Drug use and abuse is the primary reason why many youths have been incarcerated as well as being a source of crime and health problem in our society today. The number of youths incarcerated in various prisons across the country has increased dramatically over the last few decades. As a matter of fact, majority of these youths have been arrested for drug offences or have a drug abuse problem.
It is not unusual to see youth these days clutching a plastic or bottle of drink while moving around. Most time, with closer look you notice these bottles of drink are concoctions, mixture of different drugs and substances which are stimulants.
1. What is Drug?
A drug is a substance used for medical purposes that change the state or function of the body. Drug is any substance which upon entering the body can change either the function or structure of the organism; usually used for curing diseases, prevention of diseases and also for diagnosis.
2. What Is Drug Abuse
Drug abuse is an extreme desire to obtain and use increasing amounts of one or more substances. It is a generic term for the abuse of any drug including alcohol and nicotine
This is a situation when drug is taken more than it is prescribed. It could be seen as the use of illicit drugs, or the abuse of prescription or over-the-counter drugs. It could be defined as the deliberate use of chemical substances for reasons other than intended medical purposes and which results in physical, mental, emotional or social impairment of the user.
Abuse of legal drugs can also happen when people use the drugs in a manner other than directed by the manufacturer or for purposes that are not legitimate e.g mixing of alcohol together/mixing of drugs together/mixture of alcohol and drugs together e.g tramadol, codeine and alcohol; cough syrup and codeine, weed and codeine.
3. Who Can Fall Victim to Drug Abuse
Anyone can become a drug abuser. Drug abuse information indicates that all ethnicities, ages, social groups and genders can have drug abuse problems
4. Factors Associated With Developing Drug Abuse Problems
The National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates that some risk factors for developing drug abuse problems typically seen in adolescence include:
a. Unstable home environment often due to drug abuse or mental illness of the parent
b. Poor relationship with parents
c. Inadequate supervision over adolescent’s activities
d. Use of drugs by friends/peers
e. Poor achievement in school
5. What Drugs are abused?
Drugs that are abused can be any chemical substance including cigarettes, inhalants, alcohol and others. Both legal and illegal drugs can lead to drug abuse
Categories of drugs commonly seen in drug abuse cases include: Legal over the counter drugs, Legal prescription drugs, Chemicals and Illegal drugs like Marijuana.
6. Causes of Drug Abuse in Nigeria
Some common causes of drug abuse include Peer pressure, Government laxity against over –the- counter drugs, Lack of education, Depression and Parental neglect
7. Health Effects of Drug Abuse
Some common effects of drug abuse include changes in eating habits, mood swings, change in sleep patterns, slurred speech, lack of personal care, tremor in the hands and feet, bloodshot eyes, seizures, confusion, agitation, rigid muscles, lack of coordination, mental illness, indreased heart rate, respiratory issues and absentmindedness.