The Global Problem of Drug Abuse

1. Introduction:

In 2015, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released the “World Drug Report”. The findings of the report show that drug abuse is a global problem, with almost one in every 20 people aged 15-64 using at least one illicit drug in 2014. This equates to an estimated 246 million people worldwide.

The UNODC report also found that cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug globally, with 183 million people using it in 2014. Other illicit drugs used globally include opioids (74 million people), cocaine (18 million people), amphetamines (15 million people) and sedatives (10 million people).

While the use of drugs is not a new phenomenon, drug abuse is a growing problem in many countries around the world. In the United States, for example, drug overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1990 and now account for more than 60% of all accidental deaths.

The purpose of this handout is to provide information on what drug abuse is, the types of drugs that are commonly abused, the effects of drug abuse, and how to prevent it.

2. What is drug abuse?

Drug abuse is defined as the repeated use of drugs despite the negative consequences it has on a person’s physical and mental health, relationships, work or school performance, and other aspects of their life.

Most drugs of abuse are legal substances that are easy to obtain, such as alcohol, tobacco, and prescription medications. However, there are also illegal drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine that are commonly abused.

3. Types of drugs:

There are three main categories of drugs:

– Stimulants: These drugs increase alertness and energy levels. Examples include caffeine, nicotine, cocaine, and methamphetamine.
– Depressants: These drugs slow down the nervous system and can make a person feel relaxed or drowsy. Examples include alcohol, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates.
– Hallucinogens: These drugs change a person’s perception of reality and can cause hallucinations. Examples include LSD and MDMA (ecstasy).

4. The effects of drug abuse:

The effects of drug abuse depend on the type of drug that is being abused and the amount that is being used. Short-term effects can include changes in mood, impaired judgment, slurred speech, slowed reflexes, and vomiting. Long-term effects can include liver damage, brain damage, cardiovascular problems, kidney damage, cancer, and death.
In addition to the physical effects of drug abuse, there are also psychological effects. These can include anxiety, depression, paranoia, psychosis, and addiction.
People who abuse drugs are also at an increased risk of accidents or injuries because of their impaired judgment and motor skills. They may also put themselves in dangerous situations because they are more likely to take risks when under the influence of drugs.

5. Why do people abuse drugs?

There are many reasons why people may start to abuse drugs. Some people may do it to cope with stress or anxiety while others may do it to self-medicate for a mental health condition such as depression or bipolar disorder. Some people may abuse drugs to cope with trauma while others may do it to fit in with a particular social group.
People may also start to abuse drugs because they are curious or because they want to experiment. Others may start to abuse drugs because they are easy to obtain and they peer pressure.

6. Who is most at risk?

There are certain groups of people who are more at risk of drug abuse than others. These groups include young people, indigenous peoples, people with mental health conditions, and people who are living in poverty.

7. How can we prevent drug abuse?

There are many ways to prevent drug abuse. One way is to educate people about the risks and dangers of drug abuse. Another way is to make sure that people have access to treatment and support if they do start to abuse drugs.

8. Conclusion:

Drug abuse is a global problem that affects almost one in every 20 people aged 15-64. It is a growing problem in many countries around the world, with the United States seeing a tripling of drug overdose deaths since 1990. Drug abuse can cause a range of physical and psychological effects, as well as increased risk of accidents or injuries. It can also lead to addiction.
There are many ways to prevent drug abuse, including education and treatment.


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