Drug Abuse

What are drugs?

  • Drugs are substances that change the way your body functions.
  • Examples are antibiotics and pain killers which are usually taken under medical advice.
  • Some drugs called psychoactive drugs alter the emotions or mental state.

These include :

  • Alcohol and tobacco.
  • Sleeping tablets.
  • Cannabis.
  • Glues.
  • Ecstasy.
  • LSD.
  • Heroin.

When is it considered drug abuse?

Drug abuse means use of a drug that is not for a medical purpose.

An individual will continue using drug despite problems failed in using it.


What is tolerance?

Occurs when the individual needs to take increasing amounts of the drug to obtain the same effect.


What is dependence?

Inability to function without the use of a drug. Includes physical, emotional (psychological) and habitual dependence.


What about drug addiction?

Addiction has occurred when a person has become dependent on a drug to function normally and to prevent withdrawal symptoms.


What are the withdrawal symptom?

Symptoms experienced as a response to either a reduction or ending of drug use once tolerance has developed.

These symptoms include:


  • Craving
  • Yawning
  • Watery eyes and nose
  • Body aches and pains
  • Stomach cramps
  • Goosebumps
  • Diarrhoea

Drugs of abuse

The most common classes include:

  • Narcotic group :
    • Opium.
    • Morphine.
    • Heroin.
    • Codeine.
  • Stimulants or ‘speeds’ :
    • Ecstasy.
    • Amphetamine.
    • Cocaine.
  • Hallucinogens :
    • LSD.
    • PCP or “angel dust”.
  • Inhalants :
    • Aerosol.
    • Gum.
  • Marijuana / Cannabis :
    • Grass.
    • Ganja.
    • Hashish.

How does one suspect a person is a drug abuser?

A drug abuser:

  • Fails to carry out responsibilities at home or school.
  • Continues to take the drug despite harmful effects and problems caused by the drug on self or others.

What are some tell-tale signs that a person is a drug addict?

A drug addict may:

  • Show decline in school attendance.
  • Deteriorate in discipline.
  • Drop out of school.
  • Isolate himself from schoolmates.
  • Frequent isolated places (e.g. storerooms, cubicles, basement).
  • Demonstrate change in attitude and behaviour.
  • Deteriorate in outward appearance and personal hygiene.
  • Lose appetite.
  • Lose weight.

Drug addicts may also have:

  • Bloodshot eyes.
  • Injection marks on the arm.
  • Tendency to borrow money.
  • Tendency to steal things which can be easily sold.

Why does a drug addict need treatment?

Treatment is required to deal with the:

  • Uncomfortable and possibly life-threatening symptoms associated with withdrawal.
  • Social effects which drug abuse has had on his or her life.

What kind of treatment is available?

Professional help is required in:

  • Counselling.
  • Detoxification.
  • Rehabilitation.

Social and family support are also very important to assist one in quitting drug addiction.


How and where can you get help if you are already involved?

  • Try talking to your:
    • Parents.
    • School counselors.
    • Teachers.
    • Trusted friends / peers.
    • Peer group counselling.
    • Doctors.
  • Support groups.
  • Welfare officers (Welfare Department).
  • Rehabilitation officers (Agensi Anti-Dadah Kebangsaan).

How do you prevent yourself from becoming a drug addict?

1.      Equip yourself with right knowledge and attitude

  • Know what drug of addiction is

2.      Deal with peer pressure effectively

  • Be assertive. Learn how to say ‘NO’

3.      Deal with your problem effectively

  • Learn how to solve problems
  • Consult adults you trust to help you with your problem

4.      Be aware of your surroundings

  • Understand that some adult behaviour should not be imitated
  • Choose the right friends
  • Avoid a risky areas or situations


Last Reviewed : 27 April 2012
Content Writer : Prof. Madya Dr. Foong Kin
Dr. Nor Saleha bt. Ibrahim Tamin
Reviewer : Dr. Salmah bt. Nordin
: Dr. Norizzati Bukhary bt. Ismail Bukhary