Unpacking the effects of drug and substance abuse

The continued consumption of drugs leads to a condition called pathological drug dependence

Cases of drug and substance misuse among the youths are rising steadily and at a worrying trend not only in Zimbabwe, but also in most parts of the world.

If intervention measures are not put in place, the fate of future generation is at stake.

Most youths have become addicts, hopelessness and uninterested in getting committed. Even those in marriage relationships, many of them have abdicated their conjugal rights threatening the procreation process. Many youths indulge themselves in drugs and substance abuse for all sorts of reasons. They range from dysfunctional families, peer influence, availability of alcohol and drugs, influence of the social media, unemployment and stress to mention a few.

The financial repercussions of alcohol abuse are severe, especially for the poor.

If the vice is left unchecked, there will be high crime rate and loss of future generations.

Hence, there is need to investigate the factors influencing the vice among the youths with the aim of creating awareness on the effects of drugs.

Various people describe drugs in a variety of ways.

By definition, a drug is anything that when consumed by a living organism tends to alter one or a myriad of its functions.

Owing to their chemical nature, drugs (legal or illegal) alter body functions, how people think, perceive things or act.

These include substances that are useful or harmful to the body.

There are numerous ways through which drug administration can be done.

There are drugs that are injected, chewed, smoked while others are sniffed.

According to Ghodge (2013), drugs are substances that other than those required for the conservation of normal health modify certain processes within the body of the organism when consumed.

On the other hand, in the field of medicine, drugs are considered to be elements that have curative or preventative capabilities against diseases.  It is not uncommon to find people consuming drugs for purposes other than what is recommended or more often than not recommended.

Ghodge (2003) contends that drug abuse occurs in instances when drugs are used for non-medical purposes.

From a general perspective, drug abuse, also referred to as substance abuse, encompasses the consumption of substances such as tobacco, alcohol or other substances that have no medical value and are more often than not detrimental to one’s health.

Another definition of substance abuse focuses on the intake of psychoactive substances so as to alter an individual’s psychological state.

However, it is worth noting that this only applies in cases where there is no medical supervision.

The continued consumption of drugs eventually leads to a condition referred in medical circles as pathological drug dependence.

When an individual reaches such a state, they become unable to desist from consuming the drug even when it becomes apparent the drug might be causing considerable health damage to them individually or to other people around them.

 The negative consequences arising as a result of drug abuse are well documented, whether it is the effects on the individual or society.

Adolescents who have been brought up in homes where one or both parents are alcoholics may end up replicating their parents’ behavior patterns.

There are numerous documented cases of boys raised by alcoholic parents becoming alcoholics themselves while girls eventually get married to alcoholics or are so traumatized that they avoid marriage altogether.

 Since children from such families are raised in dysfunctional homes, their emotional needs are thus neglected.

 As such, it is not uncommon to see children from such families being attracted by situations that are at best emotionally painful.  For spouses married by alcoholics, there are numerous negative effects accruing to a life having to deal with an alcoholic.

For instance, feelings of hatred, self-pity in addition to mental torment are just few of the challenges they are forced to contend with. In cases whereby one of the parents is an alcoholic, the other spouse is burdened with the responsibility of taking care of the family alone.

In the long run, financial difficulties follow as the alcoholic parent becomes more of a burden as challenges follow them with unemployment and the large amounts of money spent on alcohol.

Furthermore, certain privileges are also foregone as more of the family’s financials are diverted to the rehabilitation of the affected spouse. According to a survey titled “Exposure to Alcoholism in the Family” conducted in 1998, alcoholism and substance abuse are key factors behind early widowhood.

In addition to this, alcohol is at the forefront as one of the main reasons for divorce. Researchers studying alcoholic families have discovered that most marital problems start because of alcoholism.

It is interesting to note that the same experts concluded that the family of the alcoholic, the spouse and children, may also contribute to the habit of the drinker, in the process, worsening it .

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