Prevalence of Psychoactive Substance Abuse among High School Students in Nevesinje and Mostar

By Dabic, Olivera; Martinac, Marko et al. | Alcoholism and Psychiatry Research, January 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Prevalence of Psychoactive Substance Abuse among High School Students in Nevesinje and Mostar


Dabic, Olivera, Martinac, Marko, Babic, Dragan, Kuzman, Marina, Alcoholism and Psychiatry Research


INTRODUCTION

Substance abuse is a trans-cultural phenomenon and one of the almost unsolvable problems of the contemporary, consumer and globalized world. Addiction disease is an international problem present in almost every country of the world and is considered to be one of the most complex phenomena today.

Substance abuse has evidently gained characteristics of a mass phenomenon, i.e. addiction disease is no longer considered an individual's mental disease. The moral crisis of modern civilization, disarranged and rejected system of traditional values, crisis of the institution of marriage and family make young people feel unloved, unhappy and lost. Frequent causes of addiction result from the society crisis, insufficient self-esteem, dysfunctional family, inadequate living conditions disrupting the process of psychosocial maturing. Drug addicts become »children of chemistry«, which leads to serious health problems, as the time passes by. Young people discover drugs very quickly, teachers late, and parents often too late. In the whole world much effort and money have been invested in opposing the illegal drug trade and in the improvement of prevention programs and rehabilitation of patients. However, this problem has been constantly increasing and has shown harmful consequences for the personality and the society.

In the adolescent period young people are in search of their own identity and they try to avoid their parents' control challenging their authority, not respecting rules and wanting more freedom in their decisions. Adolescents say the reasons for their first drug use are mainly curiosity, desire not to be separated from the group, escape from problems, boredom and others. Research showed that young people tend to use more substances at the same time. Most of them mainly experiment with different substances and stop during adolescence, or the habit becomes moderate. Although the parents are aware of the fact that risky behavior does not include not only the proneness to psychoactive substance use (sexual behavior and reckless driving can be risky), the danger of drug abuse is what is recognized as dominant. Children showing one side of problematic behavior are at greater risk for other things too. Addiction does not occur at once, so there is time for the family and environment to react during this process. In order to enter certain groups, taking drugs becomes even desirable for some adolescents.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina every third high school teenager smokes every day. Young people who left school run a greater risk of taking addictive substances. The mean age of the first contact with drugs is 15-17 years of age. Drugs are available in café bars, in the street, discos and school. They try drugs for the first time out of curiosity, the desire to feel better, not be different form the group and to forget about problems. Young people who use drugs also have riskier sexual behaviors (they engage earlier in sexual intercourse, use protection less).

Substance abuse (alcohol, tobacco, combining drugs) has become a public health problem. School cannot take over the role of the family in the formation of a healthy personality. Peers and social policies play an important role in the prevention of substance abuse in adolescents.

Friends are an important part of the adolescence making it possible for young people to observe the world around themselves through the eyes of a close person. Peer groups proscribe the way of dressing, music taste, and in order to be accepted by the desired group young people are ready to give up their own wishes and attitudes. Parents' influence does not vanish, their rules are recognized and adolescents try to break them due to authority resistance which is an inseparable part of growing up. There are no safe drugs, whether they are legal or not. Only a fight against and a prevention of addiction, in which all the society institutions (from family, school health systems, social care, to the police, judicial system at the national and local level) are included, can lead to a decrease in the occurrence of substance abuse. …

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