Drug substance abuse
Drug substance abuse is when you take drugs that are not legally prescribed or approved for use. Additionally, substance abuse is also medically drug abuse. It is a patterned use of a drug in which the user consumes the substance in unchecked and harmful ratios. Particularly to themselves or others, and is a form of the substance-related disorder.
Drug substance abuse also relates to when you use alcohol, prescription medicine, and other legal substances too much or in the wrong way. Drug and substance abuse literally differs from any active addiction. Even though, many people with substance abuse problems are able to quit or can change their unhealthy behavior. Addiction, on the other hand, is a disease. It means you can’t stop using even when your condition causes you harm.
Drug substance abuse-related research
An estimated 4.1 million Kenyans aged 12 and over report that they currently use illicit drugs. Which means 10 percent of the Kenyan population admits using illegal drugs, which fall into ten categories. Including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, hallucinogens, and inhalants. Likewise, there is abuse in the prescription-type pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives used for non-medical purposes.
Signs of Drug Substance Abuse
When you first start taking a substance, you may think you can control how much you use. But over time, you may need more of the drug to get the same feeling or effect. For some people, that can lead beyond abuse to addiction. Signals that you may have a problem with substance abuse include if you:
- Lack of interest in things you used to love
- Change your friends a lot
- Stop taking care of yourself
- Spend more time alone than you used to
- Eat more or less than normal
- Sleep at odd hours
- Have problems at work or with family
- Switch quickly from feeling good and bad
How to Get Help
Substance abuse affects every part of your life. It can hurt you and the people around you. It can ruin relationships and your financial health. Abusing drugs can also lead to addiction and cause serious health problems and even death. To stop, you may need counseling, medicine, or both. If you have a substance abuse problem and want to quit, a doctor can help figure out the best treatment options for you.
In particular, from various research and blog articles, marijuana has a new name online as the “medical marijuana.” Both legal and illegal drugs have chemicals that can change how your body and mind work. They can give you a pleasurable “high,” ease your stress or help you avoid problems in your life. Of the 27.1 million illicit drug users reported by NSDUH, 12.2 million of them note past 30-day use of marijuana, making it the most widely used drug in Kenya.
The drug substance abuse in Marijuana
Marijuana is also referred to as “gateway drug” because it tends to be the first illegal drug young people use. The legalization of marijuana for medical purposes and recreational use in some states has influenced a rapid increase in the number of people who use the drug due, mainly because its use is now viewed by many young people as less harmful. While marijuana use is slowly becoming more accepted, it’s important to keep in mind the possible mental and physical consequences of frequent, heavy use.
Effects of drug substance abuse in Marijuana
While conventional forms of marijuana are hazardous and potentially addictive, a new and particularly dangerous form of the drug has recently entered into common circulation — edibles. From gummy bears to brownies, these seemingly innocuous concoctions pose a broad range of risks that smokable varieties don’t. While the high from smoking marijuana lasts about two hours, a high from edibles may last anywhere from six to 10 hours. When taken in large doses, edibles can cause;
- Anxiety attacks
- Respiratory insufficiency, especially in young children
Khat or miraa as commonly referred to by Kenyans is a flowering plant that is found natively from the Meru and Wajir Counties. Even though it also has its origins from the Arabian Peninsula to the Horn of Africa.
Chewing the leaves has been a practice among people living in that area for years because the leaves contain a stimulant. Cathinones like MDMA are derived, originally, from khat. Khat and the chemical compounds derived from it – cathinone and cathine – are controlled under Schedule I and IV, respectively, per the Controlled Substances Act and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It is also controlled or restricted in other nations around the world and through the World Health Organization.
Continued drug substance abuse through Chewing Khat
As a recreational drug, the leaves and stem are chewed by people in Kenya, East Africa, and the Arabian countries to elevate mood (as a euphoriant). As a medicine, khat leaf is used for depression, fatigue, obesity, stomach ulcers, and male infertility. It is also used to lower the need for food and sleep, decrease sexual desires, and increase aggression.
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists that as a drug that creates “dependence” in people, meaning it produces a continuing desire to keep using it. In Somalia, civilian and military use of khat has been blamed for fueling a civil war, draining the nation’s economy, and undermining international relief efforts.
Sunrise Study Research on Miraa abuse
Although ingesting khat leaves directly – through chewing, brewing into tea, or smoking, most commonly – provides 10 times less CNS stimulation than cathinone, the drug can still be very addictive and cause many short-term and long-term side effects. The main populations around the world who abuse khat are Yemeni, Somali, Kenyan and Ethiopian populations. Although the drug received short-term popularity among native-born Americans in the US because it was briefly legal. It is also easy to acquire online, despite being now illegal in the US and some other countries. In particular through dark websites like Silk Road Channels.
When it comes to substance use in Kenya, alcohol is by and large the worst offender. With around 8.3 million heavy alcohol users recorded in 2016 alone. Three out of every 4 cases of substance use disorders in Kenya involve alcohol.
The drug substance abuse in Alcohol
Because alcohol is a legal — and socially acceptable — substance, many people feel a false sense of security when using it. However, it’s important to keep in mind that alcohol is extremely addictive, and irresponsible consumption comes with physical and mental health consequences.
Drug substance abuse effects on Alcohol use
These side effects don’t just impact the people consuming alcohol — they can also put other lives in danger, especially if users drive while under the influence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drunk-driving crashes accounted for nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States in 2015.
Some of the short-term, negative effects of alcohol use include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Distorted vision and hearing
- Impaired judgment
In Kenya as of 2016, an estimated 1 million individuals over the age of 12 were current users of cocaine. Additionally, it has become one of the most addictive drugs in the world to the modern century. Usually available as a white powder or solidified, rock-like substance, cocaine can be snorted, smoked and injected. Particularly, cocaine is commonly a source of solace to the people living around the Coast Line in Lamu and Mombasa.
Drug substance abuse effects on Cocaine users
Once ingested, this substance stimulates the user’s brain, causing them to experience a rush of euphoria and energy. These feelings may also be accompanied by elevated mood and an inflated, grandiose sense of self-esteem. Once the high subsidies, users may experience an unpleasant crash, often accompanied by the following side effects:
- Increased heart rate
- Raised blood pressure
- Raised body temperature
Drug substance abuse in Cocaine
Cocaine is an illicit or illegal commonly abused drug. Cocaine abuse can lead to addiction, severe health problems, and death. Many cocaine abusers report being trapped in a vicious cycle of increased cocaine abuse in failed attempts to recreate the pleasurable sensations of their first exposure to cocaine. Due to the intense cravings and high relapse rate associated with cocaine addiction, recovery in a supportive environment, such as residential treatment centers, provide the recovering addict much more support than private or outpatient therapy.
In most cases, the cocaine addict will attend outpatient therapy after completing residential cocaine addiction treatment for continued support. In conjunction with outpatient therapy, most addicts are urged to attend 12 step support groups to augment their commitment to recovery.
Although illegal and very addicting, heroin use, unfortunately, has made something of a comeback as a “chic” drug among today’s young people who snort or smoke it instead of injecting it. About 329,000 people currently use heroin in the United States. In recent years, heroin has seen an increase in use, which has been blamed on the crackdown on prescription pain-pill abuse.
Continuous effects on drug substance abuse through heroin
As pain medication became more expensive and more difficult to obtain, those abusing the pills who lived in urban areas began to turn to cheaper. More available heroin, officials believe now, even in poor, rural areas of the country. Such as Appalachia, where drugs like oxycontin are referred to as “hillbilly heroin.” An increase in actual heroin use has been reported in recent years by health and law enforcement officials.
Also known as minor tranquilizers, prescription tranquilizers are part of a broad class of drugs that induce relaxation and calm a person’s mental state. These include anxiety medications like Valium and Xanax and sleeping pills like Ambien and Sonata. While prescription tranquilizers are helpful for some, they can cause a great deal of mental and physical problems when taken over long periods of time, including addiction. Currently, 1.9 million people in the United States abuse prescription tranquilizers.
Prolonged use of prescription tranquilizers can cause:
- Memory loss
- Loss of balance
- Cognitive decline
While prolonged use is ill-advised, many people choose to use prescription tranquilizers daily for sleep or anxiety problems. When these drugs are used regularly, a person may knowingly or unintentionally take them with alcohol or other substance. This puts dramatically heightens the risk of overdose, permanent damage, or death.
Opioids are a family of drugs that produce sedative, pain-relieving effects. While street varieties like heroin, fentanyl, and gray death are becoming more common, prescription counterparts like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine are more widely abused. Most people start taking these drugs after they are prescribed for an injury or chronic pain.
Opioids drug substance and Prescription Effects
Unfortunately, what often starts as the safe, responsible use of prescription medication can quickly turn into a full-fledged addiction. Moreover, if a person takes more medication than prescribed over an extended period of time.
According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 3.8 million people in the United States abuse prescription pain relievers. Ohio is at the center of the country’s opioid epidemic, likely due to high rates of prescription drug use in the state. In 2016 alone, 631 million opioid pills were prescribed in Ohio. While these drugs may be a useful way for some to deal with pain in the short-term, long-term abuse and dependence can lead to:
- Chronic nausea
- Liver damage
- Permanent brain damage
(OTC) Over-the-Counter Medicine
Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are medicines sold directly to a consumer without a prescription from a healthcare professional. This is as opposed to prescription drugs, which may be sold only to consumers possessing a valid prescription. These can be just as dangerous and addictive as illegal drugs.
You can abuse over the counter medicine if you:
- You take medicine prescribed for someone else
- Have extra doses or use a drug other than the way it’s supposed to be taken
- Take the drug for a non-medical reason
Types of prescription drugs that are most often abused include:
- Opioid pain relievers
- Medicine used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Anxiety medicine
The most commonly abused OTC drugs are; cough syrups, headache painkillers and cold medicine that have dextromethorphan. Which in high doses can make you feel drunk or intoxicated. Read more about the Over the Counter Medicine.
Hallucinogens include a variety of substances—LSD, PCP, peyote, mescaline, psilocybin mushrooms and others. An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States are current users of hallucinogens. The use of hallucinogens probably peaked in the hippie movement of the 1960s and 1970s, but they are still around. Plenty of young people are willing to experiment with their mind-altering effects.
Methamphetamine belongs in the psychotherapeutics drugs category. In addition, it is legally available by prescription (Desoxyn). An estimated 897,000 people 12 or older are current users of methamphetamine.
Drug substance abuse effects on Methamphetamine Contents
Methamphetamine poses specific health threats if taken intravenously. Especially the crystal methamphetamine. A move by many states to place allergy and cold medications—which are used to produce illegal meth—behind the counter has reduced the number of clandestine meth labs throughout the country. However, international drug cartels have reportedly stepped in to supply the continued demand for the highly-addictive drug.
- Basic Facts About Methamphetamine
The effects of meth vary depending on the use.
- Health Effects of Methamphetamine
Meth has a long list of short- and long-term effects.
- Methamphetamine Photo Gallery
Photographs of methamphetamine in several different forms
Using any tobacco product is harmful. Inhaling tobacco smoke exposes users to more than 7000 toxicants and at least 70 carcinogens, damaging the whole body. A regular smoker typically loses more than a decade of life. Tobacco and nicotine are the most abused drugs in the world. According to recent statistics carried out by the World Health Organisation, about 15 billion cigarettes are sold on a daily basis.
Drug substance abuse effects on users and non-users
Certainly, by 2030, if trends continue as it is smoking will kill one in six people globally. In reality, smoking affects both the consumer and the inhaler. Notably through the smoke causing cancer as well to those around the smoker. Using any tobacco product is harmful. Inhaling tobacco smoke exposes users to more than 7000 toxicants and at least 70 carcinogens, damaging the whole body. A regular smoker typically loses more than a decade of life.
Drug Substance Abuse Road to Recovery
If you or someone you love is seeking help for an addiction to these or other substances, representatives on health wellness at Get Your Swag Back are ready to help. Whether you’re ready to explore treatment programs or just want to talk, we’re here for you. Indeed rehabilitation and healing are closer than you think. Reach out today. To learn more through our daily Medical Health & Physical Wellness Research Materials, please Follow this Link!
Kenya’s Drug Substance Abuse Crisis
Kenya is in the middle of an addiction crisis that spans from the Coastal Lines of Mombasa to the Shining City of Nairobi. As an illustration, nearly 14 million Kenyan adults had a substance use problem in 2016 alone, with numbers continuing to climb in recent years. Nairobi is no exception to this dangerous trend. The 001 county is one of the hardest hit by substance use, particularly in regards to opioid addiction and Cocaine Use.
By learning more about the mental and physical health effects of the most commonly abused drugs, Kenyans can begin to fight back against addiction. In conclusion, the Drug Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s (SAMHSA) 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed the five most common culprits. Including, alcohol, marijuana, prescription opioids, cocaine, and prescription tranquilizers.
Conditions of Use and Important Information
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- WebMed – What is Substance Abuse?
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. Alcohol. November 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/alcohol.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. Heroin: What are the long-term effects of heroin use?. November 2014. Retrieved from: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/what-are-long-term-effects-heroin-use.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today’s Heroin Epidemic. Vital Signs. July 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/heroin/.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. Prescription Drug Abuse: Chronic Pain Treatment and Addiction. November 2014. Retrieved from: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/prescription-drugs/chronic-pain-treatment-addiction.
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