Introduction:

Drug abuse is
defined as the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, such as illicit
drugs (World Health Organization,
2018). An
illicit drug such as cannabis cocaine and heroin is any drug which is illegal
to sell, be in possession of, or to manufacture as in accordance with the Misuse
of Drugs Act (World
Health Organization, 2018). Throughout this assignment I will discuss the
general causes of drug abuse, the morbidity and mortality of drug abuse, the
symptoms of some related diseases and what strategies are currently in place in
Ireland to improve and
reduce drug abuse in Ireland.

 

 

Causes:

Social determinants of health can be defined as conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work
and age. (Who.int, 2018)

Social determinants of health cause many inequalities
between individuals within different cities and countries, these inequalities can
be social status, living conditions, job opportunities or even health status. The reason in which people may abuse drugs is very
rarely down to one point. Dahlgren and Whitehead developed ‘layers of influence
on health’, these of which can explain quite efficiently why drug use is not
always a black and white choice.

On moving from the inner to the outer layers, each
individual layer will have a substantial effect on an individual’s health. (Nwci.ie, 2018) For
example, within the inner ring, ones’ individual life style can vary greatly
i.e if someone goes to private school, yet another goes to a vocational school,
these are too different social and community settings, from here ones’
education may vary and therefore, life path and choices may vary, thus leading
to drug or alcohol abuse or other negative lifestyle choices. Morbidity and
Mortality of Drug Use:

In 2014 The Health
Research Board (HRB) issued a report in which their collected data showed
Ireland to be one of the leading
countries, within the European Union, in relation to rates of death due to drug
related causes, with approximately two people dying from drug-related causes in
Ireland every day. Figures within the report showed 697 people died due to
drugs in 2014. The death toll in Ireland in association with drugs in 2014 trebled the
numbers killed in road traffic accidents (HRB). Of the 697 who died, half were
39 years or younger and approximately 75% were men. Within 2014 approximately thirteen
people died due to drug related causes per week, yet approximately three lost
their lives per week on the roads the same year. The figures released by the HRB show us that
there has been a large increase over the last ten years; in 2004, when the
first report was published, the number of drug associated deaths was 431. In
2017 this has risen 62% higher. (Irishexaminer.com, 2018)

 

Harmful effects of
drug use:

Drug use can lead to numerous health problems such as a
weakened immune system and increased susceptibility to infections and diseases
such as: HIV/Aids, Meth mouth, Hepatitis, and Cardiovascular diseases. Drug use
and poor oral health come hand in hand, there are many direct symptoms: Dry Mouth, periodontitis, tooth decay,
meth mouth, oral cancer, teeth grinding and clenching. Yet indirect symptoms
can occur also, such as injuries to the face and mouth such as fractured teeth
and tooth loss due to trauma. (Drugabuse.gov, 2018)

On looking into Meth mouth (caused due to the abuse of
methamphetamines) we can particularly see many oral symptoms: Severe tooth
decay, tooth fractures, acid erosion and sometimes tooth loss, all of which can
be caused by clenching and grinding of teeth, dry mouth (which occurs when the
glands in the mouth that make saliva are not working properly). (Mouthhealthy.org, 2018) Lifestyle
factors can also be warped by the abuse of drugs (infrequent oral hygiene and
neglecting regular oral cleanings and check ups).