An Overview of Drug Abuse: Causes, Effects, and Control Measures

M. L. John *

Faculty of Health Science, Global Wealth University, Togo.

I. J. J. Otene

Department of Soil & Environmental Management, Kogi State University Anyigba, Nigeria.

G. E. Antenyi

Department of Crop Production, Kogi State University Anyigba, Nigeria.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


This study was conducted to assess the causes, effects, and control measures of drug abuse. The review was composed of literature search from databases (Google Scholar, Science Direct, Springer, Scopus and PubMed). Major findings from this study includes:

  1. a) Causes of Drug Abuse: The causes of drug abuse varies from social, interpersonal, cultural, environmental, and family factors. People abuse drugs due to pleasure derived from it. Drug abuse can be socially learned through drug use by peer group members, exposure to offers to use, and easy access to drugs. Pressure from friends that abuse drugs including their frequent escalation of drug experience may appeal others to start the use of drugs. Curiosity arising from recurrent references to drugs by public media generate curiosity for having a personal experience of the drugs. Growing up in a single-parent family, lack of parental support or supervision as well as low involvement with the child, and exposure of children to elders in the family who take drugs can promote drug use. Frustration and depression could make some people to take drugs to experience relief or relief from pain mostly from a prolonged use of pain-relieving drugs prescribed by a doctor.
  2. b) Effects of Drug Abuse: The signs or harmful effects of drug abuse could be physical, emotional, family dynamics, school behaviours, and social problems. They include cardiovascular disease; abnormalities in brain structure and function; respiratory problems; weakened immune system; insomnia; reduction in libido or sexual dysfunction; anxiety and irritability; loss or increase in appetite; and poor judgment. Different crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping, and rape have been identified with young people under the influence of drugs. Family dynamics will reflect in the form of secretiveness, withdrawing from family, starting arguments, and breaking rules. For the school behaviours, the teenager will begin to play truancy, display discipline problems, decline in grades, decreased interest, many absences, and subsequently withdrawal from school. In terms of social problems, the teenager will begin to have problems with the law, have new friends, abnormal request for money, changes to less conventional styles in dress and music.
  3. c) Control Measures for Drug Abuse: Effective drug prevention programs should involve the family, schools, communities, and the media. This includes creating healthy home environment (functional family communication or interaction, parents taking extra measures to monitor the activities of their children including their associations, reduce child’s exposure to drug users in the family). Government should provide easy and affordable access to rehabilitation centres, implement effective addiction counselling and prevention programmes, provide policies that would address the wider availability of drugs in the society, create job opportunities for youth to become self-reliant; develop effective awareness/campaign programs on drug abuse; establish recreational centres; and finally religiosity can prevent people from using drugs even if they are exposed to drugs in the environment.

Keywords: Drug abuse, substance abuse, illicit drugs, social habits, mental health

How to Cite

John , M. L., Otene , I. J. J., & Antenyi , G. E. (2023). An Overview of Drug Abuse: Causes, Effects, and Control Measures. Asian Journal of Medicine and Health, 21(11), 263–268.


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