Drug is a chemical substance that changes a person’s mood or behaviour when it is smoked, injected, inhaled, drank or swallowed in pill form.
Drug abuse is the overuse and misuse of legal and illegal drugs by individuals without prescription by medical personnel to cause a change in their physiological and psychological state which lead to legal and interpersonal problems.
DRUGS THAT CAN BE ABUSED
1) Alcohol: Alcohol could include beer, wine, brandy, whisky, ogogoro, palm wine etc.
2) Stimulants: There are substances that temporarily quicken some vital process in the nervous system. E.g. caffeine, amphetamine, cocaine etc.
3) Cocaine: A narcotic (alkaloid) extracted from cocoa leaves which causes increase in energy. It is very addictive.
4) Amphetamine: This causes boldness and over confidence, talkativeness and energy.
5) Cannabis: This is popularly known as marijuana, grass, pot, weed or igbo. It is used to enhance confidence, sexuality and appetite, increased awareness of internal and external stimuli.
6) Sedative Anxiolytic: They include substances like diazepam (valium) used to induce sleep and suppress anxiety.
7) Anabolic Steroid: This is used to enhance strength and musculature, particularly among athletes.
8) Nitrous oxide (laughing gas): This is used by dentists to help patient relax in preparation for a dental procedure.
HOW DRUGS ARE ABUSED
1) Misuse of prescribed drugs: When a doctor prescribes a particular drug to treat a particular condition, the patient may continue taking the medicine beyond the period recommended by the doctor.
2) Some individual simply indulge in self-medication: When they develop certain symptoms, they purchase medicine and take them without seeing a medical expert.
3) The use of prohibited substance like hard drugs e.g. cocaine, heroin and marijuana which are used especially by those who wish to get disconnected from reality by feeling high.
4) Many a time those who consume alcohol eventually become heavy drinkers. They consume alcohol often and in large quantities.
5) Heavy consumption of tobacco in the form of cigarettes and snuff.
6) Heavy consumption of substances such as coffee and kola nuts. Whether taken to stay awake or for whatever reason is a form of drug abuse.
7) Taking certain substances to enhance performance in sports or muster boldness to address audience, or get inspiration for creativity is drug abuse.
SYMPTOMS OF DRUG ABUSE
1) Unusual laziness. A hard working person suddenly become lazy.
2) Loss or increase in appetite.
3) Sweaty palms.
4) Red and watery eyes.
5) Unusual smell in breath, body or clothes.
6) Extreme hyperactivity. Someone who is known to be cool and calm but suddenly become talkative.
7) Slowed or staggering walk. As can be seen in those who engage in excessive alcoholic consumption.
8) Vomiting, or excessive sweating.
1) Changes in overall attitude/personality.
2) Drop in grades at school or performance at work.
3) Skips school or is regularly late for school.
4) Chronic dishonesty. When the person can no longer be trusted as he has become dishonest.
5) Sudden over sensitivity, temper or resentful behaviour.
6) General lack of motivation, energy, self-esteem, I don’t care attitude.
8) Change in habit at home, loss of interest in family and family activities.
9) Excessive need for privacy.
10) Unexplained need for money. When a person is unnecessary crying for money without a genuine reason.
BEHAVIOURS OF DRUG ADDICTS
1) They neglect obligations at work and their commitments at home and family start to erode.
2) They take risks that are personally dangerous and put others in jeopardy, such as driving or operating machinery while intoxicated.
3) They violate the law by engaging in disorderly conduct and assaultive behaviour.
4) Interpersonal problems. They always have strained relationship with self and others, peers, friends, family as the drug makes them behave abnormally.
5) Continuous use of drugs even when it is clear that such behaviour entails significant risks or creates problems as they have become addicts.
6) They suddenly become dejected, frustrated and pressed.
7) Difficulty in paying attention and forgetful.
WAYS OF PREVENTING DRUG ABUSE
1) Legal sanctions. Drug abuse has been made an offence according to Nigerian laws, offenders should be prosecuted.
2) Teaching drug usage and abuse as part of school curriculum.
3) Government agencies and non-governmental organisations should educate parents, guardians, children and general public on drug abuse and its consequences.
4) Community action and involvement, schools, churches, mosques, recreation facilities and all citizens should work together to institute drug free norms within our culture.
5) Counselling drug abusers about its consequences may prevent them from future drug abuse.
6) Effective dealing with peer group and association with good friends.
7) Since marriage instability has been identified as one of the consequences of drug abuse, religious organisations and other groups should intensify efforts in counselling on marriage and family.
8) Drug law enforcement agencies should make sure laws on drug abuse are enforced.
9) Avoid addictive substances that can make one become addicted that are in the class of drugs that can be abused.