Drug abuse is characterized by taking more than the recommended dose of prescription drugs such as barbiturates without medical supervision, or using government controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin or other illegal substances.
In Nigeria for example many people usually take drug on regular basis without consulting a physician before they do so. Many at times, Nigerians including those that are educated do take paracetamol whenever they have headache, pains, fever, malaria etc, without the consent of and medical practitioner.
Drug abuse can cause a wide range of adverse physical reactions. Long term drug use may damage the heart, liver and brain. Drug abusers may suffer from malnutrition if they habitually forget to eat; most times they cannot afford to buy food or eat food that contains the proper vitamins and minerals.
Individuals who abuse injectable drugs risk contracting infection such as hepatitis and HIV from dirty needles and needles shared with other infected users. One of the most dangerous effects of illegal drug is potential for overdosage – that is, taking too large or too strong a does for the body’s system to handle.
A drug overdose may cause an individual to lose consciousness and to breathe inadequately. Without treatment an individual may die from a drug overdose.
Drug addiction is marked by a compulsive craving for a substance. Successful treatment methods vary and include psychological counseling or psychotherapy and detoxification programmes – medically supervised programmes that gradually wean an individual from a drug over a period of days or weeks. Detoxification and psychotherapy are often used together.
The illegal use of drugs was once considered a problem unique to residents of poor urban neighbourhoods. Today, however, people from all economic level in both cities and suburbs abuse drugs to relieve stress and to forget about their problems.
Genetic factors may predisposed other individuals to drug addiction. Environmental factors such as; peer pressure, especially in young people and the availability of drugs, also influence people to abuse drugs. Drug abuse can also be seen in the rate at which young people are confined to psychiatric hospital due to overdose.