What is Drug abuse?
When drugs are taken for reasons other than medical in an amount, strength, frequency or manner that damages the physical or mental functioning of an individual, it becomes ‘drug abuse’. Any type of drugs can be abused. Drugs with medical uses can also be abused. In short, ‘drug abuse’ is taking a drug without medical reasons. The method, quantity and frequency in which drug abuse takes place, lead to physical, emotional and sociological problems.
Now this is one issue that not many people have agreed to. However, apart from the specifics, all the definitions of drug abuse harp on the matter of misuse or overuse of certain specified substances. To elaborate, these substances are psychological stimulants and performance-enhancing drugs that have been used for non-healing purposes. Alcohol, amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, methaqualone, opium alkaloids and mild tranquilizers are some of the substances that are most widely misused. The use of these substances brings on criminal prosecutions against the user, apart from the obvious physical and psychological damages. And add to it the social discrimination that will follow.
As defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, drug dependence is a negative pattern of using a substance that leads to a number of problems, which may include needing more of a drug to get intoxicated (tolerance), difficulties that occur when the effects of the drug wear off (withdrawal), using more of a substance or for longer time than intended, and other life problems because of their use of a drug or drugs. Five stages of drug use have been identified. The first stage is described as access to drugs but no use thereof. In that stage, minimizing the risk factors that make a teenager more vulnerable to using drugs are an issue. The second stage of drug use ranges from experimentation or occasional use to regular weekly use of substances. The third stage is characterized by youth progressing to further increasing the frequency of using one or more drugs on a regular basis. This stage may also include the teenager either buying, stealing, or drug dealing to g