Drugsand Alcohol abuse has become a scourge in the society due to theirresponsible engagement of the youth and the high number ofincidences and death related case due to alcohol and drug abuse. Abuse is the misuse of substances such as drugs and alcohol forrecreation purposes in doses or frequency that results in dependencyof these substances. Alcohol is part of our daily lives and is infact very legal to persons over the age of 18 or 21 years in othercountries. Intoxication is the result of taking in too much alcoholthat lead to impulsive rush and impaired judgement. Drugs on theother hand are illegal substances misused for recreational use by theusers. They include a number of banned substances such asmethamphetamine, opium, cocaine, and heroin and cannabis sativa. Theuse of these narcotics has been prohibited due to the severe anddetrimental effect the drugs induce as well as the tendency to causedependency to the user and ultimately death.
is a narcotic obtained from poppy Papaversomniferum specificallyfrom the latex which is dried to produces the drug (Forbes,and Henley, 2011).The substance has a number of very powerful active ingredients thatmakes it so harmful in high dosage. These active compounds includecodein, morphine, thebaine and papaverine as the botanical namesuggests. These are very powerful analgesics associated withaddiction. The alkanoid composition is chemically processed toproduces other powerful drugs such as Heroin and synthetic compoundsfor medicinal use. The plant is grown and the flower harvested wherethe latex is squeezed out of the fruit pods then dried into a stickyyellow substances. There is further dehydration then consequentlyprocessing it the finer opiate compositions. With time the level ofthe complex alkanoids has been synthetically altered to increase theeffectiveness of the drug as well as its value. Heroin is the illegalend product which is synthetically altered to powdery form which hasmade it easier for smuggling and distribution.
Originally,the drug was only used for pharmaceutical use until the potential forits value was discovered in relation to other drugs such as cocaine.It had a wide range of uses especially in the medical field due tothe analgesic compounds that helped in pain relieve during and aftersurgery. The use of crude back dates to the early writings inEgypt in Papyrus all the way to American civil war till the discoveryof morphine a family related drug. It is believed that opium wasdiscovered in Europe in plantation growing as a weed that caught theattention of the world. Afghanistan is reported to be one of thelargest producers of the plant in the world as well as high numberaccounts in Burma, Pakistan, Mexico, India and Thailand (UNODC,2015).
Thedrug is a highly addictive substance especially in the alteredsynthetic form with a high alkanoid percentage. The “cut“ form thatis heroin commonly used can be administered into the body in numberof ways. Being in its powdery state, it can be orally taken orsniffed through the nose or rolled up in cigarette rolls and thensmoked. It can also be injected into the veins through the syringeonce it is liquefied. As noted by Forbesand Henley (2011),oral consumption has no immediate effect like the intravenousadministration as the substance surges to brain and is distributedrapidly throughout the body. Within minutes it is reported that theuser begins to feel rush pumping through their veins. However,through any route the drug become addictive as the user never wantsto stop the rush, the feeling and the “magic“ as most users referto it. The most common method is the use of injections and veryminimal use has been focused on eating or drinking it due to thebitter taste it bears.
Oncetaken into the body, it is metabolized into its constituentmetabolites including morphine which bind to the opiod receptors ofthe brain (WHO, 2014). The metabolism of the drug is different indifferent users especially due to the normal metabolism rate as wellas their path and genetic structure as an individual. The metabolismprocess is a way in which the body reds itself of foreign compoundssuch as these opiods and thus explains why the “high“ last for ashort while then just leaves the body. The process takes place in theliver where the enzymes are produced that displaces the opiods thenthey are released, a process that takes a few hours at most. Accountsof the intensity of the drugs in the body have been reported as afeeling of euphoria, with hot flashes on the skin followed by drynessof the mouth and intense extremities. Also there have been report ofa feeling of high adrenaline rush in the system.
Inthis state the user is usually drowsy and blubbers a lot of theirhallucinations. They are believed to be in the “zone“. Users maybeawake all through but rarely have an account of their experiencesduring the whole encounter once the effects ware of. Mental state isusually hazy that could lead to a state of depression. A common signof drug intoxication is dilated pupils as well as some users havebeen reported to experience respiratory constriction. These are theeffects of just a dose or so. As noted by UNODC(2015), thecompounds within the drug are very addictive and drive the user towant more and more due the intense feeling it mirages. Thisconsequently leads to an overdose which is a result of the body`sinability to detoxify the system of the metabolites. With that beingthe case, the body goes into an over drive state shutting downsuddenly and failure of major organs. Reports of user who haveoverdosed include: convulsions hypotension, foaming difficulty inbreathing with and end result of comatose or even death.
Theuse if this drug has resulted in dire consequences to the user andthose around them. Smoking of opium has similar effects as theeffects of long term smoking. Addiction is the very first anddangerous effect. This uncontrollable urge to get “high“ hasresulted in the indulging in other forms of drugs that present thesimilar euphoria of the drug. Multidrug users have a higher chance ofoverdose than single drug users. Smoking has been report to causecollapse lung, inflammation of air tracts as well as constrictionresulting in breathing difficulty and ultimately lung cancer. Severerespiratory diseases that are associated with smoking and smokeinhalation also affect the users as well as the passive smokersaround them.
Intravenousadministration has severe consequences as there have reports oftransmission of various disease including HIV/AIDS as well asHepatitis to users who share the needles. The cost of this drug ishigh and dependant users share the same contaminated needle even upto 3 or 4 times use. This is due to blood borne transmission of thevirus. The prevalence of injecting drug users to HIV has beenreported to be at high of 77% and on a steady high (National AIDSTrust, 2013). Increasing statistics show there is a high increase inyoung adolescent drug users, transmission through contaminatedinjection is at an all time high and the leading spread of HIV in theworld second to sex with infected person. On the other hand, the twoare related in the sense that drugs users have been reported toindulge in proximity in order to get a taste of the high throughprostitution (WHO, UNODC, UNAIDS, 2012). China being the largestrecipient of opium in the world has recorded the highest injectingdrug users.
Associatedwith the use of opium is the spontaneous abortion due to inadequateoxygen supply to pregnant drug users. Miscarriages are very common indrug users due to their inability to provide proper care to the body.The common cause of such is haemorrhages due to vein collapse as wellas improper blood supply to the placental walls. Foetuses that reachto term are born with undeveloped or poorly developed organs,underweight due to malnutrition as well as breathing difficulty.Also, severe brain damage is common due to irregular supply of oxygento the brain and toxicity of the foetus by the compounds of opiodsthat circulate within the blood stream.
addiction ultimately leads to the death of the users. Overdose hasbeen reported at high all over the world due to the narcotic. has also lead to a booming drug trade that has led to increased drugrelated crimes. The opium drug trade has been associated to behindthe number of smuggling rings throughout the world and funding ofillegal activities that have resulted in the loss of life. Theinfamous opium wars was the as the result of opium trade in Chinawith China being the largest consumer of opium in the world till todate. The end-math of the use of this drug is detrimental to theusers, their families and the community at large. It is paramountthat this vice is stumped out in our society and more to be done tocurtail the availability of recreational drugs. More work to be doneto help rehabilitate the drug users and eventually incorporate themback to the society. Lastly, more studies to be conducted on theeffects and addiction associated with drug use as well as treatmenton the same.
Forbes,A. and Henley, D. (2011). Tradersof the Golden Triangle.Chiang Mai: Cognoscenti Books. ASIN: B006GMID5K.
NationalAIDS Trust. (2013). HIVand Injecting Drug Use.New City Cloisters: National AIDS Trust.
UNODC.(2014). Afghanistan Survey. UnitedNations Office on Drugs and Crime,11.
UNODC.(2015). Afghanistan Survey 2015. UnitedNations Office on Drugs and Crime,3-4.
WHO,UNODC, UNAIDS. (2012). WHO,UNODC , UNAIDS technical guide forcountries to set targets for universal access to HIV prevention,treatment and care for injecting drug users. UnitedNations.
WHO.(2014). Community Management of Opiod Abuse. WorldHeath Organization.