The concern over drug abuse among the youths is the major problem facing the world today. Drug abuse is a public health problem that is increasingly destroying the lives of many, mostly young people in Uganda. The trend in drug use has become more complex and thus more difficult to understand and may require serious attention. Youths often experiment with a variety of activities and substances. Unfortunately, this experimentation can lead to substance abuse and addiction. Statistics show that drug abuse is a growing problem with 45% youths between ages 18-24 using drugs and alcohol, New vision, 27th June 2013. Alcohol and tobacco are the drugs commonly abused by Youth, followed by marijuana.Due to increased drug trafficking through Uganda, more hard drugs like cocaine and heroine are becoming more available to those who can afford them. This situation has served to compound the drug abuse and addiction situation among Uganda’s youth (New Vision March 27th June 2013). In 2013, Butabika hospital, Uganda’s only psychiatric referral hospital, was reported to have 20% of the admissions related to alcohol and drugs and the numbers keep increasing.
Causes of Drug Abuse
There is a consensus of opinion that these changes in drug abuse have been preceded and accompanied by a gradual and inexorable erosion of traditional social fabric and values. The African family, recognized in its extended form, occupied a primate and central position in this social system. This system is disintegrating because of growing “poverty, civil war, tribal conflicts, droughts and other natural catastrophes (which leads) to famine and massive displacement of populations, creating a situation in which drug abuse worsens rapidly”.Drug users were consistently more exposed to the various elements of what may be labeled “drug culture”, (they had heard about and saw more of drugs, they had more friends, celebrities and more relatives who themselves have been taking drugs in short, they were in a social environment that was more permissive to drug abuse and less stigmatizing of drug abusers.
Peer pressure, parental guidance, availability and perceived harmfulness may be part of the elements of this culture. Parental drug use behaviors also influence children’s behavior. Another reason young people take drugs is to escape their reality. Maybe their home life is not very happy. Maybe they have a boring job, are not doing well in school, or are just not happy with their life for whatever reason. For many people, drugs are a way to escape that unhappy reality. They know that getting high or getting drunk will, at least temporarily, numb or ease their pain and provide them with a means of escape. These substances can also appear to ease the problem.
The other cause is the issue of curiosity. The desire to try new things and explore the world didn’t suddenly shut off when puberty commenced. Many teens have heard about drugs, and they are curious to experience them for themselves. They have heard that drugs can be fun, or make a person feel and act different. Maybe they have seen their friends or family members behave differently while on drugs, and they want to see how it really feels. We see drugs on TV and movies every day. It is not unusual to be curious about something you see and hear about so often, so many people first try drugs because they are curious about them. Drug addiction; Youths don’t use alcohol or drugs with the intent of becoming addicted. In fact, since part of adolescence is the still-intact belief that you’re invincible. Only losers use or drink excessively or for years become addicted, right? But not me – I’m just experimenting, having fun with my friends, or seeking a temporary escape from my crappy life.”
Effects of Drug Abuse
The most telling adverse effects of drug abuse are in family and social life. Economic costs of drug abuse to the nation are enormous. Social and political cost in the life of a nation can be even more staggering. A proud nation could be reduced into a den of criminal drug syndicates who control all national agencies and institutions, turning the whole puppet government machinery to their criminal devices. Drug abuse is therefore not only a drag on personality growth of the individual but a major impediment in the social and economic development of communities and nations
Youths who abuse drugs have a problem dealing with their behaviors. They have an increased risk of social problems, depression, mood swings, suicidal thoughts and violence. Youths who abuse drugs are more likely than youths who don’t abuse drugs to engage in delinquent behaviors such as fighting and stealing. Substance abusers are generally in poor health. Health consequences of drug abuse are many and varied, involving most areas of physical and psychological functioning. A major and growing consideration is the contribution of drug abuse to the spread of HIV disease. Youths who use drugs are more likely to involve themselves in risky/ unprotected sex and maybe with a stranger, a strong leading factor to contracting killer diseases like HIV, AIDS, STDs and other problems like early pregnancy and sexual assault.
Brain damage is one of the effects of drug abuse among youths. Drug abuse can result in serious mental disorders or permanent, irreversible damage to the brain or nervous system. Drug abuse saps both physical and intellectual vitality, leading to reduced productivity in work and academic pursuits. Brain damage among youths who abuse drugs includes brain shrinkage; impaired learning abilities; amnesia and memory problems; impaired reasoning, perception and intuition; increased or decreased socialization; and changes in sexual desire.
In conclusion therefore, there is not only a need to address the immediate factors contributing towards drug abuse, but also to look into factors that have contributed towards the disintegration of our families/societies. The challenge is not only to turn the tide against drug abuse but also, to the extent possible, to repair the erosion of our family structures and social-economic systems. Take your youth to a good residential rehabilitation center where they will have access to 24/7 supervision and care, detoxification, dual diagnosis treatment and a variety of holistic treatments based on their individual needs. If you’re the parent of a pre-teen or adolescent, talk to him or her today about the dangers of alcohol and drugs. Don’t lecture. Don’t condescend. Don’t be dramatic. Just talk openly and directly. Talk to your child from a place of unconditional love, genuine concern, understanding, and compassion, recognizing the challenges and temptations that are so insidious and prevalent at that age.
Jul 27, 2017 Comments Off on Kiir orders crackdown on illegal fuel dealers
Jul 27, 2017 Comments Off on Israel and Palestine: The Holy See Supports the Two-State Solution
Jul 27, 2017 Comments Off on Egypt backs reunion of South Sudan’s SPLM
Jul 26, 2017 Comments Off on Ethiopia urges illegal workers in Saudi Arabia to come home
Jul 03, 2017 Comments Off on Police should be accountable for their actions – Irish Ambassador
Jul 03, 2017 Comments Off on Bidibidi Refugee Camp
Jul 03, 2017 Comments Off on Catholic Bishops of Uganda Statement
Jun 02, 2017 Comments Off on Alcohol Addict becomes a Counsellor
Jul 03, 2017 Comments Off on Fr. Peter Tiboni laid to restSleep well faithful servant of God – Born on April...
Jun 01, 2017 Comments Off on Sr. Rosemary makes strides with the needyBy Sr. Mary Lilly Driciru Sr. Rosemary Nyirumbe who started...
Jul 03, 2017 Comments Off on Jealously guard your integrity“Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a...
Jun 01, 2017 Comments Off on When death is a source of opportunityDeath is a natural end for all living creatures, including...
May 04, 2017 Comments Off on Get time to be alone, silentBy Venansio Ahabwe “Yahweh God said, ‘It is not good...
Mar 03, 2017 Comments Off on Break the boundaries, reach the heightsBy Venansio Ahabwe Mountains and rivers know the secret of...
Feb 13, 2017 Comments Off on Accept humiliation, keep your dignityBy Venansio Ahabwe I will demean myself even more than...