Welcome to my world and my column. Every December 1, the globe celebrates World AIDS Day. Thus, it is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against the scourge…
Besides the obvious likelihood of addiction or dependency, drug abuse holds the potential for a number of different side effects. Many of these are seemingly minor to the abuser or addict, yet problematic and can lead to greater health risks. Side effects vary, depending on the substance being abused. Some of the more common drugs being abused today include marijuana, methamphetamines, heroin, cocaine and cocaine-derivatives.
Every year, approximately thousands of illnesses or injuries occur as a result of the use of tobacco, alcohol or other addictive drugs, states the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency. Further reports have it that many of the public’s top health issues such as cancer, liver failure, heart disease and HIV/AIDS can be linked to substance abuse.
HIV/AIDS, HCV & TB
This brain disease of addiction causes substance abusers to engage in high risk behaviours such as intravenous drug use, and unprotected sex with multiple partners, making them more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C (HCV). These viruses negatively impact their immune systems, causing them to become more vulnerable to the development of Tuberculosis (TB), a health problem that can also be passed on to those who do not abuse drugs.
Intravenous drug abuse, known as “shooting up” in slang, injecting hard drug into the vein with syringe”, usually involves heroin, cocaine. Although other drugs can also be administered intravenously. Those who share needles or syringes do so for so many reasons. A person who uses a syringe to inject drugs is known as an injection drug user (IDU). An IDU typically injects cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine. An IDU shares syringe with others due to so many reasons and syringe being illegal to own without a prescription. Over time, the risks associated with sharing needles lead to serious health issues and even death.
An IDU runs the inherent risk of being infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) when sharing needles. The risk of contracting HIV stems from the fact that blood is drawn into the needle tip and syringe. If an IDU is HIV positive and shares needles, any blood left in the syringe or needle comes in contact with another IDU’s blood after he/she injects himself or herself. Cotton and water also come in contact with HIV-infected blood during the cooking process to turn drugs into liquid form.
Life does not rewind; say no to drugs.