BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Topical issues about drug use



Drugs are one of the miracles of nature and science. It’s really amazing how use of a drug can relieve a woman of something as painful as childbirth or how a simple pill can relieve one of an unbearable headache. And yes, they are effective in almost anything, from deadly diseases to the simple anxiety you have before going up on stage. This ubiquitous value of drugs has made it an integral part of our lives but one should not be ignorant of their potential side effects or dangers.

Most of the attention has been on drugs of abuse like opiods, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine etc. These drugs of abuse littered everywhere with different names have a common feature of acting on the central nervous system to give various sensations leading to problems with dependence and addiction. However, some drugs like viagra can be abused for purely social reasons. The psychosocial effects of these drugs are so devastating and can even result in death directly from overdose or from risky behaviour induced by them. It would have been great if drugs of abuse were the only problem but nothing could be farther from the truth.

The father of toxicology, Paraclesus once said that any substance is a poison but the dose makes the difference, and drugs are no exception to this. Indeed, drugs (with no exception) are much more toxic than we think. For example, only 7g of the pain medication, acetaminophen (one of the most common drugs in suicide attempts and accidental overdose) can lead to serious liver damage. Drugs use is inevitable; however, they must be used only for the right purpose, at the right time and in the right quantity. Sadly, over the counter drugs which have the potential to be more toxic than the tightly restricted drugs of abuse are overused by individuals especially the elderly. The older age group tend to abuse drugs more because of fear of diseases and ignorance of drug toxicity, chronic conditions and for pain relief. Overuse is not solely from the part of the user but also from the health care giver. It can be due to over-prescription or prescribing to feel like one is doing something. Finally, overdose is an effect of the widespread availability of drugs.

Since all drugs are toxic, why are some drugs, especially the drugs of abuse, firmly regulated? Perhaps, because of their predisposition for addiction and dependence… Okay but what of the legalization of cannabis (marijuana) in Canada, and what does this mean for other leisure drugs? These questions are all connected to the problem of availability and distribution of drugs. After the exclusive use of prohibition control, governments may be slowly tending towards controlled restriction of drugs. The same ideology is behind the provision of safe injection sites for intravenous drug users. It is not to encourage drug use but to control the negative public health impacts of inappropriate use. This form of control provides drugs adequately through registered pharmacies and eliminates illicit drug use which can circulate fare, more harmful drugs. Irrespective of the preceding paragraphs, drugs remain miracles of nature and science… hence; the governments and health professionals must ensure that every individual has proper drug coverage and knowledge respectively.

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