Drug addiction or drug dependence is an increasing epidemic worldwide. It is most common in more developed countries but that in no way means that it is not a growing and serious problem in our country Belize. What makes this problem even more critical is the fact that it is mostly a problem for our youths. In fact studies have indicated that drug addiction, especially of alcohol and tobacco is occurring at an increasingly younger age, while the number of deaths resulting directly from drug misuse is rising. Because of the great impact drug addiction plays upon our own age cohort, we chose to investigate this obstacle further.
Drug dependence may be either mental or physical. In a condition called drug addiction, there is a combination of mental and physical dependence. Mental dependence is characterized by a strong emotional drive to take a drug. In physical dependence, the body develops a need for the drug. Severe physical reactions, called withdrawal symptoms may occur if the drug is withheld from the user.
We also realize that students at both primary and secondary school ages are likely to be exposed to the effects and influences of drug misuse in the wider community and which extends across social economics and cultural boundaries. Drug misuse has implications for the individual involved, for their families and the wider community. Drug misuse is a result of the fact that most of the students are totally unaware of the total consequences of drug usage or even the “proper” method in how to do so. Many times they mix lethal drugs and the results are fatal or in other cases they use drug in a way that it is also immediately fatal.
It is for this reason that it is very important that all drugs – legal and illegal – be addresses as a part of a rigid drug education program in all school and addresses the health, social, economics and legal cost of drugs to individuals and to the whole of Belize. Teaching the students beforehand the effects and consequences of drug use and misuse is a great way to make them gain awareness of the effects of drugs. This then may play a great influence on their choices on whether or not to experiment drugs. All in all, it may in some way alleviate the growing problem of drug addiction and drug misuse.