DRUGS AND DRUG ABUSE
Author: Noopur Jaiswal, I year of B.A.L.L.B.(Hons.) from Symbiosis Law School, Pune
Drug abuse is a major problem in today’s world. It is important to study this issue because the major population indulged in drug abuse is the youth and the working population who are the torchbearers of the coming future world. Drug abuse affects the socio-economical, psychological and physical well-being of an individual and its surroundings. Adolescent drug abuse is also a major issue in both clinical and community environments. Depression, suicide, crime, criminal activity and incarceration, motor vehicle crashes, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unintended pregnancies, and other health, safety, and social problems are all linked to teen drug abuse. The objectives are to understand the nature, pattern and extent of drug abuse, to understand the causes and to know how and why people venture into drug abuse and also to learn about the relationship between women and drug abuse. This study will help us in comprehending the work of the government by showing us the government policies to combat drug trafficking. This project is based on secondary sources of research.
The use of drugs is now one of the most widely discussed forms of deviance. drug abuse may be perceived as both an aberrant behaviour and as a social problem. in its most general meaning, a drug is any chemical that can affect the human body, physically and psychologically. Some drugs occur quite naturally in many widely used drinks and food, for example, caffeine and many drugs are used as the medicine usually under the discretion of doctors. this broad dictionary definition of “drugs”, however, is not what newspaper columnists, politicians and social commentators mean when they use the word. These people generally use the word in a much narrower sense to refer to the non-medical use of drugs. This is the deliberate use of chemical substances to achieve particular psychological changes, simply for the pleasure or the other non-medical effects that they produce. drug use then is seen as a deviant activity as non-medical drug abuse. it becomes, therefore, a matter of social control. Alcoholic drinks and tobacco can be freely brought and are a multimillion industry in which many people find legitimate employment and unlike cigarettes – they can be advertised freely. the use of heroin, cocaine or ecstasy on the other hand is widely disapproved of and their use is surrounded by numerous legal restrictions over their acquisition and sale. These can easily be obtained only from illegal sources. Medical trials have been set up in Britain, however, to investigate the part that might be played by cannabis, on prescription, in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and as a painkiller. the concepts of the drug, drug abuse, drug dependence, drug addiction need some clarity. We have already discussed above what is the basic concept of the drug.
‘drug abuse’ is the use of the illicit drug or misuse of the legitimate drug resulting in physical or physiological harm. It includes smoking ganja or hashish, taking heroin or cocaine, injecting morphine, drinking alcohol and so forth. These are sometimes referred to as being ‘high’ or ‘speed’ or ‘trip’ or ‘getting kicks.
Extent of drug abuse
Empirical studies of three different sections of the population conducted in India indicates the extent of its prevalence. these studies are:
(i) Study of college/ university and high school students,
(ii) Study of industrial workers, and
(iii) Study of people in rural areas.
Study of college students/university students – the overall studies on college/ university students together, we find that the prevalence rate of drug abuse varies from 11.0% to 25.0% in different cities. but excluding alcohol, cigarettes and painkillers, the extent of drug consumption is only 4.0% to 6.0%. Other important findings of these students are: drug consumption differs concerning professional and non-professional courses. It was founded that medical students using more drugs than non-medical students, of the current users about 90.0% are experimenters ( who take drugs once a week or less often), 9.0% are the regulars ( who take drugs several times a day, and only 1.0% are addicts ( who cannot live without drugs, about 75.0% students only use alcohol and /0or tobacco. Research on high school students - two important studies on drug abuse among school children are by Mohan, Sundaram and Chawla. high school students revealed that though they were using drugs, a very large no. of them took pain killers, smoked cigarettes or consumed alcohol. only 2.0 % to 4.0 % took sedatives, stimulants and narcotic drugs.
Research on industrial workers
Researchers found that the prevalence of drug use is very low compared to students. it was also that most of the users had started using drugs without medical prescriptions; a majority of users were in their early 20s or 30s and four-fifth workers had started using drugs after they have started working as workers ‘ two – thirds were introduced to drugs by friends or co-workers; and sub-cultured background, high income, low level of education and pressure of peer groups are the important factors that lead to drug use among industrial workers.
A UN survey report compiled by INCB (International Narcotics Control Board) in 1991 has pointed out that in 1990 drug abuse essence in some developed countries but grew in parts of the third world. In Europe, the use of cocaine increased, in North America and Canada, cannabis and cocaine remained the drug of choice. Africa drug abuse has spread to the entire continent over the past few years. It may be pointed out that by and large, those persons are predisposed to drug users who have difficulties in assuming a masculine role, who are frequently overcome by a sense of futility, expectations of failure, and general depression; who are easily frustrated and made anxious and who find frustrations and anxieties intolerable.
Women and drug abuse
For decades addiction research only examined drug and alcohol’s effect on men. Men were the only participants in years of studies. This initial exclusionary medical bias reflects some of the particular issues’ women have faced in addition. For most age groups, men have a higher rate of use and dependence on illicit drugs (including marijuana and misuse of prescription drugs according to law) and alcohol than women. However, women are just as likely as men to develop a substance use disorder. In addition, women may be more susceptible to craving and relapse, which are key phases of the addiction cycle. the notable differences in addiction between men and women centre around susceptibility
Recovery - women are more likely to suffer substance abuse side – effects (like liver damage) and overdose. risk of relapse – women are more likely to experience intense cravings and relapse, girls between the ages of 1 – 17 are more likely to misuse all types of prescription opioids and stimulants than boys of the same age. research has shown that women often use drugs differently, respond to drugs differently, and can have unique obstacles to effective treatment as simple as not being able to find child care or living prescribed treatment that has not been adequately tested on women.
Measures and government policies to combat drug abuse
The ‘profits’ generated by drug trafficking are:
(i) Money is used for financing politicians and developing lobbies in bureaucracy, police, prisons and media,
(ii) Money is invested in shell corporations that take over legitimate business organizations,
(iii) Money is laundered in purchasing arms for terrorism and
(iv) Intelligence agencies take the help of drugs traffickers to assist terrorist activity.
But the fact is that all these ' ‘profits’ are nothing but the subversion of democratic processes. In India, to combat drug trafficking among the various measures adopted by the government, one was the enactment of an act in 1985, called the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. It came into force on November 14, 1985. It provides for a minimum punishment of ten years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of RS. 1 lakh which may be extended to 20 years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 20 lakhs. the act related to drug addicts too. It lays down imprisonment of one year or fine or both for illegal possession in small quantities for personal consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. It also empowers the court to release an addict for undergoing medical treatment for detoxification or de-addiction from a hospital or an institution maintained or recognized by the government. The ministry of welfare, the government of India has also evolved a policy for mobilizing voluntary action to create awareness for the prevention of drug abuse. it also funds for the establishment of counselling and de-addiction facilities. The National Institute of Social Defense has been training functionaries of governmental and non-governmental agencies engaged in drug abuse prevention.
In this study, the relationship between women and drug abuse and measures to combat drug trafficking were also mentioned. Despite various causes and differences, seeking recovery can save a person’s life. parents especially can help their children from venturing into the paths that destroy their lives. they should try and understand their children and should help solve their problems and overcome troubles. Society also sees drug addicts as waste and tends to avoid and ignore them whereas what they need is help, love, affection and acceptance by their friends, family and society. The control over drug abuse can be made possible by adopting and imparting education about drugs, the target population should be young college/university students, people living in slums, industrial workers and truck drivers and rickshaw pullers. the method of imparting education should be such that people involve themselves actively and there is a free exchange of valuable information. parents have to play an important role. Another method can be a change in the attitude of doctors in prescribing too many drugs can go a long way in controlling the abuse of drugs. The doctors have to show greater care in not ignoring the side- effects of drugs. Once a patient gets a prescription from a doctor that cures the ailment, he ceases to consult the doctors and continues using the drug. Thus, people come to depend more on medication than physicians which ultimately is dangerous. Giving deterrent punishment to the policeman and other law enforcers found working in collusion with drug peddlers will help in combating the smuggling of drugs and undertaking follow-up study of addicts treated under detoxification programmes. parents can locate the early signs of being alert and can make sure that the child withdraws from the habit.
J Psychopharmacol. 2020 Sep; 34(9): 931–937.Published online 2020 Jun 10. DOI: 10.1177/0269881120926677 PMCID: PMC7436434 PMID: 32522058 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7436434/
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Noopur jaiswal is a first-year student pursuing B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) from Symbiosis Law School, Pune. She has an inquisitive mind to learn and explore in the field of law.