The Salvation Army
Caribbean Territorial Training College
Cadet Joshua Alexander Poyser
Topic: Drug Use & Abuse
Drug abuse is the excessive and self- damaging use of habit forming drugs/ substances resulting in addiction or dependence and serious physiological and/or psychological harm. Countries and regions across the world have struggled with the use and abuse of drugs within its populace, the Caribbean being no exception. In some instances these practices have led to criminal activities and violence, especially gang- related violence. Drug abuse usually starts with mere experimentation and develops into social exclusion, degradation of family values, greed, stress, and ...view middle of the document...
4). In the Caribbean, the use of tobacco, marijuana and rum are intimately embedded in the history, culture and development of the region and as such are prevalent substances among users.
In addition to this, the Caribbean is historically a major producer of sugar cane and rum, and therefore views the consumption of alcohol among adults as a norm in many social settings. The region is also known for small production levels of marijuana with quantities specifically produced for export in St. Vincent and Jamaica. Thanks to increased chemical and drug development in the 20th century and given the geographical location, between the main drug- producing areas of South America and the large consumer market of Europe and North – America, the Caribbean has been introduced to more drugs with the potential for abuse, such as Cocaine, Crack, Ecstasy and the likes of Methamphetamine, LSD and synthetic opiates which are all relatively recent.
There are also drugs that are beneficial to health – prescription drugs. If used in the way prescribed by doctors and closely monitored, they present no immediate threat. However, even prescription drugs can be addictive if misused.
Instances of its practices
According to a study conducted in the Caribbean by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) in 2010, a large percentage of drug users in the Caribbean population are students- adolescents between the ages of thirteen and seventeen years. Alcohol and Marijuana are the main drugs of use in most countries. Tobacco is also used, but to a lesser extent that alcohol and even marijuana. The use of drugs among the young people that took part in the study had a direct and consistent relationship with their behavioural problems and academic performance.
Reasons why people engage in Drug Use
Most drugs directly affect the limbic system of the brain, otherwise known as the ‘pleasure- center’ allowing it to alter moods and the mind itself for a period of time. Because of the seemingly pleasurable effect on the brain, drugs and alcohol are often used inappropriately to deal with boredom, frustration, anxiety, loneliness, or to be accepted by peers and others in social settings.
Although for most the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary, overtime the changes in the brain caused by repeated use can affect a person’s self – control and ability to make decisions, and contributes to the impulse to take drugs. At this point, the abuse of drugs can be considered as a chronic brain disease causing compulsive drug seeking despite the harmful...