Of all the societal vices that ravage our generation today, none is more magnanimous than drug addiction.
The ever rising trend is tearing down our civilization, barricading our development as a nation.
A drug addict is handicapped, we consider drug addicts as people who are unfit to mentally go about the average citizenry privilege, they got expelled in school, they got fired at jobs, parents disown their drug addict kids, spouses divorce their drug addicted partners, in every sphere of life we kick them out.
We align them, we marginalize them, we push them away from us, we stigmatize them, same way we stigmatize HIV patients prior to HIV\AIDS awareness.
Some years back, people with HIV received the same treatment globally, medical experts around the world and humanitarian advocates have to come together to educate and sensitize people on HIV/AIDS, now they can live in peace among us without stigmatization.
The question is why the comparison between drug abuse/addiction and HIV/AIDS, right? Well, the thing is, just like HIV/AID, drug abuse/addiction is also a disease.
Addiction is a mental illness; Megan Bailey stated in his article on Beliefnet that “addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive or difficult to control despite negative consequences”.
The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs.
Many people do not understand why or how people become addicted to drugs and alcohol. There are many misconceptions about how addictions work. For example, some mistakenly believe that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and could stop using drugs by simply choosing to do so.
In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease and quitting takes much more than good intention.
The question is, how do we tackle drug abuse and drug addiction? Are we even willing to fight it? The plot twist here is that, drugs are profiting business, an illegal but lucrative business.
Even if the governments ban some narcotic drugs, somehow users always manage to get their hands on other unsuspecting substances that help them get high.
And besides, there’s always the acts behind the scenes, those organizations vested with the task of fighting drug misuse are allegedly the ones pulling strings to fuel the issue.
If we go on fighting drug users by arresting them, we end up with overcrowded prisons full to the brim with drug users. But the good news is, drugs addicts wants to quit.
In a small research recently conducted in Yola, the Adamawa state Capital, by a community for women social intervention to rehabilitate drug users, it was discovered that 4 out of 5 drug addicts wants to quit. But they need help to do that, drug users can’t just stop using drugs.
It’s an addiction, a pathological devotion that jeopardizes a user’s life but a user cannot overcome the obsession to cease using the substance.
They despair from within and wish to quit, but the withdrawal syndrome itself is enough to drag them back to the habit.
If drug addicts are willing to quit but not able to, what then needs to be done and by who?
Drug addiction is a mental illness, who else to deal with it than a psychologist?
Research shows that combining addiction treatment medicines with behavioral therapy ensures the best chance of success for most patients.
Treatment approaches tailored to each patient’s drug use patterns and any co-occurring medical, mental, and social problems can lead to continued recovery.
Addiction to drugs and alcohol should be treated as a psychological issue in order to end it completely. Understanding the psychology behind addictions allows us to help those with addictions overcome their problem and begin to live again.
This will go a long way in promoting societal development, harmony and peaceful coexistence.