Drugs Abuse & Addiction: Causes, Forms and Governing Laws
Let’s try to understand ‘Drugs Abuse & Addiction: Causes, Forms and Governing Laws’. Because of increasing westernization, industrialization and growth of youth sub-culture are some of the leading causes. In a report, it has been found that 70% of youth in Punjab has at least once resorted to a drug.
There are laws in India to handle this problem. Let’s study some of the existing and proposed laws on this.
1. Peer Pressure
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that peers have a large influence on drug-abusing behaviour. Many teens use drugs for the first time to avoid being stigmatized by their friends or to impress others. Teens can take advise under, ‘The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign’, about the best way for them to avoid succumbing to peer pressure and be prepared in advance with ideas.
Parents can empower teens by role-playing situations. The parent assumes the role of the drug-using peer and the child practices reacting to being pressured into participating in drug use.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, scientists recognize that genetic predispositions to drug abuse exist. But they have yet to pinpoint the specific genes involved. This may have to do with a brain “feel good” chemical called dopamine, and a person’s gene-controlled relationship with it.
While one teen may try a hallucinogen one time. But another teen genetically predisposed to have addiction problems may desire to use it again and again. Because they naturally derive more pleasure from dopamine or have a deficit of it, to begin with.
While scientists figure all this out, parents should strongly caution teens who have might have a genetic relationship with a drug addict or alcoholic about avoiding substance abuse.
Growing up in a family that emphasizes getting “high” from legal or illegal substances can cause an adolescent to think drug use is acceptable. Mayo Clinic explains that this unhealthy family influence may be a factor in a teen’s initial drug experimentation.
Exposure to family members who reach for a substance to cure every pain or ailment can cause a teen to do the same. Teens get many of their values from parents and other adult influences and often mimic what they see. But its never too late to establish healthier family traditions and set a good example for teens.
4. Thrill-seeking Tendencies
Teenagers who have a tendency to seek thrills and adrenaline rushes may be at higher risk of abusing drugs due to the “high” feeling that is achieved from early substance use.
While everyone enjoys a rush of feel-good chemicals from appropriate sources, some teens get a feeling from drugs that cause them to continue their use despite negative consequences. If a parent sees a pattern of thrill-seeking behaviour in his child, he can discuss safe outlets for it versus unsafe drug use.
Some teens, like some adults, reach for substances as an attempt to relieve stress. This can be the root of substance abuse in adolescents with underlying mental conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder.
Child abuse—past or current—can create the level of stress that triggers some teens to abuse drugs. If your child seems to be under undue stress, insist on a mental health evaluation and counselling if needed.
6. Low Self-worth
A teenager with low self-worth is more likely to engage in self-abusive behaviours such as drug use. This likelihood is heightened if some of the other mentioned influencing factors are also present in a teen’s life. A Child can find skills in which he/ she excels to help avoid or counteract low self-worth, with the support of parents.
7. Desire for Performance Enhancement
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, some teenagers begin using drugs as a misguided attempt to improve sports or academic performance. These teens often have a sense of immortality and do not feel that the drug’s negative effects can harm them.
All teen athletes should be educated on the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs. All students should understand that doing the best they can in their schoolwork is all that is required for their parents to be proud of them.
Causes Specific to India:
1) Increasing unemployment in the country. Rural unemployment and largely agrarian landscape infuse hopelessness which further aggravates the situation.
2) India’s close proximity to the Golden Crescent (Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan) as well as the Golden Triangle (Myanmar, Laos and Thailand), making the country vulnerable to drug trafficking. These are places of high terror activities. These terror groups hold crops of Heroin and Cocaine, and illegally cross the porous Indian borders to enter the Indian state.
3) Lack of widespread medical facilities that specialize in de-addiction and also importantly lack of awareness to detect the problem in nascent stages and make amends.
4) Organized criminals in slums are becoming sanctuaries of drugs. The existence of cartels encourages more students towards drugs.
5) Rising incomes post-green revolution. A rise in the living standards has encouraged the youth to indulge in self-destructing activities.
6) Total prohibition in Bihar leading people to resort to these drugs.
7) Imitation of western culture. Increase in economic growth has created islands of prosperity, where youth with access to money tend to take up such activities in the name of modernization and westernization.
8) Painkiller for poverty-ridden people.
Forms of Substance Abuse
Stimulants include illegal drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as legal substances such as nicotine, caffeine and over-the-counter stimulants. According to Darryl S. Inaba and William E. Cohen, authors of “Uppers, Downers, All-Arounders: Physical and Mental Effects of Psychoactive Drugs,” stimulant use causes the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, stimulating the brain’s reward and pleasure centre.
This stimulation reinforces the drugs’ abuse. Because users attempt to feel good through increases of dopamine and norepinephrine and to avoid the “crash,” medically known as dysphoria, that occurs after stimulant use depletes the levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain.
Abuse of stimulants depletes energy and creates intense drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It can also induce paranoia, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, aggression, violence and psychosis. Stimulant abuse and addiction develop quickly.
Depressants include opiates such as heroin, morphine and opium, as well as sedative-hypnotic medications such as Xanax, Ativan and Valium. These slow down the central nervous system, diminish inhibitions, create relaxation and decrease pain.
Opiate abuse carries a high risk of overdose and addiction, as well as health problems. Abuse of sedative-hypnotic drugs easily creates psychological and physical dependence as well.
Abuse of these drugs in combination with alcohol can be lethal. Indeed, multiple drug abuse is common with abusers of this class of drug, as users combine various depressants throughout a day or week to try to achieve an optimal psychological and physiological state, notes “Uppers, Downers, All-Arounders.”
Psychedelic abuse includes using indole psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin mushrooms; phenylalkylamine psychedelics including mescaline; and other types of psychedelics such as ketamine, or “Special K,” and PCP, notes “Uppers, Downers, All-Arounders.” (MDMA, or ecstasy, acts both as a psychedelic and as a stimulant, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse).
These, called hallucinogens in the medical literature, distort the user’s perceptions, thoughts and sensations. People having underlying mental health issues face particular risks as these substances can trigger latent mental health problems.
These drugs vary dramatically in potency. Because they are less well researched than other substances, the effects of abuse are less well known. MDMA abuse may cause lasting damage to the serotonin-producing neurons in the brain, in addition to depression and serious health risks. Ketamine abuse can lead to convulsions and coma. LSD abuse causes such impaired judgment and reasoning that serious injury and death can result even at low doses. Acute anxiety reactions can also occur.
Marijuana is the most commonly abused illegal drug. Because it short-term euphoria, physical relaxation, distorted perception and thought, increased appetite, and impairment of memory and physical coordination. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, users of more potent marijuana may experience giddiness, illusions and hallucinations.
Because of the impairment in coordination and thinking, driving and other activities while under the influence pose a risk. Tolerance quickly develops so that those abusing marijuana need higher doses to achieve the same high. Long-term marijuana abuse may cause respiratory problems and immune system suppression.
According to Inaba and Cohen, longer-term abuse may also stunt emotional maturity and learning, and it can increase anxiety and even cause temporary psychosis.
Alcohol affects every organ in the body, and it is the oldest and most widely used psychoactive substance, notes the National Institute on Drug Abuse. People get abused to binge drinking and other problematic patterns of drinking which fall short of addiction but meet the criteria for abuse.
Alcohol abuse is linked to increases in aggression, impaired judgment, diminished inhibitions, mood problems such as depression and anxiety, health problems, sexual dysfunction and relationship problems. Alcohol abuse differs from alcoholism primarily in the lack of withdrawal symptoms. When an alcohol abuser stops drinking. However, alcohol abuse creates significant distress or impairment in the abuser’s life.
Drug Control Laws in India
The major drug laws of India are the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1985). Also the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1985).
- Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Bill, 1985 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 23 August 1985. Both the Houses of Parliament passed the same and it was asserted by the President on 16 September 1985.
THE NARCOTIC DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES ACT, 1985 (shortened to NDPS Act) came into force on 14 November 1985. NDPS Act makes it is illegal for a person to produce/manufacture/cultivate, possess, sell, purchase, transport, store, and/or consume any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.
The Narcotics Control Bureau was set up with effect from March 1986, Under one of the provisions of the act. The Act is designed to fulfil India’s treaty obligations under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Since There were three amendments to the act: in 1988, 2001, and most recently in 2014.
2. The 2015 Amendment
The 2014 Amendment recognizes the need for pain relief as an important obligation of the government. It creates a class of medicines called Essential Narcotic Drugs (ENDs). Now Power for legislation on ENDs has been shifted from the state governments to the central governments. So that the whole country now can have a uniform law covering these medicines which are needed for pain relief.
Subsequently, NDPS rules which would be applicable to all states and union territories have been announced by the government of India in May 2015. It also has included 6 drugs namely Morphine, Fentanyl, Methadone, Oxycodone, Codeine and Hydrocodone.
State drug controller is the only agency for this as per rules. Because it is he who can approve recognised medical institutions (RMI) for stocking and be dispensing ENDs. Once the approval is given, no other license is required.
It is the obligation of RMIs to ensure proper documentation and to submit annual consumption statistics to the drug controller of the state.
This act is applicable to one and all in India. Because of This whole of India, all Indian citizens outside India and all persons on ships and aircraft registered in India are covered under this ACt.
Dr Dharamvira Gandhi MP in November 2016 announced a proposal to amend the NDPS Act via a Private Member’s Bill. Once implemented Dr Gandhi’s bill would legalise marijuana and opium.
3. Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act
The Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act is a Drug Control Law passed in 1966 to pharmacognosy app & other relevant by the Parliament of India. It was established to enable the full implementation and enforcement of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985 headed by Chaman Chaudhary.