More and more young people worldwide are growing up in an environment is increasingly becoming tolerant of various forms of substance use to a climate of ‘solution by ingestion’.
The tobacco and alcohol industry has added to this environment by utilising their powerful marketing strategies influencing young people. Youth may also be influenced by their peer groups and if the peers are involved in any kind of substance or drug use, then it is highly likely that the individual will indulge in such behaviour.
Adolescent beliefs about drug use and risks tend to change rapidly with rising tolerance levels about drugs. Easy availability of drugs and access to them exacerbates the situations and puts the younger generation at risks. Even a single drug use experience, known as experimental dose may result in overdose, an accident or even criminal prosecution that has a profound impact on the minds of the young people.
What Drug Addiction?
The term ‘drug’ has now been given a new connotation. It was used originally to mean ‘medicine’ . However, nowadays the term ‘drug’ means not only medicine but also the fatal narcotics that include cocaine, heroin, brown sugar and many other specifications. All these drugs have their evil effects on the mind and body cells of the addicts. Drug addiction implies physical dependence upon a drug including the development of tolerance and withdrawal. The young generations particularly teenagers are the worst victims of evils of Drug Addiction.
When a drug is taken for the first time, it stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain. It is for sake of pleasure that most users first get accustomed to it. They take drugs to forget pain, sorrow, insult and to escape from reality. Drugs are taken in various forms. Some are taken through injection, some are smoked and some are chewed and swallowed.
An addict who develops tolerance requires more of the drug to transport him to the world of fantasies. If the addict is not allowed to take the drug, he suffers from painful and uncontrollable convulsions, vomiting, depression and various other maladies. It has been discovered that most people who struggle with drug addiction began experimenting with drugs in their teens. Many teens have heard about drugs and they are curious to experience them for themselves and later they become addicted to it. The addict becomes dependent on the drug, he uses it, despite having full knowledge of its harmful effects on health. There is uncontrollable desire or craving to consume the drug and they find it impossible to control the drug intake.
In case of drug abuse, people start taking drugs in larger doses than the recommended doses. The addict is not able to discharge his day-to-day responsibilities in an efficient manner as it affects physical as well as mental health of the person. Besides, ruining an addict morally, it also affects him physically.
Impacts of Drug Addiction on Youth
Drug addiction is associated with a range of short and long term physical as well as psychological effects. Drug addiction impacts almost all the organs of body in significant manner. The effects of drug abuse and addiction include
• Drug abuse and addiction increases the risk of severe illness and infection it weakens the immune response of the body.
• It leads to abnormal heart rates and heart attacks, and collapsed veins and blood vessels infections due to injected drugs.
• There is increased strain on liver, which puts the person at higher risk of liver damage and failure.
• There are memory losses, attention and decision making is affected, and increased chances of seizures, stroke, mental confusion and brain damage.
• Drugs alter the brain chemistry, causes loss of apetite, strength and stamina. Mood, behaviour and other essential cognitive functions are also affected by drug dosage. There is loss of self-control, impaired judgements, aggressiveness, paranoia etc.
• There is often impaired concentration and coordination, abnormal breathing, and increase in body temperatures.
• Drug addiction also causes lung, throat, mouth and tongue cancers, increased risks of infertility and damages to nasal passages.
•When the youth loses control over their minds and brain because of drug addiction, they often indulge in risky behaviours such as social crimes, anti-social activities etc.
• Young people often waste their academic and employment opportunities because of drug addiction. Addiction also results in damaged relationships that impact social well being of younger people.
Factors Responsible for Drug Addiction Among Youth
The following factors are responsible for drug addiction among youth.
• To Fit In
Teenagers and young people use drugs because of the influence of their peers. They think that others are doing it and that is why they fear non-acceptance in a social circle that includes drug abusing peers.
• To Feel Good
Drugs influence the neurochemistry of brain to produce feelings of pleasure and relieves the person from stress and anxiety. Adolescents particularly suffer from depressions, stress related disorders and physical pains. Using drugs is an attempt to lessen these feelings of distress. Stress plays a significant role in starting and sustaining drug abuse.
• As Experiments
Adolescents and younger people are motivated to seek new experiences, particularly those which are thrilling or daring. This puts them at risk of drug addiction and later drug abuse because they seek to experiment with new substances,
•Easy Access to Drugs
Drugs and harmful substances are easily accessible to young people. They are available to the younger people through hidden and illegal channels.
• Low Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem in teenagers and young people leads to self-destructive behaviour to act or look like in a certain way. They lose confidence in themselves if they are unable to meet high standards. Drugs and alcohol seems like an easy option to them to escape this reality
Adults, under the influence of popular culture and to look and feel ‘cool’, use drugs and substances which are harmful to them. Movies, popular media, social media, TV shows etc. make drugs look like an acceptable act. This is why the popularity of drugs among youth has risen.
Solutions to this Problem
The processes of industrialisation, urbanisation and migration have led to loosening of the traditional methods of social control rendering an individual vulnerable to the stresses and strains of modern life. Drug addiction among youth can be prevented if the youth are taught of its harmful consequences. Also, support from family members is a must as they are the closest to the individual. Family should support their child to understand what he/she is going through and what compelled them to take such a risky step.
Parents should try to motivate their children and understand what they really want in life. Every child is different from the other and parents should really try to understand their children’s expectation to avoid any cases related to alcohol or drug abuse
Prevention programmes involving entities such as families, schools and the immediate communities are important in this regard. Media, especially the entertainment segment, also needs to understand its role in
this context, glorification of drug use should completely stop. Role of NGOs is also important to fight this menace. There is an urgent requirement of strict laws and regulations in breaking the chain of hidden, illegal networks used to supply drugs to individuals. Each and every stakeholder involved in the fight against drug addiction and abuse should contribute towards the fight and establish a drug free society.
As a young person, there are many challenges in life. However, very few have the potential to affect our life in a more significant way than our own decisions. The decision the young people make about alcohol and drugs will influence their health, grades, relationship and everything which matters to them. So, it is better to stay away from these and live a life which matters. People should be strong and brave to solve their problems rather than trying to forget them using alcohol and drugs. The most sound advice to the younger generation is to keep calm and give it a thought before entering the world of addiction.
Thank you very much for reading this article“What is Drug Addiction, Meaning, Definition, Drugs addiction on youth”