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Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction

Updated on August 16, 2013

Drug addiction, like alcoholism, is now seen as a disease. Narcotics abuse has been shown to be closely connected with emotional anxiety. Simply treating the drug does not provide any durable solution to the overall drug problem. Like the alcoholic, the drug-addicted person must be medically rehabilitated.

Psychological counseling and group therapy have been effective in weaning young people away from the use of "soft" drugs. For those who have been addicted to "hard" drugs such as heroin, residence at a professional rehabilitation center may offer the best chance for a permanent cure.

Addicts are referred to the center from the local hospital, where they have already gone through a detoxification program lasting 8-10 weeks. They spend an average of one year at the center

Traffic in drugs constitutes a major problem for the authorities and, because of the alarming increase in youthful addicts, for parents and teachers as well.

Effects of Drug Abuse

The loss of the power of self-control through drug addiction is not only harmful to the individual concerned, but also to society. A drug addict has such an overwhelming craving for the drug that he does not count the cost of getting it; crime, violence, and murder have been the price all too often. The addict develops a tolerance to the drug so that increasing doses are necessary in order to produce the desired effect. When not under the influence of the drug, the addict tends more and more to manifest typical disturbances of the nervous system. If drugs are withdrawn from the addict, characteristic withdrawal symptoms appear, with acute physical pain in addiction to such symptoms as severe cramps in the abdomen and legs, muscular twitching, vomiting, and diarrhea. The addict will be irritable, restless, and unable to relax, and will break out in sweat and "goose pimples." Rest and sleep are difficult or impossible to achieve.

Common drugs that are abused

The chief drugs used by addicts are opium and its derivatives, morphine and heroin; cocaine; hashish; and marijuana made from hemp. The widespread use of barbiturates, sedatives, and sleeping pills available to the general public has also raised problem. The barbiturates fulfill all the requirements of habit-forming drugs. Overdose is often fatal. Therefore legal control of the sale of drugs has been tightened.

Here in the Philippines, shabu is prevalent. Shabu is a methamphetamine drug. In the mid-80s, methamphetamine was introduced into the fringe circle of use in the Philippines. In less than two decades, it has broken out of the urban subcultures and gained access into the rural communities with devastating impact.

Shabu, a powerfully addictive meth stimulant, is the drug of choice of over 90% of Filipino drug users.

In the US, its use has undergone a resurgence, a 2004 study reporting that it has already surpassed cocaine use.

Treatment for drug addiction is quite drastic and should be attempted only by qualified medical personnel with adequate facilities.

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  • beth811 profile image

    beth811 6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    I agree with you that War on Drugs is a failure, but it doesn't mean that the solution would be legalization. We have to consider also other arguments and take a look at the experiences of few countries which legalized drugs.

    Decriminalizing drugs had been attempted by these countries: China, Netherlands, Switzerland, Egypt, Japan, Iran, Thailand and Great Britain, and all met with the same harmful effects, so they were all moving to the direction of illegalization. So to say, legalizing drugs did not work in any of them.

    Thanks again Alan for commenting back here.

  • alanlsg profile image

    Alan Bowman 6 years ago from The World

    Hi Beth

    Thanks for your response and your considered replies and it is my hope that society and humankind will continue to evolve to a level where we do not use any drugs.

    In the meantime the War on Drugs is lost, billions are spent on it and criminalising people also cost billions so economically it makes great sense to legalize it.

    The money saved and gained form this could then be used to better educate all in the dangers and to deal with the social and health problems better.

    We will therefore have to agree to disagree but it is a pleasure reading your Hubs.

    Kind regards


  • beth811 profile image

    beth811 6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    It’s hard on my part to draw a line between the pros and cons of legalizing drugs. Both have their good points. I agree that pros outnumbered cons. Analyzing the opposing arguments, I come to conclude that legalization, in economic sense, is good. But for the other arguments on pros, they are half-truths for me.

    I'm against legalization and here are my points:

    1. There will be more addicts because drugs are readily available due to its cheaper prices.

    2. Crime rate will increase such as driving while intoxicated; rape; violence; child abuse, including child pornography; suicide.

    3. Legalization could create more experimental levels in using drugs.

    4. There will be more broken home families due to infidelity to a spouse and violent behavior to family members.

    5. Point # 3 could create unknown health effects, and what's more - it could make the user mentally deranged.

    6. Drugs impair judgment and decision-making.

    The points mentioned above deal with health and social concerns.

    Thank you, alanlsg for taking your time reading and leaving your comment on the hub.

  • alanlsg profile image

    Alan Bowman 6 years ago from The World

    For the record I have believed for many years we should legalise drugs.

    I list below the points I feel support this argument and I trust you will find the pro's more convincing than the con's


    1) Legalised drugs would be supplied through licensed sources.

    2) Legalised drugs would be clean and pure and the right strength for the user, i.e. quality controlled

    3) Legalised drugs would priced properly and be taxed thus raising revenue for the Treasury.

    4) Legalised drugs purity would mean that addicts would not end up in hospital because of the effects of what they had been cut with, packed out with etc. (such as talcum powder, flour and worse which lead to many deaths due to side effects on the blood supply etc.)

    5) Legalised drugs supplied at the right price would cut out the dealers and take millions out of the black market and put it into mainstream finances.

    6)Legalised drugs supplied at the right price would reduce the need for addicts to commit crimes to fund their habit and thus save on Police resources which could then be targeted as detailed in point 8 of the Pros.

    7) Legalised drugs would mean more use, yes, this I agree, but the abusers would die quicker as they could get ready supplies and their early deaths would act as a deterrent to many, and would save the Health Service millions in treatment costs of those affected by illegal drugs total lack of quality control.

    8) Legalised drugs would mean Police resources would not be spent catching and criminalizing users but could be fully targeted on anyone who tried to deal or import illegally.

    Intellectually I am sure there are many discussions to be had on the Pros. listed above.


    1) We would get more addicts and more deaths initially, this I agree.

    2) We would have to give up controlling lives on this subject, cancel legislation and change the habits of a lifetime amongst our political elite and the chattering classes, in that they think they know best.

    No doubt others will have cons but for me the pros far outweigh any and as I said for the record I wanted this on file.

    Alan Bowman


    Latest Comment to add 17 August 2010

    Everyone who has looked at this in a serious and sustained way concludes that the present policy of prohibition is not a success”

    End Quote Sir Ian Gilmore Royal College of Physicians

  • pressingtheissue profile image

    pressingtheissue 7 years ago from Pa

    So right! great information. While the addict is using they are not in reality. I used for 15 years and thought I had everyone fooled. I could not have been further from the truth.

  • beth811 profile image

    beth811 7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    Thanks for your comment, beneo.

  • profile image

    beneo 7 years ago

    its very informative and educationnal article

  • beth811 profile image

    beth811 7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    Eizzy - It's like the saying 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.'

    Thanks for visiting.

  • Eizzy profile image

    Eizzy 7 years ago from UK

    I totally agree with you. Drug addiction indeed is a tough problem that hits a person holistically. Health and work are affected, as well as family and social relationships. However, people don't have to deal with drug addiction in the first place, if they or the people around them apply preventive and early detection measures. Personal drug testing kits are a great tool especially for parents, in screening their teenage children. However, complete cooperation is essential so they must properly communicate. For the details of the types and how-to instructions of drug test kits, you may visit my hub at :)

  • profile image

    Don 7 years ago

    I totally disagree with that very last line. You most certainly shouldn't wait on a doctor to begin trying to help.

  • profile image

    Cheril Goodrich 7 years ago

    When we are born, we are Perfect Love. When Perfect Love is denied, we begin to seek for something to fill the empty void. Eventually the deception becomes an addiction, depression, disease, and eventual death. Addiction occurs because emotional maturity, or Perfect Love, has been denied. All emotional maturity begins in Perfect Love and ends in Perfect Love. The dash between birth and death is full of self deception and depreciated self value. The answer is simple, but not easy. Figure out when Love was denied completion.

  • beth811 profile image

    beth811 7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    Drugs and alcohol create a different personality in a person. Others may become creative in their songwriting, poetry & other arts, others may become violent, while those who are silent-type may become talkative & vice versa. (All these I mentioned are based from my experience.)

    You are right, drugs & alcohol give one a false illusion.

    Thanks for commenting, Sage. I appreciate your presence in my hubs.

  • Sage Williams profile image

    Sage Williams 7 years ago

    Beth, great job, very informative. You are so right in regards to psychological counseling and group therapy being an essential part of the recovery process from drug addiction.

    As for myself, it was a way to self medicate the pain that I never learned how to deal with effectively.

    Unfortunately, the drugs and alcohol give you a false illusion of coping and only cripple your perceptions further.


  • prettydarkhorse profile image

    prettydarkhorse 8 years ago from US

    Hi Ms Beth, shabu, hmmmm, hope many will read this hub as drugs are evil....Have a good day always, Maita

  • beth811 profile image

    beth811 8 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    Thanks for dropping by, Putz Ballard.

  • Putz Ballard profile image

    Putz Ballard 8 years ago

    Educational and informative,thanks for posting