Causes of drug abuse and prevention strategies in Ghana

Causes of drug abuse and prevention strategies in Ghana

Some individuals can use recreational and prescription drugs in Ghana without being addicted. However, those who began using drugs will become emotionally and dependent on them. However, causes of drug abuse will vary depending on a person and the extent of the addiction. Note that the extent of an individual’s vulnerability to his or her addiction will depend on various factors such as societal environment, their physical and mental health and their genes. The moment an individual is addicted to drug use; he/she will require professional assistance and support to fight the addiction.

Effects of drug trafficking on society
Source: New vision

Causes of recreational substance abuse

Drug abuse and addiction at the time of it's start never seems as though it will became an enslaving activity. The majority of individuals who are recreational drug addicts like cocaine heroin and marijuana began consuming the narcotics on experimental grounds. Unfortunately, many people who experiment with these harmful narcotics in Ghana do so during their teenage years. When doing these experiments on drugs, many people don’t contemplate that they will develop addiction and in most cases, end up becoming addicts. There are many reasons why someone will start using drugs such that they will take them to fit in their peers, others will use them to help them improve their energy and athletic performance. Others will use them as a way to fight depression and deal with extreme feelings of anxiety.

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Prescription drug abuse

Unlike recreation substance abuse, prescription drug misuse is more common in adults than in youths. Nevertheless, a drastic increase in the number of young people who abuse prescription medication has been experienced lately. Note that causes of prescription of drug abuse are numerous. In Ghana, teenagers have easier access to narcotics, amphetamines, barbiturates and other prescription drugs on the streets. Note that they obtain these drugs from those people who have a prescription for them.

Additionally, adolescences can get the medicines by stealing them from their parent’s medicine drawers and cabinets. Bear in mind that it is extremely easy for a young kid to get access to medicines since they are prescribed to many adults. Most of these remedies are prescribed to adults by doctors and they have the capability to influence mental and physical discomfort within a short time. If you become addicted to such drugs and you need immediate support, you should contact relevant authorities in Ghana.

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Note that prescription drug misuse is as bad as recreational substance use but many people think that consuming medicines continuously is not harmful to an individual’s health as taking recreational drugs. Almost all recreational and prescription drugs contain similar addictive components and an individual can take an overdose of medicines in the same way they can on recreational stimulants. For this reason, the majority of doctors who prescribe these medicines to patients offer stringent rules on how they should be used.

Causes of drug abuse among teenagers in Ghana

A recent study conducted by the Mission of Hope Society which is a health non-government agency based in Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana shows that there is an alarming rate at which teenagers are engulfed in the use of narcotics and excessive alcohol intake. In most cases their reason for attempting to engulf their lives to drugs are associated with stress and pressure they experienced in some stages of life. On top of that, the causes in teenagers are rooted much deeper.

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1. Depression and mental illness

Depression in the young people is very common. Almost a third of high school kids report frequent feeling sadness and hopelessness. Most of these young people are likely to consider and try suicide and in most cases, substance abuse and mental disorder tend to have a unique connection. The majority of young people who have depression will tend to be suicidal hence they will try to find solace in using narcotics, increasing their risk of addiction.

2. History of trauma

The high percentage of teenagers in the majority of Ghana rehabilitation centers, almost 50% of them are young girls who reported sexual and physical abuse in their lifetime. Bear in mind that any teenager who has been physically or sexually assaulted is twice likely to use this harmful substances than those who were never abused during childhood.

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Source: Emaze

3.Stress and inability to cope

The majority of young people tend to internalize their reaction to stress and as you all know, a severe stress will result in depression. According to the recent study conducted by the ministry of health in Ghana, 41% of young people report their incapacity to manage their stress as the major reason of abusing drugs. Stressful like occurrence may comprise a death or illness of a family member, divorce among the parents, toxic relations and moving from home to home.

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4.Lack of self-esteem

In most cases, young people are associated with low self-esteem and this is more evident in girls than in boys. The majority of these teens strive to attain that body image and social image so that they can fit in whereby their associate weight loss with beauty and popularity. They tend to link alcohol drinking, drug abuse and smoking with being erogenous, fashionable and imperturbable. They have a belief that usage of narcotics is the ultimate solution for their problems. Teenagers who have issues with their low esteem are vulnerable to this menace than those with self-confidence. Additionally, these youths will try this option in an attempt to cut their weight.

5. Social pressure

A recent research conducted by the ministry of health in Ghana indicated that the majority of teens start using hallucinogens so that they can fit in with their peers. The study also indicates that the young generation thinks that they are under pressure to smoke, drink or even try other such substances. As per the report, the more friends a kid has who s, the likelier they are to do it also.

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6. External pressure

It is evident that high school is the time of unimaginable academic pressures you teenagers. This is the period that matters for the majority of universities and the period in which students embrace the new and mature level of studying. However, academics and causes of substance abuse can easily and dangerously intertwine. For this reason, teenagers who perform poorly in school are vulnerable to drug abuse in Ghana that those who perform well.

7.Inadequate child-parent communication

One of the best solutions for to this problem that a parent can implement is having effective communication with the kids early before the signs of narcotic use start to show up. Therefore, if you think that your kids are vulnerable to drug usage, all you need to talk to them about the causes and effects of drug abuse. Make sure you teach your teens how to say no and ensure they understand the drug abuse side effects.

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Studies have indicated that many you people who hold conversations with their parents about drug use are less vulnerable to substance abuse. More than 50% of the teens that were involved in the study reported that this conversation assisted them to understand new things about substance abuse such as causes of drug trafficking and effects of drug trafficking on society. Note that lack of proper communication or relationship between a girl and her parents can lead to earlier initiation of drug misuse in teens since they don’t understand the causes of addiction in teens.

Causes of drug abuse
Source: Milc - Bandcamp

Research shows that young girls will try to use stimulants for significantly different reasons than men. For instance, men will use illegal drugs for sensation or social purposes while their female counterparts will do so to cope with life issues, reduce negative feelings, relieve tension, enhance sex, cut weight and enhance confidence. For this reason, gender-specific treatment is an unavoidable consideration when it comes to looking for drug dependence treatment centers that offer treatment programs for your kid and offer solutions to drug addiction.

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The substance abuse menace is the illicit and non-medical use of a limited number of substances. The majority of the s abused contain the properties of changing the mental state of an individual in numerous ways that are inappropriate, harmful and like threatening to the life of the person using and to the society. Some of the common drugs in Ghana include Alcohol, heroin, cocaine, opium, and marijuana.

Drug usage in youth statistics indicates that young people tend to be the main target of this drug menace and its abuse. For this reason, the government of Ghana must get a solution for substance abuse and prevention to save the young generation. The causes can include curiosity, peer pressure, easier accessibility of drugs among the youths. As the saying goes “curiosity kills a cat”, the modern youth is known to be curious and inquisitive whereby they will love to try and test the effectiveness of whatever is brought to their attention. In some cases, this curiosity turns out to be fatal even to the point of death.

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There are numerous causes of trafficking. In a quest to get an income and to keep up with the ever-changing trends in the economy, the youth will indulge in the selling of drugs without considering the effects of trafficking on society. They start peddling these substances in the name of employment and currently, a large number of youths are involved in the selling and trafficking.

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For this reason, poverty levels become the primary cause of this menace together with the negative attitude of the youth. For example, many a young girls have been narrating how they got into addiction. Some will go further to explain the ordeal they went through after completing her high school studies life became a living hell such that they are pushed into the use of drugs. They do this with the notion that the drugs will help them escape from ravages daily living with its associated hardship. Most of these kids live in the slums where getting daily meal and other essential needs is not an easy task.

Effects of drug abuse in the society

Signs of drug abuse

It goes without say that abuse has a lot of harmful effects on an individual and the society at large. Persistent misuse of these harmful substances affects the user’s judgment and thinking capabilities leading to numerous and complex social medical and psychological issues. If you visit different streets of major towns in Ghana, you will come across many people whom the public believe are insane. These people are not really insane but they chose to mess up their mind using drugs and if the government and relevant stakeholders will not take a major concern, many will join that bandwagon of madness.

Additionally, the economy of Ghana has been affected greatly because many strong men who have the energy to work vigorously to improve the economy of the nation are taking part in the use and trafficking of drugs. The Ghanaian government has been using its available resources to fight and prevent drug abuse and therefore resulting in the decline of the economy.

The transmission of dangerous sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like hepatitis C, syphilis and HIV/AIDS have become rampant among the young due to the increasing usage. The majority of youths are ill-advised that some drugs like marijuana and alcohol will arouse the sexual urge of the user.

The use of drugs is also the number one cause of numerous rape cases aired on almost all radio channels across Ghana. Additionally, the unprotected sex behaviors of youths suffering from drug addiction have led to the spread of diseases mentioned above. Once they have finished taking their normal dose sometimes and their sexual urge aroused, they look forward to dispose-off the sexual urge by all means and victims end being single mothers.

Causes of drug abuse and prevention strategies in Ghana
Source: Support ,counsel and guide victims of drug abuse.

Nevertheless, this menace as a social vice can be vetoed and curtailed. Concerted efforts by the government and church leaders in Ghana to curb this menace have been implemented. For instance, an appeal has been given to all churches within the state to lead in the fight against drug abuse among the young generation.

Reverend Dr. Ernest Odame, the leader of The Sekyere Presbytery Chairperson of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana made the appeal while expressing his fear that if effective measures to curb the addiction are not implemented now, the future of the nation particularly the young generation will be in danger.

He points out that churches and mosques have a significant role to play when it comes to installing the good ethical values in the youths to secure a great future for the country. This can be achieved through youth organizations in the churches and youth association on the colleges and universities. Rev. Dr. Odame was addressing a gathering at the 15th Sekyere Presbytery Session Thanksgiving Service at Agona in Ashanti.

The renowned doctor was not impressed with the high level of indiscipline among the teens and challenged the churches to put more emphasis on evangelism to deal with the canker. Additionally, Catherine Reckline who is the Sekyere South district executive officer pointed out that the assembly has started working on the projects aimed at addressing the issue of infrastructure deficits in the addiction public treatment centers and educational centers in the region.

Prevention of drug abuse in Ghana

Even though there are some things that the government and other non-government agencies can do to regulate drug misuse and addiction, they are some things that an individual can do to curb the menace. By sharing this great information with your close friends, you will be helping them avoid using those drugs once they understand the causes and effects of drug abuse. Here are some of the things that can help in solving this problem.

1. Dealing with peer pressure in an effective way

The main reasons why underage kids start abusing drugs is because their friends use peer pressure. Nobody will like to be left behind, thus teens and some adults will find themselves doing non-ethical activities that they wouldn’t do just to fit in. if this is the case, you must get a new and better group of friends that will not put unnecessary pressure on you do harmful things. Alternatively, you can learn to say no and stick to your decision.

2. Effectively deal with life pressure

Currently, the majority of people tend to overwork and in the process, they get overwhelmed such that they feel like they deserve a good break. But in the long run, drugs will make your life more miserable and stressful and many people don’t realize this at the moment. To avoid using drugs as a reward, make sure you implement effective ways to deal with your stress and unwind. For instance, you can do some workouts, read an interesting book, create something or volunteer with the needy. Engaging in any positive action will help you take off the mind from using drugs as the stress reliever.

3. Get a professional help for mental disorders

Note that mental disorder and substance abuse go together. People suffering from mental disorders are likely to use drugs as a pain reliever. Those dealing with mental disorders like anxiety, post-traumatic stress and depression must get a professional help and get treated before it results in drug abuse youth.

4.Evaluate the risk factors

You need to know all the biological, environmental and physical risk factors as this will help you overcome them. A history of drug abuse in your family, staying in a social locale that tends to glorify drug misuse or living in a family that models drug abuse can be risk factors.

5.Maintain a well-balanced lifestyle

The majority of people tend to indulge in drug abuse when something in their life isn’t going on well, or when they are not happy about their lifestyle. To avoid this, you need to look at life’s broad picture and create your priorities in order.

Various programmes for drug prevention

The truth of the matter is that drug prevention and regulation of drug usage starts with education. The education on causes and effects of drug addiction can take place in different levels comprising:

Family-based drug prevention

Note that the prevention of drug use must begin in the family unit at an early stage. There are numerous perks of home-based drug prevention education and this includes family bonding, enhancing child-parent communication skills and self-awareness. Bear in mind that parental supervision and involvement is vital in teenagers. For this reason, every parent must formulate a plan to teach their kids about the effects of drug use and drug abuse. However, they must institute and impose family rules and this will include developing an effective system of monitoring the kids’ activities.

School-based drug abuse youth and prevent

This is a menace that must be addressed during the early childhood of a kid in preschool. At this stage, kids will benefit from learning how to curb aggression, communicate in an effective way, and solve issues for them to be able to avoid drug abuse later in life. Once the kids are in the middle and high school levels, they should allow learning how to deal with peer pressure, communication, attentiveness, drug resistance skills and developing anti-drug attitudes. However, these programs can be repeated more often to attain better success.

Community-based drug abuse prevention programs

The majority of communities in Ghana have played a vital role in the fight of this menace and hence they have created a huge impact in the prevention of drug misuse. Some have even gone a step further to implement drug abuse policy to ensure that its youths don’t engulf in this behaviour. These prevention programs are established in community-based clubs, churches and even in learning institutions. These programs can solutions to addiction

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