Facts About Drug Abuse
Despite the seemingly tamed and glamorized idea of drug use, it must be remembered that it can still lead to abuse, addiction, legal offenses, serious health problems, and even death.
We must understand that there is no way to predict the effect that a drug can have on a person, especially if it is the first time they try it, and even regardless of dose and amount. Given that each person’s brain and body chemistry are different, each person would also have a different tolerance for drugs.
Drugs are chemicals that affect a person in such a way as to bring about physiological, emotional, or behavioral change.
‘Dangerous drugs’ are those that have high tendency for abuse and dependency, these substances may be organic or synthetic, and pose harm to those who use them.
Drug abuse exists when a person continually uses a drug other than its intended purpose. This continued use can lead to drug dependence, a state of physical and psychological dependence or both on a dangerous drug.
Drug addiction is a complex, and often chronic, brain disease. It is characterized by execessive drug craving, seeking, and use. Addiction is caused by brain changes caused by constant drug use.
This is the state of physical and psychological dependence, or both, on a dangerous drug, or drugs, experienced by a person following the use of that substance on a periodic or continuous basis. A person dependent on drugs will experience withdrawal reactions (also known as “cold turkey”, symptoms that occur after long-term use of a drug is reduced or stopped abruptly) after abstaining from drugs.
Drug Abuse: By the Numbers
Estimated Drug Users in the Philippines: 1.3 Million
Profile of Drug Users
Mean Age: 20-29 years old
Ratio of Male is to Female Users: 10:1
Civil Status: Married
Employment Status: Employed
Educational Attainment: High School Level
Nature of Drug Use: Poly drug use
Commonly Abused Substances:
(1) Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (Shabu)
(2) Cannabis (Marijuana)
(3) Inhalants (Contact Cement)
* Figure estimates from the 2012 Household Survey on the Nature and Extent of Drug Abuse in the Philippines conducted by the DDB with the Philippine Normal University.
Most commonly abused drugs in and their Ill Effects
Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (Shabu)
Methamphetamine hydrochloride is found to have harmful effects to the brain. It changes how the brain functions. Studies have shown that methamphetamine abusers have reduced motor skills and impaired verbal learning as a result of alterations in the activity of the dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in reward, motivation, experience of pleasure and motor function.
Street names: shabs, ice, meth, crystal, kristal, basura, tawas
Other adverse effects of methamphetamine:
- Extreme weight loss
- Severe dental problems (“meth mouth”)
- Mood disturbances
- Violent behavior
Cannabis Sativa (Marijuana)
Marijuana use impairs a person's ability to form new memories and to shift focus. Its active component, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) also disrupts coordination and balance, posture, and reaction time (experience commonly referred to as “spacing out”). Thus, chronic marijuana use significantly reduces a person’s capacity to learn, carry-out complicated tasks, participate in sports, driving and operating other machineries. Studies also show that marijuana use can lead to lung cancer and other problems in the respiratory and immune systems.
Street names: weed, jutes, pot, grass, damo, chongke
Health problems that come with the use of marijuana include:
- Problems with memory and learning
- Distorted perception(sights, sounds, time, touch)
- Trouble with thinking and problem solving
- Loss of motor coordination
- Increased heart rate and palpitations
The effects of inhalants are similar to that of alcohol, including slurred speech, lack of coordination, euphoria and dizziness. Inhalant abusers may also experience lightheadedness, hallucinations, and delusions.
Harmful irreversible effects of inhalants include:
- Hearing loss
- Limb spasms
- Central nervous system or brain damage
- Bone marrow damage
Signs of Drug Abuse
The following are common signs of drug revealed by individual using drugs. While not all of these signs mean that one person is involved in drugs and there could be some other physical or emotional problem that is causing these behaviors, there is high chance that drug use may be a possibility:
- declining interest in school or work
- suddenly changes friends (hangs out with individuals known for their drug use)
- becomes pessimistic, irritable and anxious all the time
- asks to be left alone a lot
- is always tired (or makes it as an excuse to be left alone)
- becomes careless and often becomes involved in accidents
- becomes implicated in a lot of fights
- frequent mood swings
- sudden change in appearance and conduct (red or puffy eyes, weight changes, constant complaints of headaches or stomachaches, shaking, incessant cough, brown stains on fingertips, stumbling, or a constant runny nose)
- loss of interest in hobbies or sports
- exhibits poor judgment
- finds it difficult to concentrate
Helping Victims of Drug Abuse
If you suspect that a friend is using drugs, talk to him or her. Let your friend know that you care. Talk to your parents, teacher, school counselor, or another trusted adult. Offer to go with your friend to his parents or a counselor for help.
You alone can't make your friend stop doing drugs. It takes professional help. Counseling, treatment and rehabilitation are among the interventions that can help someone struggling with the compulsion to use drugs. You may contact us via this website and our social networking accounts or over the phone (+63-8929-1753) for other queries and means of helping a person recover from drug dependency.
Words to Know
Addiction - A person has an addiction when he becomes dependent on or craves a drug and believes he needs the drug to live. All an addicted drug user can think about is getting the next dose after getting high.
Depressant - A depressant is a drug that slows a person down. Doctors prescribed depressants to help people be less angry, anxious, or tense. Depressants relax muscles and make people feel sleepy or like their head are stuffed.
Hallucinogen - A hallucinogen is a drug, such as LSD, that changes a person's mood and makes him see, hear, or think things that aren't really there. Hallucinogens change the way a person feels time, making it seem to slow down. As the name implies, hallucinogens may cause hallucinations - this is when people think they see or hear imaginary people or things.
High - A high is the feeling that drug users want to get when they take drugs. There are many types of high, including a spacey feeling, euphoria, or a feeling that a person has “special powers”, such as the ability to fly or see into the future.
Stimulant - A stimulant speeds up a person's body and brain. Stimulants, such as methamphetamines, have the opposite effect of depressants. Usually stimulants make a person high energetic. When the effects of a stimulant wear off, a person will feel tired or sick.
Sources and References