Federal College Of Education (T), Umunze
By Okpala Josephine U
A drug can be seen as any chemical solid, liquid or substance derived from animal, plant, or mineral resources which is applied externally or internally to cure some illness. In fact, drugs are chemical compounds that affect the mind and body. The exact effects vary among individuals and also depend on the drug, dosage and delivery method.
Salamatu (2019) defined drug abuse as self- treatment of physical ailment which would result from ignorance. Also Agwusike (1990) stated that drug abuse is the use of drugs above the prescribed dosage and for the purpose other than for the original prescription.
The society or doctors and pharmacist warned at the uncontrollable ways and manner in which drugs are sold to the public in our markets and medical stores. These are contributory factors to drug abuse. People generally abuse drugs because the substance alters the modes of behavior of an individual. Over the years the use of hard drugs like Tobacco, India hemp, Coco Leaves, Alcohol Sedatives, Cocaine etc have drastically been on the increase especially in this part of the world (Africa).
Drug Abuse can affect aspects of persons’ life beyond their physical health. People that abuse drug may experience;
Inability to cease using a drug
Poor work or academic performance
Difficulty maintaining personal hygiene.
Noticeable changes in appearance such as extreme weight loss.
Loss of interest formerly enjoyable activities
Drug abuse especially over extended period can have numerous long term health effects; The Long Term Physical effects of drug abuse vary depending on the type of drug and the duration of use. However, experts have linked chronic drug abuse with the following health conditions:
It can alter a person’s brain structure and function, resulting in long term psychological effects such as depression, anxiety, panic, disorder, increased aggression etc. Long term drug abuse can also affect a person memory, learning and concentration.
Cardiovascular disease stimulants like cocaine can damage the heart and blood vessels. The long term use of this drug can lead to coronary artery disease and heart attack, respiratory problems. Drugs that people smoke or inhale can damage the respiratory system and leads to respiratory infections and diseases.
Kidney Damage: The kidney filters excess minerals and waste products from the blood. Heroin, ketamine etc can cause kidney damage or kidney failure.
Liver Disease: Chronic drugs of alcohol used can damage the liver cells leading to inflamination and even liver failure.
SYMPTOMS OF DRUG ADDICTION
The symptoms of Drug Abuse include:-
Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly.
Having intense urges for that drug that block out any other thoughts.
Over time, needing more of the drug to get the same effect.
Taking large amount or the drug over a large period of time than you intended.
Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug.
Spending money on the drug even though you can’t afford it.
Continuing to use the drug even though you know it is causing problems in your life or causing physical and psychological harms.
Not meeting obligations, situations studies, work, and responsibilities or cutting back on social or recreational activities of drug abuse and addiction.
According to Morton P.M (2018), great misfortunes have resulted as a result of drug abuse and addiction which include;
Series of fatal road accidents
They have made boys, girls, and men insane and perform such acts like rape, assassination and murder.
CONSEQUENCES OF YOUTH DRUG ABUSE & ADDICTION
Youths who persistently abuse drug often experience a lot of problems, including:
Health- related problems including mental health.
Poor Peer relationship
Involvement with the juvenile justice system.
They affect family members, the community and the entire society.
Their grades will decline, absenteeism from school will be increased and increased drop out of schools are the problems of adolescent drug abuse and addiction. This implies that the cognitive and behavioural posts of addicted students may interfere with their academic performance which presents obstacles to learning thereby poor performance which may lead to dropping out of school.
Physical disabilities (car accidents), disease and, the effects of drug abuse and addiction are among the health related consequences of adolescents addicts. Many of them may increase the risk of death through suicide and illness.
MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS
Mental Health problems such as depression, apathy, withdrawal, personality disorder, attempted suicide and other psychosocial dysfunctions are linked to drug abuse among adolescents.
Youth/adolescent addicts are stigmatized by their peers. Alcohol and other drug addicts often disengage for school and community activities depriving their peers and communities of the positive contribution they might have contributed.
The adverse effect of drug abuse and addiction will bring about personal adversities, crisis and jeopardized many aspects of family life. Addicts can drain family financial and emotional resources.
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES
The social and economic costs related to addict are high. The result from financial losses and distress suffered by these addicts and drug-related crime victims, increased burdens for support of adolescents and young adults who are not able to become self supporting, and greater demands for medical and other treatment services for these youths.
There is a link between drug abuse and delinquency. Arrest, adjudication and intervention by the juvenile justice system/ police are eventual consequences for many youth/students engaged in alcohol and other drug use.
SHORT TERM EFFECTS
Abusing a drug or misusing a prescription medication, can produce other short term effects, as follows:
Sleeplessness or insomnia
Increased heart bit or rate
Changes in appetite
Changes in cognitive ability
Loss of coordination
In conclusion, drug abuse can affect a person’s health.
Young people of Nigeria should choose to include the following among their personal goals for moral living:-
They should protect their bodies from injuries caused by smoking or taking dangerous substances.
They should acquire reverence for their brain and its infinite potentialities so that they will not, through the use of drugs, hinder their mental health thereby hinder their education pursuit.
They should develop interest and skill in whole some recreation so that they need not look for self satisfactions which would only serve to make them isolated and unhappy.
They should learn that zest, adventure and meaningful experience lie within their grasp in workshop, books, hobbies, arts, crafts and recreational activities
They should learn to obey the laws of nature, and to accept responsibility for their actions.
They should develop sound conviction and worthwhile values as basis upon which they can stand firm against those people who would sway them against their better judgment (keeping away from friends/and neighbours who indulge in drugs).
They should know their worth as human beings so that they will not be willing participate in their own distribution. Always remember that your life is in your hand. Keep it safe.
You should give helpful pieces of advice to your friends who also indulge in drug abuse and addiction.