Drug abuse and its effect on young people in HIV transmission

drug abuse and its effect on young people

Young people are exposed to a lot of pressure from their peers to try new things. One of such is the pressure of drug abuse, forcing them to engage in psychoactive substances like alcohol, cigarettes, etc. After going through this post of mine, you will have the knowledge of the implications of taking such substances and the negative consequences they can have on the lives of young people.
Before proceeding further, it is better you have an idea of some certain definitions of certain terms so that you can easily go with the flow while you read.
Psychoactive Substance: Any material which when consumed affects the way people feel, think, see, taste, smell, hear, play or behave. It could be a medicine, industrial product or even a biological degradation product such as fermented sewage.

Drug: Any substance with the potential to prevent or cure disease or enhance physical or mental welfare OR any chemical agent that alters the biochemical or physiological processes of tissues or organs.

Drug abuse: The use of any psychoactive substance (drug) under control outside prescription or therapeutic indications, in excessive doses, or over an unjustified period of time.

Now you have gotten idea of the definitions, read on!

Classification and examples of hard drugs with their effects on people

Narcotics: Opium, Heroin, Morphine, Codeine, etc.

Its effects on people includes:  Watery eyes, running nose, irritability, tremor, panic, chills, cramps, premature death

Stimulants: Cocaine, Amphetamine, Caffeine, Crack Cocaine, etc.

Its effect on people includes:  Disorientation, apathy, irritability, depression etc.

Depressants: Sedatives/hypnotics (Barbiturates, Benzodiazepine, Valium, Lexotan, Alcohol, etc.)

Its effect on people includes:  Anxiety, insomnia, tremor, delirium, convulsions, liver cirrhosis (alcohol), possible death

Hallucinogens: LSD (Lysergic acid Diethylamide), PCP (Phencyclidine), Mescaline, etc.

Its effect on people includes: Flashbacks, panic, violence, psychosis, bad trips

Cannabis: Marijuana, Hashish, etc.

Its effect on people includes: Insomnia, hyperactivity, lung disease, affects sexual behaviour.

Inhalants: Aerosols, Petrol, Glues, Solvents, Butynitrate (room odourizer)

Its effect on people includes: Visions disturbance, impaired judgement, reduced
muscle and reflex control, heart failure, sudden death

Social effects of psycho-active substance abuse

The effects of psychoactive substance abuse go beyond the individual to impact negatively on his family and the society at large. Some its examples are:
  • Loss of sense of responsibility
  • Family disruption
  • Lack of achievement of goals
  • Drop out of School
  • Promiscuity
  • Road traffic accidents
  • Increased crime rates
  • Abnormal behaviour e.g. madness
  • Sleep disturbances etc.
  • Poverty
Factors that make young people to engage in drug abuse
  • Indiscipline
  • Curiosity
  • Defective personality, including chronic inadequacy
  • Low self-esteem
  • The need to belong (following the bandwagon)
  • Poverty

  • Parent(s) or guardian(s) who use psychoactive substances
  • Poor communication between children and parent(s) or guardian(s)
  • Lack of parental care
  • Poverty
  • Lack of closeness between children and parents or other family members
  • Parental deprivation e.g. separation, divorce, death of parents

  • Negative pressure from friends (peer pressure)
  • Mass media (TV, Radio, cartoons, comics, Internet, magazines) which promote use of psychoactive substances
  • Availability and accessibility of psychoactive substances in the society
  • Societal values and Cultural practices that permit/promote the use of
  • psychoactive substances

Relationship between Psychoactive Substance abuse and HIV transmission

Use of these substances can impair a person’s sense of judgement and make the person engage in behaviours that can put him or her at risk of HIV infection such as:
  • Sharing of needles by injection drug users (IDUs)
  • Having unprotected sex with an infected person

Drug abuse treatment and prevention

Drug abuse among young people can be prevented by the following ways listed below. But in case someone is already addicted to drug abuse, then it is advisable to visit a drug rehabilitation centre nearest to him or her.
  • Educate adolescents and young people on the dangers of substance abuse
  • Involve social and religious groups in preventing psychoactive substance use
  • Improve relationships between parents and their children
  • Diagnose and treat individuals who are addicted to these drugs early
  • Provide facilities for counselling young people on the dangers of drug use
  • Rehabilitate addicts
  • Limit cultivation of tobacco and cannabis
  • Provide growers of tobacco and cannabis with alternate sources of income
  • Enact laws to prohibit production, sale, advertisement of these substances
  • Enforce laws against substance use e.g. ban on smoking in public places
Engaging in drug abuse and the use of psychoactive substances can increase your risk of HIV infection by impairing your judgment and making the you engage in risky behaviour such as sharing needles or having unprotected sexual intercourse.

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