#Article (Archive)

Substance dependence

Aug 12, 2011, 3:40 PM

Over the past decades, the illegal narcotics trade has grown significantly and alongside it, the number of addicts or dependants and near or absolute fatalities. It seems as if the more the world advances in developments in areas such as technology, astrology, astronomy, medicine, finance, and other prominent sectors, the more, the narcotics barons are in a competitive haste of equal measure.

The illegal substance trade which greatly fuels substance dependence or addiction is one which is far reaching and widespread and one which poses insurmountable problems/difficulties for relevant authorities the world over. Once caught dealing or in possession, severe penalties are meted out to discourage further practices. Yet many still meddle. It is widely believed that this is one battle that cannot be controlled or stopped. With carefully planned and managed underground cartels or above ground corporation under the cover of other businesses and billions of dollars worth of merchandise traded  every year, it could be said to be a  key player in the global ‘black’ market, albeit adversely with lives being destroyed or lost. Mexico is perhaps the most renowned drug capital with cartels constantly waging wars of territorial supremacy and innocent victims caught in the crossfire with news coverage documenting gruesome incidents of decapitated rival cartel members.

The ‘merchandise’ reaches its desired target, addicts hooked on these substances and who in many cases would do anything to get them and more vulnerable individuals looking fro a quick ‘fix’ that ends up developing into a long-term problem of dependency.

When one talks about substance abuse, individuals automatically think of narcotics like cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy or heroine to name but a few. Yet there are other drugs, legal (prescriptive) which are used in the wrong quantities or for the wrong purposes. This might lead to dependencies on painkillers such as morphine which are potentially fatal. 

Just over the past decade, a few fatalities involving famed individuals have received international coverage. Between two thousand and seven and two thousand and eleven, the world has stopped quite a few times due to the loss of such prominent individuals’ lives over substance abuse (synthetic or prescription) or related conditions. In 2007, it was Anna Nicole Smith (aggrieved over the recent loss of her son and turning to prescription pain killers for relief), in 2009, legendary performer the late Michael Joseph Jackson (on the verge of a comeback tour overdosed) and just this July acclaimed British singer and known substance dependant Miss Amy Winehouse whose heart allegedly gave out due to withdrawal. The world grieved for every single one of them. Yet there are millions, not known globally but loved by the people closest to them who battle with such conditions every day or become fatalities.

Substance Disorder which encompasses substance dependence and Abuse is a condition which arises due to the persistent and incessantly compulsive use of intoxicants such as alcohol or drugs (including prescriptive). The system becomes tolerant of the substance and goes into withdrawal if the amounts ingested is reduced or stopped.

It is a field that is concisely being studied for better understanding with discoveries being made and reasoning such as the below being reached. It can be a hereditary case with genetics being key. It is also compulsive with triggers being the need to feel a certain way. Individuals with addictions are most likely to have some form of previous or current psychiatry disorder or another with these substances originally being used to help forget or mellow. It is also an ailment that takes time to cure with trials and error phases and risks of multiple relapses.

War ravaged Afghanistan is one nation with a sad and storied history of substance abuse by addicts. With it being one of the world’s leading producers of Opium, the consumption by locals has lead to devastating effect. Yet the battle is being fought every day, by the authorities responsible, the individuals who have seen the devastation that it can cause, the ones who have successfully battled and overcome and goodwill ambassadors who simply care.

Any form of dependence on a substance is sad yet even more tragic the effect it has on the lives of its victims. Fight the good fight and say no to any form of substance dependence or abuse. Your life depends on it.