Drugs: causes, consequences, effects, users
Mankind has been familiar with drugs since very early times. Drugs were first of all related to every day or religious customs and traditions in the areas where the narcotic plants grow.
Lithuania has no deep drug traditions. Poppies, cannabis were used as plants in culinary and the names of them can be found in Lithuanian folklore. Today we have nearly forgotten this and the first thought that comes to our minds after the names of the plants are mentioned is drugs. In recent years not only poppies or cannabis, but amphetamines, LSD, “ecstasy”, heroine and cocaine have also become popular in Lithuania.
Drug addict categories and drug taking motives
It is impossible to explain the drug phenomenon plainly, seeing that there exist a great variety of reasons, a wide assortment of drugs, different ways and rates of using them and other factors. Speaking of drug taking motives it is useful to distinguish certain groups. Drug addicts can be differentiated between “adults” (the average age is 24) and “teenagers”. According to the rate of drug consumption another two groups – “experimenters” and “permanent users” can be singled out.
The causes of drug taking have been investigated since the middle of the nineteenth century, but the general conception has not been formed yet. Literature presents a variety of motives for drug taking: the possibility to “push real problems aside” and experience a feeling of happiness, emotional discomfort, young people protests against existing norms, curiosity, unfavorable family conditions, disharmony, inability to bring one’s plans into being, high requirements, group influence, ignorance of drug taking consequences.
There are macro and micro causes of drug taking. Macro causes are new social economic conditions. . A considerable part of Lithuanian people has experienced failure, as they had not created a strategy suitable for new social-economic conditions. The process of social-economic change is always followed by various deviations.
Micro reasons depend on the category that a drug addict belongs to. The motivation of adults using drugs is a search for euphoria. Grown-up people use drugs to “run away from” their problems. Western people, in their turn, use drugs to escape unpleasant and difficult reality. The feeling brought about in this particular way is not taken into the context of the whole human experience and may become a pretext for new escapes from a difficult human experience.
Why do young people use drugs? There may be a lot of reasons for that: they have no occupation, they are bored; their friends use drugs; they like taking risks; they want to shock their friends and parents; they want to have style; they try to escape the present life and personal problems, they love “that” feeling. Young people often use drugs as a kind of protest against the adult world. No wonder most of the people experimenting with drugs belong to a 14-17 year-old age group as people particularly in teenage years want to be independent from parents, have their “own” views and values, drug taking is one of the ways to demonstrate this. Curiosity is one of the basic motives to use drugs. Uncritical thinking, the desire to experience pleasure “now and here”, authority denial, and curiosity, wish to become independent, finally, inability to foresee the real consequences of drug using is typical of teenagers. Friends play a considerable role at the very beginning of drug taking. Friends or friends’ friends most often offer drugs. Others usually initiate the first time. Drugs among teenagers are taken as help, because people of that age most often face conflicts at school, in the family or the life.
Drugs consequences and effects
Different drugs have different effects and consequences. Drugs have both micro (psychological and physical) and macro (social) consequences
Micro level consequences depend on the nature of the drugs:
-A long-time solvent abuse causes depression, tiredness, lost of attention and concentration. Solvents used for a long period of time may have a damaging effect on brains, kidney and liver.
←A regular cannabis smoking stimulates a constant anxiety, depression, and the need for stronger drugs.
-The popular stimulators amphetamines increase excitability, pulse rate, high blood pressure, and rise of temperature. One usually feels ill after using them (pupils slowly react to light, persecution mania appears, appetite reduces). The after-effects may result in cordial or mental diseases.
-The effects of cocaine and crack are similar to that of amphetamines only they are much stronger. Cocaine damages nose mucous membrane, strongly affects psychics. →
-“Ecstasy” leads to thirst, shudder, hallucinations, irregular heartbeat and depression. “Ecstasy” may be the cause of liver decay.
← LSD effects are very different. Habitual usage may disturb mental state or lead to paranoia.
-Heroine actively inhibits brain functions, affects organism reflex actions such as cough, breathing or pulse. This makes a man sleepy; he/she doesn’t feel any anxiety or pain. It results in psychological dependence. The syndrome of abstention, convulsion, muscle cramp, flu symptoms come after a sudden refusal of the drug. →
Drugs also have social consequences. Regular drug taking change social relationship: family, school.
Drugs are also connected to crime. The connection is apparent, though it is difficult to explain it plainly. The fact is that drug – an illegal and expensive pleasure – provokes crime. Another opinion is that crime incites drug taking, as drugs are typical of the subculture of criminals.
On the horizontal axe are numbers of questions in the test.
On the vertical axe is percentage of students who answered to the test questions.
Six colors represents six possible answers.
1. Do you think that drugs are big problem at the schools and university’s of Lithuania?
1. I think it is one of the biggest problems in Lithuania today 37%
2. I think it is quite a problem 51%
3. I think it is not a big problem 12%
2. Do you know under-age persons using drugs?
1. Yes, I do 17%
2. I am not sure 41%
3. No, I don’t 42%
3. Do you often hear on TV, radio or read in newspapers about problem of drug use at the schools and univesity’s of Lithuania?
1. All the time 3%
2. Quite often 88%
3. Quite rare 9%
4. In your opinion, who should be responsible for solving the problem of drug use at schools and university’s (no more than 3 answers):
1. Lithuania’s government 82%
2. Cities’ local administrations 30%
3. Heads of schools and teachers 47%
4. Representatives of pupils’ self-governments 17%
5. Pupils’ parents 58%
5. In your opinion, will the drug problem become more and more urgent in the future?
1. I think that in the future situation will get worse 54%
2. I think that situation will remain the same 28%
3. I think that in the future methods for fighting this problem will be found 18%
6. Do you think that Mass media presents problem of drugs at schools and university’s objectively?
1. I think that Mass Media’s reports reflect real situation 47%
2. I think that Mass Media is exaggerating this problem 25%
3. I think that situation is worse than it is presented by Mass Media 28%
7. Why do young people use drugs?
1. They are bored 20%
2. Their friends use drug 37%
3. They like taking risks 25%
4. They want to have style 44%
5 It’s like a kind of protest against the adults world 20%
6 They want to shock their friends or parents 6%
8. If you will try just one time, it’s bad?
1. Yes 64% 2. No 20% 3. In depends on what kind of drugs you try 16%
9. Have you ever tried to use drugs?
1. Yes 23% 2. No 77%