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Types of Illicit Drugs
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Dec 16th, 2019

Types of Illicit Drugs

Both legal and illegal drugs have chemicals that can change body and mind work. They can give a pleasurable and ease stress, or help to avoid problems in life.

Goldberg J, (2018) Commonly Abused Drugs such as;

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  1. Alcohol: Alcohol affects everyone differently.

    But if drink too much chance of an injury or accident goes up. Heavy drinking also can cause liver and other health problems or lead to a more serious alcohol disorder.

  2. Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products: Tobacco has a chemical called nicotine that gives a little rush of pleasure and energy. Peoples smoke cigarettes for feelings of relaxation but it also affect their body like coughing, decreased blood flow to fingers and toes, heart diseases, and cancer.
  3. Marijuana: Marijuana can make feel silly and laugh for no reason or may feel sleepy and forget things that just happened. Heavy marijuana use can leave some people “burned out” and not think or care about much.

Iltus and Sabo (2002) classify drugs based on their nature and function as follows:

  1. Cannabis: cannabis is made from dried flowering, fruiting tops and leaves of the cannabis plant. Cannabis can make a person very hungry, increase pulse rate and make eye red it feel sleepy.
  2. Cocaine: Cocaine is preparing from the coca leaves. Cocaine can make a person over confident and make more alert with extra energy, increase breathing, and faster heartbeat.
  3. Heroin: Heroin is a drug obtained from morphine and comes from the opium poppy plant. Heroin is a drug that slows down a human body and mind. When injected, Heroin provides an extremely powerful rush. The effect of Heroin includes feeling of well-being, relief from pain, vomiting, sleepiness, loss of balance and concentration. An overdose can result in death.
  4. Amphetamines: Amphetamines are stimulants which made from chemicals. Amphetamines affect the system by speeding up the activity of brain and body through giving extreme energy. Ice is a strong type of Amphetamine and similar to Crack.
  5. Ecstasy: Ecstasy belongs to the same group of chemicals like Stimulants. Ecstasy is a drug that speeds up system by increasing energy physically and emotionally.
  6. Inhalants and Solvents: Inhalant and Solvent are chemicals such as glue, gasoline, aerosol spray, lighter fluid etc. these are not drug at all, in fact legally available from a large number of shops. However, they are abused by poorer section of society and youth. They can damage the lungs, liver, and kidney in the long term.

Alvi, A(2017) Types of Illegal Drugs in Pakistan were commonly used such as;

  1. Magic Mushrooms: Magic Mushrooms is also consumed orally. It is a fungi or a real mushroom. It is hallucinogenic and makes a person to day dream or sees things which don’t even exist. It has Psychedelic compounds that can alter the reality and visual. It also affects open and closed eye visuals. It is known to be helpful who suffer from depression but excess use can be fatal for prolong period. It has feeling that can be very addictive as it is based on unrealistic events.
  2. Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine Street Name is Ice. Methamphetamines are white crystals. They are smoked and injected. It is known as a source to increase human sexual abilities as well as increase tendency to work more. It keeps user awake for longer such as days or weeks. Weight loss has been recorded on multiple occasions. Side effects from it people have died because of wrong chemical mix with it.
  3. LSD: LSD comes on a piece of paper. It is small in size and looks like a stamp. It is consumed orally. It is placed on tongue and within minute it dissolves. It is used by many addicts to get a weird and strange sensation in the whole body and day dream. People see unrealistic things and also believe strange things happening around them. It is deadly in many cases as people believe being part of a dream.
  4. Barbiturates: Barbiturates are pills for oral use. They are of various type and commonly known as downers because of their sedative effect. It is used to treat severe anxiety and severe depression. They are commonly available and have same side effects as of any other sleeping pill as well as sedative. It helps to relax and fall asleep.
  5. Cocaine, Heroin, Ecstasy, and many more.

Causes of illicit drug abuse

The majority of the student take a drug for a non-medical purpose, and it is because of the poor teacher and student relationship, improper parental upbringing and the influence of peer pressure (Adeyemo et al, 2016). There was a significant relationship between family background, family cohesion, peer group and drug abuse (Abdu-Rahim, 2013).

The most important causes of drug abuse among students are peer pressure, experimentation, depression, to gain courage, having parents or other family members who abused drugs and drugs being available (Chebukaka, 2014).

Some factors which people taking drugs such as unstable home environment, A poor relationship with parents, use of drugs by friends, behavioral problems combined with poor parenting, poor achievement in school, approval of drug use in school, peer group or community and availability of drugs from friends(Health Apta, 2018). Drug abuse as influenced by the entertainment media influences our beliefs about the world around us today’s adolescents are deeply immersed in popular culture as it is conveyed through various forms of media (Espejo, 2002).

A life full of stress is a primary cause of drug abuse to deal with abnormal stress, the individuals go for some kind of drug. Peer pressure is another important factor which individual might get addicted to drugs due to some kind of pressure from society. Emotional stress is a major cause of drug abuse this generally happens from broken relationships where the individuals go for drug addiction to deal with emotional trauma. Lack of financial sufficiency gives rise to drug addiction the ones who are unemployed fall for drug addiction to deal with the financial stress (Umesh, 2017).

Ahmad and Siddiqui (2014) examine that the Causes of drug abuse in Pakistan are the Increase of availability of drugs at low prices, Rapidly change occurs in the social norms which place new demands on individuals for which drugs offer a false solution, People take drug due to peer pressure and negligence of parents, A lots of people become drug addict because of Lack of drugs education within educational institutions and family.

Main causes of drug abuse in medical student including depression, anxiety, peer pressure, confusion, as well as personality disorder (Zaman et al, 2015). Similarly another research conducted in Pakistan according to him Psychological and socioeconomic factors that lead people to abuse drugs (Ali et al, 2011). Dysfunction within the family of an addict was the leading cause of return to drug abuse (Sahar, 2014).

Consequences of Illicit Drug abuse

Heroin, cocaine and other drugs kill around 200,000 million people each year (UNODC, 2012).A study was conducted in Nigerian public universities as shown that the drug abuses have negative effects on academic performance of students (Agbonghale and okaka, 2014). Similarly, another research was conducted in Ekiti and Ondo state as shown that the students who take drugs their performance are weak in an academic career (Abdu-Rahim B, 2013).

The more use of drugs for a long time; it can cause changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits as well. They can hurt: Judgment, Decision making, Memory, and Ability to learn (Goldberg J, 2018). Drug abuse regarded as a personality Disorder, and also affecting human behavior (Zaman et al, 2015).

A study as shown that over 38% of secondary school students in Kaduna state, Nigeria engaged in potentially dangerous behavior like drug abuse. The behavior is common among male and female students but the male students are more user or abuser than female students. Drug abuse affects academic performance negatively with 66% of participants reporting worse performance compared to non-abusers of the same age range (Moses, 2018).

Robbins (1989) Drug abuse is related more strongly to psychosocial problems among women and to problems in social functioning among men. Substance abuse has become a new trend among college students. Alcohol is not an ordinary commodity but a toxic substance in terms of its direct and indirect effects on a wide range of body organs and systems (Khalith, 2017). Alcohol’s direct relationship with GPA, the meditational analysis indicated that alcohol had indirect effects on sleepiness and GPA, primarily through its effect on sleep schedule (Wolfson, 2009).

Causes and consequences of illicit drugs among students

Students whose parents are of low income group are most likely to engage in drug abuse due to poor social economic background. Students who were in urban areas were likely to engage more in drug abuse than those in rural areas. This was due to more access social media and availability of drugs especially in big towns. Peer pressure was cited at the major cause of Drug and Substance Abuse.

Other factors mentioned included curiosity, availability of drugs and the belief among students that drugs are a gateway to passing of exams. Drugs when abused have different effects on the students. Poor performance, highly aggressive behavior, withdrawal syndrome, and violence. Students who abuse drugs perform poorly in both local and national examinations. This impacts negatively as they may not continue to higher institutions of learning (Ongwae, 2016).

Peer group influence contributes to drug abuse by students. The senior students recruit junior students into drug abuse in order to make them feel among. Drug abuse has effect on the academic performance of the secondary school students. Drug abuse has made students less serious and concern about their academics as they stay away from classes and lessons.

Bodily and mental diseases and problems associated with drug abuse many students find it difficult to face their academic work (Amadi, 2018). Drug abuse among students increased risk factors such as peer pressure and favorable attitudes toward drugs. While low level of commitment to education and higher rate of absenteeism appear to be related to substance use among adolescents (Hawkins, 1992).

Causes of drug abuse established were; peer influence, stress at home especially due to lack of school fees, family breakup and conflict with parents, availability of the drugs, and availability of money to buy, and family background for example the parents also abused contributed to the student to abuse drugs.

Drug abuse among the students caused dropping out of school, strained relationship with other students, lack of interest in schooling, low concentration in span and declining grades hence abused of drugs had a negative effect on academics performance of the student in secondary schools in Masaba (Okari, 2018).

The most commonly perceived reason for drug abuse by students was lack of knowledge about the dangers of drug abuse, easy availability of drugs, low cost of drugs, excessive pocket money, lack of good role models in teachers and parents. Lack of concern by school administrators was also considered a possible reason for drug abuse. From the students  responses, it was evident that they were aware of the effects of drug abuse.

They gave these as lack of concentration on studies, missing classes, conflicts with teachers, physical weakness, lack of sleep, lack of appetite, failure to do assignments and rejection by friends (Maithya, 2009). Students abused drugs for varied reasons such as Peer influence was found to be the major cause of drug abuse by students, family background, Family Influence, cost of drugs, availability of drugs, and the commonly abused drugs were alcohol, bhang, miraa, tobacco and Kuber(Masese, 2007).

The use of illicit drugs among young adults and teens is attributed to many factors. Among which are lack of proper parental care, attention and love, proper monitoring of the teen child and young adult, peer pressure which in many cases influences. The use of illicit drugs has negative affect on individual such as broken relationships with family, friends and society at large and they are very weak(Elizabeth, 2012).

Students abused drugs due to stress, peer pressure, stimulation and to read for many hours to pass exams. The student who abused illicit drugs they have poor relation with teachers (Moses Munyau Kimanthi, 2014). Abuse of drug was more common in students of private institution due to abandoned opportunities. Male students were found more abusive than females. Substance abuse was greatly affected socioeconomic status of students (Zaman et al, 2015).

Drug abuse among university students

The smoking among all students was 7.6% and strongly related to gender as in total males 14.1% were current smokers while in total females only 0.4%; while, the abusing alcohols was 5% of all studied students and all of them were males. The drug abuse was 5% among all studied students. The most abused drug was tetrahydrocannabinol (2.8%) followed by tramadol (1.8%) then benzodiazepines (0.6%), while, opium and barbiturates each one of them (0.4%). Poly drug users were about 16% which were only males and tramadol was the common drug to use in poly drug users (MS, 2016).

The average age of most abusers was 18-20 years and the main motivation factors were considered as pain relief, being curious, loneliness and friends encourage. Substance abuse was higher in males than females. Drug abuse was higher among older students with higher degree, and with psychological disorder history (Goreishi, 2013).

Curiosity of young adults is important reason for taking illegal drugs. Life stressors as also factor for initiation of drugs such as divorcing, living far from family and living in rental houses without family controlling role, could be related to drug abuse. Benzodiazepines were the most common abused drugs which were abuse students (7.4%).

Other agents studied were cigarette and tobacco (12.6%), alcoholic drinks (4.7%), and opiates (3.3%). Forty-three students (3.4%) had used methylphenidate in the last 6 months. Of this, 39 (90.6%) experienced insomnia. All students who abused methylphenidate indicated that the reason for this behavior was to raise alertness and conscious levels (Rezahosseini O, 2014).

Drug use among students in the UK in total, 20.7% of students reported using one or more of the 17 listed drugs in the last 12 months. The most common drug consumed was cannabis taken by 19% of students, followed by Mephedrone, ecstasy cocaine and ketamine. The least commonly used drugs were heroin, methadone, crack, methamphetamine and steroids (Bennett, 2014).

The students who abuse drugs with a mean age of 20.6 years, male students were more likely users compared to females, the students who are living with parents/guardian are less users compared with those who are not living with parents/guardian , Students from lower-middle-income countries were more users compared to those from upper-middle or high-income countries. Students with poor subjective health status were significantly more users compared to those who reported good subjective health status (Yi, 2017).

Abuse of drug was more common in students of private institution due to abandoned opportunities. Male students were found more abusive than females. Substance abuse was greatly affected socioeconomic status of students (Zaman et al, 2015).

In Pakistan rapidly increase drug abuse especially cannabis, marijuana, hashish, ganja, charas etc. Especially among youth in colleges and universities, thereby resulting in serious health and social implications, Drugs destroy lives and communities, undermine sustainable development and generate crime, Drug abuse affects freedom and development of young people (Khattak, 2012).

Drug abuse among Pakistani universities

Around 8.9 million people in Pakistan are drug addicts while 700 people die every day in the country due to drugs. More than three million Pakistanis between the ages of 15 and 64 use heroin regularly and there are almost five million cannabis users addicted to smoking high grade hashish called ‘charas’.

Drug abuse is linked to factors such as smoking and alcohol, social isolation, stress, anxiety, depression, peer pressure, bad company and modern life style. Drug use in general lead to a number of health problems, such as malnutrition, apathy, menstrual irregularities and irregular heart rhythm. There is economic breakdown of family, loss of self-confidence and will to work, loss of job, indulgence in crimes such as theft, and suicidal thoughts (Qasim, 2016).

Almost half of the students were in the age group 18 – 20. Majority 96% were single and about Half of the students were hostilities. Substances used by students in order of preference were cigarettes 78.9%, alcohol 26.2%, cannabis 25.5%, amphetamines 14.6%, Benzodiazepines 3.6% and glue sniffing 0.4%. Students belonging to private medical college were more likely to have experimented with cigarettes, alcohol and cannabis in past or are currently using them, Overall boys had experimented more with these substances than girls (Imran, 2011).

Students and drivers are mostly found drug addicts. Tobacco smoking is main source of illegal drugs. Mostly drug addicted people belong to the age less than 30 and from financially upper and low class. The main causes of drug addiction are bad company and unemployment and frustration. The main sources of this addiction were friends and underground agents. A drug addicted person loses his health, wealth and social status (Anwar, 2013).

The most commonly using substance is smoking with 23%, alcohol 8.5%, Naswar6.1%, Heroine 4.7% and 3% other illicit drugs. Sex, depression, personal pleasure and depression were found to be statistically significant predictors of substance use. The study found that being male had a strong association with substance use.

The reason might be due to the fact that male students have high exposure and peer pressure is a more common factor than female students. Moreover, many substances like Naswar and Tobacco are usually acceptable practice among males (Noureen, 2017).

Drug abuse among Khyber Pakhtunkhwa universities

Medical students used more energy drinks as compare to non-medical students. There is a significant difference between male and female energy drink users. The participants who study in private sector institutions consume more drinks as compared to public sector students per month. More stress was found in female participants as compared to male.

Comparatively medical students ‘stress level is high then non-medical students. Similarly stress level increases as one move from junior to senior level at his/her college or university (Hafeez, 2016). Similarly, another study conducted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Tobacco was the most common substance used. Males and students living in hostels were more substance consumer as compared to females and day scholars (Kalsoom at el, 2014).

The majority of the student’s friends involve in drug use and less common in their cousins and family members. Most of them started drug consumption at the age between 15-19 years and were mainly doing it for recreational purpose, other reason were social pressure or educational stress.

The consequences of drug abuse includes behavioral attributes breakdown relationship with family and friends , poor academic performance in education, and delinquent activities like imprisonment and other unlawful pursuits (Khalil, 2015).

The main reasons to start the psychoactive substance use in students were: psychological stress and low self-esteem (studies, examination, troubled relationships) students started substances use to experience fun and pleasure, tobacco smoking is socially acceptable and easily accessible legal substance in societies of Pakistan (Nawaz, 2017).

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