Drug Abuse: Effect of Self-Induced Solution for Temporary Relief

Drug Abuse: The illegal commercialization of illicit drugs has led to increased use among teenagers and young adults. Some young people now resort to drugs as a coping mechanism for psychological, social, or emotional trauma, born out of peer pressure, chaotic family environment, negative societal norms and acceptance, trauma, environmental stressors, abandonment, depression, low self-esteem, and weight loss.

Substance abuse refers to the harmful or hazardous use of alcohol, prescription medicine, and other legal and illegal substances, (WHO 2021). Examples of these drugs include Tobacco, Alcohol, Heroin, Cocaine, Marijuana, Cigarettes (nicotine), Opiates, Inhalants, Hallucinogens, Cannabis, Methamphetamine (chalk, meths, crank & crystals), and Club Drugs (Ecstasy, Rohypnol & Ketamine) to mention a few.

“Taking Heroin for the first time felt like I was in charge and control of things. And this feeling gave me a sense of freedom and escape from reality.” Mike told his therapist.

Having gone through several relapses, he said, “I just needed to forget that I was now a child of divorced parents, and for those brief moments from taking Heroin, I felt safe and happy, at least within myself.”

People like Mike rely on drugs as a brief answer to personal challenges, leading to a self-induced solution for temporary relief. But, again, a relief enjoyed for a short period leads to a more profound longing for more at the detriment of their health and results in a never-ending cycle, putting both family and society at risk.

Results show that the highest occurrence and rise in use of cannabis is in Africa, specifically in the West and Central Africa, with proportions between 5.2% and 13.5%, respectively. Ecstasy and Methamphetamine is the second most abused drug in Africa, (WHO 2021).

Drug Abuse affects various aspects of not only the abuser’s life but of those people around them.

Overuse of drugs affects the liver, brain. It causes heart damage, dizziness, clumsiness, slow reflexes, shaking, and a high risk of infection with blood-borne viruses, to mention a few.

Overcoming drug abuse comes with some struggles, commonly identified as “withdrawal symptoms”, including anxiety, sleep disturbance, depression, chronic mental illness, irregular heartbeat, seizures, abdominal cramps, and weight loss.

Helping people like this needs constant care and observation. For example, these could help: visiting a counsellor (psychologist and social workers), detoxification, i.e. inpatient hospital treatment, rehabilitation program, and group therapy.

To reduce drug abuse and help victims, HACEY Health Initiative has worked with three states in Nigeria, reaching over ten thousand students, five hundred households, and over five thousand informative materials to increase awareness and eradicate drugs. 

Written by Jolaade Olatunbosun.

Edited by Tomiyin Ayibiowu.

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