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BEYOND Substance Use | Liberty or Prison

According to Ritchie and Rose, drug use is, directly and indirectly, responsible for 11.8 million deaths yearly. Smoking, alcohol, and drug use is a significant risk factor for early death. 11.4 million die prematurely as a result of substance abuse each year, and over 350,000 die from overdose yearly.

If a great number of the human population die yearly from substance abuse, why do people still engage in it, regardless of all the information in our faces’ warning us about the risk involved in substance abuse? Is substance abuse an indication of subtle suicide?

Drugs on the Table | Photo credit: Bwayisak Tanko

Substance abuse is more common among young people in high school, college, university, and work environments. Like cancer, it grows rapidly and becomes one of the major reasons for the declining human population.

Like any other business, substance abuse thrives more with network and influence. A teenager in high school is very likely to abuse substances if his friends are substance abusers. This is because peer pressure directly or indirectly plays the role of an announcer, and the desire for social acceptance places this kid on the table of succumbing.

A fully self-aware person, who by all means identifies as one who has crossed all the hurdles of peer pressure and never to give in to substance abuse because his peers cannot influence his decision, may be tempted to dive into the pool of this abuse if, at a point of despair, drugs are offered to him as an ultimate solution.

I once had a conversation with a friend who does drugs. I asked her why she took this substance. Her reply: “I was in a dark place, and I became anxious; nothing else mattered. At that point in my life, I was desperate for peace. I needed an escape from my harsh reality, so I met a friend who introduced me to these pills, and it works.”

Pills in hands | Photo Credit: Bwayisak Tanko

Years later, when I sojourned through this dark path and was desperate for an escape. I was tempted to call her for some pills. The fear of becoming an addict and destroying everything and everyone I loved kept me aback.

Many people go into substance abuse for different reasons, including recreation, escape from reality, medical purposes (which sometimes lead to overdose), gaining social acceptance, a desire to fit in, etc. Whatever the reason for substance abuse is, one thing is certain – it does more harm than the transient and temporary good one desires.

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