Drug abuse has been a major social issue in Ghana. Various initiatives have been taken to curb this social problem by governments, non-governmental organizations, individuals and many others.one may ask what drug abuse is. The simplest definition is the use of drugs without a qualified doctor’s prescription .It can also be defined as the patterned use of a drug in which the user consumes the substance in amount or with methods which are harmful to themselves.
Obviously, one of the ill plaguing Ghana today is the misuse of drugs specifically “Tramadol” and other forms of substances which are either poorly regulated or banned for use in the country. Like a strike of light to petrol or a smoker puffing cigarette smoke in the sky, illegal use and abuse of drugs has engulfed our society so much that most of these young men and women are suffocating to death under its intense canker.
It is in the light of this unfortunate situation that I’ll carefully examine the menace, causes, and effects of using the un-prescribed drugs and suggest ways to ameliorate it.
First and foremost, any substance (with the exception of food and water) which, when taken into the body, alters the body’s function either physically and/or psychologically is referred to as drug. (Wikipedia 2018). Drugs may be legal (e.g. alcohol, caffeine and tobacco) or illegal (e.g. cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin).
CAUSES OF DRUG ABUSE
Everybody knows bad things can happen to drug users. They become addicted. They can have serious or even fatal health problems. They can ruin their personal, social and professional lives. They may even end up in jail. But why do young people start taking drugs in the first place? What are the causes of drug use among young people?
The first cause is simple curiosity. 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. Many young people encounter them at school, at home or in their neighborhood. 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.
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 can feel a little braver, stronger, a little smarter, more beautiful or more important. Of course this doesn’t last long, but that doesn’t matter. For the brief time that the drugs are taking affect, the user can forget about the problems, responsibilities and limitations of everyday life and escape to a fantasy world. It is no secret that drugs change the way you feel; this is why they are so attractive to young people despite their dangers.
Young people also take drugs to feel cool and impress their friends. If your friends all smoke marijuana, you will probably be expected to smoke it, too. If they snort cocaine, they will offer it to you. They may tell you that you are scared or acting like a baby if you don’t want to try it. This push to do what your friends are doing is called peer pressure, and it has a very strong effect on young people who don’t want to appear uncool to their friends. Some kids will do whatever their friends do, just to fit in and follow the crowd. They don’t want to be the only one not doing something, even if it is something dangerous, like taking drugs.
Unfortunately, many young people become involved in drugs before they are fully aware of the health risks and the power of addiction. They need to understand the ways young people first become involved with drugs so they can beware of them. Many curious teens have died the first time they tried certain drugs, like ecstasy. Others have found their temporary escape became a permanent addiction. Was it worth it?
Another cause of drug abuse is the lack of self esteem .Most young people are led to abuse drugs due to low self esteem. Low self esteem is characterized by the lack of confidence and feeling badly about oneself .People therefore tend to abuse drugs which in their mindset will make them ”high” .This in their perspective makes them do things which their low self esteem would have prevented them from doing.
Majority of people in Ghana who abuse drugs do so to help release stress. According to a research conducted recently by the Ministry of Health in Ghana, 41% of young people reported that their incapability to manage their stressful routine is their incapability to manage their stressful routine is their major reason for abusing drugs. A perfect example is the recent abuse of tramadol in Ghana by young people who claim that the drug(tramadol) helps them to be stress free.
EFFECTS OF DRUG ABUSE