The term drug abuse refers to any use of any drug for something else a part from its planned medical or psychiatric purpose. The use of such drugs may involve using prescription drugs for wrong purposes or using illicit drugs. For instance, research has shown that in Ottawa many university students take drugs not for the intended medical use but mainly to get high. Most students from Ottawa who abuse the drugs in most cases obtain the drugs illegally from unlawful sources.
This puts their lives in danger as they engage in dangerous methods of use of drugs that swerve from the accepted medical practice or scientific knowledge and they take drugs for reasons that they are not meant for (Weibe, 1994). The Ottawa integrated drugs and addictions strategy community network have been holding several meetings in an attempt to identify the issues related to prevention, treatment, harm reduction and enforcement among the Ottawa university students engaging in substance abuse. In this regard, the community network is therefore preparing to consult the public on related issues.
The consultation from the public by the community can only be done conveniently through research, studies and surveys. Thesis statement The abuse of drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin and other illicit drugs has been on the rise among university students in Ottawa. Several attempts have been made by different groups including the Ottawa integrated drugs and addictions strategy community network to come up with preventive measures and health promotion strategies but the drug abuse by these students is still on the rise.
The current studies however have raised more concern on the female student abusers since in the recent past, less attention has been given to them and this as a result has exposed them to excessive abuse of these drugs and therefore facing severe suffering as compared to their male counterparts who are abusing the same drugs (Single, Robson, Xie & Rehm, 1996). Research questions Some of the questions prepared for the phenomenological research included; do the university students in Ottawa use or abuse drugs? If they do abuse the drugs then what are the most commonly abused substances among the students?
What percentage of female student’s abuse drugs in relation to the percentage of the male students who abuse the same drugs? Is there any difference in the level of consumption between the genders? What effects do the student abusers suffer from the consumption of these drugs? Do the drug abusers suffer the same effects? Interviewing For our interview we are not going to inquire about the name of the student being interviewed but we are rather going to refer to the students as student one up to student six respectively. Our interview questions are going to be based on the research questions mentioned above.
This being a phenomenological research whatever is reported in this paper is going to be exactly as it appeared to the observer during the research (Rocheleau, 1995). Student one Researcher: as one of the university students in Ottawa, do you think university students in Ottawa are using drugs or are they abusing the drugs? Student one: the of drugs use by university students in Ottawa is growing at a very high rate and therefore fits to be referred to as drug abuse since in most case are used for purposes other than the intended ones, for instance most students take drugs to get high.
Researcher: what are the most commonly abused drugs by the university students within Ottawa? Student one: the most commonly used drugs are cocaine, marijuana and at times heroin and many others. Researcher: how would you approximate the number of female students abusing drugs relative to the number of male students in percentage? Student one: it is a fact that the number of male students abusing the drugs is higher than that of the female students abusing drugs and it can be approximated to about 50% of the female population and 70% of the male population. Researcher: what effects do the drug abusers suffer after consuming the drugs?
Student one: most students suffer depressive disorders and mood disorders. Student two Researcher: as one of the university students in Ottawa, do you think university students in Ottawa are using drugs or are they abusing the drugs? Student two: actually the drug consumption by university students in Ottawa only fits to be described as drug abuse. Researcher: Why do you think the description best fits ‘abuse’? Student two: the use of drugs has become too much and also the drugs used by students are addictive and not meant improve health. Researcher: which drugs do the university students in Ottawa used most?
Student two: the drugs commonly used are cocaine and marijuana but others like heroin and alcohol are also used. Researcher: which group is most affected by the addiction habits, is it the male students or the female students? Student two: the male students seem to be more affected than the female students since they seem to consume in large numbers compared to the female students. Researcher: what effects do they suffer after consuming the drugs? Student two: the effects mostly suffered include mood disorders and depressive disorders. Researcher: do both the female and the male students suffer the same effects?
Student two: other than the already mentioned disorders, female students do suffer a lot of stigma and confrontation from their family members and friends unlike male students who do not experience the same (Pauline, 1997). Student three Researcher: as one of the university students in Ottawa, do you think university students in Ottawa are using drugs or are they abusing the drugs? Student three: the drugs that are consumed and as they are consumed by university students within Ottawa are definitely abuse. Researcher: which drugs do the university students in Ottawa use most?
Student three: the drugs commonly used are cocaine, marijuana, heroin and alcohol. Researcher: how would you approximate the number of female students abusing drugs relative to the number of male students in percentage? Student three: the number of female students using the drugs is usually lower than that of the male students abusing the drugs so according to my approximation it is 48% for female and 65% for male. Researcher: what are the effects of drug abuse by the students? Student three: students who abuse the drugs in most cases seem depressed and out of mood and usually fail to perform normally.
Researcher: which group do you think is most affected by the drugs? Student three: the female students seem to be more affected since they tend to suffer more long term effects than male students. Student four Researcher: as one of the university students in Ottawa, do you think university students in Ottawa are using drugs or are they abusing the drugs? Student four: the drugs as consumed by the students are more abuse that use. Researcher: why do you say so? Student four: the rate, the purpose and the frequency of drug consumption by university students cannot be termed as usage.
Researcher: which drugs do the university students in Ottawa use most? Student four: the drugs commonly consumed are marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, heroin among others. Researcher: how would you approximate the number of female students abusing drugs relative to the number of male students in percentage? Student four: the percentage of male students consuming drugs is usually higher than that of the female students consuming drugs. Researcher: what are the effects of drug abuse by the students? Student four: the effects of drugs includes stigma which is mostly suffered by female students, others effects are mood disorders and depression.
Student five Researcher: as one of the university students in Ottawa, do you think university students in Ottawa are using drugs or are they abusing the drugs? Student five: the rate and quantity at which drugs are consumed is said to be abused. Researcher: which drugs do the university students in Ottawa use most? Student five: the drugs commonly used include cocaine and alcohol. Researcher: how would you approximate the number of female students abusing drugs relative to the number of male students in percentage?
Student five: the number of female students consuming the drugs when compared to the male students is 45% to 65 %. Researcher: what are the effects of drug abuse by the students? Student five: the effects are hangover, failing to perform properly, dizziness and depression. Researcher: which group do you think is most affected by the drugs? Student five: those who abuse the drugs suffer the same effects. Student six Researcher: as one of the university students in Ottawa, do you think university students in Ottawa are using drugs or are they abusing the drugs? Student six: the students do abuse the drugs.
Researcher: which drugs do the university students in Ottawa use most? Student six: mostly they consume cocaine and at times alcohol, marijuana, heroin and many others. Researcher: how would you approximate the number of female students abusing drugs relative to the number of male students in percentage? Student six: the percentage for male students abusing drugs is higher than those of female abusing drugs. Researcher: what are the effects of drug abuse by the students? Student six: drug abuse causes depression, malfunctioning, mood disorders and many others. Purpose of the study
The main objective of the study on drug abuse by university students in Ottawa was to find out if the students do use or abuse the drugs, to establish the motivations behind the consumption of these drugs, to clarify the rate of drug abuse by university students in Ottawa, to identify the drugs mainly abused by university students in Ottawa, to verify the relationship between the female students consumption and male students consumption, to identify how the abuse of these drugs affect the lives of the students, to identify some of the measures that can be taken to prevent drug abuse by the students and to treat the already affected students
(Pauline, 1997). Delimitations of the study The main advantage enjoyed during the study was that it was easy to find and interview different students on the issue of drug abuse among them since the study was conducted during school session when all students were in their respective learning institutions therefore it involved less cost around looking for students to interview. In addition, enough private rooms for interviews were provided where students felt free to share their ideas on the topic of discussion. Limitations Even though the students were available, most of them proved so unreliable.
This is because most of the students were not ready to be interviewed. Those who were ready for the interview however tended to give inadequate information since most of them did not want to disclose full information regarding their drug use status as they considered it something private and therefore wanted to preserve it. In addition, most students who were given capsules to treat their drug abuse related disorders were not willing to take them, which resulted, to a lot of wastage. Consequently, it was not easy to get urine samples for test from drug abusers since most of them could not allow it. (El-Guebaly & Hodgins,1992).
Research strategies Having a topic of study, the phenomenological research strategy involved, first developing the topic. “In case, it is a drug abuse among university students in Ottawa, What effects does the use illicit drugs such as cocaine, marijuana and many others have on the health of students? ” needed to be asked before proceeding with the research. The next step involved finding the background information on drug abuse by university students in Ottawa. This was done by looking for the key words of the topic from encyclopedias with the subject. From the encyclopedia, several articles were read which set the context for the research.
Additional background information was found from textbooks and other reserved materials, which involved research, conducted on the same topic by different researchers in different years. It also involved finding out for how long this has been going on and what has been done to prevent it (Ogborne, Braun & Schmidt, 1996). The research further involved finding books and articles to find out what other researchers who conducted their study on the same topic found out. It was from here that a comparison was made to find out if the statistics on the drug abuse by university students in Ottawa has changed.
The past studies were of great significance since different ideas on what should be done to prevent the practice were suggested without having to repeat the measures that had been implemented and which did not work. In concluding the research, different sources of information were evaluated and cited in relation to how comprehensive the information got from them were. Role of the researcher The main role of the researcher in this study was to interview different students to be able to verify their opinions and perception of the use of illicit drugs within or outside their learning institutions.
The researcher was also to find out the major motivations behind the students’ drug abuse behavior and the effects they suffer after consuming the drugs. In addition, the researcher was to administer some drug abuse disorder related capsules to find out how effective they could be in reducing drug samples in blood. Furthermore, the researcher was to carry out some random tests on some of the drug abusers to find out the drug that is most commonly abused by university students in Ottawa (Weibe, 1994). Strategies for ensuring trustworthiness
During the study, it was not easy to convince the students to reveal information regarding their drug abuse behaviors. This was because the students were more concerned about preserving their privacy, which they were not willing to make known to the institution authorities, their parents and even friends. It was therefore upon the researchers to explore different strategies to convince the students that whatever they were going to discuss was to remain a secret between the student and the interviewer.
This was done by ensuring that the involved only two people i. e. the researcher and the student in a private room where no any other party could steal the topic of discussion (Christensen, Jacobson, 1997). Literature review The phenomenological research on drug abuse by university students in Ottawa found out that the drugs possibly abused by these students are mainly prescription drugs. Such drugs are usually opiate based for pain relief, tranquilizers, stimulants and amphetamines. Others also include sedatives and barbiturates.
The study however found out that the most seriously abused drugs by the students of Ottawa University are cocaine and marijuana. Most students who abuse drugs such as the barbiturates were found to do so with the intention of getting rid of anxiety and sleep disorders. On the other hand, the abusers of tranquillizers consume them with an intention of reducing stress and panic attacks. Studies on drug abuse by students since 1970s has shown that male students consume more drugs than their female counterparts. The frequency of drug usage was also found to be high in males than in females.
For example, a study conducted on Ottawa University students on drug abuse confirmed that about 74% of male students compared to 53% of female students consumed more than one to two standard drinks in the previous year (Corbett, 1994). Very recent studies on drug abuse among university students however showed that there was a smaller gender difference in levels of drug consumption. A recent survey of Ottawa university students showed that 83. 3% of female students and 84. 9% of male students had abused drugs in the past one year. Most Ottawa university male and female students are assumed to consume drugs moderately.
Nevertheless, a clear gender difference is confirmed from self-reported by the students of excessive drug consumption. The excessive consumption especially alcohol consumption is defined by four or more drinks by female students on a single occasion and five or more drinks by male students on a single occasion. The rate for harmful consumption for female students is however higher than that of male students. Almost a half of the total female students (42%) who had engaged in drug abuse were reported to have had harmful abuse as compared to 46.
3% of all the male students who had abused drug that year reported to have had harmful abuse (Ogborne, Braun & Schmidt 1996). Harmful consumption of drugs as was identified included those who felt in the wrong after consuming the drug, those who could not remember anything after taking the drug, those who suffered drug abuse related injuries and those whom after consumption of the drugs suggested reduction in drug abuse among students (El-Guebaly, 1990). Other than those who suffered harmful abuse, there are those who were found to be dependent abusers. Dependent abusers involved approximately 28.
6% of female students and 30. 5% of male students. It was noted that the dependent abusers could not stop using the drugs, could not perform expected activities after the consumption of drugs or needed some morning consumption of the drugs. The table below shows the percentage of university students by sex who were reported past year for harmful and dependent drinking. Sex Harmful drinking Dependent drinking Female 42% 28. 6% Male 46. 3% 30. 5% On further survey, 56 percent of all the female abusers were found to be taking at least five drinks on a single occasion in the course of the year.
On the other hand, 26. 1% were found to be taking at least eight drinks on one occasion during the same period. In addition to the above surveys, a research conducted indicated that 30. 4% of male students were reported to have taken alcohol beyond the low risk guidelines for alcohol consumption as compared to 15. 2% of the female students (Ogborne, Smart& Rush 1998). According to the research, in a situation where the harm got from drug abuse is as a result of substance abuse, there occurs very small gender difference quoted by male and female students.
For instance a study conducted in 2004 confirmed that 6. 9% of female students and 9. 1% of male students reported that there occurred at least harm in their lives during the past year as a result of their drug consumption and 30. 4% of female and 30. 7% of male students reported harm as a result of another person’s consumption(Corbett, 1994) In 1994 a survey recent reports showed an increasing drug abuse for illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin and others by male and female students.
Generally, male students were found to be on the front line when it comes to reporting the use of illicit drugs as compared to their female counterparts. Nevertheless, the most recent reports point to an increasing self-reports by both female and male students in the use of cannabis although a significant gender difference remains. On alcohol and other drugs abuse, 10% of male students and 5% of female students were reported to be abusers of cannabis while a same study conducted in 2004 indicated an increment to 18% for male students and 10% for female students.
In addition, the same study in the 2004 indicated that 7. 35% of female students and 14. 1% of male students were abusers of cocaine. The study conducted in Ottawa University provided enough evidence that the difference in gender in relation to illicit substance use is getting smaller. Alarm on this situation has attracted international attention especially from Australia, united sates and other European Union countries. In the year 2004, 15. 8% of female students and 18. 1% male students reported harms from their own cannabis consumption.
Research has shown that approximately 25% to about 33% of all students using injection drugs in Ottawa University are female students. This has been identified as a major factor for HIV infection in female students. It has been noted that of the entire positive tests of HIV in women from the year 1985 to 2002, between 33% and 48% have been as a result of injection drug use. Reports from the study revealed that there is consumption of the ketom plant leaves by university students in Ottawa as a drug because the leaves of ketom plants contain hallucinogens, which are as intoxicating as marijuana.
The increased abuse of drugs in university colleges is blamed on the difficulties in enforcing laws in such institutions, which speeds up the spread of such drugs. (Corbett, 1994). A further research showed that many drug users do suffer mood disorders. For instance among those abusing cocaine, the most commonly detected disorders are depressive disorders. The analysis revealed that the association between mood disorders and drug abuse among the abusers is usually very complicated. Most drug abusers do build up depression that comes as a result of physical and psychological endurance connected with the use of drugs.
The study showed that most students who suffered mood disorders after abusing cocaine became drug dependent after making attempts of self-medication. Initially it was not easy to handle the conditions of students who were suffering from both mood disorders and drug abuse but it became possible after a research revealed that a treatment on mood disorders alone could have a positive effect on drug abuse (Boyd, Millard & Webster 1985). A research that was conducted on students involved urine test whereby unsystematic weekly examinations indicated a significant high use of cocaine as compared to marijuana by different students.
Most of the students who tested positive for drug abuse however, were found to have come from families with a history of substance abuse, which in most situations reached, back to several generations. All students from such families had started abusing the drugs long before enrolling in the institution. All students who participated in the study and who happened to be drug abusers were given packets of capsules which they were to take two times each day during the four week study. For most of the students, the capsules included lithium prescription that had shown its effectiveness in treating adult bipolar patients.
Bipolar disorder in most students was found to have been caused by substance abuse disorder including the use of marijuana, alcohol, cocaine and other multiple drugs. During the study, a number of students were also treated as outpatients and given weekly therapy sessions in addition. In the course of the study, blood vessels of lithium were tested at least twice every week to ensure that the participants were taking the capsules given to them. Samples of urine were also taken on a similar basis to scrutinize the use of drug (Christensen & . Jacobson, 1997).
The percentage of the students taking the lithium capsules, the drug positive samples changed from 38% to approximately 8% indicating a significant reduction. Four random tests were conducted during the study and the urine samples that were tested revealed the students self reports. They were definitely a noteworthy reduction in the use of drug. In addition to reduction in drug use, the students receiving lithium capsules progressed in the symptoms of bipolar disorder. The improvement was mainly noted in their ability to function properly in school activities as compared to how they could function before the study.
Chronically drug dependent students who were suffering from primary and secondary depression were recognized in the course of the study and treated. Most students who experienced a drop in depressive symptoms and those who noted improvements confessed that they had noted a reduction in their crave and use of drugs mainly cocaine and marijuana. The research that was conducted indicated that there has been almost forty years of trying to prevent drug abuse among university students in Ottawa. This has been done by conducting youth counseling especially to those who have developed drug addiction.
In addition to youth counseling a treatment centre for youth who are suffering from drug abuse related disorders have been opened to help treat the youth. In an evaluation of the best measures to put forward in trying to find treatment to substance abuse in Canada, a study showed that female students do suffer a lot of stigma in connection with their substance abuse problem as compared to the male students. In addition, the research has established that the female students do suffer much confrontation from their families and friends and most negative consequences in treatment center (El-Guebaly, 1990).
The female students do suffer the negative consequences in treatment centers as a result of problems from family members, neglect by friends, lack of finances to cater for the treatment bill and other unfavorable effects related to the well-being of females. It has been demonstrated in different researches that advertising of drugs has a very strong influence on the way university students in Ottawa perceive some of these drugs and can therefore be a source of motivators to these students to engage in their consumption.
Furthermore, female students as compared to male students experience sexual abuse and physical abuse, which in most cases have a strong relationship with substance abuse. Research has demonstrated that female students who had at one time in their lives suffered sexual assault in most cases do use or misuse drugs at early ages and in most cases, they use them in large quantities (El-Guebaly & Hodgins, 1992).
For According to the research conducted, the effect of abusing drugs and especially the illicit drugs such as cocaine and marijuana have been found to diverge among female students and also between female and male students depending on the drugs that are on hand for use. The effects of the drugs however do depend on the type of drug consumed, how regular the abuser use the drug, the amount of drug consumed and the general health condition of the person consuming the drug (Smart, 1983).
Example a review on the effect between male and female students established that female students are affected very much differently from male students with rapture. The analysis of the study showed that female students with rapture unlike male students do experience more severe sensitive changes and difficulties in making decision. In addition, the female students suffer more long lasting effects such as mood swings, depression, paranoia and anxiety than their male counterparts who engage in the consumption of similar drugs.
Consequently, the death rate from substance abuse among university students in Ottawa seems to be high for female students as compared to that of the male students. Findings From the study on the causes of drug abuse by university students in Ottawa its has been found that there is inadequate education and prevention measures that look into the needs of different individuals and especially university students over their life span. It has been pointed out that there is an immense distinction between what is said and what is done as far as prevention of drug abuse among university students in Ottawa is concerned.
According to the planners, prevention measures should be long term and lasting, however most prevention measures put across are always short term due to poor funding. In addition to this, there is lack of treatment centers for people suffering from drug related disorders thus causing long waiting lists for university students (El-Guebaly, 1990). The study has also revealed that advertisements of different drugs and lack of implementation of policies regarding drug abuse in the universities in Ottawa are some of the major motivators behind the students’ drug abusing behavior.
The drugs found to be more accessible as a result and therefore most commonly abused by the students were the cocaine and marijuana. The findings from the research have also indicated that the female students are the major sufferers from drug abuse and addiction even though the male students seem to consume drugs at higher rate and more frequently than the female students. The death rate from drug abuse of female students has also been found to high as compared to that of male students. Conclusion
Despite the fact that drug abuse among university students in Ottawa is still high, research has proved that most of the students involved in the practice are willing to drop the idea and promote their health status when appropriate measures are put in place. It is therefore upon the authorities concerned to take necessary actions to ensure that students are provided with enough information and resources to help them overcome the drug addiction (Ogborne, Smart $ Rush 1998). Significance of the study
The study conducted on Ottawa university students has proved to be of great significance since several suggestions on how this problem can be solved have been suggested. The study was also of significance since different students were given an opportunity to express their feelings as far as drug abuse among university students is concerned and from that, it was realized that most students are willing and are ready to abandon the practice. In addition, most students were able to receive different tests on their blood and urine samples to verify the extent of drug level in their blood.
Finally, most students were given capsules, which proved to be very effective in treating, and reducing drug abuse related disorders in their blood. Lessons learned From the studies and researches conducted it was clear that until recently very little attention was paid to female abusing drugs as compared to the attention given to male abusers both within the society and within the learning institutions. This is because female’s substance abuse has never been as high as that of male up to the recent past.
Nevertheless, we are currently seeing some matching in the levels of drug consumption among female and males. The studies have also revealed that in making efforts to promote drug abuse prevention measures and health of the drug addicts in learning institutions, professionals, addiction system planners and public policy makers have not given any attention to motivations for use of drugs by students and the speeding up consequences of use of drugs by female students in colleges (Boyd & Webster 1985).
Future direction From the lessons learnt from the study it was recommended that instead of exploring a system, that involves drug abuse prevention, programs for health promotion that includes males and females, the planners and the programmers should attend to differing needs of different students in relation to their gender, and other problems related to drug abuse.
The high rates of heavy drug abuse by female students raised a lot of concern and recommendations such as low risk drinking guidelines for female students were made which required every female student involved in drug abuse to take at most three drinks in a single occasion or less than three in other circumstances depending on the type of drug being used. A further recommendation suggested that male students should limit their drinking to a maximum of fourteen drinks per week and the female students should limit their drinking to a maximum of nine drinks per week.
(Abrams, et. al 1993). References Abrams & D. B. et. al. (1993). Integrating Individual and Public Health Perspectives for Treatment Of Tobacco Dependence under Managed Health Care: A Combined Stepped Care and Matching Model. Tobacco Control 2 (supplementary) Boyd, N. , Millard, C. J. & Webster, C. D. (1985). Heroin Treatment in British Columbia. 1976-1984. Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis? Canadian Journal of Criminology 27(2), Christensen, A. , Jacobson, N. S. (1997).
HIV, AIDS and Injection Drug Use: A National Action Plan. Ottawa. 5(1, Jan) Corbett, G. (1994). Addiction Education and Training: Bringing the Field Together. Report of the Ontario Addictions Coordinating Group’s Education and Training Working Group. Ontario Ministry of Health, Toronto. El-Guebaly, N. (1990). Substance Abuse and Mental Disorders: The Dual Diagnoses Concept. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry El-Guebaly, N. , Hodgins & DC (1992). Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse: Prevalence Issues. Can