Annals of Community Health (ISSN 2347-5455, eISSN 2347-5714), Peer Reviewed, Indexed Journal focusing exclusively on Community Medicine and Public Health

Drug dependance

Answer plan:

  • Introduction
  • Magnitude of the problem
  • Factors influencing drug dependence
  • Prevention

Introduction

Definition:

A state psychic and sometime also physical resulting from the interaction between a living organism and the drug characterized by behavioural and other responses that always include compulsion to take the drug on a continuous or periodic basis in order to experience its psychic effects and sometimes to avoid the discomfort of its absence.
A person may be dependent on one or more drugs.

Magnitude of the problem

  • The problem of drug dependence has reached epidemic proportions in some of the countries including India.
  • Smoking and Alcohol dependence are the common dependence observed.

Factors influencing drug dependence

  1. Agent factors
    1. Dependence producing drugs are
      • Alcohol
      • Opiods
      • Cannabinoids
      • Sedatives and hypnotics
      • Cocain
      • Caffine
      • Hallucinogens
      • Tobacco
      • Volatile solvents
    2. Alcohol may be classified as sedative, tranquillizer, hypnotic or anaesthetic depending on quantity consumed.
    3. Alcoholism is a disease and alcohol is a disease agent.
    4. Both active and passive smoking has dependence potential.
  2. Host factors
    1. Peer pressure
    2. Pleasure
    3. Desire of excitement
    4. Sense of adventure
    5. Wish for self knowledge
    6. Desire to escape
  3. Environmental factors
    1. Unemployment
    2. Staying away from home
    3. Migration to cities
    4. Relaxed parental control
    5. Early exposure to drugs
    6. Broken homes, one parent home
    7. Large urban environments
    8. Areas where drugs are sold, traded or produced
    9. Certain occupations like tourism, drug production and sale

Prevention

  1. Legal approach:
    1. Legislations towards controlling manufacture, distribution, prescription, price, time of sale, consumption of substance
    2. Antismoking measures like
      1. Prohibition of sale of tobacco products to minors
      2. Restriction of sale of cigarettes from automatic vending machines
      3. Prohibition of smoking in schools, colleges and public places
      4. Prohibition of advertisement of tobacco products
      5. Statutory warnings over products
  2. Educational approach:
    1. Education for school children regarding evils of smoking, alcoholism
    2. Public information campaigns
    3. Education through mass media
    4. Integrated with other preventive strategies
  3. Community approach:
    1. Non medical use of drugs individually and in mass involves a complex interaction between agent, host and environment.
    2. Initiating preventive interventions in the community brings preventive action to the level of people’s everyday lives and actions, and contributes to emphasis on strengthening primary health care.
  4. Provision of alternative activities to the drug dependents
    1. Establishment of community groups or organizations
    2. Training in athletes, sports, music, public policy, religion, artistic activities.


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