- Define substance abuse and how this health problem affects the community
Substance abuse is the excessive use of chemical substances that increase the risk of problems and lack of the ability to control the substance. It includes the misuse of medications, alcohol and other illegal substances. Further, substance abuse has a significant impact on the individuals, families and communities. The impacts of substance abuse are cumulative and contribute to costly social, physical, mental, as well as public health problems (Abadinsky, 2008). For example, substance abuse affects a person’s physical health and social relationship. They include teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, domestic violence and child abuse. In addition, the symptoms of substance abuse include failure to fulfill obligations especially at home and workplace, deterioration of physical appearance and poor sleeping and eating habits.
- Substances abuse influence in the following problems: teen pregnancy, HIV, domestic violence and child abuse
Substance abuse is very common among teens. For example, many high school students report having tried alcohol at least once. Risky behaviors such as drinking and using drugs affect judgment hence increasing the chances of taking further risks (Clark, 2008). Therefore, teenagers who drink and use drugs are often more sexually active. Additionally, they are more likely to take risks when having sex.
Moreover, teenage girls who attempt sex when they are drunk become intoxicated to remember using birth control strategies accurately. Many teenagers engage in unprotected sex when they are under the influence of drugs (Kanku, 2011). For example, teenagers who use marijuana are more likely to conceive than those who have never tried.
Substance abuse contributes to the spread of HIV disease. In essence, alcohol and other illicit drugs increase the risk for HIV because they affect decision making. Further, sexual behavior exposes people to risk of contracting or transmitting HIV and STD. Additionally, substance abuse can facilitate the progress of HIV infection by compromising the immune system (Screen, 2007). Therefore, substance abuse is inextricably linked to the spread of HIV/Aids.
Domestic violence may be initiated in the process of obtaining and using substances (Hattery, 2012). On the other hand, abused woman may use substances with her husband in order to manage the violence and increase her safety. Further, substance abuse increases the aggressive response of individuals with low levels of the serotonin. In addition, there is a relationship between domestic violence and certain personality characteristics. For example, substance abuse increases the risk of violence in men who hold that abusing women they are appropriate.
Finally, there is a relationship between child abuse and the use of drugs. First, alcohol abuse is associated with the physical and sexual abuse of children (Screen, 2007). Secondly, the experience of being abused as a child is associated with a person’s risk for alcohol-related problems as an adult. Additionally, substance abuse is best demonstrated in women who are victims of childhood abuse.
- Epidemiology of substance abuse
Substance abuse such as alcohol and tobacco are associated with preventable illnesses and death (Newton, 2010). For example, every year more than 10,000 deaths are attributable to abuse of alcohol, tobacco or other illicit drugs. Further, more than 25 percent of the total population has smoked tobacco in the past months, and 10 percent have used illicit drugs.
Moreover, people aged 18 and 25 years are more likely to use illicit drugs. For example, the incidence of excessive alcohol use is 2.4% for teens 12 to 17 and 15% for persons 18 to 25. Nevertheless, women who abuse substances during pregnancy increase rates of conditions such as meconium staining and fetal-monitor abnormalities (Clark, 2008). Consequently, children born to addicts are more likely to have birth defects. Therefore, substance abuse should be discouraged among pregnant women.
4) Personal opinion as a professional nurse
Substance abuse has been a global issue. It is important for professional nurses and health providers to encourage community dialogue meeting to discuss the side effects. Alternatively, parents and teachers should collaborate to discourage substance abuse among school aged children. Additionally, nurses and other professional are expected to participate in sensitization programs especially in schools and communities. However, it is unpredictable whether the relevant authorities will support the programs. Therefore, substance abuse requires the combined effort from all stakeholders to address the issue.
Abadinsky, H. (2008). Drug use and abuse: A comprehensive introduction. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.
Clark, M. J. (2008). Community health nursing: Advocacy for population health. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Hattery, A. (2012). The social dynamics of family violence. Boulder, Colo: Westview Press.
Kanku T (2011). Attitudes, perceptions and understanding amongst teenagers regarding teenage pregnancy, sexuality and contraception in Taung.
Newton, D. E. (2010). Substance abuse: A reference handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.
Screen, R. M. (2007). HIV, substance abuse, and communication disorders in children. New York: Haworth Press.
Watson, R. R. (1995). Substance abuse during pregnancy and childhood. Totowa, N.J: Humana Press.