Academic journal article Journal of Behavioural Sciences

Protective Factors, Drug Use and Depression in Young Drug Users

Academic journal article Journal of Behavioural Sciences

Protective Factors, Drug Use and Depression in Young Drug Users

Article excerpt

Drug addiction has become a worldwide problem and there are millions of addicts in every developed and under-developed country in the world (Hussain, 2012). In Pakistan, drug addiction has become a major health issue (Ali, Bushra, & Aslam, 2009). According to an estimate, in Pakistan in 1980, there were 50,000 drug users, 1.7 million in 1986, 3.1 million in 1993, 3.8 million in 1997, 4 million in 2000, and 8 million in 2010-2011. In 2011, the number of drug users raised to 9.6 million (Qasim, 2012). The province of Punjab is badly affected by drugs reached here from other provinces (Hussain, 2012). Prevalence of drug use becomes more serious problem during transitional phase from adolescence to adulthood (Lawrence-Lo, 2009). Rapid increase of drug abuse in Pakistan is causing severe social and health problems, particularly in youth (Qasim, 2012).

Emerging adulthood is a transitional phase, from late teens to early 20s (Arnett, 2005) and in this phase an individual faces abrupt changes in roles, relationships with others, and career choices. These changes have often been related with increased risk for substance abuse. There are only few studies on emerging adults and these are usually limited by size and follow-up time (Bachman, Wasdworth, O'Malley, Johnston, & Schulenberg, 1997; Bailey, Fleming, Henson, Catalano, & Haggerty, 2008; Fromme, Corbin, & Kruse, 2008; Jorand, 2009; Rhoades & Maggs, 2006). An investigation on demographic and social correlates of drug users in Karachi, Pakistan indicated that 71.5% drug users were less than 35 years, of which highest ratio falls in the 20 to 30 years age group (Ali et al., 2009).

The factors that seem to protect a person from indulging in drug use are called protective factors. Young people who have many protective factors are less likely to use drugs (Hawkins, Catalano, & Miller, 1992). Benard (1991) proposed a model that emphasizes the role of protective factors for helping young people to develop "resiliency" to refuse the use of alcohol and other drugs. He identified three major domains in which protective factors serve for young people including individual domain, family domain, and community domain factors.

Peer and individual domain protective factors may play a pivotal role in protecting individuals from drug use. Young people who have good social skills and they interact with prosocial peers (peers who stay away from drugs), are reported to experience protection from drug use and other risky behaviors (Hawkins et al., 1992). Among personal assets, religiosity helps in protecting youth from the harmful effects of drug use (Fergus & Zimmerman, 2005). In the Pakistani context, where Islam is religion of majority, the use of alcohol and other drugs is forbidden in Islam. The prohibition of alcohol and other drugs has been clearly stated in the verses of the Quran and in Islam all intoxicants have been declared un-lawful and are forbidden (e.g. Al-Quran, 5:90-91; 2:219; 4:45).

Young people feel very close to their family members and are less vulnerable towards risky behaviors, when they are given the opportunities for making significant contributions in their families. These opportunities facilitate youth in adopting the norms and values projected by their families with more ease and also help involving family members by reinforcing family bonds. When youth are rewarded by their family members for their positive involvement in activities, it further helps in strengthening the relationships between them and their families, and also promotes clear principles for behavior (Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, 2011).

Community domain protective factors are also important. Human beings are social animals (Bhattacharyya, 2012). Young persons' involvement with their communities by taking part in positive activities and organizations, results in healthy development and provide them with more opportunities to develop relationships with prosocial peers. …

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