Drug abuse has reached an unprecedented level in our nation today and its dire consequences are around us. It has destroyed thousands of young people’s lives, predisposed hundreds of people to danger and it has negatively impacted our socio-economic landscape as a country.
Did you know that 70 per cent of people who commit crime are under the influence of drugs? Kidnapping, armed robbery, insurgency and other crimes can be traced to the negative consequences of abuse of substances, such as alcohol, marijuana, tramadol, rohypnol, codeine with syrup, just name them. A myriad of lives have been lost, and many individuals had been injured. The question is who is next? Yes, who is next?
People who abuse drugs pose great danger to themselves, their family and friends, as well as the society at large. Everybody loses to drug abuse, physically, socially, financially and mentally.
It is a strange fact that many people abuse drugs out of ignorance. Oh yes, they abuse drugs to feel good, ease stress, avoid reality or build confidence. People abuse drugs because they want to experience the peace, joy and love they lack in their lives. They aspire to feel on top of the world and experience live fully despite its challenges. Unfortunately, while they experience some immediate benefits they also experience devastating consequences of drug abuse that alter the quality of their life forever.
Let’s remind ourselves certain terminologies about drug abuse.
So, what is a drug? A drug is any chemical substances which, when administered to a living organism produce a biological effect which may cause physiological or psychological change in the body as the case may be.
Drug abuse is more concerned about psychological change in the body than physiological change. All drugs are poisons, depending on the dose.
What is a medicine? A medicine is a chemical substance used to treat, cure, prevent or diagnose a disease or to promote well-being. A drug is different from a medicine. All medicines are drugs not all drugs are medicines. Heroine is a drug, but not a medicine. When it comes to drug abuse, we have medicine abuse and substance abuse.
What is drug abuse? Drug abuse is the habitual use of drugs for non-therapeutic purposes. Drug abuse leads to dependence, dependence becomes addiction. Drug addiction is the compulsory use of drugs for non-therapeutic purposes. Not when it puts your health or finances or life in danger. But when you cannot do without using the drug; when someone has become the slave to the drug and the drug has become the master. Then, the person is addicted.
Between abuse and misuse
Drug abuse is close to drug misuse. However, they are different. Drug misuse is when you are not using a drug appropriately, whether in terms of dosage or frequency. For instance, when, instead of taking medicine two times daily (12 hourly) a person takes it once daily or three times a day. Instead of taking two paracetamol you decide to take three because you want fast action. These are all instances are drug misuse.
So far, we said people abuse drugs to feel good; build confidence, ease stress, avoid reality or face challenges of life. Again, we differentiated between drugs and medicines. We opined that while all medicines are drugs, not all drugs are medicines. Furthermore, we shed light on drug abuse and drug misuse. Drug abuse is the habitual use of drugs for non-therapeutic purposes, while drug misuse is the inappropriate use of medicines for therapeutic purposes.
Life without drug abuse
Is there a way we can experience peace, joy and love in our lives without abusing drugs? Yes, there is a sure way. Are there truths we need to learn and live by as an individual and a society concerning drug abuse? Yes, there are facts about drug abuse we must have at our finger tips. Can we fight this menace from a point of understanding and compassion instead from a point of ignorance and judgement? Definitely, we can, together we are stronger?
Next time, we will look at some common myths concerning drug abuse and proven strategies to experience inner joy, peace and love.
ACTION PLAN: I avoid drug misuse. I take stock about my life to find out if I am abusing any substance. I am an ambassador against drug abuse. I educate people, especially my friends and family against drug abuse and its consequences.
AFFIRMATION: I stay away from drug abuse and misuse. I am blessed and highly favoured.
PS: Kindly watch out for our social media campaign against drug abuse as we educate people on drug abuse, its dangers and how to feel good without abusing any substance.