Drug abuse is the use of illegal drugs or the use of prescription or over-the-counter medications in ways other than recommended or intended. It also includes intentional inhalation of household or industrial chemicals for their mind-altering effects. Tobacco use and problem drinking are sometimes included in the definition of drug abuse. Chemical abuse and substance abuse are terms sometimes used interchangeably with the term drug abuse, or they may be used to refer to a combination of drug abuse and tobacco use or problem drinking.
People who abuse drugs may take them initially out of curiosity, to escape, to feel good, due to peer pressure, or for a variety of other reasons. Drugs can affect a number of different organs, and complications can result from damage to the brain or to other parts of the body. Other negative consequences often result from the effects drugs have on a person’s mind, as well as actions an individual may take while under their influence.
Symptoms of drug abuse include those of intoxication and those related to unfulfilled responsibilities and the social consequences of drug use.
1. Deterioration of relationships
2. Deterioration of school or work performance
3. Difficulty holding a job
4. Disengagement from non–drug-related activities
5. Financial problems
6. High-risk sexual behavior
7. Increasing time spent thinking about, obtaining, using, and recovering from the drug
8. Leaving responsibilities unfulfilled
9. Legal problems
10. Needing higher doses to get the same effect (tolerance)
11. Using a drug to avoid its withdrawal symptoms
12. Using drugs before or during activities where safety is a concern.
"Prevention is better than cure” is also true here. Tobacco, drugs/alcohol abuse are more during young age and during adolescence.
Thus remedial measures should be taken well in time. In this regard the parents and teachers have a special responsibility.
The following measures would be particularly useful for prevention and control of alcohol and drug abuse in adolescents.
1. Avoid undue Peer Pressure:
Every child has his/her own choice and personality, which should be kept in mind. So a child should not be pressed unduly to do beyond his/ her capacities, be it studies, sports etc.
2. Education and counselling:
Education and counselling are very important to face problems, stresses, disappointments and failure in life. These should be taken as part of life. One should utilize a child’s energy in some other activities like sports, music, reading, yoga and other extra curricular activities.
3. Seeking help from parents and peers:
Whenever, there is any problem, one should seek help and a guidance from parents and peers. Help should be taken from close and trusted friends. This would help young to share their feelings of anxiety and wrong doings.
4. Looking for Danger Signs:
If friends find someone using drugs or alcohol, they should bring this to the notice of parents of teacher so that appropriate measures would be taken to diagnose the illness and the causes. This would help in taking proper remedial steps or treatment.
5. Seeking Professional and Medical helps:
Highly qualified psychologists, psychiatrists and de-addiction and rehabilitation programmes can help individuals who are suffering from drug/alcohol abuse. If such help is provided to the affected persons, with sufficient efforts and will power, the patient could be completely cured and lead normal and healthy life.