Tuesday, December 6, 2022

What are the Gateway Drugs – are not they harmful?

Gateway drugs, often known as “Recreational Drugs,” are less potent narcotics that may lead to the use of more dangerous potent drugs. These drugs include Alcohol, Nicotine, Marijuana, or any Controlled Pharmaceuticals are easily available, accessible, and affordable and has certain level of social sanction. The fact that these drugs may be easily bought and used, but Gateway Drugs are defined as drugs that are used initially but lead to more serious drug abuse later on. Teenagers are at a higher risk for engaging in harmful behavior such as substance abuse. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that young people, particularly those in their teens, are at a far higher risk of developing an addiction to illegal drugs than older people. Experts agree that “Gateway” drugs have the potential to lead to more serious drug usage in adolescents. Thus, it is crucial to understand what gateway drugs are and how to prevent your adolescent from using them. This is a serious issue because when someone is abusing alcohol, prescription drugs, or marijuana, they lose their inhibitions and no longer fear the negative effects of additional drugs, which more potent in nature. They also tend to ignore advice to avoid doing anything that might endanger their health or safety.
In most cases, these Gateway substances like alcohol, marijuana, caffeine and nicotine are used for the first time by adolescents and young adults for recreational purpose. Teenagers are often the first to try drugs like these because of their easy accessibility and availability. Dopamine levels go up when someone uses these Gateway drugs like marijuana or alcohol, which makes them feel happy and good. This is what first-time users call the “high.” As a person uses a drug more and more often, they build up a tolerance to it and feel less of its effects. This could make some people want to try other drugs that give them a stronger high. This is often how addiction starts. Attempting one of these “Gateway” substances, often known as a “recreational drug,” in a social setting may be the first step toward addiction for some individuals. Others develop an addiction after using controlled pharmaceuticals illegally or obtaining them from someone who have prescription. When asked about drug-related issues, the majority of people instantly think of illegal drugs such as Brown Sugar and Heroin. However, the great majority of people uses Gateway Drugs, and increasingly consumed alongside a growing variety of activities and is liked for a number of reasons, including celebration, commiseration, recreation etc. Alcohol may be purchased and used by anyone over the age of 21, and marijuana has gained acceptance in certain circles, but both are still hazardous and have severe consequences, combining the use of these substances would amplify any impairment and lead to illogical behavior and hence, poor decision making.
Is there someone in your immediate circle about whom you worry? If so, familiarizing yourself with the following addiction symptoms is important. Symptoms may manifest in a variety of ways, including those related to a person’s behavior, psychological state, and physical health. A few signs and syndromes are as follows:
Behavioral Signs – A shift in productivity at work or in the classroom/ Absent from work or school more often than usual/ Problems or a demand for money that cannot be explained, or excessive debt/ Secretive or suspicious behaviors/ A sudden shift in friends and a new peer group/ Breakdown of routine structure and Circadian rhythm.
Psychological Signs – Lack of motivation for life activities/ Abrupt mood fluctuations, including irritation or outbursts of anger/ Appearing lethargic, frightened, worried, or even obsessive without cause/ Changes in personality/ Experiencing memory problems.
Physical Signs – Sudden weight loss or gain/ Sudden changes in Sleep and appetite/ Bloodshot eyes or pupils that are unusually big or tiny/ Tremors, slurred speech, or decreased coordination/ Rhinorrhea.
How to talk to a Teenager about addiction? Teenagers are still finding their position in the world, and part of this process involves exceeding the limits of their parents’ authority. Experimenting with drugs and alcohol is an area where crossing the limits may lead to disastrous consequences. If you try to have a serious talk with a teenager, please prepare them in advance by informing them of the purpose of the conversation and being as specific as possible about its nature. For an example, something like, “Please join me tomorrow evening for a discussion on substance abuse. Nobody is going to be mad with you. All I want to do is give you an update on where we are and listen to any worries you may have.”
• See, if you are under a substance influence, if yes then it’s better to work on yourself first. If you are clean and sober, then you may proceed for the discussion.
• Use the same tone of voice while addressing the teenager that you would like to be spoken to. Keep in mind that teenagers are very sensitive to arrogance and sarcasm, and that they will ultimately be the ones who make the choices. If we want them to grow up to be responsible adults, we should act like it.
• Prepare yourself for the conversation with the intention of not interrupting while they are speaking. We must actively listen to them without interfering, allowing them to complete their vocabulary.
• Be ready with your reason for what you don’t want them to continue their drug abuse. Clearly state your justifications in between their present behavior and set goals. Teenagers are often told to do things without being given a clear explanation, so by giving your justification, you’re allowing them to engage in a more problem free talk with you. So to deliver such Decision Balancing Talk to a teenager, or to help them Discrepancy Development, one must understand that teens are more prone to find themselves in difficult and perhaps hazardous circumstances, such as driving while intoxicated or engaging in unsafe sexual interactions, street fights any other High Risk Behavior since any drug usage affects judgment and someone decision making ability. Helping the teen to understand negative consequences as a result of their present behavior should be the goal. The threat of getting caught in school if they are discovered, it may appear on their record, which they won’t want when going to universities, and if they participate in sports, they might be thrown out of the team.
• We must remain nonjudgmental and must not bring the teen under comparison with others.
• Ask the teen if s/he encounters withdrawals on cessation. Many a time they want to stop abusing drugs but continue because of the fear of withdrawals. In such case, take them to a Doctor.
A parent or a friend may not always be able to manage such a teenager properly for a variety of reasons. In certain instances, despite the negative effects, there are still some contributing elements that are encouraging the teen to continue abusing drugs. In this situation, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance available near you. These professionals can help you and the teen to live a drug-free life. Teenagers are the face of India’s future and the foundation of this nation. Let’s continue to be vigilant and provide them our assistance without conditions. Stay awake.
Rohan Joy Rana
Mental Health Worker
Nirmaan Rehabilitation Facility
Panjabari, GHY-37

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