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Drug Abuse & Demand Reduction
by: Ruchi Ahuja
Drug abuse is a global phenomenon. It affects almost every country, although its extent and characteristics differ from region to region. Drug abuse trends around the world, especially among youth, have started to converge over the last few decades.
The most widely consumed drug worldwide is cannabis. Three-quarters of all countries report abuse of heroin and two-thirds report abuse of cocaine. Drug-related problems include increased rates of crime and violence, susceptibility to HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, demand for treatment and emergency room visits and a breakdown in social behavior.
Demand reduction strategies seek to prevent the onset of drug use, help drug users break the habit and provide treatment through rehabilitation and social reintegration.
To reduce or eliminate drug abuse, governments need up-to-date statistics on who is taking drugs and why. The Global Programme on Drug Abuse has established one global and nine regional systems to collect reliable and internationally comparable drug abuse data and to assess the magnitude and patterns of drug abuse at the country, regional and global levels.
Drug abuse cuts across age, class, ethnic and gender lines. By working with grass-roots groups, private businesses and other community partners, it supports projects addressing the needs of specific populations, such as street children and those trying to cope with neglect, violence and sexual abuse. These strategies help disadvantaged groups to avoid high-risk behavior and settings that give rise to a range of problems, including the use of illicit drugs and alcohol.
Access to Treatment and Rehabilitation
People with drug abuse problems have different needs. Women, the young, the poor, refugees and ethnic and religious minorities need easier access to early intervention and services. Once in treatment, drug abusers may need job training and referral, assistance in finding housing and reintegrating into society. Drug abusers who commit crimes require alternative treatment in order to break the cycle of drug abuse and crime.
The Global Youth Network project is creating a network of participatory youth organizations that work for drug abuse prevention. Our activities include experience-sharing meetings, how-to guides on innovative techniques on drug abuse prevention written for and by young people and an active e-mail listserv. The Youth Network web site also provides an on-line resource for groups who want to improve their projects or who want to start new drug abuse prevention programmes.
At the end of 2002, an estimated 42 million people around the world were living with HIV/AIDS. During the same year, five million new infections were reported, while the epidemic claimed and estimated 3.1 million lives. One third of the people living with HIV/AIDS are between 15 and 24 years old. Injecting drug abuse is among the major forces driving the epidemic, attributing to around five per cent of HIV transmission., a cosponsor of UNAIDS since 1999, has been mainstreaming HIV/AIDS prevention into its demand reduction activities globally, with an emphasis on promoting skills development and helping young people live a healthy, drug-free life.
The programme also supports prevention activities to limit the spread of HIV/AIDS among injecting drug abusers, and through them, to their spouses, children and the general population.
Hope that this programme continues to run so that it protects the people from the social destruction. And make the country grow I the healthy and peaceful environment
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