Effects of Narcotics on Society [Archives:2001/29/Health]

July 16 2001

Ismael Al-Ghabery
Yemen Times
Narcotics have been known to the human beings since a long period of time. Man discovered some wild herbs and plants and used them for medication purposes in addition to practicing religious rituals. Up to the end of the 19th century there had not been any problem as the prevalent belief was that administering such drugs is mainly for religious and social reasons. Drugs are extracted from evergreen plants which grow on the warm mountains in the South America and some Asian countries.
Reasons behind the spread of drugs
There are many reasons for the spread of drugs which can be classified into two types despite being interconnected and identical. These are as follows:
Weakness of the religious discipline
There are many reasons pertinent to this aspect as narcotics are prohibited from the religious viewpoint due to the harm they incur on addicts. Hence, many studies conducted on narcotics proved that the reasons behind addiction were the weakness of the religious discipline among users.
Social reasons:
Several social reasons contribute to drug-addiction such as the social cultivation within the family that lead to practicing such bad habits. In addition to the family break-ups which adversely affect the members of the family and the society.
Economic reasons:
Some members of the society may encounter different financial problems and fail to overcome them. So they make of drug-addiction as an outlet for these problems. Poverty and unemployment are a great challenge to the society so the necessary measures have to be taken ,in this respect, to stop the aggravation of these two headaches. On the other hand, extreme richness could be another reason for drug addiction as this section of people feels the desire to experience something new. Furthermore, the economic boom in some countries attract drug traffickers to operate in such countries. It is noteworthy that drug traffickers play a key role in entrapping the young people to this evil habit.
Secondary reasons
There are several other reasons contributory to this problem some of which have to do with the physical and mental health. So some people take to drugs as a way to escape these ailments.
On the other hand, lack of discipline within the administrative system may contribute to the spread of this problem since the weakness of the general policy of drug-fighting and the control over the illegal use of drugs in addition to the weak coordination between the different competent bodies plays a major role in aggravating this problem. Moreover, the use of medicaments which have not been prescribed or disbursed by a physician could lead to indeliberate addiction.
Some other factors contributory to the spread of this problem is the migrant labor which spread its habits and culture in the host society, especially when there is no supervision for their activities which could be in some cases illegal. Furthermore, the absence of the role of media in this regard especially anti-drug programs and the other awareness programs give free reins to this phenomenon.
Adverse effects of drug addiction
Physical impairments:
Drug addiction adversely affects the overall health condition of the addicts such as underweight, overall weakness and loss of appetite.
Addicts also suffer some disturbances in the respiratory track and liver functions. Moreover, addicts undergo some symptoms of kidney failure and some disturbances in the blood circulation. These failures and disturbances could end with blindness, inflation of the nerves, and partial paralysis. In addition to that, administering drugs through injection is one of the means for transmitting AIDS and the other transmitted diseases due to the reuse of the same syringe for many persons.
Psychological impairments
Drug addiction adversely affects the psychological and the mental health of addicts as it causes low level of concentration and mental deterioration, stress, unjustified panic and weakness of memory. In addition some studies indicated that drug addiction is so pertinent to the dominance of suicidal thoughts in the addicts.
Social effects
Drug addiction leads to the social seclusion and moral degeneration of addicts. In addition addicts become totally detached from the society and its activities as they become totally occupied by getting drugs in whatever means so they restore to committing thefts, prostitution and crimes in order to get the necessary money for purchasing drugs.
Economic effects
Drugs-related crimes have very negative economic effects on the individuals and the society as a whole. Some of these effects are as follows:
Low leveled personal and household income
Low level of productivity both in terms of quantity and quality
Short-fall in the balance of payments
Rise of the rates of inflation and foreign debts
Drug addicts become useless persons in the society and they even turn to be a very heavy burden on the shoulder of the society and economy. Furthermore, substantial funds have to be disbursed on their medication and rehabilitation which always take a long period of time and need high and specialized medical staff. Moreover, drug trafficking has a very destructive impact on economy as drug-fighting requires huge funds for controlling the activities pertaining to organized and border-crossing crimes, including tracking down criminals and bringing them to justice which is not that easy task.