Drugs are defined as substances that are taken into the body to cure illnesses. Drugs are also chemical substances used in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of diseases.
Reasons for taking drugs
We take drugs for the following reasons:
1 To prevent diseases.
2 To diagnose diseases.
3 To cure diseases.
4 To enhance physical or mental well-being.
Apart from these reasons, some people use drugs for reasons that are not normal.
This is an aspect of drug abuse. For this reason, any of the following could be called drug abuse:
– Taking drugs without doctor’s advice.
– Taking drugs when you are not ill.
– Taking more or less than what the doctor prescribes.
– Habitual taking of illegal drugs.
Ways of getting in contact with drugs
These drugs are classified into:
1 Common drug – These are easily available at the medicine stores and can be taken without doctor’s prescription. Examples include paracetamol and pain-relieving balms.
2 Legal drugs – These are drugs that are not easily available but can be taken with doctor’s prescription. An example is valium 5.
3 Illegal drugs – These are drugs that are not legally allowed to be taken. They are called hard drugs. Examples include heroine, cocaine and Indian hemp.
There are two main ways of getting in contact with drugs. These ways are:
1 Proper ways
2 Improper ways
1 Proper ways
If we are given:
– by a doctor in the hospital,
– by a nurse,
– by a pharmacist,
– by our parents and
– by our teachers.
All these are proper ways of getting in contact with drugs.
The doctor, the nurse and the pharmacist are professional medical practitioners.
They know much about drugs and drug regulations. Our parents and our teachers too can give us drugs in a proper way.
2 Improper ways
Some people when they are ill, do not go to the hospital. They collect drugs from:
– their friends,
– their brother or sister,
– a visitor to their house, or
– a drug peddler or hawker (on the street)
All these ways are improper.
Some may even buy drugs just because it was advertised on the media. This way is also improper. If we take drugs through all these means, it is called drug abuse. Taking drugs on our own without doctor’s prescription is also known as self medication.
Going by the definition of drug abuse, any drug can be abused. Both the common and legal drugs can be abused if proper dosages and usage are not followed.
Commonly abused drugs and their street names
1 Pain relievers: Pain relievers are drugs that are taken by someone who suffers from pain with the hope of getting relief from such pain. Examples include
Paracetamol, Panadol and Novalgin. People take these drugs at any time without prescription. Some people even take an overdose. If we take drugs without prescription or take more than what is prescribed, it is a form of drug abuse. The street name for pain relievers is Karaole.
2 Stimulants: These are drugs or substances that make someone feel more awake and thought to give more energy to work. Examples include kolanut, cocaine, nicotine, caffeine, heroine and alcohol. Some people take these drugs to enhance their performance. For example, the footballers, musicians and artisans do take stimulants to enhance their performance at work. Some people who read overnight also take stimulants to keep themselves awake.
There are different street names given to different stimulants. Some of the common street names are:
General name Street name
- a) cocaine coke
- b) heroine coke
- c) alcohol ogogoro, kaikai, burukutu
- d) marijuana sepe, igbo, wewe, ganja, weed, Indian hemp.
- e) kola nut obi, gworo
3 Depressants: These are drugs or substances that reduce the level of activities
in someone. Some people may take such drugs to enable them sleep well. An example of such drugs is Valium 5.
When drugs are wrongly taken by a person, they are said to have been abused, and can become harmful. Drugs must only be taken under proper guidance and advice. Otherwise, they can be abused.
Reasons why people abuse drugs
Some of the several factors than can make someone to engage in drug abuse are discussed below.
1 Ignorance or illiteracy on the part of the users can affect their attitudes towards drugs. When people are not educated, they may do things wrongly.
2 Curiosity – Curiosity is the desire to want to learn or know about something.
Most young people are naturally curious and would like to experiment with different experiences.
3 Environment factor – Some people live in communities where there are no
basic amenities and where there is high level of unemployment. In such communities, drug supply and use are always very common. This makes them to have easy access to hard drugs.
4 People think drugs will help relieve stress
5 Peer influence –
Effects of drug abuse
Abusing drugs has the following social, economic and health effects:
1 Loss of control: Drug abusers always lose control and balance. They walk, talk, sleep and eat carelessly.
2 Inability to cope with school activities: If a school child abuses drugs, he would not be able to concentrate in class. This may lead to repetition or dropping out of school. He may also be involved in various school offences which may lead to his being sent out of school.
3 Health problems: Stimulants affect the nervous system of human beings, and can cause some health problems. Some of the problems are inability to sleep, or to rest, loss of appetite, convulsion, withdrawal syndrome, and mental disorder.
4 Financial problems: People who abuse drugs may incur unnecessary debt in order to keep up with the drug habit. In the long run, they may get involved in such crimes as stealing and armed robbery.
5 Addiction: People who formed the habit of using drugs before they can sleep or do some other things will always depend on such drugs. They would not be able to do things normally without using drugs. They become drug addicts.
6 Death: Drug abuse can lead to death. There is a popular warning that smokers will die young. Drugs like depressants can make someone dull in reasoning. If such people drive, they may have accidents, which may lead to death.
Strategies & Activities
Step 1: Teacher revises the previous topic.
Step 2: Teacher introduces the new topic.
Step3: Teacher explains the new topic.
Step4: Teacher welcomes pupils’ questions.
Step5: Teacher evaluates the pupils
Assessment & Evaluation
1 defines drug abuse.
2 list the commonly abused drugs.
3 identify the commonly abused drugs by their street names.
4 mention some characteristics of drug abusers.
A Choose the best answers for the following questions.
1 We must abstain from drug abuse because of _____________ substances contained in most of the drugs.
A harmful B sweet C bitter
2 One strategy of preventing drug abuse is engaging in behaviours that our mental well-being ______________.
A promote B disturb C flatter
3 A good or satisfactory condition of life that is full of health, happiness and prosperity is called ____________.
A physical well-being B spiritual well-being
C social well-being
4 When an individual realises his own abilities and can contribute to his community, it is called ______________.
A mental well-being B spiritual well-being C social well-being
5 When an individual is able to get along with other people in the society it is called ______________.
A mental well-being B social well-being C physical well-being