'I do drugs, do you?'
An invitation into the world of drugs and the beginning of a sordid saga of many young lives pulled into the vortex of drugs. Living up to peer expectations that fuels a desire to be 'hip and happening' and be the life of every party, drives many to seek instant thrills. Before realization dawns, drugs begin to call the shots and many lives dissolve into oblivion. It is apt to recall a pithy quote from David Ryan that hits the nail on the head: "You do anything long enough to escape the habit of living, until the escape becomes the habit
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Nearly one in five Americans reportedly use prescription painkillers to experience an instant high. A weepy mother overcome with sorrow at the loss of her son narrates the incident of a drug overdose that abruptly ended his life. Another prodigal had mixed a potentially lethal combination of a painkiller with beer that nipped his life in the bud. And God help those who underestimate the innocuous cough syrup which can turn wily, if you choose to drown yourself in it!
When does use (of drugs) end and abuse begin? WHO has an answer to this with a succinctly worded definition on Drug Abuse, 'The consumption of a drug apart from medical need or in unnecessary quantities.' leading to the drug abuser turning entirely dependent on the contents of the drug, bordering on psychic dependence or addiction.
Some of the most commonly abused drugs are alcohol, anabolic steroids, amphetamines, analgesics, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, caffeine, cannabis, cocaine, laxatives, methaqualone, opiates, and tobacco. Drug abuse could also lead to health problems, social problems, physical dependence, or psychological addiction with profound impact on the central nervous system, triggering fluctuations in mood, sensations and levels of awareness.
Remedy Becomes a Malady
Drugs are relatively easy to procure- from the home medicine chest, a drugs store or simply buying it online, abetting its abuse. The U.S. government's Office of National Drug Control Policy has reported that cases of Oxycontin drug abuse had gone up by 500 percent between 1995 and 2002, with an alarming six million people in the grips of prescription drug abuse. Not surprising, since there are as many as 200 Internet sites that offer prescription drugs without a prescription.
Productivity at work place is badly hit due to drug abuse. In the United States alone, there are nearly 15.9 million drug users. There is an estimated $80 billion loss each year to American business because of drug, alcohol and substance abuse.
Getting Drug Abusers Back On Rail: Effective Strategies
Apart from drug addiction sparking a potential health crisis, it graduates to a social problem that triggers a host of associated troubles- Stress, domestic violence, societal violence, poverty and diseases.
One method of tackling drug abuse would be to evolve 'harm - reducing' strategies that strive to bring down the negative impact of drug abuse on society. The methods would revolve around sound education to avoid overdose, encourage programs that allow needle exchange to contain the spread of diseases and the use of opioid substitution therapy.
'Abstinence-Based' approaches also serve the purpose that entails an absolute abstinence from all addictive substances, encompassing licit, illicit, prescribed and unprescribed. The abstinence-based approach is what the medical community swears by for sedative dependence, which includes alcoholism.
Medical treatment of drug abuse adopts a two pronged approach, the first is, that of breaking the addictive habit and second is to provide medication to treat the associated health problems. Patients may go in for a prolonged treatment that involves strategies to prevent a relapse, which is supported with effective rehabilitation.
'Pharmaco-therapy' is fast gaining popularity; Novel immunotherapies that are capable of blocking the effects of drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, phencyclidine, nicotine, and opioids from reaching the brain, are being developed and tested. Opioid addiction is being challenged with medications like Buprenorphine, which is effective in treating addiction of this type.
'Legal treatment' and cracking the whip on drug abusers and perpetrators has become an effective strategy, which many countries swear by. Yet many drug-cartels thrive and rope in patrons to spread their wings world over.
Saving Grace: Family Intervention
Family intervention is known to alter bad habits and behavior and is a reliable technique for alcohol or drug addiction, especially when all other strategies have failed. Family members or friends of an addict could resort to the intervention process to enable the person willfully accept help to come out of the addiction.
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