World health organization defines  substance abuse as The use of illegal drugs or the use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs or alcohol for purposes other than those for which they are meant to be used, or in excessive amounts. Substance abuse may lead to social, physical, emotional, and job-related problems.

Drug abuse refers to the repeated use of drugs for other than medical reasons such as is illegal and does not encompass the use of drugs prescribed by doctors to treat specific disease or other physical conditions.

The illegal use of drugs or drug abuse is extremely dangerous. It has serious effects on the physical functioning of the body and on the way people think and act and it has an impact on society as a whole (Sheikhar Saxiena Raj 2003).

Alcoholism refers to the use of alcoholic beverages to an extent that exceeds community standards and interferes with physical health, social relations and economic functioning (Atuhaire 2008). The world is facing a great problem associated with drugs. People world wide who have different understanding about them commonly use alcohol and other substances.


Below are the some of substance abuse that have led to addiction among the youths in uganda

 Alcohol – This is one of the most common of all substance abuse disorders. Despite being legal, it has a high potential for abuse. Alcohol abuse can result in an increased risk of several serious health issues, such as brain damage, liver damage, heart disease, and hypertension. Abuse can also lead to serious health issues related to withdrawal and behavior while intoxicated.

 Tobacco –  Tobacco is a substance whose use goes back thousands of years, and even with all of the known dangers surrounding tobacco use, thousands of people die from tobacco abuse every year. This leafy plant contains nicotine and is the cause of most of the preventable disease and death in Uganda . Using tobacco even raises the risk of cancer and countless other diseases. Nicotine detox can be very uncomfortable, which makes it difficult to stop using tobacco.

 Opioids – Opioids are one of the most commonly abused legal and illegal substances. Opioids are a class of depressants and pain relievers.  It is abused in both illicit forms like heroin, but also in its legal form as opiate pharmaceuticals. They include codeine, morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. The physical dependence created by opioids can be incredibly severe and abuse can cause respiratory depression and death.

  Stimulants – This group of substances includes amphetamines and cocaine. These drugs are commonly abused by those looking for more energy, alertness, or productivity. They can even be misused dietary prescriptions. Abuse leads to hyperthermia, hostility, mood swings, seizures, psychosis, and heart failure.

  Hallucinogens – Hallucinogens are substances that alter the perception of reality, and distort the sense of the user. This type of substance includes illegal drugs such as MDMA, PCP, LSD, DMT, as well as in mushrooms, cacti, and trees in the natural world. Hallucinogen and designer drug side effects include dissociative episodes, unpredictability, and upon withdrawals, depression.

  Cannabis – Found in many legal medicinal and recreational markets across the country, cannabis is largely becoming as accepted as alcohol and tobacco. Cannabis abuse can lead to loss of motivation and changes in perception and cognition.

Factors contributing to the substance abuse in Uganda

Peer pressure , Negative peer group pressure and addiction tend to be linked. This type of peer pressure leads to someone engaging in unhealthy behaviors, including drug or alcohol use. Peer pressure and addiction relapse may also be linked, as this pressure could lead to a relapse after an addict has chosen to pursue recovery. Peer pressure can be obvious, such as offering a person a drink or mocking someone who refuses to use the substance. However, peer pressure can also be more subtle and indirect. For example, if popular students choose to consume alcohol, other students may believe they should consume alcohol to be accepted by their peers. Unlike negative peer pressure, positive peer pressure encourages someone to make healthy and positive choices. Through positive peer pressure, a peer or group of peers may encourage others to avoid using certain substances or to avoid using substances in specific ways. Positive peer pressure may also include encouraging a friend to study more to get better grades or motivating a peer to save money for a financial goal.

Culture , Culture is bigger than one person. It includes sharing a set of values, beliefs, traditions and sense of belonging. Likewise, whenever we talk about mental health or well-being, we’re talking about something that is much larger than one person. The attitudes, skills and resources that lead to well-being are also shaped by things around us . Culture is related to  substance use on several different levels. First, community members from different ethnic or cultural groups may have a higher risk of  substance use problems because they may experience a greater number of stressors, such as discrimination and isolation.

Isolation, People may be isolated from others for a number of reasons. Culture, language, identity, access to services, access to opportunities and discrimination are just a few factors that may contribute to isolation. Isolation is a risk factor for  substance use problems, and it may stop people from finding help or connecting with resources. It may also get in the way of recovery, as recovery often involves rebuilding self-esteem, social supports and finding a meaningful role in your community.

Poor parental supervision and monitoring of their children , Young children with parents with alcohol problems, those whose parents experience marital aggression and those with fathers who were more aggravated with their children in early childhood were more likely to have substance abuse problems.

smoking in my face

Strategies in  ending substance abuse in Uganda

Behavioral counseling. Individual, group, and/or family therapy can help you identify the root causes of your drug use, repair your relationships, and learn healthier coping skills. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), CBT is a one-on-one therapy during which you meet privately with a therapist over a period of time. It’s often considered the most effective therapy for drug and alcohol use disorders.

Medication may be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, or treat any co-occurring mental health condition such as depression or anxiety. Medication may be part of your treatment plan. Medications can help modify your brain chemistry to help treat certain Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) . They can also relieve cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Medication-assisted treatments are available include

Opioids: Methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone are FDA-approved for the treatment of opioid use disorder.

 Alcohol: Three FDA-approved drugs include naltrexone, acamprosate and disulfiram.

 Tobacco: A nicotine patch, spray, gum or lozenge can help. Or your provider might prescribe bupropion or varenicline.

In conclusion, Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior and leads to an inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medicine. Substances such as alcohol, marijuana and nicotine also are considered drugs


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *