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JUNE 22, 2018 | PROCARE




Facts on Substance Abuse

People abuse substances such as alcoholtobacco, and other drugs for varied and complicated reasons, but it is clear that our society pays a significant cost. The toll for this abuse can be seen in our hospitals and emergency departments both through direct damage to health by substance abuse and its link to physical trauma. Jails and prisons tally daily the strong connection between crime and drug dependence and abuse. Although use of some drugs such as cocaine has declined in recent years, use of other drugs such as heroin, crystal methamphetamine, and “club drugs” has increased.

  • Finding effective treatment for and prevention of substance abuse and substance dependence, now both included under the diagnosis of substance use disorder, has been difficult. Through research, we now have a better understanding of this behaviour. Studies have made it clear that drug education and prevention aimed at children and adolescents offers the best chance to curb drug abuse nationally.
  • The 2014 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse estimated that more than 16% of respondents have used illicit drugs in the past year. Other statistics from the survey include that more than 22% over 18 years of age have engaged in binge drinking in the past year

Abused substances produce some form of intoxication that alters judgment, perception, attention, or physical control.

Many substances can bring on withdrawal effects caused by cessation or reduction in the amount of the substance used. Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild anxiety to seizures and hallucinations. Drug overdose may also cause death.

Nearly all drugs of abuse can also produce a phenomenon known as tolerance, in which one must use a larger amount of the drug to produce the same level of intoxication. Commonly abused drugs include the following:

  • Inhalants: This group of substances includes solvents that emit vapors, causing intoxication when breathed in (inhaled). Individuals who abuse inhalants intentionally breathe in the vapors, either directly from a container, from a bag in which such a substance is in, or from a rag soaked with the substance and then placed over the mouth or nose. Inhalant intoxication happens quickly and doesn’t last long.
    • Abuse of inhalants is also called “huffing.” Approximately 58% of inhalant users report first using it by the end of ninth grade. Teens who started using inhalants before 15 years of age were up to six times more likely as those who had started later to develop dependence on these substances.
    • Symptoms of inhalant intoxication are very similar to those seen with intoxication with alcohol, including dizzinessclumsiness, slurred speech, elation, tiredness, slowed reflexes, thinking and movement, shaking, blurred vision, stupor or coma, and/or weakness. It can also result in chemical and temperature burns, as well as withdrawal symptoms, chronic mental illness, and even sudden death.
    • Long-term damage associated with inhalant use includes brain and nerve damage as well as heart, liver, or kidney failure.
  • Tobacco: People cite many reasons for using tobacco, including pleasure, improved performance and vigilance, relief of depression, curbing hunger, and weight control.
  • Alcohol: Although many people have a drink as a “pick me up,” alcohol actually depresses the brain. Alcohol lessens your inhibitions, slurs speech, and decreases muscle control and coordination, and prolonged use may lead to alcoholism.
    • Withdrawal from alcohol can cause anxiety, irregular heartbeat, tremor, seizures, and hallucinations. In its severest form, withdrawal combined with malnutrition can lead to a life-threatening condition called delirium tremens (DTs). Alcohol abuse is the most common cause of liver failure in the U.S. The drug can cause heart enlargement and cancer of the esophagus, pancreas, and stomach.
    • In addition to its direct health effects, officials associate alcohol abuse with nearly half of all fatal motor-vehicle accidents.
    • What Are Commonly Abused Drugs?
  • Marijuana (also known as grass, pot, weed, herb): Marijuana, which comes from the plant Cannabis sativa, is the most commonly used illegal drug. The active ingredient in the plant, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is associated with intoxication. Marijuana resin, called hashish, contains an even higher concentration of THC.
    • The drug is usually smoked, but it can also be eaten. Its smoke irritates your lungsmore and contains more cancer-causing chemicals than tobacco smoke. Common effects of marijuana use include pleasure, relaxation, and impaired coordination and memory.
    • Often the first illegal drug people use, marijuana is associated with increased risk of progressing to the use of more powerful and dangerous drugs such as cocaine and heroin. The risk for progressing to cocaine use is 104 times higher if you have smoked marijuana at least once than if you never smoked marijuana.
    • Synthetic (man-made) forms of marijuana (often called K2, Spice, Black Mamba, Blaze and Red X) can be smoked or otherwise inhaled. It is an increasing health risk, in that it can produce the same impairment in judgment, addiction, and inability to function as marijuana and go undetected by conventional drug testing. Some preparations of synthetic marijuana are much more potent than traditional marijuana, leading to a higher occurrence of becoming delirious, having seizures, or a stroke.
  • Cocaine (also known as crack, coke, snow, blow, rock):
    • Derived from the coca plant of South America, cocaine can be smoked, injected, snorted, or swallowed. The intensity and duration of the drug’s effects depend on how you take it. Desired effects include pleasure and increased alertness.
    • Short-term effects also include paranoia, constriction of blood vessels leading to heart damage or stroke, irregular heartbeat, and death. Severe depression and reduced energy often accompany withdrawal. Both short- and long-term use of cocaine have been associated with damage to the heart, the brain, the lung, and the kidneys.
  • Heroin (also known as dope, smack, horse):
    • Effects of heroin intoxication include drowsiness, pleasure, and slowed breathing. Withdrawal can be intense and can include vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, confusion, aches, and sweating.
    • Overdose may result in decreased breathing to the point of stopped breathing and death. Because heroin is usually injected, often with dirty needles, use of the drug can trigger other health complications including destruction of your heart valvestetanus, and botulism, and infections like HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.
  • Methamphetamines (also known as meth, crank, ice, speed, crystal): Use of this drug also has increased, especially in the West. Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that increases alertness, decreases appetite, and gives a sensation of pleasure.
    • The drug can be injected, snorted, smoked, or eaten. It shares many of the same toxic effects as cocaine — heart attacks, dangerously high blood pressure, and stroke.
    • Withdrawal often causes depression, abdominal cramps, and increased appetite. Other long-term effects include paranoia, hallucinations, weight loss, destruction of teeth, and heart damage.


Tik is the South African street name for crystal methamphetamine. It has a very bad reputation in South Africa because it’s more potent that other forms of meth and because it is so easily available. It started off as the drug of choice in poor communities because it’s cheap, but it has since spread to other levels of society.

Tik’s effects are stronger and last longer than other forms of meth, but the crash is also much worse.

Tik and all other forms of crystal meth are stimulants, as opposed to depressants, because they increase activity between the brain and the central nervous system.


  • Euphoria
  • Heightened sense of contentment and satisfaction – no worries in the world.
  • Confidence
  • Energy
  • Power
  • Gratitude



  • Anxiety
  • Heart palpitations
  • Panic attacks
  • Sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggression
  • Headache
  • Cramps



  • Malnutrition
  • Depression
  • Meth mouth – rotten and broken teeth caused by poor oral hygiene and constant grinding.
  • Mental disorders – tik psychosis
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Organ failure
  • Heart attack
  • Brain damage
  • Coma
  • Death



There are few drugs more addictive than tik. What’s worse is that it doesn’t take long for psychological and physical dependence to set in. Relapse rates with tik are very high because it’s difficult to work through the severity of the physical withdrawal symptoms and to get over the psychological cravings.

In-patient rehabilitation is necessary to treat tik addiction because addicts need to be physically removed from the enabling environment, and they need the enforced structure and holistic therapy to break the destructive behaviour patterns and ways of thinking that keep them in the addiction cycle.


  • Anabolic steroids:
    • This group of drugs includes testosterone, which is the natural male hormone. It also includes a number of other synthetic forms of testosterone. Steroids are often abused by bodybuilders or other athletes to increase muscle mass or improve performance.
    • These types of substances seem to be associated with a number of mental-health effects, like dependence on the substance, mood problems, and developing other kinds of drug abuse.
  • Club drugs: The club scene and rave parties have popularized an assortment of other drugs. Many young people believe these drugs are harmless or even healthy. The following are the most popular club drugs:
    • Ecstasy (also called MDMA, E, X, E pills, Adam, STP): This is a stimulant and hallucinogen used to improve mood and to maintain energy, often for all-night dance parties. Even onetime use can cause high fevers to the point of inducing a seizure. Long-term use may cause damage to the brain’s ability to regulate sleeppain, memory, and emotions.
    • GHB (also called Liquid XTC, G, blue nitro): Once sold at health-food stores, GHB’s effects are related to dose. Effects range from mild relaxation to coma or death. GHB is often used as a date-rape drug because it is tasteless, colorless, and acts as a powerful sedative.
    • Rohypnol (also called roofies, roche): This is another sedative that has been used as a date-rape drug. Effects include low blood pressure, dizziness, abdominal cramps, confusion, and impaired memory.
    • Ketamine (also called Special K, K): This is an anesthetic that can be taken orally or injected. Ketamine (Ketalar) can impair memory and attention. Higher doses can cause amnesia, paranoia and hallucinations, depression, and difficulty breathing.
    • LSD (also called acid, microdot) and mushrooms (also called shrooms, magic mushrooms, peyote, buttons): Popular in the 1960s, LSD has been revived in the club scene. LSD and hallucinogenic mushrooms can cause hallucinations, numbness, nausea, and increased heart rate. Long-term effects include unwanted “flashbacks” and psychosis (hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and mood disturbances).
    • PCP (also known as angel dust, hog, lovie, love boat): PCP is a powerful anesthetic used in veterinary medicine. Its effects are similar to those of ketamine but often stronger. The anesthetic effects are so strong that you can break your arm but not feel any pain when under its effects. Usually, tobacco or marijuana cigarettes are dipped into PCP and then smoked.

What Are the Causes and Risk Factors of Substance Abuse?

Use and abuse of substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal drugs may begin in childhood or the teen years. Certain risk factors may increase someone’s likelihood of abusing substances.

  • Family history factors that influence a child’s early development have been shown to be related to an increased risk of drug abuse, such as
    • chaotic home environment,
    • ineffective parenting,
    • lack of nurturing and parental attachment,
    • parental drug use or addiction.
  • Other risk factors for substance abuse are related to the substance abuse sufferer him- or herself, like
  • Factors related to a child’s socialization outside the family may also increase risk of drug abuse, including
    • inappropriately aggressive or shy behavior in the classroom,
    • poor social coping skills,
    • poor school performance,
    • association with a deviant peer group or isolating oneself from peers altogether,
    • perception of approval of drug-use behavior.

What Are the Symptoms and Signs of Substance Abuse?

Friends and family may be among the first to recognize the signs of substance abuse. Early recognition increases the chances for successful treatment. Signs to watch for include the following:

  • Giving up past activities such as sports, homework, or hanging out with new friends
  • Declining grades
  • Aggressiveness and irritability
  • Significant change in mood or behavior
  • Forgetfulness
  • Disappearing money or valuables
  • Feeling rundown, hopeless, depressed, or even suicidal
  • Sounding selfish and not caring about others
  • Use of room deodorizers and incense
  • Paraphernalia such as baggies, small boxes, pipes, and rolling paper
  • Physical problems with unclear cause (for example, red eyes and slurred speech)
  • Getting drunk or high on drugs on a regular basis
  • Lying, particularly about how much alcohol or other drugs he or she is using
  • Avoiding friends or family in order to get drunk or high
  • Planning drinking in advance, hiding alcohol, and drinking or using other drugs alone
  • Having to drink more to get the same high
  • Believing that in order to have fun you need to drink or use other drugs
  • Frequent hangovers
  • Pressuring others to drink or use other drugs
  • Taking risks, including sexual risks
  • Having “blackouts,” forgetting what he or she did the night before
  • Constantly talking about drinking or using other drugs
  • Getting in trouble with the law
  • Drinking and driving
  • Suspension or other problems at school or in the workplace for an alcohol- or drug-related incident

When to Seek Medical Care

If you recognize that someone has a substance abuse problem and wants to quit, a doctor can refer him/her to community resources where he/she may receive formal diagnosis and treatment of a substance-abuse problem. A doctor also may prescribe medications to control cravings and withdrawal or help manage medical complications resulting from substance abuse. Let a doctor know what drugs are being used and how they are taken. Any of the following symptoms warrant a call to the doctor:

  • Mild tremors or an alcohol withdrawal seizure not accompanied by hallucinations or confusion
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
  • Increasing abdominal girth
  • Leg swelling
  • Cough, congestion, or sniffles that won’t go away
  • Continuing feelings of sadness or depression
  • Pain at an injection site
  • Fever


While there is no one test that establishes the diagnosis of a substance use disorder with certainty, there are screening tools, including online tests, that may help identify people who are at risk for having a substance use problem. Therefore, health-care professionals assess this group of illnesses by gathering thorough mental-health, medical, and family information. The practitioner will also likely ask that the individual’s primary-care doctor perform a physical exam, including lab tests to assess the person’s medical health and to explore whether or not the individual has a medical condition that can produce the same symptoms as a mental-health problem.

Exploring the presence of mental-health symptoms includes determining if the person has a substance use disorder, a mood disorder like depression and/or mania or anxiety, or if he or she suffers from the hallucinations or delusions associated with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or other psychotic disorders. The possible presence of a personality or behavior disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is also usually explored. Practitioners may use a quiz or self-test as a screening tool for substance-use disorders.


Most substance abusers believe they can stop using drugs on their own, but the majority who try do not succeed. Before treatment for the addictive behavior can be directly addressed, the substance abuse sufferer might need help in lessening physical withdrawal from alcohol or other drugs they have been using. That initial phase of treatment is called detoxification or “detox.” It often requires inpatient hospital treatment.

Research shows that long-term drug use alters brain function and strengthens compulsions to use drugs. This craving continues even after drug use stops.

Because of these ongoing cravings, the most important component of treatment, also called recovery, is preventing relapse. Treating substance abuse often requires treatment in a rehabilitation (rehab) program and depends on both the person and the substance being used. In behavioural treatment, a counsellor (like a social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse, or nurse practitioner) provides strategies to cope with drug cravings and ways to avoid relapse. Treatment often includes individual and group therapy.

Once they have performed a thorough assessment of someone’s condition, a doctor or nurse practitioner may prescribe medications, such as nicotine patches and methadone, to control withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. Random drug testing is often an integral part of encouraging the person with substance abuse problems to refrain from further drug use. Drug-abuse hotlines can be an invaluable resource for people to initiate treatment and prevent relapse.

Often, a drug user has an underlying behavioural disorder or other mental illness, one that increases risk for substance abuse. When an individual suffers from a substance use disorder in addition to another mental-health disorder, he or she is referred to as having dual diagnosis. Such disorders must be treated medically and through counselling along with treatment of the drug abuse.


Substance abuse may start in childhood or adolescence. Abuse prevention efforts in schools and community settings now focus on school-age groups. Programs seek to increase communication between parents and their children, to teach resistance skills, and to provide information in order to correct children’s misperceptions about cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs and the consequences of their use. Most importantly, officials seek to develop, through education and the media, an environment of social disapproval of drug use from children’s peers and families.


Individuals who suffer from substance abuse tend to be more successful in recovery when they are highly motivated to be in treatment, are actively engaged in their own recovery, and receive intensive treatment services. Prognosis for substance abuse recovery is further improved by being able to easily access community-based social supports.

·         Medically reviewed by Ashraf Ali, MD; American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology


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Bouchery, E.E., H.J. Harwood, J.J. Sacks, et al. “Economic Costs of Excessive Alcohol Consumption in the U.S., 2006.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 41.5 Nov. 2011: 516-524.

Howard, M.O., S.E. Bowen, and E.L. Garland, et al. “Inhalant use and inhalant use disorders in the United States.” Addiction Science in Clinical Practice 6.1 July 2011: 18-31.

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JUNE 12, 2018 | PROCARE



Father’s Day festival is considered extremely important as it helps acknowledge the contribution of fathers to individual families and to societies as large. Besides observance of Father’s Day provide children an opportunity to express love and respect for their fathers. The sentiment goes a long way in strengthening father-child relationship and consequently in the emotional development of a child.

History of Father’s Day

The idea of celebrating Father’s Day Festival was given by Ms Sonora Dodd, a loving daughter from Spokane. Her father Henry Jackson Smart single-handedly raised Sonora and five of her siblings after the death of her mother during childbirth. When Sonora attended a Mother’s Day Sermon in 1909, she thought that if there is the day to honour mother then there should also be a corresponding day to honour fathers. Sonora worked relentlessly for years to ensure that the idea of Father’s Day becomes a reality. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge first recognized Father’s Day. In view of the massive popularity of the festival, in 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.

Over the years, the concept of celebrating Father’s Day spread beyond geographical boundaries. Today, millions of children across the world express gratitude for their dads as they celebrate Father’s Day festival.

Significance of Father in our Lives

Many people laughed at Sonora Dodd when she gave the concept of having a Father’s Day, as traditionally, only mother is regarded as the sole nurturer of a child. The role of father is often relegated to a secondary status as compared to a mother. But all of us know that father is just as important for a child as the mother is. If mothers are the heroes of child rearing, significance of father in the development and emotional well being of a child is no less. Children depend on their father for their spiritual, emotional, physical, financial and social well being. For daughters, father is the ideal man in the world and also the first man they adore, while for sons, father is an idol and the strongest man they aspire to emulate.

Though traditionally father is seen more as a provider and guide for children, the scenario appears significantly changed in nuclear family culture of today. With most husband and wife working, fathers in present times are as involved in child rearing job as the mothers are. Today, most fathers do not shy away from changing nappy or taking the difficult task for putting the baby to sleep. This cultural change is helping in strengthening father-child relationship and consequently in emotional development of a child and building of stronger family bonds.

Celebrating Father’s Day

Father’s Day give us the opportunity to express thanks to our Daddy for all his unconditional love and affection. Observance of Father’s Day makes fathers feel that their contributions are acknowledged in the society and also by their children. They feel proud of themselves ! Besides by celebrating Father’s Day, children come closer to their father. For, most often children take love of their parents for granted. Celebration of Father’s Day makes them ponder for a while on the important role their father play in their life. This helps them appreciate the selfless care and protection provided by their father and hence they come emotionally closer to their dad.

Children must therefore take full opportunity of the day and express their gratitude for fathers with all their heart. The best way to do so is to do small things that daddy appreciates and by saying “I love you, Dad” with a gift..