Adrug is any substance that can have an effect on the metabolism ofthe body. Drugs make an integral part of the daily life for manypeople. The social acceptance and legality of any drug largelydepends on its use, effects, and the person that is using it. TheUnited Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) approximates thatbetween 155-250 million people aged 15-64 had abused drugs at leastonce in the past year (Degenhardt& Hall, 2012).The cannabis users contribute the largest number of the illicit drugusers amounting to about 129-190 million people. A comprehensiveunderstanding of the extent of the drug use problem requires thereview of many indicators. Among the factors that make it difficultin estimating the extent of the drug use include treatment demandmeasurement, gap in the provision of the services to the problem drugusers, lack of the global standard definition of the drug use, andamong others. Therefore, understanding the dynamics of the drug usein any country or region, it’s vital that the overall situation ofthe drug use rather than the individual trends is looked at.
Theprevalence rates of the drug use are matters of concern to thepolicymakers in many countries, since they are vital factors thataffect the welfare and health of the population. The information onthe extent of the drug use is usually gathered through theepidemiological surveys. However, there are a lot of information thatmight be missing in this kind of surveys due to the manipulations ofthe various survey conditions and the situational factors that can behelpful. For instance, the possible survey conditions that can bemanipulated include the degree of the privacy, confidentiality andanonymity assurances, and mode of the administration, interviewerapproach and setting, context of the drug use questions and amongothers. Issues like the examination of the validity and reliabilityof the criteria used in assessing the drug dependence are also vital.
Therecontinues to be a paucity of the research on the patterns, causes andthe consequences of the drug use among the persons that are‘underserved’ or ‘hard to enumerate’ individuals belonging tothe high risk populations. Indeed, many of the populations that areat the high risk of the drug use and the resulting adverse medicaland social consequences are also disenfranchised and disadvantaged.They include transient persons, homeless, chronic mentally ill,school dropouts, runaways and among others. Therefore, emphasisshould, in part, be on the developmental application of the new andmost effective sampling procedures and the data collection methodsfor the special groups of the population. Therefore, specialpopulation surveys should be conducted in order to get accurate dataon the drug use.
Thesociety can use the risk and protective factors as the primarytargets for the effective prevention programs. They should bedesigned to reach the specific populations. However, the goal ofthese should be aimed at building new and strengthening the existingprotective factors and reduce the modifiable risk factor on theyouths. Additionally, the surveys should involve the human subjectsshould include the minorities and both genders in the population inorder for the research findings to benefit all the persons at therisk of the drug use. In the event that one gender or minorities areexcluded, a clear and compelling rationale for the exclusion shouldbe provided.
Degenhardt,L., & Hall, W. (2012). Extent of Illicit Drug Use and Dependence,and Their Contribution to the Global Burden of Disease. TheLancet,379,9810, 55-70.