Substance abuse is the main enemy of humanity today. Drugs are agents of slow killing that can catch us unaware.
This problem affects not only the victims and the helpers but the whole community. The whole community needs to inform of a concerted fight against this common enemy.
Substance abuse is a state –psychic and physical characterized by the compulsion to take the drug on a continuous; or periodic basis in order to enjoy its psychic effects; and also to avoid the discomfort of its absence, tolerance is present and person may be dependent on one or more drugs.
Drugs are life-saving substances when used properly, when they are abusing, they destroy life. A drug is any substance, other than food, that produces changes in the physical or mental functioning of an individual.
Drug abuse refers to ‘Taking a drug for other than medical reasons in amount, strength or frequency that damage the physical and mental functions’.
Addiction is a state of physical or psychological dependence; or both, in-person who has taken the drug periodically or continually. People abuse substances when they want to experiment, to be one of the gang; to become more creative, to escape unhappiness to reduce anxiety and tension, etc.
The substance to which addiction do frequently observed are opium, tobacco, heroin, brown sugar, etc.
Substance Abuse Definition
Addiction refers to an illness characterized by:
Firstly, the Consumption of drugs to obtain a sense of well-being even though there is no indication on medical grounds.
Secondly, the Increased requirement of the drug to get the ‘kick’ because of the development of tolerance to the drug.
Thirdly, physical and psychological dependence on the drug to obtain relief from mental anguish.
Fourth, Physiological and psychological withdrawal symptoms when the patient abstains from the drug.
People are constantly encouraging to purpose drugs to feel better comfort and ease. Advertising has clearly had some impact on drug use in our society.
Advertisements on television and in other media promise to make you feel happier younger, more attractive, and less tense. They persuade people to buy over-the-counter drugs as a means of relief from suffering and to create wonderful results but also that drugs are harmless.
Symptoms of addiction
- Firstly, Change in behavior and lifestyle- unexpected change in mood and attitude; change of friends, loss of interest, selling of personal and household goods; changes in food habits, sleeplessness or oversleeping; loss of interest in cleanliness, indifference towards family activities, etc.
- Secondly, Change in physical conditions- pretending to be drunk, slurred speech or overemphasis on words; red eyes or watering eyes, complaining of regular illness to hide the effects of drugs; loss of short-term memory, craving for sweets, occasional vomits late nights, etc.
- Thirdly, Persistent and frequent thinking about the activity throughout the day.
- Fourthly, the Inability to control, or stop the behavior, even after being aware of debilitating effects.
Effect of drug abuse
There are many negative physical effects that result from drug abuse –
Erosion of moral values, frustrations arising out of socio-economic problems; gradual slackening of parental control, chronic pains, disturbances of sleep, suicide and accident deaths,
Treatment and prevention
Prevent substance abuse programs are especially important in school; because abuse often beings with school-age experimentation. Early and frequent prevention activities can provide needed knowledge and skills for children to learn alternatives to substance use and abuse.
Treatment was very difficult and unsatisfactory. Withdrawal of the drug, slowly or abruptly, is important, hospitalisation with round-the-clock vigilance is necessary.
Withdrawal symptoms do treat symptomatically as well as by giving adequate doses of tranquilizers and narcoleptics. Psychotherapy, as well as counseling, is recommended to correct the basic psychopathology.
After detailed social history from the patient and family members; and depending on the motivation of the patient to give up the drug dependence; a further line of treatment does decide.
If he has good motivation and with the help of medical treatment; he has recovered from his condition. The case further takes up social casework.
Most of the addicts does not well accept by their family members; since they do not regular on their job there are financial liabilities and difficulties, and often the interpersonal relationship strain.
Also, they are social outcasts, hence after recovery; the patient is hesitant to go back into the same environment. A regular follow-up maintains after his discharge from the hospital for periodic checkups.
Group therapy sessions for a number of addicts and ex-addicts arrange jointly by the psychiatrist and counselor. Patients are encouraged to attend self-help groups like alcoholic anonymous.
Role of the church
The church should understand and accept drug abuse as a pastoral problem. The attitude of the church towards the youth should be healthy; telling the truth bit in love, as Paul advised (Eph4:15).
They should recognize the psychological and developmental problems; and approach them with sympathy to these facts of life. The church should open centers for treatment; and rehabilitation which does not profit-oriented.
Organize programs for family enrichments and awareness education. The church should have more trained counselors, especially pastors.
A child brought up with a strong sense of religious values may not easily take up drugs as a solution to life’s problems. The church should therefore have greater concern in combating this evil.
The pastor should understand and accept drug abuse as a pastoral problem. The pastor should give orientation about the impact of using substances. Proper education and awareness help to reduce the use of drugs.
Drug addiction is a medical problem in which the pastors may not have the right knowledge to handle the addicts. However, the pastor, with his/her healthy theology can help people find life’s meaning and its moral purpose.
There have been testimonies from the recovered addicts that they could come back to life only; when they recognized the power beyond, God.