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Drug Abuse

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Drug abuse is a disorder involving millions of people, including teenagers, each year. It results to many social problems found in the community, such as crime, violence, stress, drugged driving and child abuse. Drug abuse is a health problem characterised by a damaging pattern of using a substance that leads to further substantial problems. In spite of its detrimental effects, many people continue to use it and even progress to being addicted to it. Drugs abuse does not only pertain to illegal drugs used for recreational activities, but it has also involved prescription drugs. Drug abuse is also commonly called substance abuse or chemical abuse.

The most commonly abused drugs in the community are cannabis (also known as marijuana or weed), cocaine, heroin, club drugs such as ecstasy, amphetamines, anabolic steroids, inhalants and prescription drugs. In fact, cannabis offences are the most common type of drug offence in the recent years. Moreover, despite the steady decrease in overall crime rate since 2004, 2007 has produced the most drug offences, reaching its 30-year high, with British Columbia reporting its highest rate of drug offences among the provinces for the past 30 years.

Risk Factors for Drug Abuse

There are many reasons for drug abuse. Most try it out of curiosity which eventually turns into a want for a good time. The following factors may increase an individual’s chance of developing a drug abuse problem:

  • Family history of drug abuse
  • Having close friends who abuse drugs
  • Traumatic experiences during childhood such as abuse and neglect
  • Having a mental disorder
  • Drug use at an early age
  • Method of administration: injection and smoking increases addictive potential

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse

                The following are the self-destructive signs and symptoms of drug abuse:

  • Recurrent neglecting of responsibilities at home, work, or school due to drug use leading to poor performance
  • Using drugs despite it causing troubles in relationships
  • Using drugs even in potentially dangerous situations
  • Use of drugs leads to legal troubles
  • Use of drugs to de-stress or relax

Treatment for Drug Abuse

The goal of treatment for drug abuse is to completely stop the use of drugs. This may be very difficult for individuals especially if they have become accustomed to drugs. Treatment for drug abuse usually includes:

  • Group therapy
  • Counselling
  • Drug educations
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • If a loved one is suspected of drug abuse, express your concern and explain that you are willing to help. If there is no negative reaction, suggest joining a Narcotics Anonymous program.

Although it is possible to quit on your own, it will require great determination and a tremendous amount of support from family and friends. The best way to avoid a drug abuse is to not even start it in the first place. Disclaimer: This article should not be used for self-diagnosis and should be used for information purposes only. It does not provide medical advice or treatment. Red Cross programs offer First Aid Courses that are made available to all to learn proper approach and support to individuals with drug abuse problems.


Drug Abuse. (2014). National Institutes of Health: National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved September 29, 2013, from

Robinson, Lawrence, Smith, Melinda and Saisan, Joanna. (2013). Drug Abuse and Addiction. Retrieved September 29, 2013, from

Statistics Canada. (2009). Drug offences reach 30-year high in 2007. Government of Canada. Retrieved September 29, 2013, from

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