BLOG: Why do children take drugs?

Today, drugs are so widespread that they are available in homes, schools and even the small tuck-shops around the corner.

Drug abuse is destroying our youth and breaking up homes. The drug merchants seem invincible as they appear in court and are often released.

In addition, fans outside court display placards in support of the drug lords. Many neighbours don’t report the sale of drugs either because of fear or the fact that they receive food and money from the dealers.

The following factors can influence the usage of drugs. (Ref. Guide to Family Health, Nutrition and Fitness 2006):

  • Attractiveness of the drugs. Smoking and drinking are promoted as habits of sophisticated and fun-loving people. Similarly, illegal drugs become an attractive advertisement in a teenager’s peer group.
  • The effect of the drug is described as pleasurable by the user, although of a temporary period. The consequences and long-term effects are not considered.
  • Smoking, drinking and usage of drugs by parents often entice children to do the same. It is important that parents serve as positive role models.
  • The availability of drugs in the community influences usage. Therefore, we should work towards a drug free neighbourhood.
  • Peer pressure plays a significant role. The need for peer acceptance induces compliance. Therefore, choice of friends, involvement in worthwhile activities, and a stable home are important in resisting temptation.
  • Curiosity can lead to experimentation which in turn can lead to addiction. Children observe the environment and tend to copy what they see.
  • Thrill-seeking is in most of us but children need guidance about the risks involved and the danger of seeking thrill through drugs.
  • Rebelliousness may be shown through smoking, drinking and drug use. It is a way to show independence from family values and norms.
  • Escape from life or a relief from pain may be another factor. Children at risk are those who are angry, depressed, oppressed, stressed, bored and unfulfilled.
  • A belief that it can’t happen to me or that the consequences don’t matter is short-sighted. Immature young adults may wrongly believe that they are invincible and in control. An immature self-destructive mind-set can lead to addiction and eventually an early death.

Residents are urged to join a community drug awareness project or report drug dealing to the police. Lives can be saved through your vigilance and care.


Dr Guru Kistnasamy

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