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By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi

In the medical world, a drug is any substance that is used to either prevent illness or enhance physical or mental well-being. Pharmacologists describe drugs as chemical substances that alter the biochemical and physiological processes of the body. Drugs have biological effects on humans and can cause side effects. The chemicals in drugs have the ability to tap into the brain’s communication system and disrupt the way nerve cells function. Some drugs have same structures with the brain’s chemical messengers (neurotransmitters); these drugs activate the brain cells to send abnormal messages – fooling the brain. When drugs are used without any medical justification or used in excess, it is described as drug abuse. This is also referred to as substance use disorder.
Often associated with drug abuse are drugs such as cocaine, alcohol, heroin, marijuana, cannabis, opioids, club drugs and prescription drugs.  Drug abuse affects almost every community and family in some way because it encourages many major social problems such as violence, child abuse, rape and drugged driving. This can lead to homelessness, crime, neglected appearance, problems at school and with keeping a job. It also harms unborn babies and destroys families.
Illicit trafficking of drugs involves the exchange of illegal drugs for payment. An illegal market is dedicated to the cultivation, manufacture and distribution or sale of prohibited drugs. This results in an illicit use because such drugs ought to be under international control. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports the use of illicit drugs by nearly 200 million people. This is reflected in the high rate of killings, crime and other social maladies reported daily.
Symptoms of drug abuse vary based on the drug that is abused. It includes decreased coordination, abnormal heart rate and blood pressure. It could eventually lead to death.
No matter the reason for the abuse of drugs: to get relief of stress, peer influence or to become ‘high’, there is a risk of addiction. Addiction makes one unable to control the use of drugs and can cause an overwhelming craving for the drug which is difficult to quit. The best form of treatment for drug abuse is the avoidance of abuse in the first place. However, drug addicts can be treated based on the drugs they are addicted to.
Let’s Develop – Our Lives – Our Communities – Our Identities – Without Drugs 

 Reference
http://www.un.org/en/events/drugabuseday/

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