Social Defence
Drug Abuse Prevention

What is drug abuse?

Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, is a patterned use of a substance (drug) in which the user consumes the substance in amounts or with methods which are harmful to them or others. It is excessive use of a drug (such as alcohol, narcotics, or cocaine) and/or use of a drug without any medical justification.

What are the factors influencing Drug Abuse?
Peer influence
Low self-esteem
Performance enhancement
Mental illness
Easy availability of drugs

What are the effects of Drug Abuse?
Accidents and injuries
Absenteeism from the workplace, schools and colleges
Poor educational performance
Behavioural problems
Low self-esteem
Personality disorders
Mental illness
Suicidal tendencies
Health problems

What is Addiction?
Drug addiction, also called substance dependence or chemical dependency, is characterised by a destructive pattern of drug abuse that leads to significant problems involving tolerance to or withdrawal from the substance, as well as other problems that use of the substance can cause for the sufferer, either socially or in terms of their work or school/college performance.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

The term dual diagnosis refers to the presence of both a drug-abuse or dependence issue in addition to a serious mental-health problem in an individual. Substance abuse or dependence unfortunately occurs quite commonly in people who also have severe mental illness. Individuals with dual diagnosis are also at higher risk of being noncompliant with treatment.

What is Peer Pressure?

Peers are people who are part of the same social group, so the term "peer pressure" refers to the influence that peers can have on each other. Although peer pressure does not necessarily have to be negative, the term "pressure" implies that the process influences people to do things that they may be resistant to, or might not otherwise choose to do. So usually, the term peer pressure refers to socially undesirable behaviours, such as experimentation with alcohol and drug use, rather than socially desirable behaviours, such as academic success, although it could be applied to either, and either could be a positive or a negative experience for the individual.

What are the various modes of taking drugs?

(a) Orally: One of the simplest ways of taking drugs is through the mouth and it allows the drugs to move to the stomach where they are absorbed by the stomach lining and then enter the bloodstream. The most common drugs to be taken in this way are alcohol, marijuana, opium, amphetamines, ecstasy, LSD and magic mushrooms.

(b) Injecting: It is a method of introducing a drug into the body with a hollow needle and a syringe which is pierced through the skin into the body (usually intravenous, but also intramuscular or subcutaneous). It often applies to substance dependence and recreational drug use.

(c) Inhaling: There are a broad range of intoxicative drugs whose volatile vapors or gases are taken in via the nose and trachea.

(d) Snorting: Inhaling the substance, usually as a powder or crushed pill, through the nose.

Which parts of the body are most damaged by alcohol consumption?

Drinking too much – on a single occasion or over time – can take a serious toll on your health. Here’s how alcohol can affect different parts of your body:

Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behaviour, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.

Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including:
Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
High blood pressure

Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including:
• Steatosis, or fatty liver
• Alcoholic hepatitis
• Fibrosis
• Cirrhosis

Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.

Immune System:
Drinking too much can weaken your immune system, making your body a much easier target for diseases. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much. Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.

What are the effects of drug abuse on the human body?
The impact of drug abuse and dependence can be far-reaching, affecting almost every organ in the human body. Drug use can:
• Weaken the immune system, increasing susceptibility to infections.
• Cause cardiovascular conditions ranging from abnormal heart rate to heart attacks.
• Injected drugs can also lead to collapsed veins and infections of the blood vessels and heart valves.
• Cause nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
• Cause the liver to have to work harder, possibly causing significant damage or liver failure.
• Cause seizures, stroke and widespread brain damage that can impact all aspects of daily life by causing problems with memory, attention and decision-making, including sustained mental confusion and permanent brain damage.
• Produce body changes such as breast development in men, dramatic fluctuations in appetite and increases in body temperature, which may impact a variety of health conditions.