I was reading a very interesting as well as disturbing piece of news from South Africa. There is a new craze among drug addicts which can seriously hamper the well being of HIV patients.
An antiretroviral drug called, ”Whoonga”, is the latest substance to be used by drug addicts. It is crushed, rolled in tobacco or paper , mixed with detergent and marijuana and smoked. The trend starting from downtown Durban is spreading all over. With the world getting closer everyday, there is a real risk of other drug addicts also getting influenced and trying the, ”new thing”.
Researchers and doctors are telling people that this drug , i.e. actuall Effaverenz, does not give a,”high” and has no addicting potential, but people are ignoring this fact. They are influenced more by their fellow drug addicts.
The drug in abused in this way with other addicting substances is detrimental not only for the addicts but also for the millions of HIV sufferers as they are being robbed of their medicines.
Once, ”hooked”, on addicting substances, one finds it difficult to get rid of this habit. All the habit forming drugs like marijuana, cannabis, heroin, opium, e.t.c. are damaging to the physical and mental well being of an individual. They are either depressing to the brain or exciting, thus altering the normal behavior of a person in a negative way. Drug addicts are known to commit suicide due to severe depression. This habit is also damaging to the financial side of the person. It drains the available money very soon.
To fulfill his craving, the individual stoops to stealing and cheating. It is not only the poor, but also rich persons who have been known to steal to get their daily supply of drugs.
Drug addiction is prevalent in all sections of the society in all age groups and both genders, though the reasons are different. Some persons sympathize with poor people, saying that, “what will a poor, jobless person do except take to drugs”. But rich people, particularly youngsters also get addicted to drugs.
This may be to seek the, ‘thrill”, in life which they miss because of their luxurious life styles. Some women and teenagers start taking drugs under peer pressure or only to show off. While for some, it is a means to kill their idle time.
For whatever reason, one starts taking drugs, it starts taking toll on his health. The person starts getting malnourished as he neglects taking a proper balanced diet. Because of the resultant ill health, he becomes more prone to diseases. He also starts losing interest in work and the capability to work hard and efficiently.
Thus the productivity of the society is also affected.
Therefore it is important for people coming in contact with drug addicts to help them shake off this dangerous habit. First and foremost thing needed is counseling. This should be done by an outsider, preferably a professional. Because, seldom do these drug addicts pay heed to any advice given by their family members.
Good attention to their nutrition and proper medical care is also important. Drugs like sedatives and tranquilizers (drugs used to pacify the mind) are used to help a person overcome the restlessness which comes due to not getting the drug in time. But these should be used with restraint as there is risk of habit formation with these drugs also. Deaddiction centers provide these services of counseling and treatment of these individuals.
Once cured of drug addiction, it is very important to see that the individual does not fall again in this habit. He should be kept away from all possible former contacts who can lure him again in to taking drugs.
Vocational rehabilitation is a very important measure for preventing relapse of this habit. A former drug addict should not be allowed to sit idle. He should be kept busy as per his capability, to keep his mind, off from drugs.
Total cooperation and good team work between family, counselors and treating doctors is needed to make drug de- addiction a success.
The government of Rwanda is doing a very condemnable job of nabbing drug peddlers and catching addicts also in the early stages.
If all become equally vigilant, drug addiction will cease to become a problem.