Impact of Drug Abuse on Health and Society

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Drug abuse is unwarranted, patterned consumption of any natural or synthetic substance or drug in an unapproved quantity for performance enhancement and psychological effect for non-therapeutic, non-medical use by an individual with methods neither approved nor supervised by medical professionals.

Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking - Infographic

When drug abuse becomes a necessity for maintaining psychological and emotional equilibrium it is called Drug Addiction. Drugs corrode the basic structure of a whole society, by affecting a cultured human society in all aspects including destabilizing families, reducing human productivity, corrupting trustworthy governments and honest police, and demoraling law respecting citizens.

Impact of Drug Abuse on Health and Society

Globally, over 200 million people consume some form of illicit drugs. From natural bhaang, Cannabis, opium to synthetic ďdesignerĒ drugs like ecstasy or MDMA, barbiturate derivatives, benzodiazepines like alprazolam, diazepam, amphetamines, Phenethylamine and Tryptamine derivatives; different forms of drugs are available for inducing excitation or euphoria.

The trafficking of illicit drugs and hallucinogens is the largest illegal business in the world accounting for about 8% of international trade, amounting to about $400 billion annually. Drugs corrode a whole society. Robbery and violence connected with drug abuse have become a mundane affair and most commonly drug consumers often appeal to felony or prostitution to satisfy their vice.

Psychological Effects of Drug Abuse

Euphoria and Illusion: Drugs would distort the normal perception capacity and functionality of the brain and make a ďpseudoĒ visualization and perception. It would create illusion and artificially make you feel euphoric, excited or pleasurable.

Stress: Drugs would make you feel as if it is helping you in relaxation and forget about all the issues that make you stressed. However, in reality, it is the opposite. Long-term use of drugs can cause a deep impact on the way your brain works, and lead to increased anxiety and stress.

Psychological Effects of Drug Abuse: Stress

Anxiety and Depression: Feeling low after alcohol consumption is common. Some drugs would make you feel depressed, while others make you depressed and anxious because of something that happened while you were under its impact. People often use drugs as a way to overcome their depression, but in reality, the drug use can often worsen these.

Psychological Effects of Drug Abuse: Depression

Mental illnesses: Scientists have showed that there is a link between drug use and serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia, yet itís still unclear whether serious drug use leads to mental illnesses. However, a person having any chronic psychological illness has an increased chance of drug abuse.

Psychological Effects of Drug Abuse: Schizophrenia

Health and Sexual Effects of Drug Abuse / Drug Addiction

Accidents and Injuries: Drug distorts your perception and thoughts and it would make you do unwarranted acts that you would not do normally. Drugs can increase your chances of getting seriously injured or losing your life through falls and road accidents and can even pose a threat or cause harm to others around you.

Internal Organ Damages: Prolonged use of certain addictives can cause damage to the internal organs such as brain, liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, throat and stomach. For example marijuana smoking is 10 times potentially more harmful to lungs than cigarettes. 2-3 marijuana cigarettes cause more damage to the lungs and respiratory tract than 20-25 tobacco cigarettes. Continuous use of marijuana can damage your brain and destroy your memory, learning attention and understanding capacity.

Methamphetamine, a powerfully addictive drug, can destroy your teeth and damage your heart. Once the drug enters in a personís body, it causes the neuro-receptors to release a great amount of dopamine, leading to the typical euphoria. Short-term effects include extreme wakefulness, a lasting boost of energy and a lack of appetite. Long-term effects include high blood pressure, stroke and serious heart problems.

Risk of Infectious Diseases: Needle-sharing for injecting drugs would put you at risk of catching serious diseases like HIV / AIDS, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B etc. Apart from this, sharing pipes or cigars would expose the users to infections like common cold, flu, pneumonia, or tuberculosis.

Health and Sexual Effects of Drug Abuse: HIV / AIDS

Sexual Effects: Illegal drugs are widely perceived as sexual stimulants and aphrodisiacs: however the impact is often contradictory to the desired one. Cannabis drugs like marijuana are regarded as aphrodisiacs, increasing the good mood and sexual arousal by stimulating sexual activity. However, the fact is that marijuana distorts the sense of time, and an illusion of prolonged arousal and orgasm is experienced by the user. Long-term users of cannabis have low sperm counts and low testosterone levels and women can have abnormal ovulation.

Drugs like MDMA or Ecstasy impede erections and orgasms for both genders, and can cause erectile dysfunction in males. Under the influence of this drug, you will not remember to have safe sex and you would end up having risky unprotected sex with one or multiple sexual partners. It can lead to unwanted pregnancy or contracting of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as syphilis, gonorrhea and HIV/ AIDS.

Social Effects of Drug Abuse

Effects of Drugs on relationships and your future

Drug abuse has an immediate impact on the body and mind but it can also affect your future and your relationship with others. When drug use becomes an important part of your life, your relationships suffer. You would behave more violently for the access of money for your need for drug. Conflict and breakdowns in communication would become a routine. Drugs would affect your ability to concentrate and focus at work. The side effects of using drugs like a hangover feeling can reduce the ability to focus. Poor performance at job can make you lose your job.

Safety: Use of illicit drugs increases chances of being in dangerous situations and compromise the safety of self and others. Under the influence of some drugs, you drive rashly compromising the safety of yourself and other road users. Drug abusers are at greater risk of overdosing.

Financial pressures and mounting debts: Drug Addiction can become an expensive affair to the family. In extreme situations, people addicted to drugs try anything from selling household goods to illegal activities like theft and robbery, to secure money to get their next dose. Drug addicts also tend to behave violently for the need of money, with family members, often ending up with crimes like murder.

Violence: Drugs can increase the likelihood of violent behavior. Drug-induced violence can lead to serious injury to the drug users and to others. Serious crimes like murder or rapes could be committed unknowingly under the influence of drugs.

Social Effects of Drug Abuse: Violence

Homelessness: Spending most of the money on drugs would make you poor and leave no money to cover the basic living expenses like rent, food, or utility bills.

Legal issues: Buying, selling, possessing or making illicit drugs is illegal. Itís also against the law to give prescription drugs to people who donít have a prescription from a doctor, yet several prescription drugs are routinely abused. Getting caught in possession of illicit drugs or in violent acts can land the drug user in jail or mental rehabilitation centre.

Corruption: Drug lords and people in drug trade bribe politicians and police officers with hefty ransom for securing their trade. Traffickers try to corrupt or intimidate officials for removing blocks in the drug transit and often have private armies. Judges, public officials and even police officers are lured into the trap of corruption because of illicit drug trade. Honest officials initiating courageous campaigns against the drug traffic are often killed or kidnapped.

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In fact, the number of addicts testing positively for heroin had halved in the past six months. Although the Serious Organized Crime Agency says that this development has been due to the supply routes being blocked and consequently, the street price being doubled, it is also true that there is a widespread 'heroin drought'. The lack of pure heroin is due to a number of issues including a fungus that has affected the poppy crop in Afghanistan, and greater law enforcement. Peter Akrill, head of Oral Fluids Analytical Services commented that the danger now is suppliers could be bulking it up by using other substances which means users would need more of this adulterated form to get the high they have been used to. Then, when they return to using pure heroin, it could result in an overdose and fatal incidences. The government has allocated £125 million to fund drug testing equipment and infrastructure, as well as the management of drug misusing offenders. It has also recently published a new drug strategy which focuses on drug-free recovery and tracking down dealers.

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