in SteemAlive3 years ago


Substance Abuse has become a great challenge and a threat to both the government and the society at large. Only few days ago, the Director General of National drug Law Enforcement agency (NDLEA) lamented how drug peddlers have taken his name to Native Doctors apparently to eliminate him.

That goes to show how desperate the end users, the middle men, and the barons are; and this also shows the acute and chronic danger faced by the society.

While the industry(yes substance abuse is a big industry) is growing, the wreckage caused by their merchandise is quite colossal. Imagine the number of youths sent to early grave and those who are picking garbage on the streets .

The number of youths involved in substance abuse is quite alarming and cuts across all regions and continents.

Canabis remains the most widely used illicit substance in the African region. The highest prevalence and increase in use is being reported in West and Central Africa with rates between 5.2% and 13.5%

The effects of drug abuse are numerous and may be classified into four : physical, psychological, social and economic
Substance abuse has wide range of effects on every part of the human system; sometimes the pathology caused by substance abuse may not be reversible.

The Brain

The brain is the coordinator and Central processing unit of the body. Expectedly every thing that happens in the body comes from the brain first. Psychoactive drugs produce the following effects on the brain:

  • Euphoria
    Euphoria simply means exaggerated state of well being. This is the state of the mind where the person feels there is no problem again, and that the world belongs to him. This is the main reason why people indulge in substance abuse.

This is a dangerous situation because any individual that has gotten to this level may not amount to any thing in live. The opioids are the major culprits.

  • Depression
    Depressive episodes occur in between the period of stoppage of drug or when the effect of the substance wanes. It is not surprising why drug addiction occurs.

Alcohol and opioids contribute largely to depressive episode especially when there is no means to have access to substance. This is also the reason why it is difficult to come out of drug addiction. The biggest punishment for a drug addict is to deny him drugs.

  • Mood Swing
    This is a disorder in which the person gravitates between expansive and depressive disorder in what is called bipolar disorder.
  • Schizophrenia
    This is a mental disorder in which the person is unable to take care of himself, bahaves abnormally, and begins to use words that can not be found in the Dictionary. The person may not be violent.
  • Insomnia
    Most drug addicts experience insomnia(sleeplessness) as a result of disruption of the brain function and transient relapse when the effect of drug wanes.
  • psychosis(madness)
    Most psychactive drugs disrupt the function of the brain either by displacing or mimicking neurotransmitters(chemical messengers in the brain). Very high dose can interfere with the normal physiology of the brain leading to psychosis.

Colorado and marijuana to a lesser extent are the greatest culprits. Last month,one final year student of Abia State University jumped from the second floor and died after taking colarado.

The Heart

  • Palpitation
    This is the awareness of heartbeat and is associated with cardiac arryhthmia which at the long run may cause heart failure.
  • Tachycardia
    This is the increase in heart beat above normal. The normal heart beat in adult ranges between 60 -120 beats/minute. With some psychotropic drugs, the heart beat may reach 300 beats/minute. Eventually, the heart fails.
  • Cerebrovascular Accident(Stroke)
    This is a combination of the effect of substance on the brain, the heart and the blood vessels. It may be as a result of emboli(clogging of blood vessels) or Aneurysm(Ruptured Blood vessels)

Gastrointestinal Tract

Psychoactive substances particularly the opioids have some stimulatory and depressing action on the gastrointestinal tract. The opioids(Codeine, Pethidine, Tramadol etc) produce both effects leading to any of the following:

  • Diarrhhoea
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Andominal cramps
  • Intestinal obstruction
    The depressing effect is usually more pronounced in the gastrointestinal tract than the stimulatory effect such that drug abusers may at the long run develop Chronic Intestinal Obstruction.

The Liver
The Liver is the industry of the body and is responsible for all the metabolic processes. Expectedly, continuous flooding of the liver with narcotics and other psychoactive drugs will certainly overwhelm the capacity of the liver to break down drugs and remove bye products from the system leading to accumulation.

This may lead to hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver failure. Alcohol is seriously implicated in liver Cirrhosis. Liver Cirrhosis is the irreversible damage of liver cells and this eventually leads to liver failure.

The kidneys
The kidneys are involved in the excretion of drugs. Drug accumulation especially resulting from narcotics can damage the kidneys beyond redemption.

Lesions on the kidneys are one of the most common effects of drug abuse. Chronic disorders can result from drug including Cancer, and complete renal failure in which the kidneys fail to function.

Many prescription drugs can damage the kidneys as a side effect of normal use. Drug abuse increases the risk of these side effects.
Cocaine, heroine and other narcotics have been seriously implicated.

The Respiratory System
Smoking crack, heroine, or cocaine deposits the substance on our lung tissue, reducing the ability of the lungs to diffuse oxygen.

Furthermore, the National Institute on drug Abuse reports that smoking crack substance increases the user's risk of developing bacterial pneumonia and other infections of the lungs

Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. In the United States, cigarette smoking is linked to about 80% to 90% of lung cancer deaths.

Using other tobacco products such as cigars or pipes also increase the risk of lung cancer. Tobacco smoke is a toxic mix of more than 7,000 chemicals. Many are poisonous. At least 70 are known to cause cancer in people or animals

The Skin

Many drugs of abuse have effect on the skin including

  • puffiness of the face
  • Carcinomas
  • Recurrent Infectious
  • Acne
  • Varying degrees of skin patches
    Alcohol reduces the appetite for food leading to protein energy malnutrition(PEM). This also leads to deficiency of vitamins B6 and B12 with effects on the skin.

I have only dealt with the physical effects of substance abuse. Watch out for the other effects.

 3 years ago 

Hello @nokas,

I really loved this article.It is highly educative.I have really learnt a lot from it.

Definitely, substance abuse has done a great harm to our youths.The bitter part is that, some people who make money from such business do not want the government to close and ban it.

Thank you for appreciating my work. Look forward for the third part of the post. Remain blessed.

 3 years ago 

This is a very educative article. Thank you for such posts. I learnt a lot and I expect to read more of such from you.

Thanks a lot for your support

We have supported this post. Keep on making great content in our community. Always check @steemalive for community updates. Thank you being an active member.

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