Awareness Regarding Drug Abuse
17 May 2021
Drug Abuse is the most frequent and a major health issue all over the world. The most common used drugs in African countries are khat, heroin, cannabis, cocaine and cigarette (1). Because of its potential to contribute to unintentional and intentional injury, it has become a subject of public concern worldwide (2).
There are three major risk factors for drug abuse in adolescence: behavioural, social, and demographic (3).
Drug abusers do not have any general information on it. Some do not have enough knowledge while some do it knowingly under peer pressure. One of the major factors that contributes to the increase usage is the availability of illegal drugs in the community. This influences more people to engage themselves in drug abuse activities like trafficking and other related business (1).
Preventive measures for substance abuse
1. Family Influence: The reports by NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse) says that increasing family bonding and using appropriate discipline, can reduce the risk of a child/adolescent abusing drugs and alcohol. Identifying the risk can benefit the families from formal prevention programmes and the can focus on enhancing parenting skills like communication, rule-setting, appropriate disciplinary actions. This may reduce the risk of abuse for a child.
One example of a family prevention/treatment programme is multi-dimensional family therapy (MDFT) (4).
2. Educational Tools: Several governmental agencies, community leaders, and school attempt to teach children about a drug-free life. Educating teens before the age of maturity is important so as to prevent teen drug abuse or drug abuse in adulthood.
Various educational programs have been developed for this very reason.
· Universal programs teach about personal, social, and drug resistance techniques on a weekly basis
· Selective programs are for teens who may be more at risk and have unstable personal lives.
· Indicated educational programs are programmed for teens showing problematic behaviour (5).
“Instead of reacting to what might happen, we decided to proactively increase awareness as to the issues that we’re seeing state wide in the hopes that will help save lives.”
- Chris Myers, U.S. Attorney
Getting Involved: Raising Awareness about Addiction Treatment Options
One can volunteer his/her time with local organizations to raise awareness about drug abuse, prevention and treatment. There are several ways y which one can become an advocate in the community:
· Participate in College Campus Awareness Events: Drug and alcohol abuse is a growing trend among college students. Rather than playing catch up, college campuses are working to get ahead by offering classes and groups that discuss the risks of addiction.
Some colleges have gone artistic with their efforts through amusement. For example, activities like intramural sports, movie nights and other social events offer students ways to have fun outside of the classroom.
Some colleges, including the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW), are coming up with campus events around the topic of addiction and recovery. Just last year, UNCW hosted its inaugural Celebrate Recovery event to lift awareness for students who are battling addiction and provides them with an opportunity to share their recovery stories (6).
“The primary goal for this event is to change perception towards addiction, as well as generate awareness towards the presence of collegiate recovery communities on university campuses today.”
- Jennifer Cervi, coordinator of UNCW’s Collegiate Recovery Community
1. Mnunguli J.P. and Kisangiri M. Evidence based Practices for Drug Abuse Information Management and Awareness Approaches.
2. Oshikoya K.A. and Alli A. Perception of Drug Abuse amongst Nigerian Undergraduates
3. Johnson C.A., Pentz M.A. et al. Relative Effectiveness of Comprehensive Community Programming for Drug Abuse Prevention with High-Risk and Low-Risk Adolescents.
4. Chakravarthy B., Shah S. et al. Adolescents Drug Abuse- Awareness & Prevention.