastic effect on youngsters’ behavior.
According to the Salt Lake Country Division of Substance Abuse in the United
States (cited in Somani & Meghani 2016), there is a direct correlation
between substance abuse and various aggressive and criminal activities
associated with 45% of rapes, 51% of assaults, 70% of teen suicides, 51% of
theft. Meanwhile, in an article by Chesang (2013), most drug users are likely
to drop out of school, which lead to a decrease in academic achievement. He
also emphasized that drug abuse affects their relation with family members and
friends.

3. Solution to drug abuse

Appropriate
measures are a good strategy to help prevent the use and abuse of young adults
and adolescents as results from NIDA-funded research (cited in Abdullahi,
Deribe & Kura 2014). In addition, the project STAR (Students Taught
Awareness and Resistance) in United States proved that intervention in media,
school, family, and policy change are effective in reducing drug abuse (Somani
& Meghani 2016).

According
to “Risk factor and strategies for preventing alcohol abuse among young adults
with a family history of substance abuse” (2014), education and skill-training
are considered to be an important factor in orientating children and
adolescents with the knowledge and understand about the dangers of drug use to
avoid it. Chesang (2013) stated schools should have courses on prevention of
drug use which need cooperation of parents, school boards, law enforcement
officers, treatment organizations and non-governmental organizations. He also
emphasized the government should train teachers to lead students effectively
which is also point of view of   Somani
& Meghani (2016). Meanwhile, in an article by Njeri & Ngesu (2014),
teachers need to communicate and interact effectively with students and
participate in mentoring sessions. They also said that teachers also need to
promote positive relationship between students and their families. Besides,
students should encourage other students to fight drugs and persuade those who
use them to seek help (Chesang 2013).

Additionally,
media also plays a huge role in demonstrating dangers of drug abuse, as well as
promoting preventions of drug use. This can be done by marketing through TV,
newspapers, magazines or conferences (Somani & Meghani 2016).

Last
but not least, changing policy is a critical issue that focuses on policy
changes in schools, communities and in the city and country to reduce access to
drugs, and increase support for the programme as evidenced from a recent study
(Somani & Meghani 2016). According to by Njeri & Ngesu (2014), policy
makers should provide information about drug abuse to parents and train schools
and teachers with aim at managing students as a way to address drug abuse case.
Furthermore, in order to reduce the rate of drug use among youth, they should
provide job opportunities appropriately for worker who do not have stable
career. These is a step to help prevent from abusing drug among young people.

III. Conclusion

Over
a relatively short period of time, drug abuse has emerged and evolved into an
alarming problem in many parts in the world, increasing in both popularity and
seriousness. It is important that young people be adequately informed about the
danger of abusing drug and proper measures be taken to prevent the problem.
Obviously, those measure will be take time and a lot of efforts from the
society; however, it would bring a better life and future for youth.

 

 

 

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