Drug abuse is a pervasive phenomenon and a negative trend of the society. It has become a global problem, now a days and ‘Drugs’ have become “the in thing” and using drugs, a “fashion statement.” Usually, one starts drugs experimentally or out of curiosity or to be with the crowd or peer pressure. However, these occasional users get entangled in the web of drug abuse and slowly become physically, mentally and psychologically dependent on them and later gets addicted . So much so that it not only affects the individual but his family and friends – physiologically, socially and financially; as well as, the society at large. Tolerance to the various drugs of abuse in turn leads to either increased dose or the use of multiple drugs – poly drug abuse.
According to the plain dictionary meaning drug abuse means “the habitual taking of illegal drugs”. In other words it refers to the habit of regular intake of illegal drugs characterized by misuse of drugs. There is a thin-line of difference between Drug abuse and addiction. In case of drug abuse, the person may or may not be addicted to these harmful drugs. However, in case of drug addiction, the person is severely addicted to these drugs. Thus, drug abuse may often lead to drug addiction.
The World Health Organization refers drug abuse as, “Substance abuse”that refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs. Such Psychoactive substance use leads to dependence syndrome – a cluster of behavioral, cognitive, and physiological phenomena that develop after repeated substance use and that typically include a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling its use, persisting in its use despite harmful consequences, a higherpriority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance, and sometimes a physical withdrawal state.
There are over 190 million drug users around the world and the problem has been increasing at alarming rates, especially among young adults under the age of 30.
Drug abuse or Substance abuse goes back further than many people think, with alcoholic beverages and hallucinogens traced back to 5600 B.C. In places like China, alcoholic beverages like wine are mentioned in writings from 1046-221 B.C. Since the effects of drugs and alcohol were discovered, people all around the globe have fallen into the trap of substance abuse.Instances of alcohol and drug use were first recorded in Armenia, ancient Greece and Rome, Sumer, and China.
Alcohol in Armenia – The first recorded winery was discovered recently in Armenia and can be traced back to 7,000 B.C. The cave it was discovered in recently has been named the Areni-1 cave and contained alcohol-related paraphernalia like a drinking bowl, grape press, cup, and fermentation jars. In many civilizations, alcohol was used for celebrations, religious rituals, and even agriculture. Wine can specifically be dated back millions of years, as fermentation evolved from the introduction of fruit-bearing plants.
Alcohol, Mushrooms, and Marijuana in Ancient Greece and Rome – Greeks and Romans made their marks on the history of drug abuse. They were known to have been very fond of wine and used it often during their celebrations, religious gatherings, and other social events. Alcohol was often used as an offering to their gods in religious rituals. Consulting the oracles was also common in this period. The oracles of ancient Greece and Rome were women believed to be chosen by the gods to relay messages and prophecies from the spiritual realm. Oftentimes, these women would use mind-altering drugs like mushrooms and cannabis (marijuana) in their practices.
The effects of these substances were just as dangerous back then as they are now. People battling alcoholism can get help with our alcohol addiction treatment. Our team at Banyan Massachusetts strives to provide patients with safe and effective treatment.
Opioids in Sumer and China – Around 3,400 B.C., the Sumerians discovered the opium plant and were the first people recorded to have used it for medicinal purposes. Opium was taken orally at first, but smoking it became the common practice after its effects were found to be stronger. This drug eventually incited conflicts between Great Britain and China, with morphine and cocaine following suit in the 19th century. Eventually, opium made its way to the United States from China. Since then, heroin was created, and opioid abuse has grown into an epidemic in the U.S.
Opioids are highly addictive and can cause horrible symptoms. We encourage people addicted to opioids to undergo our opiate addiction treatment to avoid its negative side effects and further health problems.
Substance Abuse in the United States –
In the U.S., the most commonly abused substances include:
These substances were all either created in the U.S. or made their way there as a result of trading, war, or immigration.
Effects of drug abuse:
Drug abuse is a major medical problem with extensive legal, social, moral, ethical and even political conations. It is fraught with many ill-effects involving the individual concerned, his family, friends, and the society at large. Many medico-legal and legal implications, both civil and criminal,are also involved. The country stands to lose numerous productive man-hours, besides incurring huge expenses in treating and caring for these individuals.
It impairs alertness and achievement by distorting sensory perception, interfering with memory, and causing a loss of selfcontrol. Many abused drugs can cause long lasting physical and psychological problems. Marijuana smoke, which contains more cancer-causing agents than tobacco smoke, damages the lungs and pulmonary system. When smoked by pregnant women, marijuana also can create genetic problems leading to birth defects.The liver damage, neurological problems and other dangers of alcohol abuse are well known. Cocaine not only affects the emotions, but also disrupts the brain’s control of heartbeat and breathing and causes high blood pressure. Single or multiple uses have resulted in fatal seizures. PCP (phencyclidine) can produce convulsions, coma and severe psychological disorders.
Using PCP also can lead to heart and lung failure or ruptured blood vessels in the brain, any of which may be fatal. Drugs can destroy an individual’s ability to think and act responsibly and to perform well at school, at work or at home. The continued drug abuse can destroy family relationships, friendships, outside interests, values and goals. Many substances cause physical and psychological dependence. Regular drug abusers find they need to take larger doses to get the same effect. PCP, heroin and other drugs can alter the body’s chemistry. When the user stops taking the drug, the body rebels with unpleasant and often painful symptoms of withdrawal. There is no such thing as safe and responsible use of an illegal drug or harmless misuse of alcohol or prescription medications. Abusing drugs can lead to lifelong consequences such as loss of memory, high blood pressure, mental illness, heart failure, stroke, lung damage and coma, and may often lead to death of the user.
Condition In India :
India is no way far from this vicious circle of illicit substance abuse. Excessive use of both illicit & licit substances causes public health hazards. Euphoria, stress, anxiety, depression are the outcomes of excessive drug use. In India drug abuse is big problem it creates branches of problems like poverty, unemployment,irresponsibility towards family. A survey in India had reported that two-fifths of addicts came in conflict with the law. Almost three-fourths of addicts were unable to work at their workplaces, and addicted students could not attend to their studies.
According to a study by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights on Substance Abuse by Children, 100 percent of the children in conflict with the law were drug abusers, while 95.5 percent of them staying in child care institutions were on drugs and 93 percent of street children consumed narcotics. The study also states that 88 percent of the children consumed drugs due to “peer pressure”.
In India states like Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Western Rajasthan. Punjab and Manipur are in top in this list. Especially throughout the border state of Punjab, whether in villages or cities, drugs have become a scourge. Opium is prevalent, refined as heroin or other illegal substances. Schoolboys sometimes eat small black balls of opium paste, with tea, before classes. Synthetic drugs are popular among those too poor to afford heroin.
Around 2.6 crore people in India have used or use opioids and approximately 1.18 crore people use sedatives and inhalants. Over 8.5 lakh people inject drugs into themselves and are addicted and about 14.6% of the total population of India (i.e. 16 crore people) are users of alcohol. Drug Possession, overdose, and abuse have become the most common of all crimes.
Causes of Drug Abuse in India :
There are various causes of drug abuse in India, it can be categorized as social, economic and mental causes. These causes are mentioned as below:
Social Causes – In social causes we can discuss about all those social problems which are the basic causes of drug abuse. A poor relationship with parents is responsible for drug abuse among children, in most of the families we can see a huge lack of communication between child and parents and these things leads the child towards drug abuse. Sometimes we can see it become trend among friends to take drugs by influence of those friends who are usually taking drugs. Drug users are taking drugs because it is easily available, we can see in border area the people are taking drugs in a large scale because it is easily available in those areas. Few of drug users are taking drugs because of their atmosphere, usually we can see it in those people who are growing up in a home where alcohol and drug abuse is considered as a normal behavior. Nowadays people are engaged in love affairs, the loss of a loved one and
depression attracts a man more and more to the misuse of a substance. Unusual life style is also responsible for drug abuse, usually it is found in sex workers, transportation workers and street children.
Economic Cause – In India poverty is a curse because it creates various problems one of them is drug abuse, financial worries leads people towards drug abuse because of mental pressure. People are producing narcotic drugs to increase income, so production of narcotic drugs is responsible for misuse of drugs.
Mental Causes – There are mental causes which leads a person towards drug abuse situation of sadness,depression and stress are common causes for drug abuse. Sometimes users are misusing drugs because of low self-respect. Nowadays academic pressure is also creating stress because of this the people are misusing drugs.
Legal provisions to eradicate this problem :
The Indian legislature is constantly trying to eliminate the problem of misuse of drugs by making the law to achieve the goals of international treaties and conventions under which the India is a signatory country. These international treaties and conventions are as follows:
1. Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961.
2. Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971.
3. Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.
4. Transnational Crime Convention, 2000.
Indian Parliament has enacted two Central Acts:
1. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, and
2. The Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act,1988.
The use of intoxicated drugs is a serious socio-economic problem in our country. This despite the fact that there are legal as well as constitutional provisions made in India to curb the problem of drug addiction. Article 476 of the Constitution states that the state shall work towards increasing the level of life and nutrition of its people and it is the primary duty of the state to improve the public health. State shall prohibit the consumption of the intoxicated drugs and drinks which are injurious to health except its use for medical purpose. Although Part IV are non-enforceable, usually this provision applies to justify penal drug policies. Drugs and Poisons are the subjects of the concurrent list on which both the state and the centre can make law.
The Indian Parliament passed the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act), without much debate. The NDPS Act came into force on 14 November 1985, replacing the Opium Acts and the Dangerous Drugs Act. The 1940 Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, however, continues to apply.
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 was passed to curb the problem of drug abuse and for the implementation of the international treaties and conventions. The act was amended in 1989, 2001 and in 2014. This act prevents merchandise, cultivation, procurement, import Export, Possession, sale, purchase, utilization and circulation of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances except for medical and scientific purposes in accordance with the law.
Narcotic drug comprises cannabis, coca, opium and manufactured drugs. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 defined the term psychotropic substance as any substance, natural or synthetic, or any natural material or any salt or preparation of such substance or material included in the list of psychotropic substances specified in the Schedule. This act provides the provisions for search, forfeiture and capture the persons from any place in India those are indulge in the drug activities.
The hardness of this act proves that if a person is caught again in a large quantity of narcotics, then there is a provision for death sentence. Although in the case of Harm Reduction Network v. Union of India, the Bombay High Court ruled that death penalty under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 is unconstitutional but the Court did not strike down Section 31-A of this act. It did state that the courts were no longer obligated to hand down the death penalty for repeat drug offenders under the Act.
In the case of E. Michael Raj v. Intelligence Officer, Narcotic Control Bureau, the Supreme Court held that in the mixture of a narcotic drug or a psychotropic substance with one or more neutral substances, the quantity of the neutral substances is not to be taken into consideration while determining the small quantity or commercial quantity of a narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. It is only the actual content by weight of the narcotic drug which is relevant for the purposes of determining whether it would constitute small quantity or commercial quantity.
In the case of Abdul Aziz v. State of UP, the court held that if a person arrested for minor offences under the provisions of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 is entitled for bail.
Section 2(a), 4(2)(d), 7A, 39, 64A, 71, 76(2)(f) and 78(2)(b) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 provides the provisions for rehabilitation and the treatment of drug addicts.
Drug abuse, nowadays, is assuming the proportions of ‘a wild forest fire’, spreading through all age groups and breaking out cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic barriers. Hence, its prevention has also become a holistic process aimed at promoting health enhancing behaviour and reducing health compromising behaviours. Strategies are becoming more comprehensive and inclusive, incorporating the preventive strategies: Information dissemination, prevention education, alternatives, problem identification and referral, community-based processes, and environmental approaches.
A lot of people do not understand why people get addicted to drugs and related substances. They mistakenly view drug abuse as a social problem and characterize the addict as a weak person. Though there is no scientific evidence on how exactly drugs work in brain, it can be successfully treated to help people stop abusing drugs. There are many treatments that help people counteract the disruptive effects of drug addiction and regain complete control over life.
Behavioral therapy is the best way to ensure success in most of the drug addicts. The treatment approaches are tailored to meet the drug abuse pattern of patients. It is not uncommon for an individual to relapse and start drug abuse again. In such case, an alternate treatment is required to regain control and recover completely.
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