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Drugs are some of the medical profession's most valuable assets. Doctors prescribe drugs to treat or prevent many diseases. Every year, penicillin and other germ killing drugs save the lives of countless victims. Vaccines prevent diseases such as measles, polio and smallpox. Analgesics lessen or eliminate pain. The use of these and many other kinds of drugs have helped millions of people live longer, healthier lives than would otherwise have been possible.

Although drugs are very useful, they can also cause sickness and death. Any drugs, even a relatively safe one, may cause harm if it is used improperly. Aspirin, for example, is one of the safest and most useful drugs. Yet every year, aspirin kills children who mistake the pills for sweets and end up eating too many of them. Any drug can kill if it is taken in a large enough dosage. In addition, the widespread misuse of narcotics and certain other drugs have become a serious problem.

Drug abuse is the non-medical use of a drug that interferes with a healthy and productive life. Drug abuse occurs at all economic levels of society from the wealthy to the impoverished and among young people and as well as adults. Any drug may be abused, including medication prescribed by doctors.

Young people and adults turn to dangerous drugs because of peer pressure, curiosity, family-stress, academic failure or adverse living conditions. It is therefore crucial for parents to keep a tight watch on the adolescents. Adults too must look after themselves.

Many people begin and continue to use drugs because they want a pleasurable change in their state of mind. Unfortunately, drugs only change the brain perception of difficulties and problems. In the long term, not only is the mind damaged permanently such as through loss of memory, the body too undergoes premature wear and tear, an irreversible process as the body's organs become adversely affected.

Symptoms of drug addiction include late night, truancy and withdrawal behavior. They also include red and blurry eyes, irritability and drowsiness. These symptoms may also indicate that a person is experiencing physical and emotional problems related to drug addiction.

To avoid experimenting or taking drugs, we can do all kinds of constructive activities and join charitable organizations. We can be involved in organizing campaigns against drugs. Extra curricular activities like scouting, Red Crescent and Leo club, can be effective and useful in taking our minds off drugs during our free time. Sports too will make us healthy and stronger and it is a very effective way of taking our mind off drugs.

There are different kinds of sports, such as football, swimming, sailing, jogging, gymnastics, shooting and others. When we are engaged in physical activities everyday, our free time is fully utilized and we will not be tempted to think of anything negative such as taking drugs. Our mind will also be refreshed and renewed through the improved blood circulation in our body. We can think clearly when we are healthy and participate in sports activities everyday. Even if we don't like to participate in team sports, we can do the activities individually, like taking leisurely strolls, walking around backyard or go jogging at the park.

At the same time, the risk of developing and dying from heart disease, as well as blood pressure, high cholesterol, colon or breast cancer, diabetes and other illnesses will be reduced if we do sports. We can maintain our body weight, healthy muscles, bones and joints too. Depression and anxiety will be minimized and we can enhance our work, recreation and sports performance by improving our psychological well-being.

With more and more undesirable elements coming up with newer and more powerful destructive drugs, it is now even more important for government and societies to promote healthy activities and sports to counter the drug menace. Let us hope that the invention and evolution of sports can bring about more interesting sports activities to eradicate or minimize the spread of the drug problem.

Some Statistics On Drug Addiction In Malaysia
  • From January - September 2001, there were 21,692 drug addicts, of which 10,686 were new cases (49.3%) and 11,006 were repeated cases (50.7%).
  • The number of drug addicts increased by 8.4% (20,011) compared to the same period (January - September 2002).
  • Penang has the largest number of drug addicts (4,213) followed by Perak (2,400), Selangor (2,365),and Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur (1,841).
  • Males form 98.4% of the drug cases and those aged 40 years and below make up 82.1% of the drug cases.
  • 94.5% of drug users were hooked on to drugs due to inability to resist peer pressure wanting to experiment and "lured" into the false belief that doing drugs will give us great pleasure.

Source : Buletin Dadah BIl 4/2001
National Drugs Agency

Ong Veng Li
Youth Member, Youth Centre
Sabah FPA

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