We constantly hear about the effects illegal drugs have on people, and those family and friends around them. All to often, we hear of tragedies where a young person has died as a result of taking illegal drugs. Why do we still have people abusing drugs, and what are the root causes?
What is drug abuse?
There is a stereotypical image of someone in a toilet, alley way, or in a seedy squat injecting themselves with an illegal drug. Reality is a very different matter. In fact, anyone who regularly takes a drug that they don’t need for a medical condition, or they take larger doses of a drug, or more often, is abusing drugs.This goes for illegal substances, prescription medications and over-the-counter medicines that you can buy in any supermarket.
Signs of addiction
Signs of addiction are changes in a persons behaviour and personality, and they may become aggressive when they need more drugs.
Causes of Drug Abuse
There are many causes of drug abuse, and it is probably a combination of reasons as to why people abuse drugs.
Availability of drugs is certainly a big factor. Some people say they only use drugs for recreational purposes, at parties etc, but this can very soon lead to an addiction, with the person developing a psychological dependence on the drug.
Marijuana is said to be the ‘Gateway Drug’ because once a person tries it, they are more likely to go on to use other, harder drugs. There was a long running campaign to declassify marijuanna from Class ‘B’, to Class ‘C’. Now, experts feel it should be
re- classified back to Class ‘B’.
Many young people are curious about drugs, and although young people are better informed about the dangers of taking drugs, peer pressure can be very persuasive in certain situations.
It is also recognised that some people have what is known as an ‘addictive personality’, that is, they are more susceptible to developing a substance dependence than other people, so once they try a drug, they are literally ‘hooked’ on it.
Some people use drugs as a form of escapism, because they like the effects of the drug, and it takes them away from whatever pressures or problems they are going through in their lives. Unfortunately, it is all to easy to keep on abusing drugs, and to become addicted.
Anyone worried they might have a substance addiction, or concerns about a friend or family member, can contact ADDACTION (Tel: 020 7251 5860) who are a national charity,that can offer specialist advice and help with addiction treatments, and give you details of a local centre. Alternatively go to Addaction.org.uk.