Drug and substance abuse is a global problem and is one of the major problems affecting the
youth both in school and out of school. This problem impacts negatively on the academic, social,
psychological, economical and physiological development among the abusers. The menace of
drugs has strangled the youthful population reducing them to dummies, zombies and drooling
figures only to waste out the prime of their lives when they are most needed to invest their
energy in worthy nation building ventures.
The presentation focuses on factors influencing the use of drugs of abuse among the youth . It
focused on how literacy levels influence drug and substance abuse; whether gender influences
substance and drug abuse; the influence of type of employment on drug and substance abuse;
evaluation of the role of availability of drugs and substance in drug and substance abuse and
lastly whether peer pressure is a contributing factor to drug and substance abuse among the
In Kenya, the drug abuse scourge has taken its toll on the society largely out of the fact that not
many people treated the various substances as the source of the serious health afflictions.
Evident lack of awareness, fanned by unavailability of accurate information on the adverse
consequences of indulgence habits left the problem of drugs and substance abuse to permeate
communities throughout Kenya.
To a large extent, supply of drugs and demand complement each other, with the result being a
vicious circle of drug abuse leading to compulsive use and tolerance. The various types of drugs
and substances commonly abused in the country by the different communities have evolved in a
cultural and social environment that tolerates and accepts consumption as a normal life style.
The government initiated action by enforcing measures to control supply reduction way back in
1983 with the formation of a specialized Anti Narcotic Unit under the police force
Most commonly abused drugs and substances include:
Inhalants/Solvents, petrol, glue, paint thinners etc.
Prescription and non-prescription drugs
Effects of Drugs/Substances Abuse on health ad Social Life
People indulge in drug/substance abuse due to many factors. Some of these factors
are personal while some are due to external forces. It should, however, be known that
for whatever reason one puts himself in this situation, drugs of abuse do not solve a
problem. You never win.
It may be important to point out here that the effects of drug abuse are vast. Many as
they are, these effects also depend on other factors,. Some of these factors are listed
The physical and chemical properties of the substance of abuse
The user’s personality
The mode of the drug usage
The environment or the area where the victim uses it
The aim, goal or purpose for the use
The cultural attitudes and feelings of the community where the user is based
The law and the rules of the land
The genetic factors
The public control mechanisms
Going by the above, we find that the effects of drugs/substance abuse simply cover:-
The community and
The National as a whole
Community of nations
Effects of Drugs/Substance abuse on the individual
Different drugs of abuse affect different parts of the human body, when two or
more of these drugs are taken together, they tend to have a combined effect
(synergism). most drugs of abuse affect the main organs of the body like:-
The central nervous system with the brain as the center
The reproductive organs
The effects can be gradual or sudden depending on the individual, the amount
taken, the duration and the environment. All these generate poor health.
With one member of the family or community getting sick gradually or
constantly, other members have to care for their kin. Sometimes diseases are
passed from one member to another due to drug/substance abuse. Examples of
such infections include:- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Hepatitis B.
Sustained stress will lead to mental problems. A sick family or community will
mean reduced nutritional status, increased mortality and reduced life expectancy.
The family of the abuser becomes the victim.
The picture shows a non smoker healthy
lung and a smoker lung
Complications resulting from drug abuse more frequently affect the lung than any other
organ partially because of the way in which we introduce the drugs into our
body. Smoking crack, heroin or cocaine deposits the substance on our lung
tissue, reducing the ability of the lungs to diffuse oxygen
All drugs of abuse—nicotine, cocaine, marijuana, and others—affect the brain’s “reward”
circuit, which is part of the limbic system. Normally, the reward circuit responds to
pleasurable experiences by releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine, which creates
feelings of pleasure, and tells the brain that this is something important—pay attention and
remember it. Drugs hijack this system, causing unusually large amounts of dopamine to
flood the system. Sometimes, this lasts for a long time compared to what happens when a
natural reward stimulates dopamine. This flood of dopamine is what causes the “high” or
euphoria associated with drug abuse
Acute effects of cocaine. Cocaine affects the cardiovascular system through 2
major pathways: increased sympathetic output and a local anesthetic effect.
Through increased sympathetic tone and catecholamine levels, cocaine increases
heart rate, blood pressure, and myocardial contractility, all of which increase
myocardial oxygen demand. Myocardial oxygen supply is decreased through
coronary vasoconstriction and enhanced thrombosis. Myocardial oxygen demand
may exceed myocardial oxygen supply, leading to ischemia or infarction. Cocaine
affects cardiac myocytes directly by blocking sodium channels, which decreases
left ventricular (LV) contractility and is arrhythmogenic.
Acute effects of cocaine.
Heroin has its most profound effect on the liver through the illness of hepatitis.
Hepatitis basically means the swelling and inflammation of the liver most often due
to a viral infection. People can get hepatitis from using heroin regardless of the
method of ingestion. Many heroin addicts get hepatitis through snorting the drug as
it’s never cooked in this form. It’s also extremely common for heroin addicts to pass
hepatitis from one party to another through the practice of sharing unclean needles.
Hepatitis B is the most common and can be the most severe form of the virus to
affect heroin addicts and others who engage in intravenous drug abuse. This is
because this particular virus is generally transmitted via blood and the severity of it
is linked directly to the physical health of the sufferer before they contracted the
disease, and heroin addicts are notoriously malnourished and generally unhealthy
The Effects of Drugs on Fertility
If you and your partner are having difficulties conceiving, then you are probably eager to find out if
you are suffering from an underlying fertility problem. Sometimes, infertility can be the result of
reproductive issues caused by the use of recreational and prescription drugs. Though you may not
realise it, drugs including steroids, alcohol, and tobacco, can have a very negative on both the male
and female reproductive systems. In fact, it is believed that drug use plays a role in a large
percentage of many of unexplained fertility cases.
Most men and women are familiar with the hazards of tobacco use during pregnancy. However, few
people recognise that tobacco has the potential to affect your chances of conceiving. In
fact, cigarette smoking and tobacco chewing have both been related to a number of fertility
problems in both men and women.
Men who smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco often have low sperm counts and poor sperm
motility, both of which can drastically reduce a couple's chances of conceiving. Women who smoke
can suffer from reduced ovarian reserve and chromosomal abnormalities, and are at increased risk
of suffering from a miscarriage or stillbirth.
Prenatal exposure to drugs can result in an array of
emotional, psychological and physical disorders.
Children exposed to illicit drugs after birth may suffer
significant problems that require additional
care, resulting in both personal expenses and costs to
society. Children exposed to drugs are at a significantly
higher risk of both physical and sexual abuse as well as
neglect and often have higher rates of
anxiety, depression, delinquency and educational
and attention problems
Men and women who drink more than six alcoholic beverages per day are more likely to
suffer from hormonal imbalances, affecting both the generation of sperm and ovulation.
Women who are heavy drinkers commonly suffer from:
luteal phase defects anovulation amenorrhea Men who are heavy drinkers can suffer
from:low sperm count poor sperm motility poor sperm morphology
The affects of light to moderate alcohol consumption on fertility are, unfortunately, less well
known. It does appear that moderate alcohol consumption can kill off some sperm-producing
cells in the testicles and may contribute to impaired sperm morphology. Some studies also
show that women who are light to moderate drinkers may experience some hormonal
Gender differences have been identified as
heavy determinants in the onset of addictive
behaviors, including drug abuse. Women are
acutely affected by particular consequences
of drug abuse, such as sexually transmitted
diseases and the consequences of domestic
violence, in addition to being more likely to
be affected by drug-facilitated crime.
Drugs of abuse are not accepted by society. One of the reasons is that
users become anti-social. They behave differently from non-users. The
following may be detected: -
Irresponsible and erratic attitudes and behavior (sometimes moron-
like, sometimes violent, suicidal tendencies, etc.)
Prone to accidents
Drug users therefore are detested by society and become social misfits
There is neglect of the family. This is followed by disintegration of the
family or social set-up. Institutions like schools get disrupted. Those
dropping out of school will increase. Violence or crime in general will
equally increase. Since the social fabric is affected, social norms will also
be affected. Hence, an increase in incest, homosexuality, etc. will be
noticed. There will be moral and spiritual erosion.
Isolation is the most common social effect of drug abuse. The drug abuser
eventually maintains a connection only with his drug of choice.
Depending upon the drug of choice, the financial strain can be devastating.
Buying drugs becomes more important to the drug addict than daily
responsibilities. Drug abuse leads to addiction. And when one gets to that
point, he/she cannot function withiout using the drugs. Therefore most of his
finannces ends up buying drugs to sustain his pusture.
Close connections to the drug abuser are affected. Relationships
become dysfunctional, as the co-dependent recognizes the effects of
the drugs. Children who use the drugs believe to be right in every
decision. Therefore anyone who differs with him becomes the
enemy. This including his families, friend and relatives. Its always a
hard and tough time for any parents dealing with such scenarios.
Social effects on the family can be felt long after the addiction. The family can be
dissolved, children can develop emotional issues and trust can be shattered.
Drug abuse is of particular concern among street
children throughout the world. Studies indicate that
street children who use drugs were more likely to
have been abused by their parents, have a history
of arrests and engage in sex work, exposing them
to sexually transmitted diseases.
Drug abuse also affects children in conflict areas.
In some regions, drugs are used as an instrument
to engage and retain children and young people as
child soldiers in civil wars, armed conflicts and
regional conflicts and in terrorist activities. children
and young people can become subject to physical
and sexual abuse, psychological
problems, addiction and other harmful
Drug abuse can lead to unexplained absences, depleted sick days and eventually job loss.
The severity of the drug abuse will determine the time line
A further cost of drug abuse that is often cited is the loss in productivity that can occur when
drug users are under the influence of drugs or are experiencing the consequences of their
drug use (e.g., while in treatment, incarceration or hospital). Studies have put the costs of
lost productivity borne by employers at tens of billions of dollars. Costs from labour non-
participation Productivity losses are calculated as work that would be reasonably expected
to have been done if not for drug use (a loss of potential income and output and therefore
GDP) as a result of a reduction in the supply or effectiveness of the workforce. Lost
productivity in the United States as a result of labour non-participation is significant:
While in treatment or when incarcerated, drug users may be unable to participate in
work, education or training, adding to the economic loss, in addition to the cost of treatment
or incarceration. It should be noted that these productivity costs will be lower if job
opportunities are already scarce as a whole increased over the past years
Economic and Security
Health care and hospitals
Visits to hospitals in connection with drug abuse are costly to society. Such visits
occur as a result of overdoses, adverse reactions, psychotic episodes and symptoms
of infectious diseases that can be transmitted through, interalia, injecting drug
use, such as hepatitis B and C, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other illnesses related to
drug use. Additionally, hospitals often need to treat victims of drug-related crimes and
A person’s health is greatly affected by drug abuse. Economically, this manifests itself
in prevention and treatment costs, health-care and hospital costs, increased morbidity
and mortality. Costs of drug prevention and treatment phenomenon of drug abuse
requires societies to dedicate resources to evidence-based prevention, education and
interventions, including treatment and rehabilitation. Although such activities can be
resource-intensive, studies have shown that for every $1 spent, good prevention
programmes can save Governments up to $10 in subsequent costs
Impact on public safety
Beyond health costs, people under the influence of drugs pose major safety risks and
costs to people around them and the environment. For example, drug-affected driving
accidents have emerged as a major global threat in recent years. Additionally, a
greater awareness of the impacts on the environment of illicit drug
cultivation, production and manufacture has emerged
• abuse of drugs affects perception, attention, cognition, coordination and reaction
time, among other neurological functions, which affect safe driving. Cannabis is the
most prevalent illicit drug detected in drivers in Canada and the United States and
Europe and Oceania. Research has found that habitual cannabis use is linked to a
9.5-fold greater risk of driving accidents, cocaine and benzodiazepines increase the
risk 2-10 times, amphetamines or multiple drug use increase the risk 5-30 times, and
alcohol in combination with drugs increases the risk of getting seriously injured or
killed while driving by a factor of 20-200. •at increased risk also has consequences
for passengers and others on the road, who may become victims of drug-affected
Relationship with crime
A generation of research has defined three major links between drugs and crime. •e .rs
drugs/crime nexus relates to the violence that can be associated with the use of drugs
themselves: psychopharmacological crime.
Crime committed under the influence of drugs is major problem worldwide. Second
drugs/crime link is economic- compulsive crime. •is the result of drug users engaging
in crime to support their drug consumption and addiction.
Impact on the environment
illicit manufacture and disposal of drugs and pharmaceuticals cause signi.can
environnemental contamination, owing to the precursor chemicals required for
manufacture, the manufacturing process itself and the active ingredient or substance.
Disposal introduces those substances into the environment in sewage, from where
they can enter sediment, surface and ground water and the tissues of vegetation and
aquatic organisms. As a result, wildlife and humans can be chronically exposed to
very low doses of drugs and the chemicals used in their illicit manufacture. •at results
in costs to individuals and to Governments, as they are responsible for ensuring public
Drug abuse and poverty are often linked in multiple
ways. Drug abuse may occur to relieve the stress associated
with poverty, chronic social strain and other difficult events. In poorer
neighborhoods, there is often less access to support systems, health care and
community organizations. Additionally, the relationship between drugs and
poverty can also work in the inverse direction: drug abuse
can deplete users’ income, leading to a lack of care for
family and loved ones and other responsibilities.
Drug addiction is a complex disease. It is a chronic, relapsing brain disease and
involves a combination of ecological, physiological and historical factors. It is not
voluntary behavior and is often a fatal illness.
Addiction treatment and rehabilitation in Kenya is largely a private sector and NGO
affair dating back to 1978. Treatment and rehabilitation centers are few, operate in a
policy vacuum and are expensive for the majority of Kenyans. The development of the
National Standards by NACADA and stakeholders, training of professionals on
treatment and counseling and developing the credentialing system for addiction
professionals are milestones in treatment and rehabilitation.
Treatment services and opportunities may include detoxification, substitution or
maintenance therapy and/or psychosocial therapies and counseling.
No single treatment is appropriate for all individuals
Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just
his/her drug use
Treatment must address medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal
Detoxification safely manages the physical symptoms of withdrawal and any symptoms of
psychiatric and emotional disorders. It is only the first stage of addiction treatment. Alone, it does
little to change long-term drug use. The Focus on stabilization and takes a couple of
days, usually 3 to 10
Refers to the process by which a person presenting with a substance related problem
achieves an optimal state of health psychological functioning and social well being devoid of
The process may also be rehabilitation depending on clients needs.
Typically follows detoxification and, if required, other medical and psychiatric treatment
It encompasses a variety of approaches which may include psycho education ,group
therapy, family therapy, specific behavior therapies to prevent relapse, involvement with a
self-help group, residence in a therapeutic community or halfway house, vocational and
survival skills training. There is an expectation of social reintegration into the wider
The approaches used often depend on the model used.
Medications for drug addiction
A broad range of community-based service supports designed to
maintain benefits when structured treatment has been completed.
It may involve a continuation of individual or group counseling and other
supports, but usually at a lower intensity and often by other agencies.
Self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics
Anonymous are important providers of aftercare services
Heroin cut me off from the rest of the world. My parents kicked me out. My friends
and my brothers didn’t want to see me anymore. I was all alone. From the day I
started using, I never stopped. Within one week I had gone from snorting heroin to
shooting it. Within one month I was addicted and going through all my money. I
sold everything of value that I owned and eventually everything that my mother
owned. Within one year, I had lost everything. I sold my car, lost my job, was
kicked out of my mother’s house, debt, and living on the streets. I lied, I stole, I
I was raped, beaten, mugged, robbed, arrested, homeless, sick and desperate. I
knew that nobody could sustain a lifestyle like that very long and I knew that death
was imminent. If anything, death was better than a life as a junkie. Drugs equal
death. If you do nothing to get out, you end up dying. To be a drug addict is to be
imprisoned. In the beginning, you think drugs are your friend (they may seem to
help you escape the things or feelings that bother you). But soon, you will find you
get up in the morning thinking only about drugs.Your whole day is spent finding or
taking drugs. You get high all afternoon. At night, you put yourself to sleep with
heroin. And you live only for that. You are in a prison. You beat your head against
a wall, nonstop, but you don’t get anywhere. In the end, your prison becomes your
My brother's addiction
My older brother is 19 and has been using since he was in high school. I always knew
about it, but was too afraid to say anything to my parents about it (i was in middle school at
In the past year it has gotten a lot worse. He has switched from marijuana to other drugs
like Oxycontin. My parents eventually found out and tried to get him to go to rehab, which
lasted about 3 days.
The only friends that he has are drug addicts too, and this past month his friend died from
an overdose. A week after that, he was high on some sort of pain killer that I have never
heard of before and crashed his car into a street lamp.
It did a lot of damage and he would have been dead if he had not been wearing his seat
belt. Whenever I saw him at the hospital, he finally broke down and promised that he would
He didn't stop and now he has dropped out of college with no job. He has tried stealing my
mothers jewelry for money. My mom tells me how its driving a wedge in her marriage with
my dad, because she wants to kick him out and my dad won't let her.
She has also become depressed trying to hold all of her feelings inside and needs to start
talking to a therapist. What really scares me the most is that i have a younger brother who I
see going down the same path.
I have really distanced myself from my older brother and we don't have a close relationship
at all, but I wonder if telling him everything that he is doing to our family would make him
stop (I have actually never spoken a word to him about his addiction).
I could really use some advice on what to do about him, my younger brother, mom or
anything! My family sometimes pretends like there isn't a problem and I don't really have
anyone to talk to about this.