DRUG ABUSE: CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF DRUG ABUSE
Since the early times, herbs, leaves and plants have been used to heal and control diseases. The use of drugs in itself does not constitute any danger, because drugs correctly administered, have been a blessing. Sambo (2008) viewed that chronic use of substances can cause serious, sometimes irreversible damage to adolescent’s physical and psychological development. The use of drugs could be beneficial or harmful depending on the mode of
Drug abuse is a major public health all over the world (UNODC, 2005). The use and abuse of drugs by adolescents have become one of the most disturbing health related phenomena in Nigeria and other parts of the world. Several school going adolescents experience mental health program, either temporarily or for a long period of time. Some become insane, maladjusted to school situations and eventually drop out of school.
NAFDAC (2000) as cited by Haladu (2003) explained the term drug abuse as excessive and persistent self-administration of a drug without regard to the medically or culturally accepted patterns. It could also be viewed as the use of a drug to the extent that it interferes with the health and social function of an individual.
Adolescents abuse a variety of drugs both legal and illegal. Legally available drugs include alcohol, prescribed medications, inhalants (fumes from glues and solvent) and over-the-corner cough, cold, sleep and diet medications. The most commonly used illegal drugs are marijuana (pot), stimulants (cocaine, crack and speed), opiates, heroin and designer drugs (Ecstacy). The use of illegal drugs is increasing, especially among young teens (adolescents).
At the end of the article, the audience will be able to:
- understand the concept of drug abuse
- describe the various causes of drug abuse
- explain possible ways to control drug abuse
- Enumerate drugs that are commonly abused by adolescents.
THEORIES OF DRUG ABUSE
These actually indicate that some people truely depends on certain drugs for their survival due to a number of factors. The major emphasis of the theories is that people have their individual reasons for one type of the drug or the other. Such reasons, according to Eze and Omeje (2009) are explained by the following theories. Personality theory of drug abuse, learning theory of drug abuse, biological theory of drug abuse and social-cultural theories.
- Personality Theories of Drug Abuse:
The main emphasis of the theories are that there are certain traits or characteristics in the individuals that abuse drugs. Such personality characteristics, according to Eze and Omeje (2009) are inability to delay gratification, low tolerance for frustration, poor impulse control, and high emotional dependence on other people, poor coping ability and low self esteem. Such individuals find it difficult to abstain from drug abuse.
- Learning Theory of Drug Abuse
It maintains the dependence or abuse of drugs occurs as a result of learning. The learning could be by means of conditioning, instrumental learning or social learning.
- Biological Theory of Drug Abuse
The theory maintains that drug abuse is determined by the individual’s biological and genetic factors which make them vulnerable to drug addiction.
- Socio-cultural theories of drug abuse
The theories maintain that drug abuse is determined by socio-cultural values of the people. For instance, while certain cultures permit the consumption of alcohol and marijuana, other cultures do not. Among the Urhobo, Ijaw, Ibibio, Edo, Igbo, Yoruba and Itesekiri, alcohol i.e. ogogoro is used in cultural activities. But in Northern Nigeria, alcohol is forbidden due to Sharia law.
However, the Sharia law does not forbid cigarette consumption and thus this nicotine dependence. It should be noted, that no theory fully explains the etiology of drug abuse. This is due to individual differences.