Drugs: A Major Problem In Canadian Society

A major problem that exists within Canadian society is the abuse of mind-
altering substances. Such narcotics cause not only health problems, but also
violent and potentially criminal acts. A mind-altering narcotic can be defined
as both the legal and illegal type. The four main categories of drugs are:
narcotics, CNS depressants, CNS stimulants, and hallucinogens. Most of these
drugs are highly addictive and are usually obtained by prescription or are
considered a banned substance and must be purchased illegally.

Users of many of the "harder" drugs being abused today also face the possibility
of an eventual overdose. An overdose is the ingestion of a lethal or mind-
damaging amount of drugs. Once an full addiction of these drugs occur, the user
faces withdrawal symptoms when a discontinuation of a drug transpires. This is
due to a reduction of the natural pain-killers that exist in the body of non-
drug users. These symptoms include chills, sweating, cramps, headaches,
diarrhea and excessive vomiting. The treatment of drug addicts includes an
extensive program of detoxification. Medical drugs, such as Naloxone, are
sometimes given to patients to aid in overcoming these addictions. These drugs
occupy opiate receptors in the brain to block all effects of the damaging drugs,
however the Naloxone is not an addictive drug, as the others are. The downfall
to the medical drugs being used to help addiction are that there effects are
very short-term and cannot cure the patient, but does assist in attaining the
goal of substituting a more controllable, less lethal drug as opposed to the
original narcotic .

The key to preventing substance abuse in Canada is to educate the public,
preferably at a young age, never to experiment with potentially life-threating
drugs. This education can be attained within the pre-secondary schools. In 1988
prime minister Brian Mulroney announced proposed Canada\'s Drug Strategy. Laws
were enacted, which prohibited the sale of drug paraphernalia and increased the
power of police to seize the assets of arrested drug offenders. The Strategy
allocated the sum of $210 million in its first five years (and an additional
$270 million in 1992) mainly to the prevention, education and treatment of drug
use, while 30 per cent of this money was intended for the traditional area of
law enforcement.

The goal of education within the school system should be to support those
students who are non-users with recognition and social activities that will
encourage them to remain non-users and to facilitate a belief and value system
that incorporates concern for fellow students and residents of the community.
Drug education should emphasise the negative aspects of drugs to give the
student a fair understanding of the long-term effects of drug use.

Building a program for long-term survival, which describes features of
prevention programs that can increase a program\'s survival chances after the
initial grant period should be considered a priority. Educators cannot be at
the student\'s side at all times, especially when the student is faced with
pressuring situation affecting the experimentation of drugs. Programs must
focus one long-term education that will remain in the students mind long after
the program has terminated. One option for educators is to use the tool of fear.
If enough fear is put into the students mind in may deter them from ever
wanting to experiment with the drugs; or even from becoming curious of their
effects.

The clear solution to winning to "war on drugs" is to establish a clear long
term program. Such a program should include government grants, a description of
the health risks associated with the use of alcohol and illicit drugs, standards
of conduct that clearly prohibit the unlawful possession, use, or distribution
of alcohol and illicit, and a description of the applicable legal sanctions
under school, local, state, or federal law for the unlawful possession, use, or
distribution of alcohol and illicit drugs. These examples, along with the use
of fear, should provide a very effective method of deterring students from ever
wanting to, or becoming curious with experimentation of drugs.

Works Cited

Fischer, B. (1994) "\'Maps and Moves\'" The International Journal of Drug Policy.
1995.

Sternberg, Robert J. In Search of the Human Mind. Harcourt Brace College:
Publishers:Toronto. 1995.

Category: Social Issues