Teenagers and Drugs
A growing problem?
Drug abuse can be said to be the excessive or improper use of drugs. In Ghana teenagers are the most dominant group of drug abusers. Why do people abuse drugs at all? Is it for pleasure? And do Ghanaian teenagers really understand the implications of abusing drugs on their health and mental stability? Mr Oboi, a former drug addict, said he abused drugs because he had depression and felt unable to cope with his life. He said: ‘Life was so hard for me. It came with so many challenges that I could not cope with. So I felt compelled to take hard drugs as a result of my frustrations.’ He also said taking the drugs helped him relax and forget about his worries and problems. These are just some of the reasons why people abuse drugs.
A woman whose son used to take drugs said she believed it was peer pressure that made him turn to drugs. She explained, ‘You know teenagers and their curiosity. They will go that extra mile to satisfy it. In the case of my son I will say it was also a result of the ineffective parental control he had at the time. My work during that time did not allow me to spend any quality time with my children. It was then easier for him to be lured into taking drugs.’ Peer pressure is one of the most common reasons why teenagers turn to drugs.
In Ghana the ‘Rasta’ lifestyle is becoming more popular and with that comes the smoking of marijuana. It is the most widely used drug in Ghana. It is grown locally and very cheap to buy. It has been estimated that in one city in Ghana 38% of teenagers or young people have tried drugs. This is becoming serious and schools needs to step in and help teenagers.
Drug abusers may suffer physiological injuries and/or disorders because of the effect drugs can have on the brain. They may also be prone to heart attacks and other serious medical conditions. The high incident of drug abuse in teenagers can be reduced thr9ough counseling and educating individuals on the effects of drug abuse. In Ghana a lot of teenagers are ignorant of the implications of drug abuse. They have the wrong conception about the usage and the dangers of specific drugs. For example, there has been a rumour among Ghanaian teenagers that marijuana can cause Asthma. This of course is untrue and highlights how little young people know about the effects of drugs.
Counseling sessions should be held in schools to educate teenagers so they know how dangerous drugs are and to realise there are other ways to get over their fears, worries etc. They should be taught not to turn to drugs in times of difficulty. The media can also play a big role in preventing drug abuse in teenagers since a lot of them spend a lot of time watching the television. They should have anti drug advertisements and encourage teenagers to talk to a counselor if they are having problems.