Module 6 Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Corruption

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1 Module 6 Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Corruption Lecture 36 Drug Abuse: Concept, Extent and Nature Concept Any substance (usually chemical) which influences our bodies or emotions when consumed may be called a drug, i.e. it is a chemical substance, that, when put into your body can change the way the body works and the mind thinks. These substances may be medicinal i.e. prescribed by a doctor for reducing minor ailments or problems, e.g. lack of sleep, headache, tension, etc. but are also used without medical advice, used for an excessively long period of time and used for reason other than medical ones. The use of such drugs is usually legal. Some drugs may be non-medicinal in nature. Their use is illegal e.g. heroin. Another group of drugs are those that are legal, but are harmful for the person if consumed in excess, regularly, e.g. alcohol. There are other substances like cigarettes, coffee, tea etc. which can be termed as socially accepted legal drugs. But these are not seen as harmful. Some drugs like alcohol, brown sugar, etc. are dangerous and addictive. According to Julian (1977) drug is any chemical substance which affects bodily function, mood, perception or consciousness which has potential for misuse and which may be harmful to the individual or the society. Drug Use and Abuse Using drugs to cure or prevent an illness or improve one s health may be called drug use. Using drugs (medicinal/non-medicinal) in quantity, strength, frequency or manner that damages the physical or mental functioning of an individual, is termed as drug abuse. This means that even taking medicines in excess or too often or too long or for the wrong reasons or in the wrong combination implies drug abuse. According to Paul Fuqua (1978) drug abuse is the use of substance in such a way that it leads to such personal and/ or social consequences as impaired physical or mental health, impaired malnutrition, loss of productivity, and involvement in socially disruptive or illegal activities. Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 1 of 5

2 According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime(UNODC) drugs can be broadly categorized under following types: ATS Amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) refers to a group of substances comprised of synthetic stimulants from the amphetamines-group of substances, including amphetamine, methamphetamine, methcathinone and the ecstasy-group substances (MDMA and its analogues).in cases where countries report to UNODC without indicating the specific ATS they are referring to, the term non-specified amphetamines is used. In cases where ecstasy is referred to in enclosed brackets ( ecstasy ), the drug represents cases where the drug is sold as ecstasy (MDMA) but which may contain a substitute chemical and not MDMA. Coca paste (or coca base) An extract of the leaves of the coca bush. Purification of coca paste yields cocaine (base and hydrochloride). Cocaine (base and salts) Coca paste, cocaine base and cocaine hydrochloride referred to in the aggregate. Crack (cocaine) Cocaine base obtained from cocaine hydrochloride through conversion processes to make it suitable for smoking. Heroin HCl (heroin hydrochloride) Injectable form of heroin, sometimes referred to as Heroin no. 4. Heroin no. 3 A less refined form of heroin suitable for smoking. Opioid A generic term applied to alkaloids from opium poppy, their synthetic analogues, and compounds synthesized in the body. Opiate A subset of opioids comprised of the various products derived from the opium poppy plant including opium, morphine and heroin. Poppy straw All parts (except the seeds) of the opium poppy, after mowing. Addiction, Tolerance and Dependence Such abuse leads to addiction, i.e. inability to lead a regular life in the absence of the drug/alcohol. It causes tolerance and dependence, and withdrawal symptoms may occur in its absence. World Health organization (WHO) Drug addiction is a state of periodic and chronic intoxication detrimental to the individual and to society, produced by the repeated consumption of a drug (natural or synthetic). Explained simply, tolerance means Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 2 of 5

3 the need for more quantity and more frequent use of the drug to produce the same effect as before. Dependence can be both physical and psychological. Physical means that the body cannot function without taking the drug. Psychological dependence means constantly thinking about the drug and its use, continuously trying to get it and being emotionally and mentally unable to lead one s regular life without it. Some drugs like cannabis produce only psychological dependence while others like opium and heroin, produce both physical and psychological dependence. If the drug consumption is suddenly stopped after one became a dependent on it, withdrawal symptoms occur. These range from mild discomfort to severe vomiting and convulsions, depending on the drug being used. All drug addicts may not experience the severe withdrawal symptoms shown in TV serials and films. The severity of these symptoms varies with, the type of drug, the amount regularly consumed and the duration of taking the drug and the treatment provided in special medical units, where such withdrawal is usually managed. Helping the person through withdrawal from drugs (usually medially supervised) so that the person s body gradually gets released from the clutches of the addiction, is known as detoxification. It is important to note that withdrawal symptoms make it, especially difficult to give up drugs as they are very unpleasant. The user is thus afraid to quit drugs, even if he/she knows the harmful effects of drugs on his/here life. Extent and Nature of Drug Abuse Globally, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime(UNODC) estimates that, in 2009, between 149 and 272 million people, or 3.3% to 6.1% of the population aged 15-64, used illicit substances at least once in the previous year. About half those numbers are estimated to have been current drug users, that are, having used illicit drugs at least once during the past month prior to the date of assessment. While the total number of illicit drug users has increased since the late 1990s, the prevalence rates have remained largely stable, as has the number of problem drug users,1 which is estimated at between 15 and 39 million. Cannabis is by far the most widely used illicit drug type, consumed by between 125 and 203 million people worldwide in This corresponds to an annual prevalence rate of 2.8%-4.5%. In terms of annual prevalence, cannabis is followed by ATS (amphetamine-type stimulants; mainly methamphetamine, amphetamine and Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 3 of 5

4 ecstasy), opioids (including opium, heroin and prescription opioids) and cocaine. Lack of information regarding use of illicit drugs particularly ATS - in populous countries such as China and India, as well as in emerging regions of consumption such as Africa, generate uncertainty when estimating the global number of users. This is reflected in the wide ranges of the estimates. While there are stable or downward trends for heroin and cocaine use in major regions of consumption, this is being offset by increases in the use of synthetic and prescription drugs. Non-medical use of prescription drugs is reportedly a growing health problem in a number of developed and developing countries. Moreover, in recent years, several new synthetic compounds have emerged in established illicit drug markets. Many of these substances are marketed as legal highs and substitutes for illicit stimulant drugs such as cocaine or ecstasy. Two examples are piperazines and mephedrone, which are not under international control. A similar development has been observed with regard to cannabis, where demand for synthetic cannabinoids ( spice ) has increased in some countries. Sold on the internet and in specialized shops, synthetic cannabinoids have been referred to as legal alternatives to cannabis, as they are not under international control. The control status of these compounds differs significantly from country to country. In terms of treatment demand, the picture varies between regions. Cannabis contributes significantly to treatment demand in most regions, but it is particularly prominent in Africa and Oceania. Opiates dominate treatment demand in Europe and Asia, whereas cocaine is the main problem drug in South America. In North America, cannabis, opioids and cocaine make up similar shares of total treatment demand. ATS does not dominate any one region but makes a sizable contribution to treatment demand particularly in Asia and Oceania, but also in Europe and North America. In terms of the health consequences of drug use, the global average prevalence of HIV among injecting drug users is estimated at 17.9%, or equivalently, 2.8 million people who inject drugs are HIV positive. This means that nearly one in five injecting drug users is living with HIV. The prevalence of Hepatitis C among injecting drug users at the global level is estimated at 50% (range: 45.2%-55.3%), suggesting that there are 8.0 million (range: million) injecting drug users worldwide who are also infected with HCV. Deaths related to or associated with the use of illicit drugs are Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 4 of 5

5 estimated between 104,000 and 263,000 deaths each year, equivalent to a range of 23.1 to 58.7 deaths per one million inhabitants aged Over half of the deaths are estimated to be fatal overdose cases. According to the World Drug Report of 2010, there were 871,000 heroin user and 674,000 opium users in India in In a survey conducted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, in 2001, there were 2 million opium users and 8.7 million cannabis users. However, trends and patterns of narcotics and drugs consumption over the years have shown significant shifts. For instances, while the component of opium use among the drug addicts has been decreasing from 23.1 per cent in 1997 to 9.2 per cent in 2000, the share of cannabis has been increasing incrementally from 5.7 per cent to 9.4 per cent. The share of heroin has also witnessed increase from 12.7 in 1997 to 18.5 per cent in Most interestingly, the component of other psychotropic drugs has increased from 16.2 per cent to 23.2 per cent between 1997 and References Jullian, Joseph,1977, Social Problems, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. World Drug Report 2011, United Nations Office of Drug and Crime, p World Drug Report 2010, United Nations Office of Drug and Crime, p. 40. Extent, Pattern and Trend of Drug Use in India, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, 2004, pp. ix, 5. Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 5 of 5

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