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Drug Dependence Among Youths in South East Asia Countries.

(Sharon Selvarani Selladurai-PGA080209) & (Palaiswaran Naysapalan PGA080029)

Here is a break down of what will be discussed in this paper.

• Drugs

• Youth

• South East Asia

• Drug Dependence (Positive) Defined

• Drug Dependence (Negative) Defined

• Types of Common Dependent Drugs

• Factors Driving Youths to Drugs Dependence

• Bodies Governing Drugs in South East Asia.

• Studies And Statistics

• Counseling Approaches


The Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia says that a drug is any substance that, when absorbed into the

body of a living organism, alters normal bodily function. In pharmacology, a drug is

a chemical substance used in the treatment, cure, prevention, or diagnosis of disease or used to

otherwise enhance physical or mental well-being.

The Oxford Dictionary says that drug is a medicine or other substance which has a physiological

effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body or a substance taken for its narcotic

or stimulant effects, often illegally.


Youth is a time when it is a challenging and a developmental period of time when young people

go through many changes in the sense of biological, cognitive, social and psychological


This is a time of rapid change marked by the onset of puberty, a growth spurt and the

development of secondary sex characteristics. The aspect of cognitive thinking during youth

changes from concrete operational thinking to abstract thinking. Socially, youths spend more

time with their friends and move away from their family and home environment or try to develop

their identity while living in the same household with parents and grandparents.

Psychologically, youths develop a sense of identity and a self-concept. Youths tend to be risk

takers, as they feel invulnerable and experience stress associated with these transitions. Thus,

youth is a time when most substance abuse is initiated.

Substance abuse is one of many interrelated risk behaviours, including unprotected sexual

intercourse, eating disorders, delinquency and conduct disorders that have similar causes.

Whereas experimentation and infrequent drug use tend to be more related to peer and social

factors, substance abuse or dependence tends to be more associated with biological and

psychological factors (Spooner, Hall and Lynskey 2001).

South East Asia

Positive Drug Dependence

Drugs are chemicals that change the way a person's body works. Medicines are legal drugs,

meaning doctors are allowed to prescribe them for patients, stores can sell them, and people are

allowed to buy them. But it's not legal, or safe, for people to use these medicines any way they

want or to buy them from people who are selling them illegally.

Negative Drug Dependence

Drug abuse can lead to drug dependence or addiction. People who use drugs for pain relief may

become dependent, although this is rare in those who don't have a history of addiction.

The exact cause of drug abuse and dependence is not known. However, a person's genes, the

action of the drug, peer pressure, emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and environmental

stress all can be factors.

Negative drug dependence means that a person needs a drug to function normally. Abruptly

stopping the drug leads to withdrawal symptoms. Drug addiction is the compulsive use of a

substance, despite its negative or dangerous effects.

A person may have a physical dependence on a substance without having an addiction. For

example, certain blood pressure medications do not cause addiction but they can cause physical

dependence. Other drugs, such as cocaine, cause addiction without leading to physical


Tolerance to a drug (needing a higher dose to attain the same effect) is usually part of addiction.

Types of Common Dependent Drugs

Iub Drugs

This term refers to an influx of designer drugs including MDMA (Ecstasy), GHB, Rohypnol

(Ruffies), Clarity, and Ketamine (Special K). These drugs are often added to beverages and they

are undetectable as they are colourless, odourless and tasteless. All effect the central nervous

system and act as stimulant and hallucinogen.

Cocaine (Powder)

Cocaine is one of the most powerful stimulants found in nature. Cocaine is derived from Coca

plant leaves. The leaves are treated with salt and gasoline and allowed to sit. The liquid is later

drained and refined into cocaine base. Most of the time cocaine are refined into powder form

though it’s base form can be smoked directly. Powder cocaine (HCL) is inhaled into the nasal

passages or can be dissolved in water and injected into the body via a syringe. Because of

cocaine's high melting point, it cannot be smoked. In order to be smoked, it must be altered using

the chemical process known as freebasing. Freebasing involves mixes the cocaine with other

solvents over a heat source. This process can (and often is) deadly for the abuser.

Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine is smokeable and creates an intense, immediate high. Powder cocaine cannot be

smoked unless chemically altered--thus crack cocaine. A chemically altered form of powder

cocaine that is a hard, rock-like substance that is easy to handle and conceal. Crack cocaine are

instantly addictive and they are very cheap and availability is not a problem.


These drugs interact with the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) to depress cognitive

activities. They include sedatives (used to make a person calm or drowsy) and tranquilizers

(intended to reduce tension and anxiety). They come in tablet, capsule form and liquid form.

Some drugs in this category are: Xanax, Valium, Halcion, Librium, Ativan, Klonopin, Seroquel,

Zyprexa, Seconal, Phenobarbital, Amytal, and Haldol.


Hashish is produced from the THC-rich secretions of the Cannabis plant (marijuana plant).

Hashish is the resinous substance taken from the tops of female plants, which contains the
highest concentration of THC. "Hash" is usually sold in balls or cakes. Most commonly used by

smoking (pipe, bong) or ingesting (eating foods containing hash).


Common inhalants include some types of model cement, cooking sprays, hair spray, deodorant,

liquid paper, aerosol sprays, paint, paint thinner, gasoline, and solvents. These drugs are used by

spraying them on a carpet or a similar sheet of cloth and the fumes are then inhaled arising to a

short-lived euphoria.


Heroin, a semi-synthetic opium, is derived from morphine. Heroin is smoked, inhaled, or

injected by the abuser.


LSD is a synthetic psychotropic, or mind-altering, drug. Due to its extremely high potency, LSD

users may be "high" anywhere from 4-14 hours on one dose. LSD is usually sold in the following

forms: liquid (small, glass vials); thin squares of gelatin ("hits"), referred to as "windowpane";

small square pieces of paper--commonly referred to as "blotter" acid.


Marijuana effects the central nervous system and gives the user a false sense of euphoria,

relaxation, and increased visual, auditory, and taste perceptions. In actuality, the marijuana

diminishes coordination, visual tracking, and loss of energy. Some users experience paranoia,

delirium, and hallucinations. Next to tobacco and alcohol, marijuana is the most popular

chemical substance chosen for regular use. Marijuana is derived from the Hemp plant and its

content of THC found in the leaves and flowering shoots of the plant. Most commonly used by

smoking (joint, pipe, bong) or ingestion (eating foods containing marijuana, example-brownies).

Methamphetamines (Crystal Meth)

This is a man-made chemical stimulant. The street versions of these compounds are cooked up in

clandestine "kitchens" using a variety of hazardous and volatile chemicals. Most of the time they

are inhaled, smoked, and injected by the abuser.

Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug abuse is a modern-day plague. Many prescription drug addicts legitimize their

use because of "doctor's orders". Many abusers lie to their doctors that they are in extreme pain

and demanding for the drugs they are looking for. For those addicts in the medical field or with

access to prescription medications, stealing medications or self-prescribing medications is not

uncommon. Many prescription addicts use multiple pharmacies to hide the amount and

frequency of their use.

Factors Driving Towards Drug Dependence

Young people use substances for functional reasons, such as rebellion, sensation-seeking,

pleasure, curiosity, social bonding, attaining peer status, alleviating boredom, escaping or coping

with reality. Young people may also use substances for symbolic reasons, such as expression of

solidarity or to demarcate social boundaries (Paglia and Room 1998).

Youth workers in Australia report that young people abuse substances for the following reasons:

adolescent risk-taking behaviour, low self-esteem, pain suppressant (e.g., from sexual/

emotional/physical abuse or parental disapproval/rejection), recreational use and peer approval,

and stress and anger management (Department of Human Services 1998).

Research consistently indicates that family factors and peer associations are the most important

contributors to substance use in adolescence. Inadequate social support, stressful life events,

societal pressures, and physical or sexual abuse have been increasingly associated with heavy

substance use by adolescents, especially young women.

Adolescent substance abusers often have co-existing problems – with family, school or job;

medical or emotional issues; social relationships; or leisure – which may have existed before

substance abuse or may have arisen from substance abuse (Roberts and Ogborne 1999).

Different substances tend to be used for different reasons by young people. For example, young

illicit substance users reported that they drank alcohol for fun but used heroin to deal with

problems (Spooner, Mattick and Howard 1996).

Bodies Governing Drugs in South East Asia.

The goverment has for quite sometime recognise that illicit drug trade has direct and indirect

affect on development goal especially relating to youth develpment particularly in this region.

The regional Illicit Drugs Initiative (IDI) was originally announced by the Prime Minister at the

ASEAN Summit in November 2004. The Initiative will provide $4 million in grants for projects

of up to 2 years in duration to strengthen regional responses to the development impacts of illicit

drugs and to increase Australia's engagement in combating the production, trade and use of illicit

drugs in the South-East Asia region.

Applications for concept submissions were sought from:

· Australian Government departments, agencies and statutory authorities which are

actively engaged in illicit drug control, treatment and related activities in South-East


· Regional and national organisations in the identified eligible countries, National

organisations in the identified countries and Regional organisations, which are actively

engaged in illicit drug control, treatment, and related activities in South-East Asia

In Malaysia the body that is task with the job of preventing illicit drug trade is Agensi

Kebangsaan Negara (National Anti Drug Agency) (ADK)

The main objective of this organization is to provide treatment and rehabilitation for every

individual identified as a drug addict, to free them from physical and psychological dependencies

on drugs, and consequently, making them enlightened, useful and productive individuals.
The Vision of the National Anti Drug Agency Malaysia

Studies And Statistics

Annual prevalence of abuse as percentage of the population aged 15-64 in South East Asia
(unless otherwise indicated)


Myanmar, 2005 0.7

Thailand, 2003 0.1

Viet Nam,2002 0.3

Malaysia*,2000 0.2

Indonesia*,2002 0.2

Brunei Darussalam,1998 0.01

Singapore, 2004 0.004

Counseling Approaches

Drug addiction is an extremely complex issue due to its intensity of uncontrollable drug craving

which most often causes the abusee to act beyond his or her rational faculty. Because drug abuse

and addiction have so many dimensions and disrupt so many aspects of an individual's life,

treatment is not simple. Effective treatment will have to encompass specific target where a

particular aspect of the illness and its consequences is targeted.

Medication and behavioral therapy, especially when combined, are important elements of an

overall therapeutic process that often begins with detoxification, followed by treatment and

relapse prevention. Withdrawal symptoms are the main target of reduction, preventing relapse is

necessary for maintaining its effects.

These are among the methods used during counseling drug addicts:

1. A lecture or discussion format should be used with the aid of a whiteboard for the purpose of


2. State that studies have shown that those who seek treatment and follow through experience a

quality life as compared to those who don’t.

3.Stress the importance of taking medications even after symptoms are under control.

4.Get patients who have complied with treatment and to those who didn’t on how this affected

their psychological rehabilitation.

5.Have patients list benefits of treatment.

6.Ask patients what they could do if they felt their treatment plan was not working.


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Roberts, G., and A. Ogborne (1999). Best Practice: Substance Abuse Treatment and
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Spooner, C., E. Hall and M. Lynskey (2001). Structural determinants of youth drug use,
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