Everybody encounters stressors in life, and individuals employ a variety of coping mechanisms. Some of these coping methods are healthy while others are unhealthy, leaving the individual vulnerable to either physical or psychological health conditions or both. The use of drugs is one of these harmful coping mechanisms.
Youth begin using drugs and alcohol in order to feel good and blend in with their peers. It is the reason, youth starts taking substance to feel good and to fit in and feel like they belong. They consume substances to satiate their inquisitive minds. They believe that drugs improve one’s mood and enable one to produce more innovative and fruitful work.
The substance can be any type of drug, including alcohol, cannabis, opioids, nicotine, and others. Excessive use of any kind of these substances may further lead to the development of Substance Use Disorder (SUD- a mental health condition in which a person has trouble limiting their use of a substance, which has a substantial negative impact on several aspects of their lives. Numerous psychological, physical, and other socio-legal difficulties always accompany substance use disorder. Legal challenges, social, academic, occupational, economical, and interpersonal issues are just a few of the multifaceted issues that substance use disorder can cause. Despite all these detrimental effects people with Substance Use Disorder face difficulty quitting or reducing the use of substances.
Substance use Disorder frequently coexists with other mental and physical health conditions. This is the reason that studies have indicated 60% to 80% dual diagnosis rate among those with substance use disorders. When substance abuse coexists with another psychiatric illness, this is known as dual diagnosis. Substance abuse may result from the presence of a mental illness, and occasionally it may happen the other way around. Personality disorders are present in 20% to 50% of patients with substance use disorders, whereas depressive disorder is present in 12% to 88% of cases, anxiety disorders are present in 10% to 24% of cases, and bipolar disorder is found to be present in 51% to 60% of these individuals (Benumea, 2017). In India, 32.4% of patients with substance use disorder have coexisting conditions or dual diagnosis. Psychotic disorder is found among 5%, anxiety disorder is found among 11%, and affective disorder is found among 12% of patients with substance use disorder (Subodh, Hazari, Elwadhi, & Basu, 2017).
Substance use disorders, especially when left untreated, raise a person’s risk of morbidity and death, can cause severe suffering, and impede functioning in vital areas such as personal, familial, social, educational, and professional life. Globally, 71 million persons had chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in 2017 (WHO, 2019). Injecting drug usage is responsible for around 23% of new HCV infections and one in three HCV fatalities (Degenhardt et al., 2017). Co-infection with the hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses is frequent among injecting drug users (IDU), especially among those who are also afflicted with tuberculosis (TB) and HIV. In 2017, an estimated 1.2 million IDU were infected with both HCV and HIV (UNODC, 2019). According to the HIV Sentinel Surveillance report, 7.2% of IDUs in India are infected with HIV. HIV prevalence among IDUs is 12% in Manipur and Mizoram, 21% in Punjab, and 18% in Delhi. Alcohol intake is responsible for 50% of liver cirrhosis deaths, 30% of deaths from oral and pharyngeal cancers, 22% of deaths from interpersonal violence, 22% of deaths from self-harm, 15% of deaths from traffic accidents, 12% of deaths from tuberculosis (TB), and 12% of deaths from liver cancer worldwide (Mohiuddin, 2019).