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Teens: Kick the Drugs before they Kick You

Abuse of drugs and alcohol is one of the most severe problems existing in the modern world. Drug abuse has been there since ages. Even during Classical Era, people used to consume a type of drug called Cannabis for spiritual, recreational and medicinal purposes. Then there are references of usages of drugs like Hemp and Opium during British Rule. The development of Medical Sciences led to the invention of various new drugs to treat multiple diseases. But most of these drugs are being abused by the people without any prescription. Unfortunately, the teenagers and youth are the most affected group by this drug addiction. These teenagers who are curious to experiment the drugs are most likely to become drug addicts in their adult stage. This drug abuse will affect them and lead to both mental and physical problems.


BACKGROUND

The narcotic drugs which are most commonly used by the young generation are Marijuana, Cocaine, Opioids, Benzodiazepines, Synthetic Marijuana, Methamphetamines, Ecstasy, Inhalants, Anabolic steroids etc. [1]. The teen experiment of narcotics generally starts with tasting alcohol, then trying out nicotine and gradually developing the level of intoxication by trying out various drugs. The main reason for the increase in the number of consumers of drugs is its easy availability. Law doesn’t allow people who are under 18 years of age to consume liquor or any other intoxicating substances. In India, the government has enacted Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 to curb drug abuse in India [2].


According to the studies made in 2016, it was found that around 2.9 million people of age 12 and above were addicted to prescription drugs such as pain killers, sedatives etc. Approximately 2.2 million were addicted to hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine. In 2013, 7% of 8th graders, 18 % of 10th graders and 22.7 %12th graders used marijuana in the month which is up from 5.8 per cent, 13.8 per cent, and 19.4 per cent in 2008. Daily use has also increased; 6.5 per cent of 12th graders now use marijuana every day, compared to 5 per cent in the mid2000s [3].


WHY THE YOUNG GENERATION FALLING PREY TO DRUGS

There are various reasons for a young mind to get attracted towards narcotic substance such as drugs, alcohol etc. They are

Curiosity: To try the phase of intoxication for joy and pleasure

Peer Pressure: Unable to avoid the pressure of peer group

Influence of Movies: When lead actors get intoxicated in movies, the young mind feels that this might be the way a hero should be and start imitating such movie characters.

Stress: In this competitive world, children were put under tremendous pressure to score good ranks by their parents and educational institutions. To escape from this pressure, the juveniles get attracted to drugs.

Emotional Disturbances: This is found mostly in children whose parents got separated or being very strict or neglecting the child due to their busy schedule or fighting in front of the child. Losing their loved ones or relationship disturbances also cause emotional damage to young mind which make them seek the help of drugs.


DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DRUG ABUSE AND DRUG ADDICTION

Drug Abuse is using drugs in such a way that it shouldn’t be used. Consuming drugs without Medical prescription leads to the abuse of drugs. People abuse drugs to get relieved from stress, in parties to have fun, to escape from reality and for other sedative purposes. This doesn’t refer to a regular habit, and the person can stop using it for a healthier life. But when a person could not stop consuming it, then he becomes a drug addict.


The condition of the brain where it craves and seeks for a substance even though it is harmful is called Addiction. When the body becomes physically dependant on certain substances, unpleasant symptoms occur when the dosage of the substance is decreased or stopped suddenly. So at the stage of addiction, the addict must be given medical treatment. Various de-addiction centres help people to come out of their habits. The teens who start abusing drugs at the adolescent age are most likely to become addicts during their adult stage.


EFFECTS OF DRUG ADDICTION

Usually, people use drugs under the prescription of doctors to treat various diseases. When these drugs are used without proper prescription of a medical practitioner, then it amounts to an abuse of drugs. These narcotic drugs can not only cure various health problems but also can damage a person’s health when a healthy person abuses them. Drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are usually prescribed for adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Still, when a fit teen consumes it without any prescription to enhance their abilities, they lose their natural ability to focus and show poorer academic performance. Marijuana and synthetic marijuana are drugs that are most commonly used by the adolescent youth for sedative proposes popularly referred to as “getting high”.


Each medication has a different type of side effects when they are abused. But few effects are common in all of them. They are

Headache

Chest Pain

Lack of Appetite

Sudden weight loss or weight gain

Anxiety

Talkativeness and confused behaviour

Memory Loss

Hallucinations

Insomnia


IS YOUR CHILD ABUSING DRUGS?

During teenage, due to hormonal changes, the children tend to get attracted towards everything that seems exciting to them. So parents should take extra care and guide their adolescent child properly during that phase. There are few signs to know if your teenage child is under the influence of drugs. They are

Bloodshot eyes

Poor Hygiene

Avoiding eye contact

Laughing for no reason

Frequent hunger

Unusual Tiredness

Secretive Behaviour

The odour of smoke from mouth or clothes

Bad Grades or loss of interest overstudies and other things.


ROLE OF PARENTS IN DEALING WITH DRUG ADDICTED CHILD

After checking with the signs mentioned above, if any parent feels that his/her child is under the influence of drugs, then they should follow few steps to help their child to come out of it. Firstly, talk with your child. A friendly talk is vital to win your child’s confidence. Ask your child if he/she consumes drugs. If the child accepts, do not overreact let the teen talk about it entirely and find out all the details regarding how the child got introduced to it. Then parents should explain how much they care for their children’s health and future and assure them that they will help the child to get over the addiction. Usually, teens who feel loved and supported are most likely to stop abusing drugs.


Generally, the child refuses the drug consumption due to fear; the parents should assure them that they are concerned and trying to help them. If the child continues to deny and the parent still has the suspicion, then seek professional help or a home drug test to diagnose the teen problem. If the teen is not able to get out of drug addiction even after trying so much, then the child must be given medical treatment as soon as possible.


CONCLUSION

The competitive world has put enormous pressure on children in matters relating to studies, sports and other cultural activities. The parents and educational institutions should focus on the all-round development of children rather than forcing them to secure ranks and grades. Most of the parents send their children to residential hostels even at the tender age. Those children, when they grow up due to lack of parental love and support, are more likely to get attracted to those things that give them instant relief and temporary happiness.


Parents should not neglect their adolescent child as in that phase; usually, the child finds it difficult to balance his/her emotions and stress. To get relieved from such pressure and stress, they opt for alcohol, nicotine and other intoxicating substances. Parents should take time out of their busy schedule and spend time with their children and explain to them how to handle stressful situations. Parents should assure their children that they are concerned about their children and let them share their thoughts and problems that they are facing.


ENDNOTES

[1] Ajay Kumar, Indu Dangi, Dr RS Pawar; Drug addiction: A big challenge for youth and children’s; International Journal of Research in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Volume 4; Issue 1; January 2019; Page No. 35-40

[2] Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985

[3] https://www.drugabuse.gov


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This blog has been authored by K.S.M.C.Sravanthi, who is a 5th Year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) student at Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam.


[PUBLICATION NO. TLG_BLOG_20_118_04]

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