Drug Abuse and its Influence in the Kashmir Valley

            Individuals begin to use drugs with varied choices. Some people use drugs to relieve some medical condition but continue to use them after the medical condition is over. Some people who feel depressed begin to use the drug to self-medicate and get addicted to it. Sometimes a traumatized event or a relationship issue led a person to drugs. Some other people use the drug to escape from the pressures of life or to experience the pleasure of drugs or to compliance with the peer group compatibility to have a different view of the world around them. This voluntary initiation into the world of addictive drugs has strongly influenced society’s view of drug abuse and drug addiction and their treatment.

            There is no fine line to draw a distinction between Drug abuse and Drug Addiction or when does drug abuse become drug addiction. Drug abuse and drug can be thought of as point along a continuum. Abnormal and inappropriate use of mind altering drugs when prescribed or over the counter is drug abuse however when it becomes drug addiction, it is not much clear because different people reach drug addiction at different stages. The scientific investigation is aimed at knowing the factors that contribute to this transitive period of drug abuse and drug addiction. Drug addiction, on the other hand, is defined as the continued compulsive use of drugs in spite of their adverse health, social and emotional consequences. Once a person becomes addicted to drugs he loses his control over drug use and often become isolated from family and the friends. They may also face difficulty at work and sometimes lead them to commit crimes and involve with Criminal Justice system. For addicted person, persistent use of drugs is the primary focus in life and once the drug stops the person will have cravings – intense and strong desire for the drugs. Our physiological mechanism generates these cravings to maintain a state of equilibrium that relies now on these drugs. These cravings have a physiological mechanism as they stimulate the area of the brain (Amygdala) that controls the emotional memory in addicted persons as shown by PET scans done on an addicted person. A drug addict can experience a state of craving at any stage of drug addiction or abuse.

            A drug to which a person becomes addict does not merely impair the person’s cognitive skills and behavior but also permanently damage certain abilities depending on the amount of a dose. Experts believe that certain changes due to the addictions disappear shortly after drug use while certain anomalies remain permanent. One of the first changes in the brain that may occur in response to repeated drug abuse is tolerance. Tolerance develops when a person requires a higher amount of drug to reach that leave of pleasure or a state of alteration of consciousness that he achieved previously through lower doses of drugs. In addition to this impairment of brain, drug addiction also makes people vulnerable to other health risks. For example, inhalant abusers are at higher risk of heart problems like disruption of heart rhythms. Often drug addicts consume and inject drugs in a group for better experience also put them at higher risk of contracting HIV virus due to contaminated needles used in a group. Also, there are higher incidences of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C among drug addicts than the general population.

            Drug Abuse spoils human lives and also destroys the golden periods of life. As on 2012, 1,83,000 drug related deaths have been reported and that figure corresponds to a mortality rate of 40.0 deaths per million among the population aged between 15 – 64. In 2012 it was appraised that between 162 million and 364 million people about 3.5% and 7.5% of world population aged between 15-64 have used an illicit drug belonging to cannabis, opioid, cocaine or amphetamine type stimulant group at least once in a previous year (World Drug Report 2014) . According to this Report, only one among six problem abusers has access to treatment related facilities or received de-addiction or detoxification services.

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