The war on drugs – where do we stand today?



Millions of people all around the world are literally struggling with the excruciating pain of drug abuse. Over 10.6 percent of the global population has sunk into the deep dark clutches of illicit drug abuse. Statistics say that the number of drug abuse victims in the age group of 12- 35 is the maximum. This age group, in fact, includes the face of any country —the youth.Nearly every 1 young person out of 15 is prone to substance abuse. Initially people start using the drugs to reduce stress for a while, run away from the stark and unpleasant realities of life, but slowly it becomes addiction.

Around 40 percent of the total drug addicts in developed countries like U.S are under the age of 18. Approximately 20 percent of the students of 12th grade are seen to indulge in drug abuse. This can be due to extreme pressure for grades, studies and career at this age. The death rate on account of substance abuse has increased from 3.1 percent to 32.7 percent in the last 4 years according to reports declared by WHO reports.

The adverse effects of drug abuse among youth can include: –

  • The drastic reduction of productivity and turnover from the substance addicts
  • Considerable reduction in the man-hours and subsequently the GDP of a country is inevitable with the rising number of drug addicts
  • The government has to fund a number of projects, rehabilitation initiatives for drug addicts that are expensive on its part.

The common symptoms are seen in victims of drug abuse or drug effects of bad drugs are: –

  • Social withdrawal
  • Indulging in risky activities
  • Deteriorating overall health status
  • Lack of energy, motivation and weight loss
  • Not taking care of self— not maintaining hygiene or callous look

The youth of today is mostly into drug abuse and there are myriad reasons that have been identified for it. The first thing to be known is that there is a difference between drug addiction and drug abuse. Drug abuse is when you are taking the drugs in an illegal way, in a way that no doctor will ever legitimately prescribe.  Addiction is when it has overpowered your control and you cannot sustain life without the drugs. Depression and stress are the two most common causes of indulgence in drug abuse. Mainly work pressure and rigorous academic routines are the main drivers of this substance abuse. Loneliness arising out of these frustrating environments makes people vulnerable to this situation. Therapists in the west are coming out with new methods, to tackle this mayhem but success rate has been pretty average.

Now that was all abstract, let us shift our focus to more brutal scientific facts. The prescription list of drugs is receiving a close competition from the list of its negative counterpart that is banned illegal drugs. Countries like Nigeria, east European countries and America are among the countries that have highest instances of drug addicts. Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and eastern European countries have experienced gross reduction in the productivity for having the highest number of drug addicts. The government of these countries spends a lump sum amount every year to get rid of this problem. Their economy has been reported to be shattered by the issue of substance abuse. The country most affected is perhaps brazil because 77 percent of people under 18 years of age in brazil are regular substance abusers.

The drugs most commonly used in an abusive way and hence banned by the US government are: –

  • Cannabinoids like marijuana, hashish
  • Opioids like heroin and opium
  • Stimulants like cocaine, amphetamine
  • Hallucinogens like LSD
  • Inhalants and anabolic steroids

These are taken in various forms. Some are inhaled, most are snorted and a few are even taken intravenously. The government has completely banned the sale and usage of these drugs.

To bring down the instances of drug abuse, the government has taken a couple of other measures such as: –

  • Setting up of effective drug de addiction centers. Expert professionals help the drug abuse victims to get deaddicted and also come back to the flow of their mainstream life.
  • Creating awareness among people. That is probably the best thing to do. Awareness should reach every individual unit of the society, as to how life can actually get worse than death once the shackles of drug engulf you.
  • Creating awareness about the symptoms of drug abuse. This helps family members and friends identify that a person has started substance abuse and immediately take steps for it
  • The government has also created toll-free helpline numbers through which you can allow government volunteers to know about a drug victim and help him/her out immediately
  • The government also aids the extensive research in this field that can actually help to invent many new ways of helping drug abuse victims. Psychological treatment research can help in figuring out new ways of rehabilitation of drug abuse victims.

There are prescription drugs list which is actually potently substance abused if the dose increases. These drugs are prescribed by doctors on marginal scale as any extra doses might be harmful. Substance abusers mostly choose these drugs and use them unlimitedly as addictive. Few of such drugs are:

  • The medicines that are opioid family members such as oxycodone (OxyContin) are usually given as extreme pain relievers as they are depressants of the pain pathway. These drugs can be addictive on overdosage
  • CNS depressant drugs such as luminal or valium-based drugs are commonly given by docs to treat anxiety or depression. These are the most widely used drugs for substance abuse
  • Stimulant drugs used to treat narcolepsy such as amphetamine are also used by drug addicts in higher doses. These are potent CNS stimulants

Institutions like the National Institute on Drug Abuse and WHO are constantly tackling the issues of drug abuse and taking steps for it. Among the notable remedial measures are: –

  • Identifying the different social and biological causes that have overshot the recent numbers for drug abuse
  • Improvising the strategies for the usage of drugs and realizing their consequences
  • Promoting more research on addictive neuroscience and associated behavioral outcomes of illegal drug abuse
  • Proper assessment of psychoactive elements in any commercial product so that proper regulatory actions can be taken to prevent the product consumption psychotropic drugs
  • Helping the government to shape the regulatory reforms and policies regarding and stimulants
  • These institutions also aim at reducing the demand for non-medical use of psychoactive substances
  • Creating awareness about the negative health impacts and social consequences of drug abuse
  • These government agencies wish to eradicate drug abuse from the world in the approaching eras. With their socioscientific efforts probably they can bring around a positive change
  • Countries like Israel have taken up noteworthy drug control policies for the stoppage of illicit drug abuse.
  • WHO takes up globalized activity plans to deal with the alarming issue of substance abuse?
  • Countries like the U.S are promoting family-based and school-based awareness programs to tackle with the issue
  • America, of course, is the leading country that is taking up noteworthy measures at government levels to prevent the onset of drug abuse as well as treat those that are already down with it
  • In India too, notable progress for the prevention of substance abuse has been observed especially at the community level. It is being promoted by both government and non-government organizations

Drug abuse is one of the most dreaded killers in the 21st century. It creeps in silently and has the potential to vandalize young lives completely. Statistics are really alarming because we are practically in the middle of the crisis and the situation is far beyond worry. Agencies across the world need to gear up to prevent further destruction of the society and improve the quality of human life across all segments.