Drug use and Abuse
by Isabella Gitau , posted January 27
“Can I have one for the road, please?” “Are you serious Mr. Jason?”
I never knew that you drink. Hmmm! “I only drink on Christmas”
This is a common saying to binge drinkers or people who do not want to be thought as addicts. And when you drink only once a week, month or year, do you ever think of what is in that bottle, its effect in your body, life and other people?
It could be a drug. A drug may be defined as any substance other than food that by its chemical nature affects the structure and function of the living organism.
Young woman holding mirror of cocaine
A drug may be legal, illegal, harmful or helpful, such as those substances used in medicinal practices. Drugs can also be termed as chemical. They work in the brain by tapping into brain’s communication system, interfering with nerve cells information transport; sending, receiving, and processing information.
Drugs like Marijuana and heroin activate neurons because their chemical structures mimic natural neurotransmitters. This similarity in structure “fools” receptors and allows the drugs to lock onto and activate the nerve cells. Although they mimic neurotransmitter, they do not activate nerve cells in the same way as the natural chemicals; they lead to abnormal messages being transmitted through the network.
The use of drugs is driven by reasons such as: search of “feel good” as well as peer pressure and suffering, either in sicknesses, and poverty. Every year, abuse of illicit drugs and alcohol contribute to so many deaths. In America alone, more than 100,000 people die from drugs and alcohol while 440,000 deaths per year are linked to tobacco use (Science of addiction).
Young man with a marijuana knit hat
People of all ages suffer the harmful consequences of drug and alcohol addiction. Babies, exposed to substance abuse in the womb may be born premature and underweight. This exposure can slow the child’s intellectual development and induce abnormal behavior. Adolescents who abuse drugs often act out, do poorly academically, and drop out of school. They are at risk of unplanned pregnancies, violence, and infectious diseases.
Adults often have problems thinking clearly, remembering, and paying attention. They often develop poor social behaviors as a result of their abuse, and their work performance and personal relationships suffer. Parents involved in substance abuse often lead to chaotic, stress filled homes and child neglect. Such conditions harm the well-being and development of children in homes, set the stage for drug abuse in the next generation.
According to the Science of Addiction, “Individuals who suffer from addiction often have one or more accompanying medical issues, including: lung, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and mental disorders.” Imaging scans, chest X-rays and blood tests show damaging effects of drug abuse throughout the body.
What is most surprising among abusers is that they overlook long term effects of drugs. They are just in for the ride but most rides end up deadly.
On a recent consented interview, 34-year old Gregory, on the road to recovery, lamented over years of drug abuse. This is what he had to say, “I’m glad that I’m in recovery now, but my 34 years have been completely wasted. I was miserable, and tried to kill myself severely, but every time somebody came in to save my life.
I wish I can pass on a message to people using drugs in the world. I would tell them that they are driving on the wrong lane, and they are about to crash.”
A woman abusing alcohol
Greg dropped out of high school and his family deserted him. The worst happened when his alcoholic girlfriend died in his laps from overdrinking.
Many young African immigrants in America have totally abused drugs in the process of living it large and having a good time .
These otherwise talented people have blown their chances at success, ending up with suspended driving licences, incaceration and frequent deportations to the same poverty struck crountries their parents worked hard to get them out of.
Several of them have also died as a result of various effects of drug abuse, with many more developing health problems.
Many family relashionships have also broken or are severely unhappy due to excessive drinking by both or one of the spouses.
You might be already trapped in the addiction web. There is hope. Drug addiction can be treated and cured.
Discoveries in the science of addiction have led to advances in drug abuse treatment that help people stop abusing drugs and resume their productive lives. Treatment enables people to counteract addiction’s powerful disruptive effects on brain and behavior and regain control of their lives. Addiction affects many aspects of a person’s life; treatment must address the needs of the whole person to be successful.
In a country like America that has so much access to various forms of drugs and influences, to suceeed at accomplishing things in a big way requires a constantly sober mind.
The Bible says in the book of Proverbs 23: 21, “for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
and slumber will clothe them with rags.”
Think about it!
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